Students in my Interface Design class were directed to take a game that we had designed in a previous class and create a full set of working user interfaces (UI) for it. Meters, health bars, these were things that we were familiar with, but what we did not know at the time was the depth with which interfaces permeated the mechanics of a game engine, and how they create the entire backbone of a game's design. Our preconceptions became upended and we quickly became educated upon the subtleties and complexities of a well-built user interface.
One thing that I discovered as I worked through the examples and practices materials in this class was that I had a love for fitting the pieces of a game design puzzle together, of saying "I would like players to be able to do this" and then figure out the multitudinous ways in which I could make that happen. There's a charm to building games that way, to thinking your way through conundrums in a manner that encourages interconnected relationships between different concepts, tasks, and events. While working on my game's user interfaces, I found myself drawing up many different possibilities, then working to distill them down to the most feasible UI for the game design that I had in mind.
In addition to "Tasks & Needs" analysis, layout diagrams, manual input designation, and mock-ups of screens, we also created breakdowns of the top five tasks in each of our games. These we analyzed to determine exactly which actions would need to be completed in order for those tasks to be undertaken successfully, and then from there determined the precise player inputs that would be required to make those happen. Every keystroke was broken down! These diagrams may be found in the attached PDF files. The backgrounds for each of the gameplay mockups come from the Sampson's Grotto environment that I modeled
. All other clip-art elements are a mixture of things that I made myself or made using commercially licensed 2D and 3D resources. The design work is wholly my own.