I'd quote tjwhale's post and write QFT but that seems to have gone out of fashion since we left the old forum. Needless to say, that's exactly what I was trying to get at but couldn't quite deliver so convincingly.
This too is the right argument for having the editor button on-screen at all times. Even when buttons are unavailable the player needs to know that they'll be available eventually, especially for what is arguably the most important action they can perform. If combined with the right reproduction meter design, they'll get the gist that filling up those bars will enable the button without ever actually having to be told anything.
Hmm...I might have an even better solution. Have a single long bar but divide it up horizontally by compound. This seems like the most intuitive solution for me.
We should probably start considering iconography. There are two sections to decide upon: icons on buttons and panels, and the dedicated icons for compounds/organelles/biomes used throughout the GUI (and even in for game guides in the future).
I'll make a separate thread for the latter, but we can discuss button icons here. It was another of the previous GUI's biggest issues, leaving some players in the dark about what exactly they're doing. The idea was to get rid of as much text as possible, but the replacement images didn't exactly convey what they needed to.
We need icons that are relatively simple, can have their colour scheme adapted to that of the GUI as a whole, and are easily understood. Some could incorporate text.
For the moment I'll stick with the environment and list my ideas for each of them:
- Menu - I quite like just the "arms" of the Thrive logo for this, although I do feel it may not be the clearest thing in the world to represent a menu. Perhaps having text as well wouldn't be so bad?
- Processes - I'm thinking something related to chemical reactions. A test tube maybe? Or a chemical structural diagram?
- Suicide - If we're going for morbid, a skill and crossbones could work. I can't really think of a better icon to represent death.
- Editor - We could keep the cell splitting idea from the current GUI, but I think it should be clearer that's what it is. Perhaps show a simple progression from one cell to two? Or would that be too complicated?
- Fossilise - I remember this being discussed in the old thread, and the consensus was a fossil ammonite.
- Quicksave - Erm...really not sure. I think the pause menu options in general should have text as well as an icon for clarity's sake.
- Resume (which I forgot to include in the mock-up image) - A play button.
- Save game - Floppy disks are the universal symbol for saving, so I'm thinking a floppy disk.
- Load game - Similarly, a slightly open folder.
- Statistics - A simplified graph.
- Help - A question mark.
- Options - A gear, which was what I tried to make for the previous GUI. I used the asterisk from ~sciocont's Thrive font, which in retrospect may not have been the best idea.
- Exit to main menu - A cross accompanied by text saying "Main Menu".
- Exit to desktop - A cross accompanied by text saying "Desktop".