Saturday, December 22, 2007

More Ships, More Chaos

I have been working on that larger battle I mentioned in my last post. I have also been working on the user interface a little bit. The more I actually try to run a battle, the more I find things that are missing or are not right about the UI. Which is good, that is the whole point of testing. In my last post I mentioned that I was going to post pictures of a battle between more starships -- here you go...

Below is a screenshot from a battle between two cruisers and three frigates. As I mentioned in an earlier post, play balancing is a bit of an issue at this point. This screenshot is from early in the battle, but you can see that the three frigates (in red) are going to clean up against the two cruisers (in green and blue) even though the cruisers are more powerful on paper. You can see missiles in flight in this screenshot -- three fired by one frigate and three fired by another. In the upper right is a high speed kinetic projectile fired from the rail gun of one of the cruisers. Unfortunately, it has missed its target and will fly off uselessly into deep space.

You can also see the explosions left over from missile impacts on each of the cruisers. The faster reload rate of the frigate's missile launchers is giving the cruisers fits. In terms of the user interface, you can see the new helm control UI on the right. This is more intuitive than entering a course and speed manually. Instead, you can just click on the circle to give your helm orders.

On the right, below the (temporary) zoom control is a simple spinner control that has the number "20" in it. This is because this screenshot is from turn 20 of the game. You can use this control to go back and look at previous turns. In the future, this control will be a little more sophisticated, so you can "play back" the previous turns, or an entire game to review what happened.

(click the image to see a larger version)

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