[UI] Units Management and Tutorials
I've been working on the UI screen for managing units. Although at game launch we won't have that many units, we believe is mandatory to have something in place when we release the first version. Why? Because it strongly hints the player that this game is going for a long run and we want players to know from day 1 that we are committed on that.
There are still a lot of things to sort out thought... For example, are we going to allow players to arbitrarily build the team of 4 units by selecting any combination of them? Or will they choose from a bunch prebuilt teams? Play testing will help us decide on that, but for now I am assuming players will build their own teams.
Once we finish the UI layout and functionality we will put some nice pixel art for the UI Skin. The idea is to have an info button when you click a unit to see the unit's details and also the tutorial arena. Making tutorials has always been a PITA... and in my experience the best ones are the ones you don't need to have. But when you do, it's better if you allow the player to LEARN BY DOING. I've tried screenshot slides and animations in the past but nothing works better than just let the player do their stuff. Almost all the time I ended up doing a tutorial where the player gets a simple instruction and he is required to show that he understood. How? By doing.
IT's still a work in progress but I like how its starting to look. You have a nice view on the unit's pixel art, the stats for the unit and a brief description about the unit. The grid below its going to be an interactive tutorial arena; players will be able to explore what the unit can do in a controlled scenario. When a new unit is added to the game players will be able to test it and learn how to use it. In Starcraft 2, they had this very simple and very clear "video clips" on how units worked when you wanted to select them. You could just watch the unit in action and decide if it was best for you. In our case, since this screen will be shown frequently, I thought it was a waste of space to just play an animation that might be useful just once for the player. Why not let the player have a quick play on the unit? It's also more fun and engaging for a newcomer when you explain him how the game works by just asking to try it out than to make him watch an animation and then join a game and wait for the enemies to show off.
Stay tuned for updates on our next blog entry and have a great week!