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The second devblog for "dradis" a retro-futristic tactical space simulation, today I'll be talking about the command console. What inspired it, what works, and what doesn't!

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Hello again!

welcome to the second devblog entry for Dradis. Today I'm going to talk about a central feature of the game - the command console.


The command console is how you interact with _every_ aspect of the game, everything you do, every action, every menu is directly controlled via console commands. You will never need to touch your mouse when playing a game of Dradis.


The sharp-eyed among you will notice the similarities between this and DUSKERS. I want to say straight out I am a massive fan of their interface, and I have un-ashamedly emulated many of their features in Dradis. In fact if I manage to create anything that is as polished and clever as this, I'll be a very happy gamedev indeed. :)


One of the most challenging features of the console has been the "autocomplete" feature, I really needed a way of letting the player know what the possible commands were whilst they were typing, as well as cutting down on unnecessary keystrokes wherever possible. So I came up with an autocomplete which displays a "shadow" of possible commands whilst you type. Hitting TAB with one of these shadows active, automatically enters that command.


One of my design kinks is "always provide feedback for every action". I've applied that to the command console heavily! Press "enter" and a duplicate of your command will smoothly tween into the history list. Entered a bad or incorrect command? The console will shudder and error messages appear. Entered a good command? Notifications swipe in showing the change in the ships status. I think it really enhances the "feel" of the game when it responds to players input reliably and consistently. MS windows designers take note! (little joke).


In my humble opinion, the action of typing your commands in to move the ship, target weapons and perform damage control, really adds a tactical layer to what would be quite a straightforward space shooter game.


Next week, I'm going to go into some detail on another key feature of the game - drones! Drones provide the player with a means of interacting with the environment besides firing guns at it. :)

Thanks for reading.

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