Pixel Poker Update 7 – Visual Changes and Usability

It’s been a few weeks since I did the mini-update showing off the card-dealing system, and I felt it was finally time I sat down and did a full update again. This update brings a lot of visual changes for the game, and is a pretty exciting one in my opinion.

Visual Updates and UI

Since this update is mostly a visual one, it’s probably best to start off with a screenshot of the game in it’s current state:PP12-14

 

The smallest, but most obvious changes were to the shape of the poker table, and the card images. The new poker table shape came about because I wanted to make it slightly bigger. In doing so I decided I wanted a more angular shape for the table, and I settled on this. The new card images on the other hand, were something I wanted to do for a while, but simply kept putting off. While the old ones were good, they felt very same-y, and I always disliked that all of the different card values were indistinguishable other than with the number itself. With the new images, I have a much more realistic representation of playing cards, and it makes the game as a whole feel better. I still haven’t made images for the face cards which have characters on them, but I am working on it on the back-burner. You can see all of the new cards below.

NewCards

With this update I also put a large focus on working towards the final UI for the game, or at least moving further from the temporary one. To do this I eliminated all of the plain black text that was being used to display information about the players, and moved all of the information either onto the player’s portrait, or onto the poker table. I also moved the cards so that they sit on the poker table, rather than in the corner of the player portraits. These changes helped to make the game feel more “real” and finalize the look.

The other changes I made to the UI are related to the betting menu. The betting menu is now slightly thinner to accommodate the wider table, and it displays what cards the player has with large images. This was a feature I wanted to implement for a while, and had always left space for, but seeing it in action I’m not as happy with it as I expected I’d be. At a later date I plan on playing around with it a bit more and seeing if there is a slightly better use for that space such as information about the status of the game, or an options menu of some kind. I’ve also seen features like an “auto-check” in other poker games that I could put in.

The UI still has some work left to go, but this update brought a lot of positive changes. The next thing I’ll be tackling will be the UI related to the Dealer, and possibly more stuff related to the poker table.

Marking Winning Hands

The next big thing I worked on for this update was to make it so that when a game ended, the cards used in the winning hand would get highlighted. In the screenshot below you can see what this looks like:

CardMarking

 

As you can see, the cards that weren’t used, and the cards of the losing players were grayed out so that the wining hand itself could be highlighted. This system is still somewhat imperfect since it is somewhat unclear who used which cards when there is a tie, but I am working on possible solutions to that which would make the winning hands for multiple players clearer. i’m also going to make it so that the hand types are named so in this case I’d like there to be something which says that this player had a Two Pair, for example.

I also implemented this same solution when the dealer cards are being drawn to make it even clearer who has the winning dealer card.

Character Art

The character design phase is moving along a bit slower than I would have liked due to the artist I’m working with having some health issues, but there’s still good progress being made, and I have some concept art for two of the characters already. I’d like to wait a bit longer to premiere the character art, but rest assured that it is coming along very well.

Well that’s all I have for this update, but I should be back again before January 1st with another update on Pixel Poker, and a Year-in-Review post to tell you about some of the other stuff I’ve done this year at my day-job.