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Imperia: the interface

Discussion in 'Pavlos' Corner (The Art Forum)' started by pavlosg, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    All hail to thee, mighty armchair emperors !

    In Imperia, you are the emperor. Not just an emperor, but the emperor of the whole known universe. Ok, you are going to tell me, this universe does not look so frigging huge. I will bow to this, and tell you nevertheless that great things have small beginnings !

    So, as an emperor, you are kind of addicted to luxury: you like the classy stuff of your epoch. In other words, you like gold, precious stones, exotic wood and fabrics, the best all of the worlds have to offer. This also shows in the game interface: what emperor would like to interact with his realm through a minimalist and sterile interface ? In order to make an interface worthy of your imperial alter-ego, I decided I would get my inspiration from Napoleon III and the rococo style in the late 19th century. It is elaborate, rich, and puts style ahead of dry efficiency.

    Let's have a look at how the interface should ultimately look like. Beware, this is photoshop mockups, the interface does not look like that yet, and there will be differences in the end -this is work in progress ! Take the main astrography screen:

    [​IMG]

    ... with some explanations:

    [​IMG]

    These mockups are simplified: no fleet is showed, although it should be. Some other data are missing as well.

    You will notice that each square button at the bottom of the screen has a small dot above it -a toggle actually. This allows you to select an overlay showing info about the specific 'domain' you want to. For instance, let's suppose that you have activated the 'military' toggle: you will be shown the military data overlay. Here's what the screen would look with this overlay activated:

    [​IMG]

    You immediately see that a lot more info is displayed on the screen (sheer understatement).
    - all the planets show their ground troops, point defenses and ships in orbit
    - previous battle sites are shown
    - an estimate of enemy forces is shown wherever possible
    - the friendly fleets are visible too (they should be by default, though)

    You can see some bad guys in the bottom-right part of the screen, and some allies to the top left.

    Remember those are mockups -some details have been simplified or omitted ! Next I will post some pictures of the other overlays.

    take care all,
    P.
     
    #2
  2. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    game and emperor creation screens

    Hey everybody,

    Since we are about to close the old forum and the stuff posted there is going into the memory hole, I'd thought I could post again in here some of the concept art previously released. Nothing new for the people following us already, but still something we can all reflect upon.

    1- The game creation screen

    [​IMG]


    2- The emperor creation screen

    [​IMG]

    a/ we will need to re-arrange the later to include your political allies and fiends. Also, the empire name selection will be likely moved from the game to the emperor creation screen.
    b/ the advisers is still a work-in-progress idea: consider them as tutors with personality and even an agenda.

    Have a fantastic day or evening,
    P.
     
    #3
  3. Travis

    Travis Community Manager

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    All I have to say is: Damn. Very, very impressive.
     
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  4. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    interface: system view, where icons rule !

    Hey again,

    Thanks Divair !
    In another thread we were talking about the power of icons (sic) and the need to make the interface less verbose. Well, I did some work today and laid down the foundations of an icon-driven interface for the game. As much as I like text, it does drown the useful information into a graphical mass best avoided.

    And what best place to start than in a synthetic screen? Here's the new system view mockup. I tought "hell, I want all the info on all planets at the same time, I am lazy and do not want to click on all of them. Plus I want to compare". Typical consumerist want-it-all, isn't it ? Well, with the icons, it is fairly easy: all the planets have their own little data window. Look at what Photoshop gives up today:


    [​IMG]

    So now you can at a glance gather the most important data about the star system and its planets. Materials, population, development level, governors, everything (The system viceroy is on top). Even better, by clicking on a planet or its data window, you enter the planetary nexus command where you get to see more detailed data about the planet, and work on edicts you wa...

    ...Ah crap, I forgot to add the active edicts for every planet. That should be very useful. Well, next version :) Ah, I could also include the planet value data entry. Gotta find a spot...

    What was I saying ? Ah yes, if you click on a line of data (these are thematic, "people", "production" etc...), you open the planetary command nexus and its relevant tab. Ta-daaa. You can also un-expand every data window for anyplanet, if you want a tidy interface.

    I am not very happy yet about the spot I put the fleets in (fleets are system-specific, while the ships are planet-specific), but might think of something better tomorrow.

    What do you guys and gals think ?

    P.
     
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  5. Travis

    Travis Community Manager

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    Re: interface: system view, where icons rule !

    Now that's what I'm talking about. Very nicely done!
     
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  6. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    Re: interface: system view, where icons rule !

    See, Pavlos, you create so much work for me when you come up with better stuff than me all the time. Le sigh!!! :lol: :lol:

    -Steve
     
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  7. Zireael

    Zireael Alpha Tester
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    I like those icons a LOT!

    BTW can't wait for game creation and emperor creation to go live...
     
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  8. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    [​IMG]

    Damn you Pavlos... you and your good ideas. In for .412. :)

    -Steve
     
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  9. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Great Steve !

    I will upload an updated version of this screen, as I forgot to include both the planet value and the running edicts. Will try to work on the planetary nexus today. Or any other preference ?
    Any chance you can include asteroid belts or planetary rings soon ? ;)

    ... wait, this is NOT my photoshop mockup... This is the REAL game ! How on Earth did you do that ALREADY ?

    Want to add the edicts somewhere ?

    P.
     
    #10
  10. Zireael

    Zireael Alpha Tester
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    That's the question!
     
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  11. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Here's a mockup of the updated in-game emperor screen

    [​IMG]

    - I added the political allies and enemies to the right, and brought back the emperor to its rightful place in the center....
    - I tentatively added "Stamina" and "Psy" to the skill/ emperor character values.
    - "Stamina" shows how strong your body is, and how tired it is. Long trips, too much use of psy, too much partying will get you tired.
    - "Psy" [experimental] is how many psy points you have in store if you want to perform some psy tricks
    - Do we really need "greed" and "ambition" for our character ? I mean, aren't those player- based ? I find they are crucial for AI characters, but I find these a bit out of place for your emperor.

    Here below is the very similar emperor creation screen.
    - I kept the experimental advisors screen. For the moment, we will replace those with a taller bio window.
    - I will need to make skills icons <sigh>, for they will be useful in intelligence screen with characters and so.
    - oops, what is the galactic north icon doing here ?

    [​IMG]

    P.
     
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  12. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    ...and here below is a proposal for an updated intel screen.

    You can clearly see the structure of the sector/ system and planets:
    - the sectors below are "daggon" and "New Eden", with their blue sector icon, the portrait of the sector governor and the sector's name
    - I would myself always stick the face of the governors and viceroys near their planets/ sectors, to ease the emperor's task. I hate it when I have to track myself which person is where !

    [​IMG]

    - the order of the icons/values could be changed I guess, to be coherent with the system's view icon order.
    - Supposedly, the screen above is the planetary intel screen, where the name of the planets is written. In the personel intel screen, it is the name of the people that would be written.
    - If we use icons to save space on the main part of the screens, perhaps we could write both the names of planets and governors.

    P.
     
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  13. bmorris2

    bmorris2 Alpha Tester
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    I like the first emperor mock-up. I like being able to see who my allies and enemies are. Very important. Being able to click on them would be fantastic too. I could care less about my bio. Advisors would be neat if we can still have the allies/enemies.
     
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  14. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Thanks Bmorris !

    Here's what an updated planetary nexus interface would look like if we stuck to the icon system seen in the star system screen:

    [​IMG]

    - we could squeeze one more icon near the governors (for instance, their power?)
    - the edict window could also go up, I presume.
    - I added some 'alert' or 'special attention' window in the top part of the planet's main data. It is a repeat of the demographics 'desirability' negative information. I found that I was always seeking that information, so I thought, well, why not include it in the main data body ?
    - currently, it is the "astrographics" subset that is active, in the central part of the screen.

    P.

    Do you emperors and empresses like it ?
     
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  15. bmorris2

    bmorris2 Alpha Tester
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    I'd definitely move the edict window up. Otherwise it just seems off.

    I like the alert/special attention window.

    What is the purpose of the astrographics window? What does it add to the game? I'm not sure.
     
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  16. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Hey Bmorris

    Thanks for the feedback, things will be modified accordingly. As for the astrographics window, it will feature a text description of the planet and a complete list of the extraordinary planetary traits (or something akin to it, it is still WIP). Detailed scan levels will also be shown. Do you think any other relevant data should be included ?

    Now about another game screen that we re-design along 'Imperial' lines: the Personal Access System:


    [​IMG]

    The mockup does not feature all buttons, as you can see.

    - Near the left bottom, I included a proposal of mine: Psy-actions. Psy-actions are certain things you can do with your (superb) mind to persons: you can probe them, soothe or make them more agressive, for instance. Each action tires you (decreases your stamina) and costs you Psy-Points (you have a certain Psy point pool, just like the ADMIN points). Do you fellow tyrants like the idea ?
    In case the psy-actions do not make the final cut, the space can be replaced by the 'known relations' window.

    - 'Known alliances' might become 'known relations', where personal relations are displayed with an icon/ portrait system. Here you can see who the person likes and dislikes (more things to take in account, hehe).

    - all the rest is just graphics changes, the information and structure are very similar to today's version

    take care all,
    P.
     
    #17
  17. pavlosg

    pavlosg Art Director
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    Hello everybody

    As Steve is getting up to speed with Unity, we resumed working on the interface. You can see below another study of the solar system interface. Things are missing, other things will be removed or modified, but we are tackling the UI again, trying to optimize things.

    [​IMG]
    This is very close to what we had before, but I am waiting to see how that looks in Unity to see if we have to make any major change. Steve has finished the planetary creation code and is now working to visually show those planets in a system just like in the picture above. We shouldn't wait more than a few days to have complete solar systems in front of our eyes. Realistic and all.

    take care all,
    P.
     
    #18
  18. Texashawk

    Texashawk Developer
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    Yes, Unity makes it easy to make a great UI now, especially with the new 5.0 UI system. God, I wish I'd started in Unity! :)
     
    #19
  19. dirkgently

    dirkgently Lord of Statistics
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    Very slick. Is the plan that, wherever you see a character name or portrait, you can click on it and bring up the comms screen for them? similarly for planets and systems? It'd be a nice point of consistency for the interface.
     
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