Age of Fear 2: The Chaos Lord GOLD

Age of Fear 2: The Chaos Lord GOLD

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Les  [developer] Jul 10, 2017 @ 7:55am
AOF UI Re-Design
Hi all,

Our next big task is to re-code rendering engine. Technology we are currently using (Java Swing) does miss many modern features and occasionally causes issues and rendering glitches.

Therefore, we will start re-coding our rendering engine soon after AOF3 release. However, because our GUI components are closely related to Swing, we would need to re-code them too.

That gives us chance to improve our UI a bit. To be honest - I don't think AOF interface is bad. It's quite functional and presents lots of information on a single screen. There are few glitches that need to be ironed out, e.g. lower bar of units' portraits sometimes overlaps battle field, buttons could be better decorated, fonts should scale with higher resolutions, etc.

Therefore, recently we have been researching various designs for strategy game UI. Here are some thoughts and notes.

Surprisingly, while strategy games are one of the oldest of video games, the UI patterns are not that settled yet. Compare that to FPS games, where GUI is pretty much variation of the same design (that probably will make some FPS players angry! lol).

As for general good UI guidelines, this video presents it quite well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OSkB4BCx00

For more specific notes on strategy games UI design, this blog is a good source:
https://medium.com/@treeform/strategy-game-battle-ui-3b313ffd3769

Also, below are couple of screenshots from various games, showing their UI designs
(I have no idea how to make Steam display images):

http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/134d08d1e58d647d03661d63bcf0c77cbb1874e7.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/b4d0109cfe8964ac217f79f329482c5b7061f78e.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/b75bb5fa3f26d3ad0d6c1a7a64525d4ab9f3d4eb.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/feebe3dab5ec8c38289ebdf0e6bd91c088596576.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/ccfa3585662f9ed5b3286df86c27f9718934837a.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/10461b33a2e35496aaeb8ba5af6dfb4ddd414eb6.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/8a33ee613b832f14b237dd398ac97122e1fa2b65.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/2ad6cc0cb25fb62fa7311d6f7ca6bee29d471149.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/fbc8352d978c18c8e534659532393397775a88e3.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/8177299403cccb9ee9ab7e261f9e9df4422589f4.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/fbc8352d978c18c8e534659532393397775a88e3.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/8177299403cccb9ee9ab7e261f9e9df4422589f4.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/3f4fd922699771b30e754bf6bc086949e5660172.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/acb84445f322e30c58566fb7e43d5663d1676a4e.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/59bd9542e6189a39032c8f32910c08daf17115bf.jpg
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/38e810dd2388e932846342bda4203a1b0476c7d9.jpg


And some UI elements:
http://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steamcommunity/public/images/clans/8183641/87f02d57f812b6cab40b155f888eb01a3bdb34da.jpg

This is something we will tackle after AOF3 release.
You are very welcome to leave any input or notes here.


All of best,
Les
Last edited by Les; Jul 19, 2017 @ 8:15am
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
Kivina Jul 11, 2017 @ 7:46pm 
I always realiked the minimalist UI the game has had. Majority of my problems system from bugs or java problems. I don't think you need a huge or fancy UI.
zakblood Jul 11, 2017 @ 9:36pm 
hope its not a massive task for you and goes smoothly and quick, good luck and thanks for the ongoing support
Les  [developer] Jul 11, 2017 @ 11:53pm 
Thanks! It won't be coded overnight - that's for sure :-)

Well, current technology causes lots of problems during video recording.
Unfortunately, that's how marketing in working nowadays - lots of people record let's play.

Also, we optionally might be able to do android build. I will see how that will go.
Les  [developer] Jul 12, 2017 @ 9:31am 
Actually, where are main issues in AOF UI?

I have noticed those (I will be updating it):

1) in battle screen lower bar with units' portraits sometimes is overlapping important areas in battle

2) in recruitment screen players cannot figure out how to re-order units

3) fonts don't scale with higher resolutions

4) END TURN/MENU/UNDO buttons are too simple and could be iconised

5) support for second monitor

6) static environment/lack of animations (terrain effect are already implemented and can be enabled, but have impact on performance)

7) smooth zoom in/zoom out (currently we have three levels of zoom). Maybe battle board rotation as well?

8) [OPTIONAL] display battles map in intro level


Feel free to add any feedback.
Last edited by Les; Jul 16, 2017 @ 1:30pm
Les  [developer] Jul 21, 2017 @ 2:14am 
Last edited by Les; Jul 21, 2017 @ 2:14am
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
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