I was hoping that this thread would generate some lively discussion, but perhaps IL spoke for everyone when he suggested targetting Global War 1939. I have proceeded in this direction, but should anyone care to lend their voice in agreement or disagreement please let me know.
In my previous post I raised a question as to whether or not to base the software version on a real map which can be zoomed in or out or use the same type of map used in the physical board game. I am hoping to hear some feedback on this since I have already put work into automating the map-creation process.
In the meantime I have been working on a very simple UI prototype to sort out the most intuitive method of displaying a lot of information in a small space as well as monitoring or moving pieces across the board. This means that I have taken the opposite approach most developers (myself included) would take in creating a game, where normally one would implement the engine and only then worry about the UI. In this case I am of the opinion that the engine implementation is fairly trivial, meaning that the rules are well known and it is simply a matter of implementing them, and because there is no complex math involved the process is trivial albeit laborsome. The UI, on the other hand, can make or break a game, and I believe that it is the crucial element for me to get right, and as such I am devoting most of my efforts into evolving my UI into something that makes it a joy to use instead of a an encumbrance that needs to be tolerated in order to play the game. I have seen many good games ruined by a terrible user interface, extremely cumbersome to navigate through and very unintuitive, taking many clicks to get through the simplest tasks. A&A is particularly challenging because of the lack of real-estate (most regions are small, islands are worse), each region can contain a relatively large amount of varying unity types, and each country can have their own unit of each type in a region. Creating an interface that will allow 7 countries (let’s say 6 defending allies and 1 attacking axis), each with varying numbers of each of 7 different unit types, to be easily deployed and easily differentiated and quantified at a quick glance on a small island such as malta is a huge challenge, made even worse when you add naval units which are parked right outside the island. Â Add to that the task of creating an interface in which the player can easily move pieces around and keep track of which and how many units are attacking what from which region, whether certain planes are involved in land assault or bombing run, etc… makes for a UI developer nightmare. I have already started serious work into exploring these issues and would appreciate any ideas and thoughts from the community. I plan to post varying evolutions of the UI prototype from time to time in order to get user feedback and help refine the process.