The USER INTERFACE
Once a player has logged in to a specific game of Ronin, there are four primary screens that can be switched between by the player:
Each primary screen sports the same button bar which gives the user a consistent interface to all of the primary screens.
The Button Bar
The most important role of the button bar is to allow the player to switch to the other primary screens. In addition is contains buttons for bringing up a slot for sending a message to another player and quitting the game. The button to switch to the castle view screen brings up a menu to choose which castle to view.
The News Screen
This is the first screen that the player encounters after logging in. It displays all pertinent events that occurred since the player was last logged in, like castles that have fallen to the enemy and characters that have been killed. Optionally, the news screen can display any part of the entire history of the game. This screen also contains the rumor mill, in which players can post arbitrary messages, and send email messages to other players.
The Map Screen
The purpose of this screen is to show the overall state of the game and to allow the player to plan strategy. A map of Japan is displayed, along with territory boundaries, castles, and armies. Each castle and army is decorated with the standard of the player who owns it, so the player can identify who owns what. The armies of players who are not logged in are not displayed. The player can scroll around the map and click on castles and armies to find out a little bit more information about them. Double clicking on a castle that is owned by the player results in transition to the castle view screen. The map screen can be zoomed out to view the entire country, or zoomed in to view a particular region.
The Castle View Screen
This screen allows the player to view a particular castle and its inhabitants in order to organize and give orders to troops during and in between battles. The view of the castle is from the top, and it can be viewed at 2 levels of granularity. The standard view shows an area roughly equivalent to the area that would be viewable by one character, and if a character is selected the view automatically follows the character. The player can select a character by clicking on the character (or lassoing a group of characters), at which point the character image and stats appear to the side of the castle view window. Selecting a character allows the player to examine the character's status and change its orders. The player who owns the castle can see the entire castle while the attacker can only see those parts of the castle that have been within viewing distance of a character at some point during the battle (and a band around the periphery of the castle that is automatically visible). Both players can only see enemy characters that are within viewing distance of one of the player's characters.
The Player Status Screen
This screen displays information about how the player is doing in the overall game. It includes information on current net worth, income, characters, vassals, lord, and alliances. This screen also allows the player to set expenditure levels, like the salary of each vassal and the skim factor on the player's gross income. The player can also activate and deactivate characters from this screen.
The secondary screens are those that the player cannot go to explicitly, but are encountered during normal play of Ronin. They include:
The Battle Negotiation Screen
During a battle, the castle screen contains a button for initiating negotiations. The button flashes and makes lots of noise if the other player is offering negotiations. If both players press the button, the battle is stopped and both players enter the negotiation screen. The shows what each player is willing to give up in order to stop the battle, including koku, characters, allegiance, and the castle itself. If the players agree to the current conditions then the battle is over. If either player cancels negotiations then the battle continues immediately. A chat is also available to augment communications.
The Castle Editor Screen
This screen allows the editing of the player's castles.
Before entering a game of Ronin, a user will encounter some the following screens:
The Login Screen
This screen is the first screen a user sees when beginning a Ronin Session. It requires the user to enter a name and password or choose to register. Every Ronin player must have a login account.
The Registration Screen
For new players, this screen allows input of pertinent information like name, address, e-mail, credit card, etc.
The Choose Game Screen
After logging in the player will be able to choose which game of Ronin to play. Multiple games may be available, some with house rules or time limitations.
The Company Store
This screen allows a player to buy character cards, software, and other paraphernalia.