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

Deployment Interface Tweaks

The deployment UI for GSB is not as good as it could be. I’m aware of this, and more acutely aware of it, because this is the main meat and potatoes of the game itself. The battles are great fun, and look cool, but a player who really gets into the game will spend considerable time on the deployment screen. I was thinking recently (and a post by a player on the forums reminded me of it) that I should display to the player the ranges he is fiddling with when assigning shooting orders. I’ve ended up fixing four problems here.

Firstly I changed the wording from ‘max range’ to ‘Move to attack at this range’, which makes more sense. Weapons will always fire at targets the minute they enter range, these instructions are for movement, not firing, and tell the ship to move to range X to attack fighters, or Y to attack frigates, depending on the current target. This was not clear. (It’s still imperfect, but better).

Secondly, I wanted to display the range on the screen as you changed it, and decided to re-use the white range circles to do so, which was fine, albeit requiring me to fix all kinds of other minor quibbles. It meant that I should allow the player to drag that window aside so they can see whats going on ( a good idea anyway), leading to a few tooltip bugs I had to fix. Once I was staring at that window, it became clear that a lot of the weapons module strips on there were redundant. If you have 5 cruiser lasers, you only need a single entry for them, to allow you to check and auto-set their maximum range, so now it says cruiser laser (x5) rather than spamming that window.

Minor changes, but lots of minor changes make for a batter, less frustrating and more fun game. Who knows, it may double sales! (unlikely :D)