CA GUI Guidelines and Standards


We should have a standard font we use accross all our widgets. Which this should be is up to debate, the one used in the Unit Help/Menu, The Adv Players List, the Comic Sans of the Overdrive bar, the Tooltip font or another one entirely.


The Black and White of the Adv Player Info and Unit Help/Menu are simple, space effecient and profressional looking. They dont clash or distract too much from the action of the game. All backgrounds should be the same transparent black by default (Whether the Adv Player List black or the gradient of the CA rooms is for debate). The exceptions to this colour scheme should only be for:

  • Players. Information directly pertaining to players can use their colour to represent them.
  • Income/Expenditure. Red and Green.
  • On/Off state. Red and Green.
  • Grey for metal, Yellow for energy. Licho: those colors are not very nice imo. We should use different shade of green and blue perhaps? Grey is traditionally for inactive stuff. Its bad color for main resource.

Emphasis and headings should be indicated by font size/bold etc, not colours.

Graphical vs Minimalist

Marmoth: I want something a bit nicer than just rectangles, with relief, borders and broken corners.

Saktoth: Boxes are good, space effecient, minimalist, professional. Borders, ALA GUI rooms, or no borders, ALA Adv Player List, is worth discussing.

thesleepless: How about a homeworld2 style UI with stylish but minimal boxes that are quickly toggleable. eg.

On Hover Tooltips vs Tooltip Pane

Should we include one, both? Which should be the default?

thesleepless: as much as i hate to waste screen space, wasting time hovering over things for a second is more of a waste.


Should include cntrl+f11 tweak to move, resize, change transparency and colour. Should probably

Ressource bars

Marmoth: Evil4zergging started making it. I also heard that somebody (Quantum?) is planning to change the overall overdrive system (team shared overdrive and metal production). Both of these projects will probably be merged.

Marmoth: My suggestion about info that should be found there:

  • Metal / energy max storage: bar + medium size number
  • Metal / energy current storage: bar (+ medium size number? or tooltip?)
  • Metal / energy income: +/- big numbers (arrows on the bar (guild wars like) according to % of max storage?)
  • "Metal" and "Energy" label: either "metal"/"energy" or "M"/"E" or only bar color
  • Overdrive metal income: big number - split metal income
  • Overdrive efficiency: color of the overdrive metal income + tooltip

Licho: buildpower usage and possibly distribution (labs/nanos vs mobile units) Optional:

  • Wind - Tidal values: tooltip on energy label

Build orders

Marmoth: I suggest to split build buttons and other orders buttons to have a shorter order list.

Marmoth: I suggest to reduce the size of the build buttons (half height/width according to buildpics, squared) and sort them according to icon code. Every build buttons should fit in the same page. If not too complicated, the size of the buttons should adapt to disponible space.

Saktoth: I dont think the icons need to be smaller, but we should definitely get rid of the borders. A 1pix white border (matching the unit help gui) is more than enough, anything else is taking up screen realestate that should have information in it.

Marmoth: I added a mockup (attached file) of how i see the build menu.

Saktoth: I think we should keep it in the left. If you've got a good reason to put it on the bottom, id like to hear it. I also dont think we should bother with the metallic border- unless we can get an amazing artist who can make something really awesome (think starcraft). Even then id stick with minimalism for an competitive RTS.

Other orders

Marmoth: Should be taken apart.

thesleepless: some kind of order queue list which let you rearrange orders and delete specific ones would be lovely. eg. if you're building 3 combat units then a con, and you want the con now, then you just drag the con to the top of the queue.

Players list

Marmoth: The current advplayerslist should be enough for now. Write here if you want something new on it.

Saktoth: Some names still show up in white, when they should be white outlines with teamcolour text. Spectator names sometimes flash in the colour of the connection icon (green/yellow/red).

Google Frog: A buttons which enables/disables ingame pm mode would be great for FFA.

Information panel

Marmoth: Should include info about unit under cursor - if none, about unit selected. Info should include DPS / Speed / Type / Owner's name / metal price (= price, but more utile info than current price info) / Description (unit guide help text should be available by pressing a key (independant widget?))

Licho: it should also contain m/s drain for constructors,factories

CA menu

Marmoth: I am not sure if the current CA menu is really useful. I personnally never use it. Give your point of you if you think it should be implemented.

Licho: they are very usefull because of their settings and also unit help is nice. I think unit help should be integrated into tooltip and settings should get some nicer button and perhaps different button styles in the window system of ca interface.

Saktoth: It should be integrated into the rest of the gui somewhere as just an attatched button rather than a floating button. I use unit help for looking up data all the time. I dont use the menu much but it'd be useful for new players who want to customize.


Marmoth: For me, it should be:

  • quite simple
  • with clearly readable font (like the one used in advplayerslist)
  • a bit nicer than just rectangles:
    • transparency
    • relief
    • borders and broken corners

Licho: if possible, support for Ctrl+f11 tweak mode like many widgets have (iceui, factories)- to enable resizing, moving

Saktoth: Minimalism. In a competative RTS it should be as minimalistic as possible and take up as little screen real-estate as possible. Where it is taking up screen real-estate (icons, bars) it should be displaying information thats relevant to the player in the most immediate and accessible format possible. Personally i always loved the  Syndicate Wars GUI (first thirty seconds, the flashy hologram drawy stuff). I think you can tell then that i think what Quant did with the unit help/menu was really excellent.


  • To be blunt: If there's any feature that is not present in this gui that I would miss from using IceUI, I won't use it. I want every window to be (with ctrl+f11 tweak mode) moveable, resizeable, minimal (1 pixel border is best) let me set my own color (I hate transparency), can be turned on or off.
  • Cursor tooltips are heavenly. For example I made the tooltip widget InlineTip-BM to help ease the pain of buildlists with difficult to recognize buildpics. No matter how nice looking or close the tooltip window, it slows you to a crawl to have to hover over pic, read tooltip window, move mouse to next spot, repeat. I think that with some brainstorming we can show a lot of (optional and customizable per user) info right at the cursor for a variety of things. This is not only easier on the eyes so they don't have to dart back and forth, but it saves screen space too. My widget was inspired by trepan's highlight widget which shows you the name of the player and unit when hovering over a unit and holding fakemeta. The moment I found that out I was hooked.

Saktoth: I dont think the tooltip window slows you down that much. Having an on-hover tooltip obscures buildpics and makes the data jump around etc. In the window, cost is always in the same spot, making comparing the data easier. Stick the icon in the tooltip window so you can make the correlation and there is no loss of data and you can move the mouse without even looking at the build menu. Otherwise agreed.

Help needed

  • Lua: I intend to make the code myself, but i will probably need some advices as i am quite new at it
  • Art: I can make some stuff on gimp, but if someone wants to help making something better, he is welcome!
  • Suggestions: More ideas is more happiness.