Hello everyone, Jon here, hope this blog finds you well! Today we're looking at Lithic's in game HUD (Heads Up Display). I briefly mentioned the concepts behind the UI in our last monthly blog and now I can explain those choices in more detail here. As was said before, the driving idea behind Lithic's UI was to have lots of information available but not have it taking up lots of screen real estate. To achieve this we've implemented pop-up contextual menus and sliding HUD information panels so very little of the screen is permanently obscured by UI elements.
The above image shows a side by side comparison of the UI with and without the large information panels displayed. The panels themselves dock into the small border graphics seen on the top/bottom right and simply clicking the border opens and closes the relative panel.
Lets take a look at the various display toggles on the top right panel:
Clockwise from top left: Detail panel, Statistics Panel, Knowledge Panel, Skills Panel.
The details panel displays your current target's basic information, giving more insight into what it is. This panel also displays information (including a short lore description and live visual feedback) for non-player targets – meaning it's a useful tool for finding out about plants, predators, prey animals and NPC tribe members.
This panel will be familiar to anyone who's played an RPG. The left hand panel displays a character's physical statistics, the right shows any status effects they are currently under (more detail will can be found by mousing over the status effect) and the bottom panel displays a character's 6 point personality scores. This panel is visible for all animals including your tribe and opposing tribes. It's a valuable tool to check if what you're up against is worth risking confrontation, and for giving detailed information on your tribe.
This panel shows the knowledge a character has obtained. Knowledge acts similar to pen and paper RPGs feats and mousing over a particular knowledge gives detailed information on what it allows your character to do and any related skills checks it allows you to make. This panel is only visible for player controlled tribe members.
The skills panel displays a character's ability to accomplish tasks relating to the 9 displayed skills. Each skill has an ability tied to it which gives it's base score. The related ability and the bonus it confers to a skill can be plainly seen in the columns with the relative name. The ranks column shows a character's training in a skill and increases as they get better at certain tasks through learning or practising them. After that comes the miscellaneous column which displays any bonuses or penalties from buffs/debuffs or carried/worn equipment. The total panel is pretty self explanatory and simply shows the total bonus (adding all the previous columns together) a character receives to task relating to that skill. This panel is only visible when you have a player-controlled character selected.
As an aside, there is also a panel for Inventory. This is currently awaiting finalisation and may see a redesign in the near future, I will update this blog post when we've decided on the functionality and implementation of this panel.
Now for a quick look at the other elements of the HUD:
The environment panel is displayed in the bottom left of the screen and is always visible. It displays the time of day and the current temperature, both of these are vital feedback points for the player as night-time and extreme temperatures are extremely dangerous times for their tribe.
Tied to the top of the environment panel is the spell panel, currently represented by the 6 recesses above the day/night display. This area contains icons to cast your spells with mouse over toolyips giving detailed information and spirit point costs. The small panel to the left of the environment panel displays the player's current and maximum spirit points.
The tribe panel covers the left 5% of the screen and is always visible. It contains slots for each of your tribe members and quickly gives visual feedback as to a tribe member's current status through background colour and their class (indicated by the small coloured disc visible on each character “card”. This panel can be used to jump to a character's position or to execute interaction commands between tribe members simply by selecting the desired character then the character you want them to interact with – this brings up the contextual menu.
This menu contains the actions that can be performed at any given time between your currently selected character and target. It displays the name of the selected character on the top left and the name of the target on the top right (seen in the above screenshot as “Base ~ Base”, got to love default naming!) the list of options then displays below this title bar.