Monday, June 27, 2011

Project Underground UI

I'm still really bored.

Even though I don't see myself ever getting anywhere even slightly close to ever making any real progress on Albia's Underground, and it's more or less just another one of those insane dreams, I have sort of been entertaining delusions of progress by working on the UI for it, at least-- you'll have to click the thumbnail to see:

So I started with an LNA-esque status window, only coded about a thousand times better.
There are buttons to scroll up and down, shift-clicking takes you to the bottom or top of the log, ctrl+clicking makes the window bigger/smaller so you can adjust it how you like it, and shift+ctrl clicking lets you adjust the transparency of the window however you like it. The X lets you clear the window(more specifically, it prompts you to shift+click it after clicking it once normally to prevent accidental clearing) if it gets too long for your liking or starts to slow down the world, but old logfiles are saved in the journal folder.

It logs whenever the world is opened, saved, and closed, and makes a note when a world is opened after a crash. If I ever get far enough to write the scripts to support actual creatures, it will log the same stuff LNA does, when creatures are born, breed, die, and other world-specific events like tunnels collapsing.

I find myself a little stuck on developing the rest of the UI because I'm still not sure how I want to handle how and which creatures get tracked. If you read my long ramble about this world, you'll know that in this world there will be your own, tame, trackable creatures and then "wild" creatures that can't be selected, but I have yet to work out who is and isn't selectable and why, and how a creature becomes selectable, but I haven't quite found a solution that quite fits what I am wanting out of this world.

I want wild creatures to inspire feelings of curiosity, mystery, and caution. I don't want you to be able to select them once you discover them-- that would defeat the point. I would like to have some system that allows you to eventually select them, but I don't want to have to implement some sort of mundane activity that you repeat in order to try to win their trust or something. I may just end up finding some way to track how much a wild creature interacts with your tame creatures and then allow wild creatures to become selectable after some period of time.

At the same time, I want to avoid a "collector" mentality. I want to get attached to the creatures I do have, ideally enough that I don't feel the need to tame every strange creature I come across. I have thought of implementing a hard limit of creatures you can track at one time, but some part of me just doesn't like setting hard boundaries like that. Another idea would be to just have some sort of penalty, something that makes the game more difficult the more creatures you are tracking. Perhaps if you don't spend enough time with a tame creature, it has the chance to turn wild and become unselectable.

I like that idea in theory, but I don't want to feel like, "oh I better tab over and tickle this creature so it doesn't run away." I want the play experience to be an immersive one, where I can go about caring for my creatures without having to be conscious of the scripts in the background.

But maybe if I can script it reasonably enough, the flow of selectable creatures will be fairly natural-- the creatures I grow attached to and enjoy watching will become trackable, and the creatures that I really don't find that interesting will become wild, and it won't really feel like a huge loss anyway.

I don't know why, but I take a lot an awful lot of joy in working out concepts for things, even if I know they are unlikely to ever actually be put into action.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you could make the creatures really dependent on the hand so that if you have too many you can't take care of them all.