I've been doing a lot of working and planning on the GUI, especially the fixed GUI items such as Diplomacy, Fleet, etc) So far I have 4 permanent GUI buttons for Empire, Diplomacy, Fleet and Research. The empire and fleet button have 2 sub buttons each. Below is a screenshot of the planet list open. This is what I've been working at the moment including sorting and a scroll bar on the left if you can't fit all items within the specified GUI size. The GUI style and data is just a start I'm sure it's going to change before I'd consider it final...
One thing I really want to make sure I have is multiple options for controlling the GUI. As an example with 4x games but others as well I always get frustrated when you just want to drag and drop, multi-select or other functions that would be considered standard but hasn't been programmed in. So I will be spending as much time as I need to make using the GUI as smooth and intuitive as I can. Of course I might have a different idea as to is a good GUI compared to other people but I'll do my best and will always be looking for suggestions and improvements as it go.
At least now i have a decently functioning GUI table type\object that I can reuse for fleet management and am already using for the load\save game listing too :) I started work on this after I decided I need to expand the diplomacy more before I can start play testing thoroughly myself then detoured onto the planet listing as it's the first button down the bottom... lol.
Next I'm going to get back to the AI and how it manages relationships with other empire. I had got the basics in and working already. The peace loving AI would like an empire more for each turn it didn't do anything aggressive against it. Next I've added the option for an AI relationship to deteriorate if borders are too close and overlapping, this is variable according to how I set the AI's specific personality. So I'll get back to this and continue to add more reason's\calculations to modify relationships.
The big step will be adding the functions for the AI to evaluate declaring wars and wanting peace etc. I'm going to add overall goals for each AI personality (some can be the same of course). These will determine who it is more likely to ally with or go to war with. An example would be if the AI's goal is galactic domination it would be more likely to ally with a weaker empire or 2 to allow it to declare war on it's nearest military rival. Another example would be if the empires goal is financial domination that it would probably just be focused on strengthening its internal protection and forming alliances with any large empire to increase trade etc. others might even just want galactic peace, research, etc
I'll be happy once I get the AI overall goals in and it making decisions based on the final outcome it wants. After that I might start working on the ship design windows and functions... seems like there is still so much to do even until it's close to playable. Oh well keeps me busy for now :)
Happy to hear any suggestions or feedback on the current ideas and screenshots if you have any?