Developer’s Insights: the Player Tab

Greetings Fans!

Today, in our Developer’s Insights article, we will be discussing one of the most information dense and vital part of the game: the Player Tab.

There is a lot of information contained within a game of Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Access to and understanding of this information the key to dominance while playing. In the physical version of Exodus, this is contained on the Player Card:

This board does everything from keeping track of resources to plotting ship movement. The design is quite suitable for the board game, but we’ve gone digital.

One of the advantages of the digital version of Exodus over the physical version is our ability to show information only when it’s needed. It is good practice in game UI design to make relevant information just 1-click away, and get out of the way when its not needed. Thus, we decided to make a small, quick reference tab, that could expand out to contain the wealth of information on the player card above. And, since Exodus is designed for online multiplayer, we also wanted to include player information as well. We put on our designing pants, and came up with this concept:

You can even see the design notes on this first pass, including the other parts of the Heads Up Display we aren’t discussing today. The Player Tab is broken into the two parts mentioned above. The first is the quick reference tab on the left, showing Player Name, Political Title, and Resources. The second piece is the tabbed out element: the box that shows more detailed information. The next step was for our digital artist, Vaclav, to take this mock-up above and digitize it.

This gave us our target and set the tone for our design moving forward. But before I show you the final product, there was a happy accident during the Developer Build of Exodus that led to one of our stronger design choices while making the player tab.

To make things easier on us during development, Conlan added Research Icons below our player bars (you will recognize from the developer build I discussed in the Dev Insights Intro) as a quick reference. We fell in love with the idea, and decided to add the research icons to the player tabs in the final cut.

As we implemented this design into the game, we started to realize that there was some unnecessary buttons and excessive information in the design. The best example of this is the timeline. While it looks great, it is quite unnecessary to have it take up that much real estate on the screen. Players who are familiar with the game won’t need to reference the timeline very often, so it becomes wasted space. Instead, we added it to the top bar, and made it a drop-down tool tip.

The decisions like these are what led us to the final design you see in the game:

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Exodus: Proxima Centauri, available August 17th on Steam. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about building the AI of Exodus, and how we plan to make it continuously adapt to suit the competition.

Cheers,

Tyler

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