Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

UI rethink

My UI sucks. Some people who tried the game have made me realise this. The battles are cool, the idea is ok, but the flow of the UI is too complex and fiddly and crap.
The actual ‘look’ of the UI isn’t so bad, but its just a really bad ‘flow’ from ship design to fleet design to fleet deployment to combat.
it need a bit of a re-arrangement and re-think, which will be messy and annoying and not as much fun as programming new explosion effects…

Right now you need to think like a programmer to play the game. I want it to be more like someone who wants to arrange a fun space battle would think. The current system is sort of boxy and procedural like this:

  • Create ships and save them as files.
  • Create fleets for a specific battle from saved ships, and save them as files
  • Create deployments of those fleets for that battle, and save them as files
  • Select one of those files to fight against an enemy fleet.

This sucks. What I think I need is more like this:

  • Select Battle to fight (together with difficulty level)
  • View an existing (crappy basic sample) fleet already deployed for it
  • Have the option to re-arrange the ships, add new ones from a picker, or add new designs to the picker all on that screen (new designs will effectively open a new interface to do that)
  • Hit the fight button

With that system, there will be options to save out ship designs that you use in the battle, and to save out the deployment (or maybe I always save the deployment for each battle so I have a ‘last-used’ deployment).
The key thing would be that its all based around a single process, and a single screen. The fleet design interface will effectively be dead

6 thoughts on UI rethink

  1. ( View an existing (crappy basic sample) fleet already deployed for it )

    what, you’re going to make the “take over the useless admiral” approach to battling?


  2. Yeah, that first system needs re-working. As much as I love files for everything, that’s not the greatest way to load ships and fleets. It needs to be something simple, like you’re shown your fleet arrangement, you can click and drag ships around, and a right-click menu with options like assigning fleets and Modify Ship.
    The easier it is, the more accessible it is, and therefore the wider an audience it will appeal to.

  3. That sounds ok, but please also make a button to start from scratch so that some people aren’t confused/annoyed with changing every ship to what they want.

  4. I would be tempted to try and remove the save/feature all together or at least make it transparent, give the player more of a sandbox to play in e.g. test his ships…

    The player
    designs a ship
    tests the design in a ‘simulator’ tweeks the design
    designs the fleet
    runs a simulated battle
    builts the fleet
    launches into battle!

    In design mode all tweeks adjustments are recorded and the deisgn changes can be done undone!

  5. Slight tangent – it sounds like this system could benefit from some kind of metagame.

    Big galactic map you can’t really interact with beyond the results of your battles, two or three battle options (fight the podunks instead of the galfreebs), a fleet which continues to grow/shrink across the span of the metagame campaign.

    (This would be particularly good if the player had some kind of truly ludicrous scale ship that makes up two thirds of a fleet)

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