Iterating on the Blueprints UI

It’s been awhile since a Triverse update, but there’s been plenty of work on it! Most has involved internal systems to support networked multiplayer, large worlds, and Unity integration, but more recently I’ve spent time on UI changes that are a bit more visual.

The previous UI for part selection worked decently, but it had a few deficiencies and needed to support several new features. One of those features was unit blueprints, where players can save a copy of a unit layout and fabricate it later. During prototyping, this looked like a great way to support fleets at a larger scale, and it would also support players sharing their designs later on.

Two big questions:

  • Is it feasible to include both parts and blueprints in the same portion of the UI. In initial attempts, I tried drawing unit outlines and fitting them into part borders, but they didn’t look very good or convey the scale of the object.
  • Can the action bar go elsewhere? I’d initially wanted it to go at the bottom because that’s where they typically go, plus it would be near the other controls. However, it’s also been a bit confusing to see both the action bar and parts bar together.

The latest attempt has proportionally-sized layouts drawn as connected graphs, with cores highlighted:

JaggedBlueprintBarCropped

I tried another variation where only a portion of of the blueprint is shown. Vertical size doesn’t matter much for clickability since these are at the bottom of the screen, where you can always slam your mouse and hit a clickable region. It’s a cleaner, more uniform bar at the cost of omitting a portion of the structure:

BlueprintBarUniformHeightCropped2

Parts show up in the same UI bar alongside blueprints, although they behave somewhat differently during placement:

BlueprintBarWithPartsCropped2

Finally, unit blueprint placement:

BlueprintPlacementUI

On a side note, I’ve found it incredibly useful to use a shader with replaceable color channels to test out different color variations on the fly. The problem is that I can never find the right color combination, so I end up making adjustments that ultimately probably don’t matter much. Or maybe I just need more colors!

On a related side note, the parts/placement UI is now blue instead of green, which should be good news to any colorblind players who want to distinguish valid and invalid placement regions:

InvalidPlacement

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