A fresh coat of paint for Empyrios

by Joe on

Over the last few months we’ve been working really hard on finalizing the combat interface and polishing our character and environmental artwork. Summer is here and we’re finally ready to show it off!

User Interface

One thing we’ve spent a large amount of time on throughout development is the user interface, and we really wanted to nail down the final version of the combat HUD for this next major build. I built the original UI very early on in development in order to be able to playtest the game, but I knew it wasn’t quite up to our standards, and our designer Brandy would eventually need to tear it down and rebuild it.

You can see the original combat HUD below. It evolved over time but the overall structure remained the same as the initial playtesting build.

Old Combat HUD

There was a long list of issues that needed to be corrected:

  • The entire HUD should be moved to the bottom of the screen for both usability and aesthetic reasons.
  • Removal of the text descriptions as part of the action bar, preferring to use a mouse hover.
  • Collapse everything into a single component and remove any information that is not critical to your turn.
  • Enlarge the character portraits and bring their name, health, and power into the main HUD.
  • Add an options menu in the top right and relocate the lesser used options there, such as surrender.
  • Hotkeys should be displayed under the abilities. This includes keyboard as well as controller options with both PS and XBox styles.
  • Grid selection circles need a complete overhaul and visual revamp.

You can see how we tackled these issues below with our new combat HUD and grid selection:

Empyrios Combat HUD

There is still some minor work being done on various icons and portraits, but overall I am extremely happy with the new interface!

Character and Environmental Art

Over the last few months our art director Jove took on an insane amount of work. He went through the entire collection of game art and added a huge amount of detail to everything ranging from the characters to the environments. There were quite a few characters rebuilt from the ground up such as the Caelum, and others with huge amounts of work changing them from male to female in order to add more diversity.

Empyrios New Characters

The vast majority of work has been completed and is now in-game, with only a few small tasks related to fixes and polishing left.

More New Characters

For the most part, other than small changes that may come up, this is how the final version of Empyrios will look across all available platforms.

Campaign Screens

Throughout development of the single player campaign, the story components have always come up in a boring text box overlaying the scene. This was strictly for testing and was scheduled to be replaced once the HUD revamp and character polishing was completed. As soon as we hit those milestones it was the very first thing I implemented so we could see how it would look, and I am really excited about the final look.

Empyrios Campaign Screen

The combat HUD is nowhere to be seen, and instead you will be presented with a large version of the character who is currently speaking. The dialog box has been designed, and the character name is now displayed along with your current options.

Web Development

If you’re reading this it means that the work we put into changing the Creoterra site has finally come to a close. We invested in rebuilding both the Creoterra and Empyrios (coming soon!) sites and deploying them to a much faster cloud infrastructure. Our old site was quite slow, especially when there was a lot of traffic all at once, and we were using shared hosting which just made it that much slower. We took the time to correct the outstanding bugs and move everything over now rather than later, and so everything should now be much faster as of right now!

At this point in time we’ve turned our attention to getting the gameplay trailer and marketing ready, as we want to start showing off Empyrios to a larger amount of gamers in the very near future, as well as launch our Steam greenlight campaign. We’ve also tossed around the idea of joining the Square Enix Collective and we’ll be making a decision on that in the coming week or so.

As always, make sure to follow us on twitter, and like us on facebook, as we’ll be releasing new screenshots, videos, and information on Empyrios and we would love to hear what you think! Your support is greatly appreciated!