Pixel Poker Update 5 – UI and Character Selection

Once again I have come with another update on my Pixel Poker progress.

These past two weeks I haven’t had quite as much time to myself as I was hoping so I decided to focus this update primarily on visuals while I continue working on AI in the background. Most of the work I did for this update was visual upgrades to achieve a look that’s closer to what I’d like in the final game, but I did make two gameplay/usability improvements.

The first thing I did was fix a small issue I had been having with the various settings sliders I use throughout the game. In the previous version the sliders were only able to go to 99% of their max value, but that issue has now been dealt with.

The second gameplay change I made was giving the player the ability to select which characters will be playing. If you take a look at the new settings screen below you can see that the settings sliders have shifted to the left side of the screen, and now the right-side is taken up by what will eventually be character portraits that allow you to select who you want in the game.

NewSettings

 

Changing the value of the Number of Players slider also adjusts the number of active characters you can choose. Currently the largest game size that’s supported is eight players with six as the default. I also have nine different characters that I’m planning to include. While I’m not going to get into too much detail about the characters in this post, here’s a list of the characters I’m currently working on.

  • Clint – A wise-cracking Toucan with a bit too much confidence.
  • Roxy – A succubus who uses men like playing cards and isn’t afraid to get rid of them when another hand comes along.
  • Tom – A helpless loser who is somewhat infatuated with Roxy.
  • Bernard – A dog who’s quite the experienced player, and isn’t afraid to play dirty if it will net him a few more bones.
  • Yuri – A girl straight out of an anime.
  • Turbo – A turtle who’s looking to make some money and spend some time away from his owner.
  • Babs – A sweet old lady, and Turbo’s owner.
  • Stan – An older poker player who’s clearly past his prime.
  • Bot 2000 – A Poker Playing robot that may need to work on its programming.

I’m hoping to do another post soon with some character sketches and a bit more information on each character, so stay tuned for that.

Along with the added feature of being able to select the characters you want, you should notice a few more changes in the image above. First and foremost, I’m using a new font. I’m not sure this is the font I’ll use in the final game, but it’s definitely much closer to my intended look and works very well for now.

You’ll also notice that the Start Game button looks fairly different. One of the big changes I made was to come up with a strong visual direction for the game, and specifically the UI. I really wanted the UI to resemble the look of a high-quality poker table at a casino. Having spent a decent amount of time playing table games in casinos, I always loved the look of the tables and how they had these intricate, brightly-colored, graphics printed on them. My goal was to try and make the buttons, and many of the other UI elements, feel similar to those graphics. Below you can see a basic overview of the different button states. First you have a disabled button, then an enabled button which isn’t being used, and finally an enabled button which the user is hover-over or clicking.

ButtonStates

 

My biggest issue with the buttons right now is really with their “visibility”. I may change the background colors for the menu to make the buttons a bit easier to read, or I may make some adjustments to the colors I use. At this time I’m still toying with different combinations so it could go through another major overhaul.

The next big change I made also relates to the UI but this time it deals with the actual game screen.

PokerRoom

 

As you can see, the “betting menu” has a much more finalized layout now than it did before. In the end I’m going to make larger card graphics to put in the white spots so it’s always immediately obvious what your hand is, even at a quick glance. In this example it’s a bit more obvious why I’d like to work on the buttons more, but even in this early state they do a decent job, and they definitely convey the feel I was looking for.

The final change I made in this update is the look of the Alerts that I added in the previous update. Below is a gif of what one of the new alerts looks-like:

NewAlert

 

As you can see, they’re a bit more interesting now then they were before, and they work much better with the overall look I’ve settled on for the game.

As I’ve said, the design is still a work in progress, but it definitely feels more interesting now than it did in the previous version, and the game as a whole is coming together very well.

Now that I can actually choose my characters, it should be much easier for me to start testing the AI and character work I’ve been doing. My next update should have a lot of info on the different characters and their playing styles, and hopefully we will finally get to see some of the AI in action.

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