The beginning part of the game has been almost ready for release as a short demo for quite a while. But it was missing some polish that I am working on now.
Most of the polish is UI stuff. Some quest icons, Menu panels and in-world graphics for robotic appliances.
For the longest time the game started from the first scene. But it needed a title screen for changing options and loading / starting a new game.
The title screen I ended up creating is a variation on the in-game pause menu. Once I placed it on the black background with the particle specs, I realised it needs to look like glass. I added a small edge light which is actually hand painted in photoshop and added simple mouse interactions. The mouse-light is a simple blurry sphere masked by different UI elements and following the mouse.
I am a big fan of more abstract title screens. With the last of us menu being an absolute favourite. I am sure I this black background will not be the final version, but it will most likely be used in the demo.
The title screen is the only menu that contains an about button, that goes to a page with a brief description of this AI game project.
After I had done the lighting effect for the title screen, I went ahead and added it to all the UI elements, including dialogue options, hotspot UI, speech bubbles etc. This meant that I had to redesign most of these elements.
I like the new examine and dialogue options boxes. The previous iteration was ok, but it never worked great with the blurred background. This style also makes the elements less obtrusive.
The game does not really give the player too many options. The graphics are super simple, so there is no need for much. It is all just audio volume sliders.
In the future I might add some graphics options, but those would mostly be toggle switches for some weird graphics stuff, like pixel art mode etc..
The full width sliders came about when I was placing the elements and at one brief moment the sliders were 100% wide behind the text and I was “wait a minute”.
Save & Load
The last piece of the puzzle was the save & load screen. I knew I wanted to stay in the small UI box – for now – so I opted to go with a style where the screenshot of the save point is used as a background image for 5 save slots. It is not the clearest design, but it sure is BOLD!
The final piece is the holographic displays for the kitchen appliances. Each appliance is to have its own display style and graphics. These are animated to dialogue and support required expressions. The animations are very simple. The microwave can also display timers when heating food.
The artwork is naturally created with Midjourney, but naturally edited heavily manually in order to display the required information. The animations are still under construction, so you will have to play the demo to see them!
Once I have all the art pieces I need, they are cut apart and combined in Unity and rendered to a texture with an orthogonal camera
This way I can add timeline animations to the hologram and have all of the holographic glitch effects rendered on top of the animations. Just like using pre comps in After Effects.
With these edits, the demo version of the game is nearing completion! I hope to be able to publish it by year’s end!
PS. the UI will for sure change again for the final release as I get inspired by new ideas.