By fans, for the fans, Developed by a team of experienced modders from the Paradox Interactive forums, Darkest Hour is a stand-alone Hearts of Iron game featuring a mixture of short and in-depth campaigns set across the darkest chapters of the 20th century, from the outbreak of the Great War up to the onset of the Cold War. Darkest Hour will introduce a new artificial intelligence that is now able to react to hundreds of different situations simultaneously, along with a dynamic diplomatic system that will allow the player to have a real impact on the course of history.
This dev diary deals with Darkest Hour´s improved interface.
Posted by CaptRobau on Jan 11th, 2011
Darkest Hour - Dev Diary #8 - Improved Interface Part 1
How to wage a successful war? Well, the answer to this question is not easy, as so many different factors can influence the outcome of a conflict. However, surely having a better control over the units under your command won't do you any harm. This week, we're going to talk a bit about how we improved the interface.
First of all, all units (land, air naval) can now be identified by their colour and their icon. We've expanded the colour scheme and we added icons next to the unit name for a better identification at first glance. Here's an example of the colour scheme for land units:
- a land unit composed exclusively by mobile divisions has a green colour;
- a land unit composed by a mix of mobile divisions and other divisions (like infantry) has a light green colour;
- a land unit composed exclusively by special divisions (mountain, marines, paratroopers) has a blue colour;
- a land unit composed by a mix of special divisions and other divisions (like infantry) has a light blue colour;
- a land unit with at least one garrison division has a light pink colour;
- an air squadron composed exclusively by interceptors has a light green colour;
- an air squadron composed exclusively by tactical bombers has a pink colour;
- an air squadron composed by a mix of interceptors and tactical bombers has a light pink colour;
- a fleet with at least one air carrier has a blue colour;
- a fleet composed exclusively of naval transports has a red colour;
... and so on and so forth. There are just examples, the complete colour scheme is more complex. Initially you may think that it is a bit too complex, but you'll soon grew accustomed to it. And if you don't like the colours or the dispositions we chose, you can always mod your own! Remember, this is meant to help you have a better control over your armies!
Another, perhaps bigger, improvement in the interface is a small icon next to the name of the unit. As you can see from the picture below, for land units we've added specific icons for the unit type. Moreover, every unit with an HQ has a specific HQ icon and every unit with at least one engineer brigade has a very small icon. For example, "West Coast Reserve" is a unit composed exclusively by mobile divisions (icon + green colour), one of its division is an HQ (icon) and one of its division has an engineering brigade (very small icon above the icon for mobile units).
Naval fleets are identified by their most important ships: air carries, others capital ships (please notice the difference between BB and CA!), screens, submarines or transport. Moreover, a fleet with at least one naval transport always has a small icon on top to represent it. The icons for air units are simple and easy to understand, the icons are intuitive. Moreover, if a bomber unit is mixed with an interceptor/fighter/escort unit, there will be two icons, to show that the bombers are escorted (the top icon is set in this order: 1) at least one FTR -> FTR icon; 2) at least one INT -> INT icon; 3) at least one escort brigade ->Escort icon). In the screenshot above there are three units with an escort brigade attached.
Another useful tool to have a better control over your own units are tooltips. We've improved the tooltips shown over the unit and the new icons (explained above), in order to quickly obtain the information you need. Tooltips will show useful information, like the name of the leader, organization and morale of the unit and model, organization and morale of the divisions that compose the unit (similar information are displayed for air and naval units too). Moreover, for naval units the capital ships / screens ratio is displayed, together with the number of carried divisions and the total transport capacity. For transport planes, the number of carried divisions and the total transport capacity are displayed. For land units, the tooltip of the HQ icon and the tiny engineering icon will display useful information, as you can see below:
One more improvement in the interface will let you see with a quick glance which units belong to your country and which are foreign units under your control, thanks to a small icon with a flag. There is also a tiny difference between military control and expeditionary forces: Mongolian units are under military control and the Mongolian flag has a black border whereas the unit from Tannu Tuva is an expeditionary unit and the Tuvan flag has a gray border:
If there is not a country specific icon (like "icon_unit_MON.bmp") then a generic icon is displayed ("MC" for military control and "EF" for expeditionary forces).
A final word about nation specific model names and pictures on foreign units. In HOI2 Armageddon there is a well known bug: when a player has military control (or have expeditionary forces) from another country, those units use the model name and the picture as the same model for the player's country. We've corrected this bug: the model name and the picture will now be those of their original country!
To close this Development Diary, here is part of the code involved: