This week I jumped in and attacked one of those strange beasts that lie at the intersection between art, design, and code. A GUI (Graphical User Interface). We tend to split these up and do a bit of the work each. However this one was heavily dependent on work and systems I had designed, and Adam was busy with other super important code stuff, so I have been spending my time implementing the Species Creation UI. Or at least the first pass of it.
It’s a pretty intricate piece of UI. In part because it is tied to (and controls) the massive substance that generates portraits, and in part because it needs to have some UI elements and concepts that are non-standard.
This is one of the more interesting parts of working on a small team, you cant just hand stuff over to others once the task leaves the most narrow definition of your discipline but you sometimes end up taking it all the way.
This past week, I’ve been focusing on setting up some simple game settings. I specifically gave myself the ability to disable graphical features so my terribad computer could run it smoothly. I’ll be spending some of the weekend integrating Daniel’s connector graphics to really tie together the station graphically.
This week I wrote the sentencing parsing for generic actions that a character can execute on a mission. So, for example if a pilot avoids a plasma storm while landing on a planet, this is structurally the same in code as a character exploring a planet scaling an ice wall. They both have the form of subject, modifier (quality), operative verb, object. This is after a successful result has been generated that allows the character to execute the action.
My next step is writing the failure cases (unsuccessful result), which cannot be generic. If a pilot doesn’t manage to avoid the plasma storm, or if a character slips and falls while scaling an ice wall these are vastly different things. But I find failure more interesting than success, and opportunities for recovery or partial recovery (the character uses an ice pick to stop his fall, but now he’s stuck on the side of a cliff) to be where I want to spend my time.
I’ve probably posted before about having a system under which characters can be “creative” based on their skills and personality. But this is why each system needs to be custom per action category — how a character can be creative when trying to keep the shuttle from crashing is different than how a character can be creative when trying to survive the ice storms. I suspect some general patterns might emerge, and we’ll see what I can reuse.