This represents most of the combat art and graphic design work that is needed to finish the combat engine. Pd has a list of specific assets that are needed for populating the currently-finished or currently-in-progress code with graphics. He's going to post his list sometime soon (Pd, feel free to add it here if you like). I'll be adding things here as I think of them, and editing the list to indicate completed work as we go.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good mockups.
Graphic design needs:
1) Starlane entrance points. These will be at the edges of the system map, in the ecliptic. Should these look like a physical object, like the Deep Space Nine wormhole? Should they not be objects at all (maybe just mathematically-derived points), just marked with an icon? How big should they be -- just a point, or should they mark a whole area into which your ships need to fit to leave the system? EDIT: The DD says they are elliptical. So, what should the ellipse look like?
2) Movement and fire indicators. When I order a ship to move, should I draw a big arrow in the direction it will move? Should there be a move-destination icon at the destination? When I reselect a unit, do I see its move path, marked out in arrows, with the destination marked? If it has an attack order, do I highlight its target(s)? It seems most games these days show a marker under the target(s), or a move-to-here marker on the ground.
3) Stealth and detection indicators. Do we want to make stealthy ships more transparent, or otherwise mark them in some way? Do we want little echo rings radiating out from high-detection ships, or mark them in some other way?
4) Scene-overlay UI. What does the info overlay look like, assuming there is one? Is it along the top, bottom, one side, or some combination? What does it show? A detailed info box on the currently selected unit(s), plus an area with more general info and buttons, is pretty typical.
5) Unit-overlay UI. What info do we want to decorate our units with? Health and current orders? Do we want the user to be able to select different kinds of data to decorate the unit with, allowing her to choose the most important stat(s) to represent visually? What should the decoration look like?
6) Map-overlay UI. Do we want weapon-range range rings and other kinds of indicators overlayed on the ecliptic?
7) Tooltip UI. When I mouse over a planet or unit, what should I see? Should we even use tooltips?
8 ) Zoomed-out icons. When you zoom way out, you can barely see the planets clearly, and ships essentially disappear. What sorts of icons should we use as overlays to indicate position and heading of fighters, ships, planets, bases, etc.?
Art asset needs:
1) Weapon effects. You know, beam weapons, pulse-beam weapons, point defense weapons, missile trails, etc. We'll probably use the Ogre particle system for most of these. Check out the particle script editor here
. You can add whatever textures you like and use them to make particle effects, or you can use the (somewhat limited) textures that come with it.
2) Explosions. Again, the Ogre particle system editor will probably be useful.
3) TBD, based on design work above.