Strategy fans should know the beta for 4x game Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is humming along, soon to go into beta 4. Today I've got a set of screenshots for you which showcase the improvements to come, namely in the UI department, though you'll also notice they touch on settlement specializations and the returning resource Essence. See them below.
To clarify, once settlements reach a certain population quota, you'll be able able to pick a specialization which determines what improvements you can make to it. Going with the conclave, for example, focuses your city on research and magic. I like this as it streamlines development and gives each city more of an identity.
Speaking of streamlining, you don't have to manually place improvements anymore. Rather, it's done for you, saving tedium in the late game as well as memory (meaning better performance for you).
The UI is looking very clean, sharp, and more intuitive, though of course some hands on time and possibly reading of the manual may be necessary to get down the basics first. Meanwhile the cloth map is looking absolutely gorgeous, enough so it could be used for an entire game unto self in a different style.
Lastly, there's Essence. If you're not in the beta and aren't acquained with this precious resource, mages make use of it for powerful spells, city enhancements, and more.
Beta 4 is currently planned for August 16.