Updated UI: Tooltips and Construction Panels
0.8.0 is out on Steam for beta players to test. It includes lots of overdue improvements that I’ve been wanting to work on since December. It also includes several gameplay changes proposed by beta players. This is a pretty important release that consolidates and streamlines several mechanics. I also refactored some game components, which should save development time in the future.
The biggest visible change in this update is an improved UI. Lots of folks weren’t happy with how UI elements scale on smaller screens, so it’s fixed now and nothing should look small anymore.
Another UI change introduces structure panels instead of just buttons. This provides players with a much better view of the construction progress. Panels include mineral and time costs as well as the structure name. Panel tooltips show rate and limit changes. Since panels take up more space than buttons I moved them to the right of the screen. This forced me to move action buttons and panels to the bottom center of the screen. I think it’s a good change that will result in less mouse movements during the game.
Another big change in this update has to do with consolidating all resource properties under one umbrella and removing percentage changes from research and events. Each resource property now consists of four components: base, structures, research, and events. If you move the cursor over any resource the tooltip will show a much more clear breakdown of what contributes to a specific property. By removing percentage modifiers in favor of number increments (and decrements) I was able to solve the ambiguity that many players weren’t happy with. It’s especially useful when making decisions about research and events.
[GAMEPLAY] Hyperspace tunnels now have a distance limit. Even if you have enough energy, you can’t build a tunnel to a far away location. This change stops tunnel craziness in the end game and makes locations more strategic.
[GAMEPLAY] Hyperspace tunnel cost is now linear instead of exponential (just like all other actions). It still costs more to build a tunnel than any other action. As a reminder, each action has two cost components: distance to and the mass of the target.
[GAMEPLAY] When the star goes supernova all connected hyperspace tunnels get destroyed. This adds an interesting twist to the end game and also protects vulnerable post-supernova stars from immediate attacks.
[GAMEPLAY] I dropped population limit on research stations since it doesn’t contribute to gameplay meaningfully.
[GAMEPLAY] The map generation density setting logic was updated for better gameplay experience.
[AI] Tunnel building logic now takes different contexts (like proximity to enemies and the relative level of energy) into account for more realistic AI behavior.
[BUGFIX] The “far apart” option for the player proximity setting in the battle setup panel now works correctly.
Over the next week I’ll be working on introducing new game mechanics focused on stellar life cycles. It will include proto stars, star evolution from an orange dwarf to a red giant, and a few others.