Well, it’s been quite a rid of garage updates! Today, with snapshot build 0.5.9_4 (now live!), the garage updates are going on a small vacation 🙂
But what is new in this new snapshot build?
M.A.V. Saving and Loading!
Yes, the long awaited feature of being able to save out multiple builds and quickly load them back in. You can now start building your own personal army of different builds and load them up with just a few clicks! This greatly speeds up your ability to change strategies in the middle of a battle, and should allow you to experiment a bit more as you save out your previous tests.
And here is a video to show it all in action:
In that video, you might have noticed the garage UI got quite a facelift. This is the result of a long process of updating the UI and in retrospect, I would like to take a small trip down memory lane to see how the garage has progressed over the course of the development process.
This is the very first implementation of the garage. A nice gray room, with no shadows and a very slow UI. Also, there are only 7 parts! In this first version of the UI, there was no drag and drop mouse support, all the selection and attaching was handled with the keyboard. It was really slow trying to select new parts to add, since you had to scroll through the whole list. Also, the keyboard selection was pretty universally disliked as it was considered VERY confusing. Since it quickly became apparent this wouldn’t work for the final target of 1000’s of parts, a rework of the UI was started.
This was version 2 of the UI, to try and help address the slowness of choosing parts. By showing 8 parts on screen at a time this was a great speed up to finding the part you wanted. I also introduced the drag and drop mouse attachment system, which was a great improvement in usability. Also, as the parts grew scrolling through the parts 8 at a time proved not fast enough, so I implemented the first version of the part filtering system. This allow the user to narrow the amount of parts to look through.
The 3rd revision of the UI can be seen here. This again was the product of an increasing part count (129!) and stream lining the process of finding and placing parts. I shrunk the whole UI and stopped showing all the information for each part, though it is still show when you hover over a selection. There are now 14 parts visible at a time, the scroll speed is greatly increased and there are some nice quick select filters for narrowing down the parts. This UI held out for some time, but as the projected number of part categories increased and the requirements of the garage grew, it became apparent that the UI needed another revamp.
And this is the state of current (and I really hope final!) UI. Things have been streamlined even more and can now display 28 parts at a time. The scroll speed is even faster then before and there is room for more than enough part category filters. The part filtering is still available to the user and there is even more room for displaying part stats. Also, since this is no longer and ever present UI feature, there is much more room to add other functionality. Also, this UI is completely fluid, meaning it adapts perfectly to all the supported screen resolutions, something all the other UI’s failed at.
Game development has always been a very iterative process, and I thought it was pretty cool to be able to see the progress in each iteration as I tried to tackle growing UI requirements (and I got better at it).