The Second Antarean War is a multiplayer team-based real time strategic battle simulator. It simulates battle between spaceships in fully accessible 3d space. As an admiral, you can call in different types of ships for different situations. The game aims to be played against other people, not the game itself. The 3d navigation, order queues, smart orders and no limits on build queues aim to hide the visible user interface completely and allow you to focus on the battle at hand. You can join any battle in progress at any time. Some battles start small and grow in player size and in their importance to universal scale. The universe is persistent. Each battle has an impact on how well your faction does. Winning battles progresses the war and earns you medals, rank and respect from people you play with and strikes fear into players you fight against. Good hunting.
Here i try to think about the UI in 2aw by drawing a similar UI on top of Starcaft screen shot. Key points i try to stress are Full Zoom, icons when zoomed out, range rings and aggregate group readout.
Posted by treeform on Jun 25th, 2010
HUD interface always is a delicate balance between too much information and too little. Some times less is more, for instance 2aw uses range-rings to tell you how far the ships can fire, icons when you zoom out, grid stems to show you the height of the ships relative to the grid, and the grid itself. On one hand this info tells you a lot about the game, an interface that tells you a lot requires you to memorize less.
In RTS games that don't have extensive or informational UIs you are guessing at what many of the stats really are. To become good at the game you have to memorize those stats. Extensive UIs requires you to memorize less, so you can advance at being a better player faster.
Look at this Starcraft interface:
Not even basic UI niceties. You have to develop a feel for range and speed. And now look at this my quick mock up of what "2awfied" Starcraft interface would look like: I have drawn the range rings and icons over Starcraft units:
My diagram features:
But having all that super cool UI comes at a cost. It becomes less like one is playing with spaceships and more like one is playing with icons, circles and lines. That makes the game less immersive. Less time is spent admiring the graphics and more time is spent at looking simple icons and lines.
I would not say Starcarft with my UI added to it would be better. it would just play different. With better UI Starcaft might have shifted the focus from being a micro heavy game to a macro game. Would it be better? I do not think so, but it would have been different.
I think 2aw deserves to be a game that uses more UI, it is set in space too. Also its important to tone down the use of UI as much as possible to bring back the immersion you have with the game.