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This week's Ale Abbey dev review: progressing with the UI, even more environmental detail, and... barrels!

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If you told us we would be this hard at work on Ale Abbey's UI a couple of months ago, we wouldn't have believed it... Suddenly, as soon as we verged closer to the subjects of UI and UX, we got sucked right in. Thankfully, both technically and artistically, we were able to put a lot of questions to rest really fast and managed to come through with some amazing results.

And, as always, we're not only working on one front; we won't drop last weeks' worth of work on the exterior until it's done and we're slowly moving to our next dev targets.

Let's jump right in!

-- UI and Quality of Life

As you might have seen from today's banner, we have made a few breakthroughs in the Monastery's Storage UI. Pretty significant breakthrough, as deciding the minute details about the Storage system will directly affect other gameplay elements - i.e. the ordering system you'll use when you come face to face with the Merchant.

Emiliano has been hard at work with his nose inside some unquestionably vital reading material (focused on design, UI, and UX) and with the help of our intrepid pixel duo, Fransesco and Raimo have been working on how to make that UI pop!

The obvious difference from last week's state of the UI for the Storage makes us very proud for many reasons. It's not only nailing the aesthetic direction we are taking. Behind all these bags, jars, tooltips full of information, and an accompanying ledger (which you can't see on the example above because it's still WIP), there have been LOTS of suggestions coming from the entire team and painstaking trial and error; all to make things look and feel smooth. There are no corners we would cut in our effort to increase the quality of life in Ale Abbey's gameplay.

-- Work on the Outside

Although it does not carry the same grandeur as the mountains or the sky around Ale Abbey, the very ground the Monastery finds itself on also needs to have the same appeal as the rest of the surroundings in both detail level and theme.

In the following screenshot you won't only see some more character in the grass in the forefront, but also bumps and small hills on the middleground (same level as the base of the Monastery, nesting the dirt road) just "above" the grass and "below" the mountains and peaks in the background. The outside looks more realistic and full of character than ever.

And for an even closer look at the grassy exterior...

-- Cellars' UI on focus!

A new member of our programming team, Gianmario, has been hard at work with our next target, the Cellars. Don't worry there will be a post introducing him soon enough ;)

Part of his first assignment is the preparation of the Cellar for accommodating the management system for storing prepared beer in the Cellars' barrels. You can expect a lot more updates on this, as soon as we're done with the extremely difficult task of nailing the Storage and Ordering UIs!

For the time being...

-- Can you cook with beer?

Of course, you can. You crack one open, throw some steak on the grill and enjoy the breeze while drinking your favorite brew...

All kidding aside, here's a resounding yes! Like any alcoholic beverage, beer can also be reduced, lose its alcoholic edge (and content), and accentuate the deepest flavors that define it. We know many will be surprised, but wine is not the only contestant that brings complexity to a dish. Beer, albeit not as acidic, has been long sought after for its capacity to carry complex flavors.

So... general cooking rules still apply, light flavors will call for lighter, simpler beer types, and heavier flavors will need to be accompanied by something with a lot more oomph:

  • chicken and seafood - cooks great with discreet wheat beers
  • pork, beef, lamb - ales, porters, and stouts will hold their profile well
  • game - you guessed it, Belgian ales
  • stews and cheese/fat-heavy dishes - try nut-brown ales
  • desserts (go all-flavor!) - pair amazingly with the fresh and quirky fruity beers

And when it comes to how you can use the beer:

  • Soups and stews (use beer as part of your stock)
  • Fried stuff with beer batter (it's addictive, you have been warned)
  • Baked goods, be it bread (there's yeast in beer, remember?) or desserts
  • Marinades and sauces (as potent an ingredient as wine!)

A fantastic example comes from our very own Lead Dev, Emiliano, who happened to cook some salmon and decided to go overboard. So, honey-soya marinated salmon, with Witbier, sourcream and watercress sauce, with a side of potatoes fondant.

And that's how another busy week comes to an end! Thank you for your time and enjoy your weekend responsibly ;)

-- Hammer & Ravens

Do you want to know more about Ale Abbey and chat with the team? Find us on:

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