There’s a big question on a lot of your minds right now: “Where’s 1.13?” To answer that, we need to dig a little deeper into why we made the decision to rebuild the game’s user interface, and what goes into such a large undertaking.
Rebuilding the UI is a massive process—any dev will tell you as much. This is because a number of systems and underlying designs are connected to it. Dreadnought was initially designed using Scaleform, a user interface tool that’s fairly common in the industry. However, once we learned that Scaleform would stop being supported, we began talking about migrating the entire user interface from scaleform to a new tool: Unreal Motion Graphics. At that point we decided that if we are going to update the UI to this new system, why not take this opportunity to improve upon the look and usability of the game’s UI? UMG offered a nice set of shiny, new features for our designers to drool over. Dreadnought has been in beta for some time now, and the current UI is a part of that. We’ve learned a lot from earlier iterations of the game, and we’ve received a ton of awesome feedback on areas of the UI that can be improved—from flow and user experience to performance and stability.
Our UI team in Houston has grown a ton since we made the decision to update these systems, and we’re getting closer to completing the revamp. Playtests are going well, and everyone on the team is excited to get the update in your hands. We have the functionality in and the design in a good, working beta state. Our efforts are now focused on tweaking everything. That means fixing critical bugs and making sure that everything is easier for you. We don’t want the new UI to force you to make a ton of clicks. We want to make sure that editing your loadouts is easy and clearly displays what adjustments you’re making. Overall, we hope that the user experience as a whole will be much more intuitive.
Beyond pure functionality, our art and design teams have done a fantastic job taking the look and feel of the UI to new heights. We still expect to be polishing some things after 1.13 (a live game’s updates are never done, after all). Between 1.13 and Steam launch, these teams will continue to refine the entire presentation of the game. We’re doing daily play sessions with the new UI focused on usability. Does this menu option make sense? Does this user flow feel right? How can we pare down any clunkiness? That’s what we are finishing up now. The nuts and bolts are done, which is a great spot for us to be in.
I’m sitting down this week with our art director, Nick Kay, and our UI lead, “The Beard” (as you know him) Matt Giffels, to highlight the remaining improvements. For example, one bit of feedback from our playtests was: “It’s cool that my currency is visible in the Market or when researching a module, but I’d also like to see it on the main screen.” And they were totally right! You worked hard to get those Credits and all that XP, so you should be able to see the fruits of that without having to dig for it. That's the kind of fundamental feedback we’re iterating on internally.
One of our post-1.13 goals is to get richer, more in-depth feedback. You’re great at giving us your thoughts and opinions, and we want to focus that energy and passion on the UI and the quality of our first passes at adding Russian and Simplified Chinese localization. Not so much on the basics—we should have those resolved long before the update makes its way to you.
We are still shooting for a July release. Our initial estimate back in March / April that we’d have this puppy out by June were a little ambitious. July is much more reasonable, and it gives our teams the time they need to make sure the update is the best that it can be. I can’t even count the number of bugs everyone’s squashing! And keep in mind: that’s July for BOTH platforms. This update cycle will be the closest between PC and PS4 to-date, with little over a week-ish between releases. And that’s something the entire team can take great pride in.
We want to get this out soon, but we also want to make sure we don’t make matters worse by introducing a ton of game-breaking bugs or a less-than-ideal experience. It's always a balance. We want to continue getting meaningful feedback from all of you that will steer the direction of the game (more than “yo, this is totally broke!”) and will require us to put in a little extra work on the front end. And as we get closer to Q3, we have to start looking at the work we need to finish in preparation for Steam launch. As I mentioned Russian and Simplified Chinese are being added soon, and that will add an enormous amount of feedback for us to consider. Following that will be Traditional Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese with the Steam update. And that’s just localization, needless to say there is a lot still on our plate! The Steam game update will be a simultaneous release: the same content on both platforms on the same day! That’s a lot of work, so we’re super appreciative that everyone is being patient with us as we iron out all of the kinks and make plans for one helluva launch.
And the awesome thing is, we’re just getting started ;)
Game Director - Dreadnought
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