Hi all! We've been quite for a little bit, so we thought you might like to get an update on how things are going with UNION. I'm happy to say that work has been going pretty well so far, and we've made fairly substantial progress with implementing a sizeable chunk of the game's user interface. This is important in any game, but even more so in UNION as the UIs are really a make or break component. Coupled with the high quality bar is the fact that we're designing a unique UI for each role on the ship and that really starts to multiply the workload!
Anyway, it has been and continues to be a pretty mammoth task, but we've been making good headway. I say we – most of the kudos here has to go to Mark (aka Faerdan), who's been doing the actual coding work on the user interface. Thus, I bring you missives from the front line regarding exactly what he's been up to.
First off, as we mentioned during the Steam Greenlight, modding is a big part of UNION. Communities have added so much to so many other great games and we are doing all we can to enable those interested to unscrew the panelling and really tweak and modify UNION in whatever way they want.
We're not content with adding modding functionality later in development, or after release. Instead we are creating the modding tools now, and we will use them ourselves to develop the content for UNION, including maps, missions, spaceships, stations, environmental objects, weapons and UI. During UNION's beta we will release the mod tools, and documentation, which will allow the community to create their own content just as we have done. Steam Workshop is a natural home for UNION's mods, so we'll make it as simple as possible for you to package your mods and share them with the community there.
On modding the UI, we're particularly pleased with how open it's shaping up to be.
Everything's vector based (hurray for infinitely scalable vectors!), and uses XAML files to define design, animation and functionality. By editing the XAML files that come with the mod tools anyone can customise pretty much any element of the UI, including the base structure, the animations, the overall style – you can pretty much rig up the controls of your ship any way you like. I'm reliably informed that the best tool for editing XAML files is Microsoft Blend, which is conveniently free.
Why is this important? Well, we know that there are lots of reasons people may want to mod UNION, from adding ships from their own imagination or favourite fictional universe, to just tweaking the UI layout a bit to suit themselves. Some of you will want to add rapid fire missiles that one shot space stations, and some of you will think we got the weapon balance entirely wrong and release a patch that tweaks every turret in the game. That's fine – it's a big universe, and while we have a very specific vision for UNION which we are figuratively dying to share with you, a big part of that vision is to give you the tools to realise some of your own plans too.
We're aiming for maximum flexibility and accessibility with UNION, and to be honest I'm pretty excited to see what people will come up with!
As ever, thanks for your interest in UNION, and watch this space!