New Date, Time, and Weather UI, and 1024 cont'd
Hope everyone had a good weekend. I decided to pick up Luftrausers and Sword of the Stars: The Pit this weekend, and I'm enjoying them so far. The former is a good twitch/bullet-hell type for when you want some short-form, reflexive gaming. And the latter is a rewardingly deep roguelike in a sci-fi dungeon setting.
Back at work, I decided to use my morning to tackle date, time, and weather UI. I received some good feedback recently involving the way these things work. One of the stronger points was that players have no warning before dusk arrives, often robbing them of precious moves if they're in a forest. I agree that this is both frustrating and a bit unfair (not to mention unrealistic).
Their suggestion was to add a bit of granularity to the time indicator, so we could better see dusk coming. Helpfully, they also pointed me to a related discussion on the forums from a few months back.
There were a few false starts as I tried different ways to solve the issue. But ultimately, what I've done is to insert two new stages in the day: morning and evening. Morning comes after dawn, and evening before sunset. Morning uses the same hexes as daytime, but evening uses the dusk tileset, so it should be obvious when evening is arriving. This gives the player a hint that they should get prepared for low light conditions soon.
I also added a text message in the log whenever stage of day changes. E.g. "It is now Evening."
Since I was mucking around in the time code (and therefore, weather code), I also made a new UI indicator which consolidates time and weather info. I'll get rid of the old text indicator, and this one is an icon for weather conditions, with sun/moon for day/night. Rolling over this icon will show specific weather info in a pop-up (cloud cover, precipitation, rough temperature), as well as rough time of day (e.g. dawn, morning, day, evening, dusk, night).
Then, I made all electronics that should have time and date info set a condition on the player when in the player's possession and turned on. If this condition is set, the rough time of day text in the rollover will instead be exact time of day and month/day info.
I'm hoping that these changes improve the player experience, making the game not only less frustrating, but more immersive/realistic. It also finally adds a way to track survival time without dying, and adds value to electronic items.
After that was up and running, I continued work on the 1024 UI layout. Specifically, still working on the battle GUI. As a result of this new weather icon, I'm going to see about yanking out the old text in the battle UI that described the weather and time of day, and reuse this new icon there.
I'm also considering replacing the text that refers to each creature's last target with just a mini sprite of that target. I think that will not only be faster to interpret, but should clear up confusion when multiple targets have the same name.
Note: I'm not doing a full battle GUI overhaul just yet (though I still want to some day), but this might make things a bit less text-heavy. Baby steps!
Hope everyone has a good night, and see you tomorrow!