Weekly Update – March 30, 2024

Two major UI/UX changes occupied most of the week. Both changes involved throwing away code and reviving designs that were originally rejected. In hindsight I could have saved time by rapidly prototyping UI/UX and playtesting earlier.

  • Equipping items from the Inventory Panel. Previously, melee weapons, ranged weapons, ammo, and light sources were equipped through the Quick Switch Slots on the main game screen. The purpose of these slots was to allow the player to quickly switch handheld items without having to open the Inventory Panel. I didn’t add equipment slots for weapons and light sources to the Inventory Panel because I didn’t want there to be two different ways to equip these item types. However, when acquiring a new weapon, every player opened the Inventory Panel to equip the weapon because they were used to doing this in other games. This convinced me that weapon equipment slots needed to be in the Inventory Panel. I kept the Quick Switch Slots because they’re a faster way of switching weapons and I expect more experienced players to use those more often than the Inventory Panel slots. 
Inventory Panel now has equipment slots for weapons and light sources
  • Context menu. Hovering over a cell shows the default action for the cell and left-clicking on the cell performs the default action. To perform other actions on the cell, the player must right-click on the cell to open the Inspect Panel. The Inspect Panel contains buttons for other actions that can be performed and displays details about the object being inspected and the object’s inventory. In the playtests, players more often wanted to perform a non-default action than view the details of a particular cell. I expected this, and I believed opening the Inspect Panel was convenient to the player because the panel provided information and allowed the player to perform an alternative action in two clicks (one to open the panel, another for the action button). However, when watching others play the game, the Inspect Panel was often more of a hindrance than a help. In response, I changed the behavior of a right-click to opening a context menu listing all possible actions for a cell, including an “Examine” action that opens the Inspect Panel.
Context menu
  • Miscellaneous improvements
    • Food now restores some stamina in addition to health. This was done to provide another source of stamina replenishment and differentiate food from potions.
  • Bug fixes
    • Inspecting a Poison Puddle shows a Water Puddle. This bug revealed a limitation in the palette swapping technique I introduced a few weeks ago. 

The demo MVP status is as follows:

  • Play Test 3: 100%
  • Performance optimization: 100%
  • Minimap: 98%
  • Major UI/UX issues fixed: 50%
  • Missing sound effects added: 40%
  • Major bugs fixed: 25%
  • Missing liquid content: 0%
  • Balancing: 0%

Next week, I’ll work on UI/UX, sound effects, and bug fixes. I’ll also add a map button to close out the Minimap task.






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