So most of the game has been designed and is working, what comes next? Making it look good… and making the UI make sense.
At first I just put buttons in as I needed them. Need a restart button? Here’s one. Need a stats screen? Here is a button to bring it in from off screen. Need a hint button? Getting a bit cramped but I can fit that. As you can imagine this did not look “good”. Functional, but not good.
So I did a pass to see what was actually needed. Obviously the main menu button and main control buttons (restart, hints, new puzzle for randomized) all needed to be visible all the time. But a few buttons could be hidden, such as the level select buttons and the custom difficulty select, when not in use. I also came to the decision that the hint button should be disabled after the player starts the game, since with player input the hints might no longer be relevant. As such I had the hint and restart buttons overlap with only one of them active and visible at a time (saving some screen space).
Back on the main menu it now starts with a selection for what kind of puzzle you want (classic, match, or “experimental” (still need a better name for that one)) and then slides in new options for if you want levels, random, or to go back and pick a new puzzle type.
While I am still deciding what the buttons are to look like, I am happy with the layout I have now created.