An update from The Void – Dev Blog 42

This week has shot passed. There has been a lot of work on the new UI re-design going on behind the scenes. I’ve created a bunch of new UI behaviours in the game to mimic the mock ups and now I’m waiting on some pretty looking assets to populate them with. I’m very excited to see what you think about the new UI once it is in place. It should really add some awesome polish to the game.

The process of getting this new UI design is an interesting one. The first step was to create a lot of different mockups of the functionality I wanted (read about it here). The next step was to explain it all to the artist – including demonstrations and mocked up videos of functionality. After that he went and created some mockups of ideas which we iterated on until everything felt right. During this time I was also creating generic UI components to mimic the mockups. They are pretty ugly at the moment, but once skinned they should perform exactly as planned. Now that the mock ups are agreed, the artist is producing all the assets (backgrounds, labels, buttons) and once I have them, I’ll apply them to the generic UI components.

The old UI

I’ve also spent some time this week squashing various bugs with the visiting islands (or mini-biomes). Procedural generation is an incredibly powerful tool – but can be a pain to debug! There were a bunch of edge cases with the procedural generation that caused crazy (but not crazy cool alas) things to be generated. These have all been squashed now, and the plan is (at some point) to move this from Unity specific code into something that can be modified relatively simply modded.

In more development news : I’ve been working on exposing some more of the information about the internal organs of the peons. This is still very much work in progress, and will be part of the UI re-design as well. I’ve added two sections to the main character sheet that gives a breakdown of bones (fractures/missing/breaks/destroyed/healthy) as well as organs (damage/missing/infections/destroyed). Interestingly there is a big difference between a missing bone/organ and a destroyed one – and I’ll talk more about that when I introduce the new creature to the game.

New UI featuring organs and bones

I’ve also been playing around with a new snow shader, which has been a lot of fun.  Here is a screenshot of it turned off (left) and turned on (right) – let me know what you think. I’m still running into some issues with it so it isn’t quite ready to be fully implemented – but I’m very pleased with the results so far. It adds a lot of depth and colour to the game (even if it is shades of white!)

Picture showing new snow shader

Finally, next week I’ll be over in the fair city of Groningen in the Netherlands doing a press event for Fringe Planet. This has been organsied by Indietopia, the accelerator program which is helping me develop the business side of Fringe Planet. I’ve got some custom printed stuff to decorate the desk (pictures next week!) and am really looking forward to the first real public unveiling of Fringe Planet. There will be a bunch of press there, as well as games industry type folks. Also it will be really nice working from the offices over there, a friendly office atmosphere is something a solo dev really misses at times!

There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try:

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