This is just as its name sounds the system which controls our HUD or heads up display. In Terran the player’s character is a ... well Terran and as such can merge with technology/machines as such we don’t have a cockpit or need for computer screens and monitors rather we see through the sensors of our equipment/ship and so our HUD takes the form of a VR or augmented reality like experience.
On startup of the game we present a scene that resembles an OS boot up sequence this time is used to load initial assets and deserialize save and mod data. The menu screen is presented after boot up which is part of the 'single scene' and is set to emulate an OS login screen or validation screen which gives the player the opportunity to load or create a new profile under the guise of a ‘session log’ such as we think of ship captains keeping. This is also where the player can adjust settings such as audio, graphics, input, etc. all under the guise of OS configuration e.g. System Tools. The HUD system is responsible for all GUI elements which must be ‘in context’; think of this like when an actor ‘stays in character’ and must be fully functional under keyboard/mouse and gamepad (e.g. xBox and PlayStation style controllers) input.
Cameras & Layouts
- Combat: “Ship board”
This is an experimental view and uses a camera overly to render a view from directly in front of the ship such as looking out the cockpit if we had one; with a turret camera overlaid on top giving a first person shooter like feel. Overlay rendering can be disorienting from many players and this won’t likely be a popular mode though has been requested by a few early reviewers; as such we will make a go at supporting it but are holding its implementation for last.
- Combat: “Orbiter”
This is the standard view; in our game world we say a small probe follows our ship giving a detailed view from the outside and can orbit 360deg on all axis; aka its an orbital camera In this view an aim assist resolves the most likely target center of the screen and plots the intercept vector for the weapon being fired (e.g. 3rd person shooter); lock-ons and similar are initiated automatically Ace Combat style by bringing a valid target in range and in the center area of the screen. Ship vitals and other data are presented on a curved surface simulating the curvature of the eye’s field of view and are presented in an ‘augmented reality’ way such as friend or foe icons over ships in view, view oriented radar and intercept point helpers.
- Combat: “Tactical”
This view is a fixed top down of the battle field from a great distance where a pointer (mouse cursor) is used to issue orders to groupings of ships and move the view around the battlefield. In this view the AI takes over much of the players own ship handling targeting and obstacle avoidance and small objects like ships are represented as icons as opposed to as 3D objects.
- “Command Core”
The ball in the center of every ship where the Terran’s body is held. This view is the basic menu of the game and is where the player can access events, markets, etc. The backdrop is mission space and this view can be snapped to at any time including while in battle. The various aspects of the game such as Events are accessed through ‘app’ like GUI elements
- Event Stream
This provides a view of the available events and has a few sub views such as
- Bounties This provides a view of all bounty contracts available as well as expressions of hunter rank and rank impact as well as hunter data on the contract holder and targets.
- Opportunities This takes a more sterile form more like listening in on a police scanner with regards to event info but includes details specific to criminals such as rank impact, syndicate application, etc. This view also offers a ‘request’ option allowing the player to request new opportunities from the syndicates e.g. we generate missions based on the syndicate, the players reputation and the state of the galaxy and its elements.
- Orders & Tasks These are events that can’t be ignored without negative repercussions to the player’s stats such as military orders or employer job tasks and take a more briefing like form with clearly outlined and thought out specifics.
- Current Events These are not mission events but indicate changing factors in the galaxy and your faction if you own one and can be used to sort out what your people want or where vulnerabilities my materialize soon. This can be thought of as a news feed or reporter’s stream.
The markets are just that a place to buy stuff; there are a few general markets such as the Black and Open market which sale a little of everything eBay or Amazon style. In addition depending on the player’s path thus far hunter, faction, syndicate and company internal markets may be available these will have specialized items and prices accordingly. Finally the player can purchase directly from known hubs such as companies with a store front, NPC factions like the Skinners and from structures they discover.
The map app … this may be the same as the event app; either way it represents the galaxy and can be zoomed in on in known areas. The player can also explore via the map by selecting map event areas (these are Environment events) where they may discover a market hub, resources or special mission events. The map app is also where the player will monitor the state of their own faction or company if they own them. The map can be zoomed into stellar asset such as a planet or station to build or modify structures as needed and can be used to manage fleet positions.
This is a ship design system and doubles as the fleet composition tool e.g. where the player assigns ships to pilots and pilots to fleet groupings if applicable. The ship tool from a design point of view allows the drag and drop design and configuration of ships and if manufacturing resources are available can send ‘designs’ off to be build. The shipyard will also contain our player tutorials in the guise of simulations; these simulations can be ran with designs allowing the player to sample a ships performance before having it built.
- Personal Assistant
This is the leadership and administration app and allows the player to manage faction and or company leadership, relationships (including personal ones) and handle political matters such as requesting or sending resource aid and other non-mission based group interactions such as joining a gang, faction recruiting, etc.
Just like real apps and programs there should be a functionality overlap that is to say applicable functions should be available in more than 1 app such as joining a gang; gangs are part of the bounty system and the Event Stream app’s Bounties tab might include a join and form gang option similar to what might be seen in the Personal Assistant app.