Hey folks, just wanted to pop a quick post up talking about the various UI elements of Lithic and what we're trying to achieve with them. The core idea we kept in mind when creating the UI concept was to keep it minimal and unobtrusive whilst still allowing the player to see loads of information as and when they wanted to. This sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, having loads of info whilst taking up a minimal amount of screen space, but we've worked at it and managed to come up with a method to display information tidily and keep the player interaction components tucked away. This allows you guys to enjoy the game's visuals most of the time and bring up important information and details when you want it there.
Heads Up Display
The HUD itself uses slide animations to pop in and out of view based on the current game context, for example character detail panels stay hidden until the player calls them; at which point they slide in from the top right hand corner and have navigable tabs to keep the info compact whilst maintaining a tonne of player feedback. Every character has a wide array of important personal information to display and the tab system with dock-able menus accomplishes that nicely. As I said in September's Dev Diary, the uGUI system included in Unity 4.6's Beta has made this task pretty simple and very efficient.
Radial Context Menus
You may have heard me banging on about these a fair bit over the last month, I'm pleased with where they're going and the code implementing them is the most complex I've ever had to write, so they're kind of my baby at the moment! The idea was to keep player interaction direct and easy to understand, all the while repeating the mantra of clean and unobtrusive components. With that in mind the Radial menu was created to give options based on what the player has selected when they activate it, hiding any options that would be unavailable in that situation. The action itself is very simple, left click selects a character or object and right click activates the radial menu. For example, I have my tribe member Bob selected with left click and I want him to gather some berries from a bush; simply right clicking the bush with bob selected pops up the radial menu. The menu itself at this point has three options available: Inspect, Influence and Compel. The inspect option simply brings up the detail panel for the bush as mentioned above, but influence and compel both open a second "tier" on the radial menu where I can tell Bob to gather from the bush, go to the bush etc. The Compel and Influence options themselves represent how much of my power as the Creator spirit I want to impress on bob to complete the task I've given him, influence being a nudge to do it and compel forcing him to complete the given task. There are of course multitudes of situations which the radial menu needs to read and supply the correct options for, this just being a very basic example of one of them.
I'm hoping to have the entire UI fully functional and looking pretty very shortly, at which point I'll dive back in here and spam a tonne of screenshots for you to stick your eyes on. Keep up to date with new developments by following us on twitter @StudioFlintlock where we'll post any updates as and when they occur.