© Oliver Keppelmüller 2017-2018
UI Artist at Work
1st July 2017 by Peter Lebek
A QUICK INTRODUCTION
Hi, my name is Peter and I´m living in a small town in Germany at the edge of the Ruhr
Valley. Last year, I joined Oliver and Ilja on the upcoming Grand Tactician title as an artist.
My work on the GUI started at the beginning of Q2, 2017. Before The Seven Years War
(1756-1763) and Grand Tactician, I was working for many years on a mod called Europa
Barbarorum 2 for Total War Medieval 2. While working on many areas of EB2, my main
focus was creating units, "skinning", to be precise.
A "skinner" in EB2 was a person who created textures on blank 3D models, under the strict
eye of a historian. So not much has change for me. Hellenes, Illyrians, Iberians and
Machimois are the cultures I was mostly working on. Creating a unit was always team work
in EB2, and units often shared textures made by multiple people. The examples you see
here were mostly done by me.
After leaving the EB2 team I continued practicing digital painting and training my skills in
Photoshop. One day I happened to find Oliver’s game, The Seven Years War, and bought it
on the release day. I was very impressed with the work of only one person. I offered my
help on the commander pictures. My plan was to create more visual updates for TSYW, but
along came Grand Tactician...
As already mentioned, my current part is to create graphics for the user interface, after the
conceptual pre-work was done by Ilja and Oliver. Unlike in TSYW, we are trying to avoid
any bigger pomp to allow the player see more of the battlefield and the campaign map. The
goal is to create a clean and modern looking GUI, that is easy to understand. I try to keep
the visuals "clean" using only a few colours/shapes and some modern-looking transparent
backgrounds with minimalistic stylishing. The player will also have the opportunity to show
and hide many parts of the UI, according to his own preferences.
Finally, I hope one day you guys can enjoy the game the same way I enjoy working on it.
And now back to work!
Peter’s previous work in the EB2 modding community was “skinning” the 3D models.
An intuitive User Interface (UI) is important part of any game. As strategy games in
particular usually have a wide range of controls and functions, the role of the UI is even
greater, so player doesn’t get lost in all those buttons and icons.
The goal with Grand Tactician’s UI is to present a compact set of controls, with easy to
understand visual presentation and clear graphical design, utilizing common military
symbology, among other things.
The man tasked to pull this off is our artist, Peter Lebek. Peter is known for his previous
work in the Total War modding scene, working on the legendary Europa Barbarorum 2, a
total conversion mod for Medieval 2: Total War. Let’s have Peter tell some more:
The UI concept is simple, taking advantage of commonly understood illustrations, such
as military symbols. (NOTE: these are very early pre-alpha, and work in progress.)