July 26th, 2009
One thing that has been bothering me about the Overgrowth alphas is that the map editor requires a manual. It has a ton of awesome features, but the only way to access many of them is with keyboard commands. While this works for Wolfire veterans who have been slowly introduced to feature after feature as we add them, new alpha users are often confused.
To combat this, I am working on a toolbar UI. This will be docked to the top of the window in the map editor and provide a reference for everything you might want to do. Here's what it looks like in our first attempt:
Iiro Jppinen designed the UI and made all of the awesome icons for us.
The toolbar is loosely based on Microsoft's Ribbon UI pattern. The idea is that you can fit a huge amount of information into a pretty modestly sized toolbar. Despite the large number of UI elements, usability is preserved by organizing the buttons into logical groups and starting each group with a larger version of the most common button.
Different workflows can be isolated in their own tabs, for instance, the animation and physics editors might have their own tabs.
I hope to migrate all of our functionality into this toolbar soon and experiment with some new features, like auto-hiding. Once I have a better idea of which tools are the most often used, I will make their icons bigger and make them stand out more in the toolbar.
What do you guys think? Any suggestions for improvement?