Game Development is a strange beast. It seems that with each title we spend a certain amount of time revisiting things we had completed before. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) is the prime example of this. With the feedback from a previous title, there is always a desire to address some of the concerns both from the community and from our own observations. Areas in Supreme Ruler Cold War such as "Production" contain much the same information as in the previous game but presented in what we hope to be a more concise format with key information prominently displayed and less important data relegated to tooltips and separate panels.
Other areas require GUI changes because they reflect feature changes. The first such change that we had to make was to remove the e-mail system previously used to communicate information to the player. The information was generally useful but the e-mail inbox was often full and players had limited filters to organize the messages. Besides, e-mail didn't even exist at the start of the campaign in 1949. As such we have taken this opportunity to improve our player feedback.
The new "Player Feedback" system consists of two parts; the first is a set of Alert icons attached to the right side of the screen. These categories, such as Military or Economy, are used to make the player aware of day to day events that are relevant to their nation. For example, when a certain commodity is priced too high for the population or not available in enough quantity to meet demand, that situation would be reported here. Likewise, if you receive a Diplomatic Offer from another nation, the notification and access to that offer will be here.
The second part of the information system uses what we have termed as On Map Notices. These are messages attached to a specific location in the world, indicating information that is important to that area. While knowing that a certain building has completed construction is interesting, the interest is less when you are fighting a war on the other side of the continent or dealing with spies in your region. On Map Notices have the immediate effect of filtering all messages geographically. This also means that if you don't look at South America for a while, when you do get there you can begin by reviewing the notices for Brazil to understand what has occurred there recently, then examine the next country.
Over the coming months, we will be working to balance where and when messages arrive. Some will appear in both places though others will be only in the Alerts or only in the On Map Notices. We will also be adding new notices to cover the information related to the other new features coming in this version of Supreme Ruler.
By Chris Latour, Game Designer, BattleGoat Studios.