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User Interfaces

User Interfaces

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User Interfaces

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  1. User Interfaces By Mathieu Leduc

  2. What is the User Interface(UI)? • Knows about any input/output hardware • Translates player actions into actions in the game world • Presents data needed by the player in the current situation of the game world

  3. General Principles • Be consistent • Give good feedback • The player is in control • Limit the steps to take action • Allow easy reversal of actions • Minimize physical stress • Don’t strain short-term memory • Group up related controls • Provide shortcuts for experienced players

  4. What the Player needs to know • Where am I? • What am I doing right now? • What challenges am I facing? • Did my action fail or succeed? • What do I need to play successfully? • Am I in danger of losing? • Am I making progress? • What should I do next? • How did I do?

  5. Example of shortcuts

  6. Example of shortcuts (cont.)

  7. Important point Do not taunt the player!

  8. What the Player wants to do • Move • Look around • Interact physically with the world • Pick up/drop objects • Manipulate fixed objects • Construct/destroy objects • Give orders to units/characters • Conversation with NPC • Customize vehicle/character

  9. What the Player wants to do (cont.) • Talk to friends online • Pause (even if temporary) • Set up game options • Save the game • Exit the game

  10. Define gameplay modes • Define primary gameplay mode (camera model, interaction model, gameplay style) • Define all the modes used in the game • Understand how game moves from mode to mode (flowchart)

  11. Designing gameplay user interface • Choosing the screen layout • Select visual elements that transfer info to the player • Define inputs

  12. Choosing the screen layout • Subset of screen • Overlay with the main view Find a balance between amount of space for main view and for feedback elements.

  13. Overlay example

  14. Telling the player what they need to know • What critical info needs to be showed to the player? • Appropriate feedback elements • Optional info which can be displayed

  15. Letting the player do what they want to do • Devise control mechanisms to allow player to interact with game • Ex: Move camera, participate in story, express themselves, talk to others • Map input devices to player input (Use similar games to help you map)

  16. Shell Menus

  17. Shell Menus (cont.) • Allow user to change options before starting the game • Can quickly get into the action with few button presses

  18. Simplify your game • Abstraction and Automation • Breadth vs. Depth • Avoid Obscurity

  19. Abstraction and Automation • Abstraction : No fuel consumption in racing games • Automation : Cars automatically shift gears

  20. Breadth vs. Depth • Find a balance between both when creating menus • Common actions are more easily reached • Allow hotkey assignments

  21. Avoid Obscurity • Main reasons menus become obscure: • Artistic overenthusiasm • Reducing UI screen usage • Developer familiarity

  22. Interaction Models • Avatar based • Multipresent (aerial) • Party based • Contestant • Desktop

  23. Interaction Models (cont.)

  24. Camera Models – First Person Perspective • Advantages: • Don’t display avatar often, save money on animations/textures • No AI for camera, all player controlled • Easier to aim weapons; Screen not blocked by avatar and no need to correct for perspective differences • May allow easier interaction with environment • Disadvantages: • Can not see avatar, customization not as enjoyable • Hard to display body language and facial expressions, less immersion • No use of camera for dramatic effect • Harder to perform some manoeuvers (jumping off cliffs) • Rapid movements can create motion sickness in some players

  25. Camera Models - Third Person Perspective • Camera Behaviours: • Can follow avatar direction, mostly used in flight simulators, can cause motion sickness • Camera slowly turns to face same direction as avatar (Super Mario 64) • Camera orients itself behind only after avatar has stopped moving, less common

  26. Cameral Models (cont.) • Active/Passive: Allow player to orient camera themselves • Intruding landscapes: • Make objects semi-transparent • Move camera up so it is behind player and wall Once the player moves, return camera to original position smoothly

  27. Aerial Perspective • Aerial • Top Down • Free Roaming • Context Sensitive

  28. Top Down • Can only see top of buildings • Player feels distanced from action • Easy to implement using 2D graphics

  29. Isometric • About 30 ~ 45 degrees from horizon • If player can control camera, draw correct number of tiles for objects • Allows player to see more of buildings and units, feels closer to action

  30. Free Roaming • Allows user to explore world at their leisure • Difficult to implement camera controls and teach them to player

  31. Context Sensitive • Camera moves intelligently to follow action • Generally used in avatar/party based games • Must define every angle for every possible character position • Can allow designer to create rich visual experience for player

  32. Other 2D Options • Single screen: Whole world displayed, camera does not move • Side Scrolling • Top Scrolling: Jamestown • Painted Backgrounds