The Inventory Story

Recently, we’ve been hard at work developing the inventory system’s UI and UX with added focus on accessibility for vision or motor impaired adventurers. Read on below for a look into our on-going process as we develop your inventory, one of the staples of every great adventure.

Obligatory disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress and is subject to change and any weapons or items on the screens below are placeholders.

Part I: The Bells and Whistles

The inventory is an essential part of your journey throughout the universe of Tau Station.  It is an intuitive and context sensitive-system with all the necessary functionality one might need traveling throughout the galaxy. But be wary, you can only carry as much as your body strength allows. If you don’t want to find yourself slowed down or even unable to take another step, you may need to let reason prevail and leave something behind.

The inventory system will also react to environmental factors whenever you’re accessing a particular feature. For example, should you be attacked mid-repair, the action will stop and calculate the amount or quality that you repaired before combat and will apply it accordingly as well as allow you to move should you wish to run away!

Part II: The Look and Feel

Both User Interface as well as User Experience are being factored into the design process as they inform both the feel as well as the functionality of the system. Beyond making sure the aesthetics will be pleasant and smooth, the inventory uses frames and background colors to denote both the rarity and category of your items and gear as seen below.

A screenshot of the open inventory, showing equipped items, installed mods, and carried items. An advertisement for stimulants says "Stim until you win."

The image below also showcases the way that clicking or pressing on a particular item brings up a tab that allows you to view it’s properties and see what actions are available. This has been designed in such a way as to accommodate different screen sizes and devices so that you’ll be able to see all the necessary information without compromising  your experience.

A detailed view of an inventory item, showing a "Ka-Bar" knife ("A simple but versatile knife, well-suited to both utility and combat"), its details, and the actions that can be performed on it (equip, drop, sell, send and repair).

Part III: Accessibility

We want everyone to explore the galaxy and, as we’ve previously touched upon, Tau Station is being crafted to accommodate as many adventurers needs as possible. The inventory system itself is using a number of methods to include both ease of use and accessibility for our explorers who may be motor or vision impaired.

To that end, we’re consistently maintaining and tweaking the balance of color and contrast in order to create and maintain a viable and distinguishable proportion of text against background to accommodate both color blind and low vision users.

Tau’s Station’s symbiotic relationship with keyboards and similar devices also plays a role in this. According to WebAIM, “Keyboard accessibility is one of the most important aspects of web accessibility.” Every action and process in the inventory and the rest of the game is designed to be accessible via keyboard or keyboard emulation capable software and devices. The same holds true for PDAs and similar touchscreen machines in addition to incorporation of alternative methods of relaying information through screen readers and similar apps.

It’s in the bag…

We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into your inventory bags and their development. It is still an ongoing process and subject to changes and evolutions, but we’re doing our best to make it another great part of your adventure.

That said, once you do begin to gather your precious items, making sure it stays in your bags is a different thing altogether. The galaxy is filled with loot hungry fellow travelers just itching to grab your stuff! Consider yourselves warned. Be wise and purchase yourself some storage (more on that soon).