Reminder:

Make sure your build is at or higher than the latest build posted below. If it's lower, verify the game contents to force an update. It's also important to remember that the sandbox depot is not updated regularly. This depot is only used for confined testing. If you were working with me on one of these confined tests, please remember to opt out of the sandbox depot so you're always receiving the most up-to-date build of the game.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Build: 921967

Titlescreen UI Overhaul

So most of this update is under the hood changes but they're pretty massive, especially for anyone hoping to play the game on anything but a 16:9 aspect ratio. The entire titlescreen has been rebuilt from the ground up using the new UI system which was introduced in Unity 4.6. Up until now it's been using the old GUI system that was carried over from when the game was still being developed in Unity 3.5.

So what were some of the major changes?
First and foremost, it should be noted that all of the changes being listed here are only on the titlescreen. The new UI system has not yet been implemented throughout the rest of the game, including the level editor. This will take some time and is not a top priority at the moment but it will happen.

The biggest change will be that the titlescreen will respect any aspect ratio. Elements will no longer be distorted or out of place when you play on anything other than a 16:9 aspect ratio. This didn't seem like an issue because up until now the game was restricted to only 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios when selecting them from the start-up dialog. (More on that later.)

With the new menu comes a slightly revamped "Erase Data" menu which is a little cleaner.

The new UI system has also allowed for a much cleaner method of scaling the user name bar to best fit the length of different user names. The new method will now match user names perfectly whereas the old method was more of an approximation based on a linear curve that took into account the number of characters in the user name.

Another update worth noting is that the start-up dialog (ie, "Resolution Dialog") has been disabled by default. For the time being, it can still be accessed by holding Alt immediately after launching the game, however this will most likely not be the case on release as all the options available in the dialog will be available in-game.

Settings:
Speaking of including options in-game, progress is being made on "Settings" which was previously empty or had place holder menus. That's still largely the case, however two new menus have been fleshed out.


To replace the start-up resolution dialog, the option to change the resolution of the game is now available within the "Resolution" option under Settings > Graphics. Everything in here is supposedly fully functional however additional functionality will most likely be added as time goes on, so please test this as best you can and let me know if you have any major issues.

Unfortunately Unity 4.6, to the best of my knowledge, does not allow to change between Boarderless Fullscreen or Exclusive Fullscreen mode at runtime so this will not be an option, though the decision to release with one or the other is up for discussion. (Currently it's Exclusive)


In addition to the resolution menu is a concept for the audio menu. Nothing in here is functional, however everything in the dialog is fully intractable as though it was. So please play around with it and get back with me on any issues or suggestions.

The input menu has not been added yet because it's going to take a significant amount of extra work to re-map all the keys in the game to keys that I can provide access to changing from within the game itself. Because of this, I can't be sure how to best design the input menu to best reflect the options that I'll provide or how I'll provide them. I'm not taking suggestions for this just yet because again, it's not a priority and I have zero frame of reference to even begin thinking about it yet.

Loading:
Finally, the loading screen has also been updated as part of the titlescreen overhaul. The original loading screen would darken the screen with "Loading..." in the bottom left corner while the game essentially froze while it was loading in the next scene. This was especially bad when loading from the titlescreen to the level editor as a lot of content needed to be brought in.


This is no longer the case. Of course the level editor will still take time to load because the content hasn't changed, but the loading screen has. The new loading screen provides a 3D animation of the tornado diamond in the lower left corner as well as a progress bar. It appears to be working perfectly fine though of course let me know if you notice anything wrong. Otherwise, hopefully this will help for people on slower computers where the editor might take significantly longer than 2-5 seconds to load.

Final Note
All and all, that's more or less the meat of this update. While no other changes were made, this has been in my opinion, a very significant update that will hopefully pave the road for a much better overall experience as the game progresses and comes closer to release.