November 27, 2012 - The ultimate Chaos creature infographic!

I’d love to share this little stroke of absolute genius from one of Archaos’s longest serving (and thus longest suffering) fans – and incidentally a very talented programmer in his own right and major Chaos buff:

Click the image to view the huge (7680 px wide) original

@andy_herbert has painstakingly put this ‘cheat sheet’ of all of the original game’s units together showing graphics, stats, movement and combat ranges for each one, and grouping them together into this attractive infographic. I think it’s wonderful, and I’m going to print a large version of it out for my wall to use during testing!

Alpha is now under way with a small number of testers. So far we’ve played a few furtive ‘games’ (in the loosest sense – no casting, no ranged combat yet!) and apart from a few silly bugs, all seems to be well. I’m putting the finishing touches onto the standard movement/combat model in the next day or two (including finally adding ranged attacks) and then I’m going to implement casting.

Casting brings with it the somewhat-more-complex-than-it-seems matter of the user interface – which of course is critical to any game and which if not implemented correctly can really hinder this game. The interface in Archaos has to be intuitive, compact, and it has to get out of the way when you’re trying to play the game itself. As a cross platform mobile and desktop game, the way a player will interact with the game will differ slightly amongst platforms, however I want to ensure that the differences aren’t too jarring, and that each platform plays to its own strengths.

One of the methods to improve the experience is the use of gestures, so a player can pan and zoom the map intuitively, like they’re used to – and it may also through testing lead to methods of reducing the chance of accidentally performing an action, such as by having a user tap and hold on a unit or tile and then drag outside of a circle in order to perform the action (to ensure that the unit or tile tapped is the intended target, and that the user hasn’t just accidentally tapped the screen somewhere).

As I realise people like to see screenshots of progress as well as words, here’s a view of a typical alpha testing game session (with debug data above the units) showing the newly added window bezel to the mini-map, which is the basis of the UI, as well as the new ‘volumetric’ cursors and the big ‘cancel’ button.

My horse prepares for its gallop towards the hopelessly outnumbered cyan wizard