1) Standard movement along the bar until you can choose your action.
2) The time between choosing your action and execution of it.
3) The cool-down period until you start moving on the time meter again.
What's the 4th period for?
I wanted the colors to feel somewhat like a normal progression, but I don't know if I pulled that off well.
I think you did. It doesn't have to be a smooth gradient from one color to the next -- in fact, the sharp decision helps the player know when he's entering and exiting a particular period.
I also created a couple of actor icons, a character and an enemy.
The background we choose for these icons depends mostly on whether or not they will be in color or black and white. I *highly* recommend we don't mix the two. If we choose colored icons (which is pretty much guaranteed), then a transparent background will work perfectly. It won't block the view of overlapped icons, and makes it simpler to gauge where you are on the meter.
The icons should definitely stack, not have separate sides like the red section of your bar shows (unless that was just to show the art).
We might want to adjust the distribution of how much length each state of the bar takes up
Well, obviously the idle part takes the most. But what we have to understand is that the visual length of the cool down period is going to be different then the time length of it. Visually it may be 75 pixels or whatever, but some characters may need to cool down for 5 secs, others none at all.
25x25 size for icons seems sufficient. If someone wants to try out other sizes (20x20, 30x30, etc.) feel free to give it a shot, but I'm not going to experiment further with icon size.
No idea. We'll have to play with it. It boils down to how well the size of the image represents the char's movement on the bar. The smaller the more accurate, but harder to see. 20x20 seems fine -- it's double the height of the bar, so it'll be easy to see.
I hope to see some insightful comments/suggestions on this post, especially from artists!