We start to see the light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel of UI redesign work: With the basic UI stuff mostly done and in place, everyone’s turning their attention towards more tangible parts of the game again.
With most of the important parts of the new UI done, I started to work on actual game components again. First up were all the existing parts of the commodity exchange that were originally part of my very first prototype for the new interface. As such they only had to be adjusted to the finalized visual design.
After that I began adding contracts to the interface again. Since they are one of the most basic building blocks of the game, the existing code base was littered with utility and testing stuff that we added during the early prototyping phase. Currently though, contracts are essentially infrastructure that players cannot really interact with much. They are automatically generated after a successful trade on a commodity exchange, for example, and players merely fulfill the respective conditions. Consequently, I removed all the early features required for most manual interaction with contracts from the interface for now. They will come back once we go beyond basic gameplay and allow players more fine-grained access to lower-level functions in future versions of the game. So right now, you can list and view contracts, check the status of the individual contract conditions and fulfill your part of the contract when possible. Especially the latter parts still requires some final visual touches, but those should be completed rather quickly next week.
Last week I thought I might find time to do the star system map this week, but I continued my work on the universe map instead. Stars and their connections will now blend into the background the further away they are from the camera. This is necessary to create a sense of depth and to be able to tell background and foreground stars apart. Markers that highlight stars/locations/ships are being displayed with a fixed size independent of their distance to the camera so they are always clearly visible.
I also restyled the inventory view. Users can switch between a list view, which contains a lot of detail information for each item, and a grid view which is good for clearness. There are also controls to sort the items by name, amount, weight and volume.