General Category > AI War II - Lore, Vfx, Sfx, Code, & Meta

First art look: Buzzing Bees! Those are icons!?

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Actually, yeah!

Okay, so Chris and I have been working on designing and figuring out a way to relay information in a way that isn't nearly as overwhelming as it was in the original, and still keep it to something attractive. Ideally, we'd like to have attractive looking ship icons with detail and color.

That's a hard task to complete when so many things come down to it.

Goal: Icons that represent ships that will be laid out in mass. These ships must represent a player color as well as their current mode. (Attack, passive, ect ect.) Oh yeah, and their levels! Sheesh.

In the original, things got crazy busy.

While it works, it's not very attractive.

So why are bees relevant here?

I think I've come up with an idea that I like to refer to as the Bee Colony Affect. Basically we reconsider the way the game renders these. In the screen shots of the original game, it looks like each ship is rendered and treated as it's own identity. These mocks treat each ship like a bee in a bee colony. On their own, they're individual. Together, they're one.

With some thought, I think we've figured out that we can set these in a layering system where the command colors render beneath and creating one single outline when they're bunched, rather than overlapping like they do on the left side of that image there.

So I think that's one problem solved. But what about player color?

I thought about a two dot system as well as glows to represent player color, but I think it looks kind of confusing really when there gets to be tons of them.

I'd also considered simply using a color over lay when the ships are at their smallest.

I think we've come to the conclusion that we should use the second smallest, and second largest of those ships as far as zoom goes at the very least.

Ultimately the double color border to represent both player color and command color doesn't work either.

It's really super visually confusing.

But I think I have something!

A little of column A, a little of column B!

Instead of specific glow dots for the ships to represent player colors, I painted in details of the ship and gave it a modified glow and a little over glow to bring out the color.

And then a semi outline backdrop to rest beneath these ships that would be treated with the 'Bee Colony Affect'.

What comes of that is something I'm pretty satisfied with.

I'd love to hear your opinions on these!


Beautiful! I love these colorful icons! Great job.

Shiny neons! Yay!

Could that kind of thing be integrated in AIW1? I would happily pay for a "last DLC" with these neon-colored icons!

Bee colony effect: absolutely.
As for player color, I'm not sure what I'm looking at in that last image.

Captain Jack:

--- Quote from: Draco18s on September 12, 2016, 04:18:05 pm ---Bee colony effect: absolutely.
As for player color, I'm not sure what I'm looking at in that last image.

--- End quote ---
The base ships all the way zoomed in and at max -1 zoom, in multiple different colors.

Some of your image links are broken (not valid imgur links, not even valid links) be sure to click on the image in imgur and paste that, not whatever it gives you as share link

in a 3d game this issue becomes less one of player color, and more one of "dozens overlapping icons" which requires intelligent merging of icons.... or better said, a fleet icon. This is because GPU's are not made for rendering 15000 icons with alpha and blending. It is a huge performance problem, and was the reason the glow was not implemented for AI War 1 icons (to answer the question as to whether this can be ported into AI War 1 ;p) believe me, if you can think of a graphic feature missing in AI War 1, I already requested it years ago and was shot down ;p

I really like your approach for 2d sprites actually but I wonder how much of that can apply to the 3d scenes. The reason I say that is that GUI considerations should not come before we know how the game actually looks and plays in motion. What is needed as visual feedback can only be decided then. And I would think there'd be less work intensive ways to show player colors in a 3d game. What I am saying is that I first would look at the 3d ships and the action that a battle generates before I decide whether Icons could fit that or not. You see the original problem with glow around sprites was that sprites are not blended together like you show here.... there are tons of "sorting/blending" issues to consider that go beyond photoshop mockups (sadly, believe me I tried ;P)

Btw, we also have a 2nd set of icons in AI War 1 (the planet info tab) where the various dots and shapes were supposed to inform you of the type that this icon is and the icon border shows you whom it belongs to. (turret/cap/building etc.)  I know because I made them and showed them x4000 to implement (dunno if my specific icons are still in the game though ,p), mainly because I couldn't tell what my ships/turrets/engineers/stations and what the enemy stuff was... I still consider this the "worst" of all possible solutions, but it was the only one I could get implemented ,)

So your solution is a ton better, but it also uses blending modes which I was told are out of the question for GUI elements (icons specifically) as they interfered with effects (partially it is also a question of what kind of "engine" level AI War 2 uses, specifically whether it uses complex shaders, HDR image space and color grading, exposure control, TAA with sharpener and all those other things.

Last thing I wanna mention is that in a 3d engine we also have a perspective, that can change, meaning icons either rotate or they are fixed orientation.. any decision on that yet?


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