Pathfinder: Kingmaker Update #17, $549,236 and Counting

After taking a day off, the folks at Owlcat Games bring us a new Kickstarter update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker. This particular update is an important one since it talks about the ins and outs of building a Pathfinder character and the challenges of transferring those systems into a CRPG. We get a detailed explanation and a bunch of sample character screens. Here are a few introductory paragraphs, and you take it from there:

Creating and developing your character is one of the pillars of any RPG, be it a computer game or pen-and-paper gaming. Most beginners find this process very complicated. A lot of them make their first characters with the help of experienced friends learning the rules, tricks, and nuances on the way. The Pathfinder Role Playing Game provides a deep, rich and complex system for character generation, which allows creating characters, which are interesting to play with, follow archetypes players want and feel useful not only in battle but also in exploration or social interactions. These characters could be quite simple, consisting of just one class, skills, and feats selected from recommended lists and some class features; or characters could be a complex build from several classes, each of them modified with archetypes, complete with carefully picked skills, traits, feats, and spells from myriad of rulebooks and equipment that complements the character's strengths.

We really like the depth of this system, and we use it to create those complex and nuanced characters that together are capable of overcoming any challenge in the pen-and-paper adventures we play. And it is one of our most important goals to provide that same freedom and depth to the players in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. For that we need to make the description of the character as clear as possible, providing information for the elements that are already present as well as for those that will be available for the character later. And that makes creating our UI a great challenge. Our UI designers started studying various charsheets, which elements of the development they show and in which way, as well as how those elements are grouped. Next came applications that help with character generation as they are solving the same task we had ahead of us, but covering more choices and providing enough information to simplify the entire process and greatly reduce the amount of time required to create a character.

We tried to combine all of the information on one screen, but it always became a cluttered mess of icons, numbers, and lines of text. There is just too much information to fit on one screen, even if somehow we managed to achieve that, the result would be rather intimidating for... well, essentially everybody, as even dedicated players would have to spend a lot of time finding the elements they are looking for. We decided to separate all of the information into several tabs, each dedicated to one specific facet of the character. We tried various iterations on how to divide the information and how to present it on each tab as you can see on the picture below. Just for the first tab our UI team created 16 different versions until we came to the result we really liked. You can see all of them in the picture below. A bit of warning: those are all concept screens[...]