Archive for the ‘User Interface’ Category

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Rooks Keep Skill Icons

Hail all!

So¬†I’ve¬†just ¬†finished up a bunch of skill icons for Rooks Keep. Gaze upon them in wonderment right here:

Skill icons in UnrealEd

A few things I had to remember to do with the icons:

-They had to be descriptive of their skill function
-Each one had to be colored so as to be easily discernible from the others

So at a glance you can easily tell which icon is for what skill. I reckon I got it :)


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Early Rooks Keep UI

Time for a small update while we wait for some bigger stuff.
Right now, there’s a lot of crazy stuff going down on the gameplay side of things and I’ll post some shots of the finished Queen when I get round to rendering them. Very soon, we’ll have nice shots of the beasts in-game too, but for now here’s something else.

Rooks Keep will not be using Scaleform. Instead, it will be using our own custom built in UnrealScript GUI. The reason for this is because, well Scaleform is probably great for large teams which can find someone who just does flash coding and give them a job. Web coders are more easily available then UScript coders, so that makes sense. Unfortunately, this makes the whole job much bigger and you still need someone to do the UScript side of things. For a tiny team which has more experienced UScript coders, Scaleform and having to go through another interface between the UI and the game doesn’t make much sense.
That’s the reasoning, but probably a bigger contributor is that BlackEagle didn’t like working on Scaleform and we figured we could make a simpler, more solid and totally ass kicking UI system ourselves!

I already had a widget system that was used for organizing the HUD and some primitive UI controls in the game, so I upgraded its design for a full UI system and iterated. At the moment, the system is well developed and functioning quite nicely.

Here is the placeholder main menu we’ve been using:
ScreenShot00237
Those are just placeholder graphics and not all those options will be there like that in the real version.
Unfortunately, you can’t see the animations or hear the sounds it plays in that shot.

Here you can see some more bits.
ScreenShot00239
There you can see that it has tab controls, lists, a test drag thing and a drop down list. Nobody appreciates how much goes into dropdown lists, but they are tricky little buggers!

For now, its looking a bit primitive, ShadowBlade is working on the real graphics for our UI and its gonna look a whole lot better! We are aiming for something similar to what you’d expect of a GUI in Blizzard’s games. Similar in style, simplicity and solidness!

Some cool things about our UI system:
It supports materials and all the effects that come with them!
Simple and direct interface with game.
Opacity and fading effects.
WidgetMods. These are not too simple to describe, but they allow designers to apply all kinds of modifications and effects to UI widgets such as animation, fading, sounds, texture layers, material layers, text and even custom things.


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User Interface Evolution

Here are some boring facts about the User Interfaces(UI’s) that have been made for our projects, It’s long, but worth a read!..

 

We’ll start with the UI that was made for The Crucible’s TC version for UT3, during the time of the MSUC, although I made others before that.

Character Customization Screen

 

The whole UI was redesigned and remade about 3 times before finally looking like that. Every window that the game needed was made several times, and because of some limitations in the UT3 UI editor, scenes had to be remade even more times when they were renamed.

 

Next came the UI for The Crucible’s UDK version, although this version was never released, I did make an entirely new UI for it, with a grey and red color scheme, it was styled similar to the above image, but was once again quite different. Here you can see the options menu, these generally made use of my complex and easy to use auto settings generation panel, made my work much easier when it was finished.

Standard Options Menu

This UI also featured a handy tool tip which would appear when you hovered over things, simple function, but actually quite difficult to make..

 

Then as we started developing stuff using the UDK, we discovered that future UDK updates would no longer feature the UT3 UI editor, and would instead be using Adobe Flash alone. At this point it became obvious that I had to learn that if we wanted to have any kind of a UI in our games…

 

So I spent months learning Flash, and I was able to make some nice stuff with it, but it was a lot harder to work with, especially the communication between the game and your UI, seeing as how the system is separate.

 

I began creating the UI for Rook’s Keep using flash, but halfway through I was struck by an idea, and desperate to not use flash I decided to pursue it.

 

I began creating a 3D UI, one that could render meshes, particles, materials, and just about everything you would find in the actual game. Needless to say, this was no easy task, and there are reasons why nobody else has ever tried to make such a thing, but I aimed to be the first.

 

I¬†succeeded, up to a point, It could render all the things I wanted it to, I had overcome all of the expected problems in some way or another, and it was going very well…

 

It was my hope that Rook’s Keep would be a Pilot for my nice UI, and that it would give Rook’s Keep something unique in the gaming world, something that would set it apart, but this was not to be…

 

Once it came time to actually design a UI for Rook’s Keep, my UI was still difficult to work with, because its so complicated to get it to work, its complicated to make things with it. It would also require much more content than originally planned for Rook’s Keep, and even then, its a bit of a gamble..

 

So instead Rook’s Keep will be using a simple 2D UI system that DarkCarnivore was experimenting with at the time, and my UI is now somewhat abandoned by me..

 

However I did plan for my UI to ultimately be licensed out to the UDK community, so long as they credit us for its use. But before it can do that, I have to make and in-game editor for it, and it needs a good cleanup, as well as some additional features.

 

So maybe one day I’ll finish it, and we’ll have a decent UI that we can work with on the UDK…


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