Planet panels, AI musings

I’ve made good progress on the panel UIs for viewing stars, planets, and colonies. These slide down from the top of the screen when you click a star system on the map. Which one appears depends on whether you have explored the star and have up to date information about it. I’m really happy with how they’re looking. I’ve finished the star and planet information panels. The colony panel presents its information about the colony but doesn’t implement spending controls. I’ve sketched out a design in Inkscape, but I want to think about it more before committing the details to code. Having a working planet panel led me to spend some time scrolling around various random maps, inspecting planets and tweaking creation parameters for the planet types to make them bigger, smaller, more or less hostile, and adjust the balance of terrains. I also added planetary mineral wealth to the map generator. The panels look great but highlight the need to finish artwork for all the planet classes – only half of them have unique images so far. I’ll take a stab at that today, along with some work on the colony controls. I’m eager to get that done and move on to fleet controls.

Once I have ships flying around, I could piece together a playable subset of the game with a few days effort. There’d be huge swaths missing (research, ship design, tactical combat), but it would be a useful milestone. I suppose I’d have to add a crude AI in there too. I don’t think that would take very long. It might even be a better approach versus putting the AI off until later, as it would give me a manageable starting point and shake out the worst of my ideas early. If I put the AI off until the game was closer to feature-complete, there’s the risk that I get paralyzed trying to juggle all the game’s aspects simultaneously and don’t know where to start. Growing the AI incrementally seems worthwhile.

I’m tempted to post screenshots, but I think I’ll wait until I can spruce the space backgrounds up. I’d also prefer to wait until there’s more going on in the star map to show off.

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