I don't repost every little thing here that I post in the main thread, but this one is a pretty big update.
The new system for building:
I had to take a step forward and just pick something so I went with what would be easiest for me to code and for players to understand. It's not so core that it can't be changed, but something needed to fill the hole so actual testing can begin. I choose a system probably most similar to GalCiv 2. Each region has a certain amount of space to build buildings. This is currently determined solely by the tokens on a province. So all provinces have the same base X amount of space that is then reduced by things like mountains or swamp. The last few blocks of each region begin to require more money to utilize. So if you have a province that is 7/9, the 8th slot will cost you maybe 5000 gold extra and the 9th slot will cost 10000 gold extra. I could switch it to being the last 33% instead of being the last X squares. We'll have to see how it plays out.
In this way it is possible for someone to make a mountain province a city, but it will be more expensive and probably still a little less of a money farm than a metropolis on plains (to compensate the mountains would have way better defense and probably more production).
How money is gained still hasn't been decided yet. Whether buildings will hinder the overall amount of production is also undecided. The current block system can allow for any mixture of previously suggested ideas to work out and none should be hard to implement.
I do kind of want to avoid having to attend to the building needs of every single province all the time. I would rather players occasionally build a new building somewhere instead of trying to keep every province constructing a building at all times. There's a lot less micro this way and a lot less mindlessly queuing up the same build orders you do for every similar province.
I've been thinking about the amount of resources and how they are accessed by the players. By almost any strategy game's standards I would say there are a lot of resources. The tooltip system I'm working on resembles the old efs way of doing things (good tooltips like these were especially rare back in the day).
With a simple hover over you know how much your producing/consuming here and galaxy wide, what the resource is used for and exactly how it is created.
I also know that some people will absolutely hate moving around resources so I think I'm going to make it easy on everyone at let any not blockaded planet automatically share with any other with a starport. This way you can still cut off people's resources, but no one has to fiddle around with manually moving stuff if they don't want to. If it's too simple, it won't be too hard to add some trade ships you have to invest in that automatically abstract this job, but still require you to spend money on it.
Tons more coding got done. The mutiplayer is fully functioning, which was by far the biggest feat yet. The actual seperation between client and server data and the transfer between them is the foundation of the game and it prevents cheating. This was a HUGE step.
It isn't fully featured yet. It transfers data perfectly and can accept an essentially infinite number of players. There's nothing preventing the engine from literally having 100 people playing the game simultaneously on the server I have running right now. Each player claims a faction, makes up a password and begins playing. If the server desires, players can even play multiple factions at once.
The main missing feature is that I haven't completed the scheduler. Hosts are going to be able to determine when their servers process turns. So if you only want your server to process turns every 10 minutes on Friday and Saturday between 8:00pm and 9:00pm you can. By being able to save/load and determine when turns are processed we solve the main problem with these long multiplayer games.
Some other stuff that I've recently implemented:
-Combat Logs (soon to come, combat animations to "play" the combat log for you)
-Better scrollable text boxes for large amounts of text
-Extensive tooltips for units.
-Basic Fog of War
-Basic Building Construction
-Second and third tier resources
-Estimates of enemy armies (not shown in below screenshot. Need a visual way to represent the size/strength)
-World switching. You can now switch to the galaxy map and then move to any other planet with a double click!
The whole UI is able to support user skins so if you don't like the colors you can change them. I haven't tooled around with any colors at all and am using a generic black and white. I believe I can even support textured backgrounds for the UI, so there are a lot of ways to make it not so plain and boring. ***SCREENSHOT ALERT***
Here's a screenshot of me looking at an army and examining a unit:
In this pic you can see:
-The basic window structure for the army selection window (the box to the middle left). This is currently the ugliest due to the black background on that picture. Basically for each army in a region, another box will be there that will have the name of the army, a picture of the general unit and an indication of which army(ies) you have selected (by darkening the button).
-I implemented nameplates for all the regions so that the text would be readable even if the background was pure black. These nameplates will probably be colored according to who owns each province.
-North America is highlighted. The current highlighting just draws a circle around the area and I can't think of a much better way to depict this selection.
-The little unit icon next to North America is a placeholder to indicate that the region contains an army. I am looking for a better way to represent what kind and how many armies are in each friendly province and am open to suggestion.
-The red arrow indicates the selected army will attack Central America next turn. You can toggle a button to see all orders at once.
-The army examiner is the biggest window. I'll put a title in here or something and not have it be so big for small armies. The purpose of this window is to rearrange units into, out of, and in between armies. It's not finished, but I'd like for each army in a province to have their own little section and you will be able to drag and drop units into different armies here. You can also see the health of each unit at a glance by the red health bar.
-The window above shows the unit stats and has a place that will be filled with a unit description and any help about the unit as well as possibly including the production cost. I might leave this more for the actual production window, which isn't very fleshed out at the moment.
-The small window you see at the top is a tooltip window that appears when you mouse over any of the stats. There are a lot of stats and players need to be able to quickly know what they represent.
-The two smallest buttons in the top right represent the incoming message button. Each of these buttons will have their own little icon. Left click zooms you to the province in question as well as brings up any choices you need to make. Mousing over them tells the jist of the message and right clicking them removes them. They slide up with a nice animation and will fill in gaps as you delete messages.
-Lastly we see the stockpiles window on the bottom. None of the resources are finalized and right now they are all using the old efs placeholder graphics. It shows the amount of resources that are available to any given province and you can mouseover to see the resource tooltip, which is similar to the screenshot previously shown. This also has a nice animation as it slides up and can just as easily be hidden away.
As we get closer to the content addition stage I realized that I'll soon be needing a lot of sprites. There's not that many good futuristic sprites out there and I can't count on just ripping all the graphics from other games. If anyone out there can draw or knows someone who can please let me know.