Reactor Control Layout Nearly Done

Hey Folks! Back at the office today after a nice break. It felt good to not be following social media for a while. I think it revealed how stressful things like Twitter can be without me realizing it. And it's giving me some food for thought on how I consume content in the future. Not sure how well I can operate a business like this without social channels, but maybe I need to start rationing my usage.

Anyway, first order of business (literally) was to deal with some admin tasks. Taxes and accounting, catching up on emails, support tickets, etc. Not a fun beginning, but necessary after being away from the PC for so long. Pretty much an all-morning affair.

Once that was done, however, it was back to the fun stuff! And you can see today's progress in the screenshot.

We now have new LED sprites for the wider lamp size, which look better than stretching the square ones. I added meters for the core pressure and capacitor charge. Plus the ability to control sorting order in those LED arrays, e.g. for left-to-right vs. right-to-left.

I added indicator lamps for several reactor systems, plus their toggles where applicable. The 7-segment display visuals are now ready for code, as you can see in the "FUEL" section at the bottom. They'll still need some logic to display correct digits based on input, but the sprite sheets and layering effects are good to go.

The laser ignition switch is in (this fires the laser, which ignites the fuel pellet, starting fusion in the core). And the beginnings of a control panel in the lower right, where the user will eventually control field coils, fuel regulator, and core purge pumping.

A little more UI work and this will be visually complete. Then, I need to hack together some control logic so the various lights do reasonable things when buttons and switches are toggled. Just enough to record some convincing footage, and hopefully move on to a few other shots we'll need.

M Josh Cauller is ready to resume work on the trailer, so I'm going to put in some extra hours over the weekend to get him more material to work with. It's coming together fast!


Rovlad's picture

Welcome back Dan!
Minor suggestion for the UI: give some random rotation to screws, and apply some noise/scratches/bumps to the texture, it'll make it look much more realistic. Otherwise it just looks a bit too clean and pristine for something that's actually being used.

dcfedor's picture

Thanks, Rovlad! And believe it or not, I did muddle with the screws a bit because I thought the same thing. I found that at such a low resolution, however, they got really chunky looking when not rotated in 90-degree increments. I might just have to suck it up and live with it.

And yes, this UI could use some "lived-in" touches. I want wear and tear to be the norm. Fortunately, I think I can probably shim a layer between the panel background and foreground elements to add distressed details. I can tackle that once the things are animating as they should.

And in super dreamland, one day I'd like for each of these modules to be swappable by the player. So if they find a snazzy battery meter or flow control panel that they like better, they can pop out the old one and add the new one. (Ditto for broken panels.)

But let's see if I can get the basics working before I go nuts :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture

>they got really chunky looking when not rotated in 90-degree increments
90 degrees may be enough, so at least they don't look completely identical. Or maybe simply adding "wear and tear" will take care of that. But of course, this is not a high priority at all; better get it working first, and bother with details later.