The User Interface

The User Interface of Terra Militia is one of the few components that does not go back to its classic rts roots. Instead, the UI in Terra Militia will be of modern and clean fashion.

Posted by Trigger01 on March 15th, 2014
For some time, the game was barely without User Interface. I've tried many different ways of doing it and designed ever more samples, just like I did when trying to decide for a Main Menu.

Firstly, I would like to say that I really enjoy some of the classic interface look of some older titles. But in truth, most of them were covering way too much space on the screen, space which only got filled by needless art. While its nice to look at and all, it's something that does not really concern you the slightest in the midst of battle. Thus, I have finally decided to go for a rather clean look.

What I originally tried to do was divide every essential part of the interface to its own window, saving the space between for the actual world. Though it sounded like a nice idea, it ended up looking really undefined and evasive.

For a while I gave up on that idea and also tried to design a interface that sat together, without using too much space. Eventually I ran into several design problems about how I'd make it work between different resolutions. I've never liked visuals that look different on different displays, or the fact that some would cover perhaps 40% of the total screen on a older resolution and about a mere 10% on a resolution of 1920x1080.

I think that it's not uncommon for programmers to rather have things work dynamically than using static values for different sets of input. It goes against our vision of logic.

Here's one of the first interfaces for the game from late 2012. Don't mind the overall plain ugliness of the game.Obviously I wanted the user interface ingame to match the main menu at the time. I spent a lot of time thinking about interfaces in general. While trying to think of games with interfaces that I've liked I noticed that it's not what you'd usually remember from a game.

I've looked at games like Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Warcraft III, Empire Earth, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World and Starcraft II and none of their interfaces really felt too great or special in my opinion. Even though it still takes up a lot of space, I consider the user interface of Starcraft II to be the better of the few. Mainly because, unlike the others they don't put another needless bar at the top, but keep it rather fresh. I also love how the resources are placed without background in the top-right corner, something which I've also decided to go for in Terra Militia.

Customization


It was about six months ago that I initiated the idea of a user interface with customization in which you'd be able to move and scale components as the user saw fit.

Here are two designs that I made for the new interface, which you were supposed to be able to build yourself moving the different components. Again, please don't mind the old and ugly graphics.
In the end it became way too clunky and complicated, and I set out for a final clean approach. I did not want to have the game look like a simulator with an all too in-depth or advanced interface. Looking at you Paradox strategy series.

The UI Today


I've reconsidered but continued on the general idea and intend for players at least be able to choose which area of the screen they would like parts to stick to.
Ex; some players would like to have their minimap in the bottom right corner instead of the left.

This is what it currently looks like by default. It's still missing some smaller assets that I'll gladly update you on at a later time. Before that, there's work on UserScripts to be done!

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Parajumpers January 19th, 2038

I like the first point you made there, but I am not sure I could pratcially apply that in a productive way.