Starships' Icons
Published 2 years ago
The way of the line
When we first met and discussed the elements that'd compose the UI, I had no idea of what kind of interface I'd be working on. My design process usually goes a little bit fluid, as the team was still settling other features of the game. Early in the development of the game, I was a little carried away by trying some mettalic tones and hard buttons. I hadn't even shown the team my early results, when I got an idea.
I was staring at our 3d modeler's screen, thinking about how to get an intersting visual for starship buttons, when I thought about wireframes. Wireframes are technical designs, usually found in blueprints of a design project, and it's technical enough to get to our target, and simple enough, as I would've just to ask our modeler to export some wireframes. That was a unusually easy way of solving a UI challenge.
Though THAT part was easy, getting the other UI elements to make sense around starships' wireframes was a little bit of a challenge. The wireframes had to be specially treated in order to be actually visible, and all other UI elements should not overlap their hierarchy. The answer I found was to make the rest of the UI, visually, a holographic interface. That way, all other parts of the UI would be somewhat transparent and'd not compete with the wireframes.
I will not get into the mess that was to get all those elements in plane into Unity (which should really consider providing some snap and rules tools, for design's sake), I'll get into that in a (near) future post. Using a holographic-style interface may look a little obvious and cliche for a Sci-fi game, but is actually not the first option, as it's so common. And would not be my choice if we hadn't had this wireframe issue.
Pedro Dalcin