I usually find that having the GUI broken up like that, with two "islands" of elements is a bad idea.
I'd try to lump it all together in the bottom left corner. You can still keep them separate by having borders or slightly different looks.
Hi all, new poster here - though long time lurker. I'm currently leading a team working on an unannounced project (current plan is to announce it in early December, when our site goes up) that's been going for about three months now. All is going nicely, and one of the things we're working on at the moment is the GUI.
I thought I'd post up here, loking for any ideas you guys had on our current design. It's far from perfect at the moment (in terms of design rather than graphical quality), but I'm a little stuck for inspiration. Any ideas for cool ways of merging some of the elements into one unit, shuffling things around, or just general improvements would be appreciated. Particular areas I think could be done better are the navigational controls in the bottom left, which I feel could be the centrepiece of the GUI if used properly, and the time control dial in the top left, which kinda just feels a bit peripheral up there.
I'll take a wild guess that a few of the savvier/older members of the forum are going to know exactly what I'm working on after looking at it...
Brave man if you're trying to "reimagine" Master of Orion. The devil's in the detail and I reckon they musta had that range in QA for years.
Although if this is a good attempt at that, I hope you get it going. Cracking game begging for a revamp with nice graphics. (And it looks like you ticked that box at least).
I'm more seeing X-Com than MOO. Either way... good times.
As for layout, I don't see much wrong with the way you have it now, assuming you'll have more on the right side of the screen at some point (once more... functionality is in place?)
We'd really have to see it in action to evaluate the GUI placement / layout, as it largely depends on how frequently you have to go to any given bit, how far away your mouse is from the button when you need it, etc.
Keep us posted. This looks... up my alley.
I would move the upper left corner to bottom right, so all the GUI elements are on one bottom panel. A vertical panel works too.
Concerning the camera controls in the lower left: I would definitely go for a mouse control movement: click and drag to rotate freely, mouse wheel for zoom in and out.
Looks like X-Com to me too. Nice memories, played it on a friends machine over the weekends. A couple of turns each Saturday and then daydreaming the whole week what to do next.
I've posted up a revised version of the GUI screenshot here, explaining a bit more about how the screen's real estate is used. It looks horrible because I'm at work and I had to do it in Paint.
We've not finalised the aircraft/UFO icons yet though so that's why they're not really on there. However, their presence provides the screen a bit more balance because all the data is not confined onto one side.
My current thoughts are that I don't really want to move the top-left elements away from where they are. I like that part, aside from possibly the time-control dial. I'm more considering turning the bottom-left button control panel into a central panel, with the rotational controls as the centrepiece of it.
The irony here is that we'll have click-drag and mousewheel zoom functionality for moving the view around (as you'd expect), which essentially makes the entire rotational control element redundant. Without it, though, the interactive GUI basically only consists of 5 buttons and one dial, so we're leaving it in as a sort of graphical centrepiece, used only occasionally when precise camera navigation is needed.
Anyway, yes, the X-Com references were bang-on. I was a fan of MOO2 as well, but I think that genre has moved on with games like Sins of a Solar Empire etc, while I still think X-Com is the best game in its genre. In short the game is going to be an update with modern graphics, a different setting and enhanced functionality, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait until I officially announce it to see the full details.
Glad a few people are interested though