GUI Feedback Collation

So i asked my peers for feedback on my GUI at a specific stage, here are the results

Things they liked

  • Use of logo colour with buttons
  • Exo suit health bar looks cool, like part of the suit
  • It looks nice
  • Flows well between pages
  • Menu screen is well done
  • Easy to use

Things they didn’t

  • Not sure how options are going to be set out
  • Monitor shows nothing
  • Ululu health bar seems out of place and scruffy
  • Blank pages
  • Not a lot going on
  • Most screens are fairly basic
  • Options screen isn’t finished
  • New Game and Continue buttons go to the same thing
  • Arrows shouldn’t be imprinted onto the design
  • Lack of an inventory system

Suggestions for improvement

  • Make the buttons do something when you hover over them
  • Improve options
  • Show something on the monitor
  • Make an inventory system
  • More detail needed with Ululu
  • Ululu facial expression in Exo Suit HUD?
  • Make something move
  • Give more information, gets confusing
  • Have more things animated
  • Finish/Fix options menu
  • Distinction between New Game and Continue
  • Keyboard keys to cycle through pages?
  • Information interactive guide to show what screen is what, otherwise confusing.

Rabbit Heart GUI – Final Version Sample Screens & Self-Appraisal

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Here are a collections of a majority of the screens seen throughout the GUI. As you can see i took on-board most of the feedback provided. Instead of updating the options menu i decided to get rid of it. As a practical element of a game, yes it’s needed, but as an interactive piece that’s only representative of a game, i didn’t see the required need. I also decided to get rid of the New Game and Continue buttons as they didn’t serve much purpose either.

Self-Appraisal

Overall i think the finish product is sufficient. Obviously with any product, you’ll always have the inclination to do better, i could’ve easily took more time into making a working inventory system, but with the other changes that needed to be made and aesthetic issues factoring alongside my patience with Adobe Flash and i decided to leave it. Other than that i’m content that it works and that the design is aesthetically pleasing to the point where i would say that i’m proud with what has been achieved.

Rabbit Heart GUI – Version #1

Menu Screen
GUIScreen1

Mech HUD
GUIScreen2

Ululu HUD
GUIScreen3

These were the initial screens i had available before the time of feedback. I had an additional version after this that i thus lost in a corruption incident, but as they bore similar distinction and the later had little in the way of improvement, i decided to highlight this version as the ‘earliest’ incarnation that was used for testing. Top is the menu screen, bland being that it bears nothing to a menu whatsoever, initially i planned for the menu to be within the Mech and Ululu to ‘swing’ around on the chair but i didn’t see it as viable, given my skillset and or patience with Adobe Flash. The next screen is the Mech HUD and last is the Ululu HUD. The latter two are missing the in-game concept caps that i had in on the later version and have in on the newer versions.

Rabbit Heart Initial Sketch – Mech HUD

Photo 2013-04-08 11.02.18

 

Here is the initial sketch for the Mech HUD of the Rabbit Heart GUI. I initially thought that the inner workings of the HUD should reflect the outer aspect of the Mech by having the windowed elements be a combined reflective of a rabbits face. In this sketch are some other elements i thought essential to the design;

  • Health Bar – Or some reflective element that suggests or infers the state of the health of the Mech itself to allow the player to have a sense of mortality when entering it. 
  • Mech vs Ululu – Inside the Mech, Ululu is limited in her capacity for viewing being that she’s inside a mechanized rabbit and has only the viewpoint of how she can see out of it. In the open world on her own, Ululu this has more freedom and less viewing constraints that would be found otherwise.
  • Holographic Display – I felt the required need for Ululu’s face to be displayed in the form of a holographic display to allow her the ability to convey her emotive state throughout moments in gameplay.

Rabbit Heart Research

For this module, the task was simple: Create a GUI. But to create one of these, we needed a subject of interest. The chosen subject being the game currently in creation by Gareth Sleightholme and Paul Starkey, Rabbit Heart. The game is the tale of a young girl called Ululu lost in a strange world only accompanied by a semi-sentient Exo-Suit that is reminiscent of her childhood toy.

The gameplay in question has an arrary of different components yet to be allayed through its development. The task here is to postulate and create a Graphical User Interface that would best befit this creation in terms of what the user is asking for. From glance, it’s inferred that these components would be a necessity in design;

  • Main menu: The game has yet to be assigned a main menu splash screen as it is still in development. In terms of user interaction it would be fitting for the GUI to incorporate this into the product.
  • Exo-Suit HUD: A primary aspect of gameplay, Ululu takes control of the Exo-Suit and operates it. With this for immersive properties, this would then be needed to be incorporated. From inference the design would need to mirror one that would be suitable within a mechanized contraption such as the suit.
  • Ululu HUD: Moving throughout the world away from the Exo-Suit, Ululu is able to navigate the game on her own. This thus means that the player would need a heads up display (HUD) to help with navigational and other properties of the game such as a health system and inventory. The third-person perspective would give caution to the debate between diegetic and non-diegetic HUD’s because of the immersion factor, being that the HUD could be visable to the player and protagonist or just to the player. I think in an ideal world, the ability for the protagonist to also see the HUD would work best as the displays between Ululu and the Mech differ for protagonist visibility. But in terms of the style of game and the little amount of inferable technology that could be implemented onto the protagonist (See Dead Space with Isaac’s Health and Stasis bar on the back of his suit) it may be more viable to imprint it onto the display but with limitations on the amount of visable detractions to give a greater immersive experience.
    • Inventory System: I think in terms of the grand scheme of things and to better immersify the player, the inventory HUD should be confined to Ululu’s HUD but also not be detracting from gameplay.
  • Options: In any game they always allow the player to have the option of making changes to the game in certain ways, those being things such as; Changing graphical options, changing audio options, gameplay options, having the ability to save and load a game, etc.

GUI Research

For an assignment, we’ve been asked to research various GUI (Graphical User Interface) models present in current gaming material, to garner a greater understanding of what makes a good GUI to use as inspiration and a basis for an upcoming project.

Dead Space

Dead Space is a fairly unique game when it comes to the overall experience. Primarily because of it’s genuine ability to immerse the player in this ‘horror’ filled universe. The main way in accomplishes this its use Graphical User Interfaces (GUI), the way this game uses them is referred to as a ‘Diegetic’ display. Of which with this, the in-game protagonist(s) have the ability to see what the player can see. Thus conforming to the immersion by making the player and in-game character as one.

The effectiveness relies on the premise of the player being able to negate what is happening onscreen. Dead Space for example, displays the health bar by integrating it onto the protagonist Isaac’s suit, along with the bar for an in-game power that the character can use. The holographic screen becomes present when the player accesses the menu screen, enforcing the diegetic form as it’s present within Isaac’s eye range.

I think personally that the game really does execute the type of GUI tremendously, it’d be fair to say it’s one of the few games out within recent times to integrate a HUD system that doesn’t protrude too much onto the players screen, whilst making the player have to be wary of their surroundings. Sure other games that have a more fixated viewpoint, such as First Person Shooters can be classed as ‘diegetic’ because of the simplistic nature of the viewpoint, but Dead Space really does take advantage of its mechanics and revels in the benefits that it gives gameplay.

Prototype 2

There wasn’t any particular reason i chose this in particular, i just saw it as one of the more recent examples of basic HUD display that i’d seen previously. As a GUI, it would be referred to as non-diegetic. In the sense that the display is only visible to the player playing the game, a kind of dramatic irony in retrospect to in-game characters not being able to notice these aspects. Prototype 2’s GUI is particularily basic, as an open-world game it has the expected mini-map located on the bottom left of the screen. A health bar is located at the top left with the entire right hand side of the screen open for the player to take in the sights.

I included a menu screenshot on the basic premise that to get a better insight into GUI’s, it’s best to explore how each game is represented in terms of the interface the user actually uses. The menu is apart of that most definitely and in Prototype 2 it isn’t exactly appropriate. Not to detract from the game itself, but it has no direct correlation with the product, it is for all intents and purposes a basic interface with no desire on interacting with the player in any fashion other than navigating to and from the game itself.

Overall it’s a pretty basic GUI. It has limited related factors to the actual product, it just feels too basic and forced. I don’t know if that’s preference to diegetic forms or the sheer basic premise of this system.

Dishonored

This is another diegetic form of GUI, but in the sense that it’s reliant on the in-game perspective. Dishonored is an RPG played in the First Person Perspective. From this notion, anything the player sees on screen ‘could’ be inferred as being seen as information seen by the in-game avatar. The protagonist Corvo Atano is in possession of a magical mask that ‘could’ effectively cast the shadow of being a diegetic GUI. The screen includes a Health and Mana bar located to the top left, other than that the only indicators on screen are the ones inbuilt into the games interface and the cursor located at the center of the screen. These items are generally themed accordingly to the content and have an appealing look to them because of the fact that their not ordinary nor basic.  The menu system is fairly basic in structure, but the design artwork works in a way to make it more intuitive and more related to the content.

Overall i like the GUI, there isn’t much to see in terms of the in-game interface but the debatable fact here would be, is less more? When you see most First Person games of this generation, they tend to have similar GUI’s that give the player the information they need, but in terms of a design it feels too forced. With Dishonored it’s basic and simple, and it works. Give the player the necessities and no more, Arkane have really hit the sweet spot here.

Mass Effect 3

When it comes to Mass Effect 3, the GUI is fairly basic in its design. Non-diegetic from the principle that the protagonist Commander Shepard cannot see the display, the setting is a futuristic environment playing upon the Sci-Fi element within the game. In terms of presentation the in-game UI doesn’t detract too much from the gameplay itself because of careful consideration from the developers. By this, they’ve intricately placed the necessary onscreen interfaces away from the major viewpoints that can detract from user interaction. The health and shield bar appropriately placed below the protagonists back so that the player is most likely going to look in that direction as the third person perspective takes dominance for the player to look through an over the shoulder perspective.

The menu system is reflective of and is intended to be similar to using an in-game PC to check information. This enforces the Sci-Fi element again to the game and improves the relative factor to the player.

Overall i like the GUI. The theme of it fits with the game itself so it’s at least relatable, but in terms of ingenuity it doesn’t do anything other than what it’s supposed to do. I think Dead Space has left a lasting impression when it comes to in-game UI’s that i can’t shake.

Halo 4

The Halo universe is a known name within the gaming world. Following the tale of Master Chief as he scours the galaxy generally saving humanity from various alien races, he comes back with a vengeance in Halo 4. But the campaign isn’t what i want to talk about here. You see with Halo 4 specifically, the GUI caught my interest very much so. Being of first person perspective the ingenious GUI takes this into account aswell as Master Chief’s helmet and incorporates them into one. On the picture on the left above, is the in-game display seen through the players perspective. I found it quite interesting the use of general game mechanics that are required for display through the HUD to be used in such a manner that works in relation to the game.

The downside is the Menu UI. Having played the game personally, i have first hand experience in telling you how annoyingly strange it is. Above is merely a screenshot capturing the simplicity of the UI. In any terms of effectiveness, it displays the information it needs to but what it fails in, is its ability to navigate around which is in my opinion more important than design. Think about it, if a GUI is nice looking but terrible to navigate, is it really effective at being a Graphical User Interface or is it just a terrible UI that looks nice?

Overall the in-game GUI is a winner, taking the aspect of Master Chief and enforcing the immersion by giving the player the belief system that they are Master Chief. The menu system lets the overall package down by its lack of intuitive nature but it at least pertains to the futuristic setting similarly to Mass Effect.

Research:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4286/game_ui_discoveries_what_players_.php?print=1

Colour Theory

Is the theory given that there is a logical harmony to the things people see. In terms of this, the things you see are associated with specific feelings and emotions that resonate with specific colours. It involves the entirety of the colour spectrum, from the Primary Colours: Red, Yellow and Blue. to the Secondary Colours: Orange, Purple and Green. Onto the rest of the spectrum defined as Tertiary Colours. Generally speaking, the more important colours to concentrate on are the Primary and Secondary colours because of their distinct boldness, in terms of analysis the Tertiary colours that are generally defined by their mixture, take on traits from their respective originators and so don’t require too much distinction. Here are a few of the descriptive feelings associated with some of the colours;

Red

  • Danger
  • Romance
  • Anger (Angry Birds, Get it? Get it? …Ok…)
  • Health

Blue

  • Peace
  • Cold
  • Honour
  • Loyalty

Yellow

  • Happiness
  • Optimism
  • Liveliness
  • Warmth

Green

  

  • Neutrality
  • Nature
  • Calm
  • Honesty

Orange

  • Fire

Purple

  • Regality

Research

http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/communication/color_effect.htm