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Designing dilemmas : any solution?

02-26-2014, 02:24 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Barcelona.
Posts: 72
Designing dilemmas : any solution?

Dear TA community,

one of the things i find fascinating about game design and development are the 1001 small decisions needed to be made in the game development process.

bellow i am sharing a post as it appears on our NAFNA BLOG, and i would like to hear responses as to similar dilemmas and solutions, hoping this may become a "open book" with valuable insights for the game designing community.

what design dilemmas do you face?
how do you solve these dilemmas?


here is the original blog post content:

"In game design, and this is one of the things that in my point of view make it so interesting, you have to make choices! many many choices.

there are easy choices, those in witch the solution is data or analytical driven. not that it is always easy to find the correct data, but once you have it, the decision is easy; an icon design issue? no problem, test test and test, eventually you will find a CTR, and the numbers will whisper to you: a 2,4 click through rate is higher than a 2,13 click through rate! now the choice is easy!?

i found this quote on the holy grail of internet knowledge, wikipedia;

“In engineering, a design choice is a possible solution to a problem. Given a design task and a governing set of criteria (design specifications), several conceptual designs may be drafted. Each of these preliminary concepts is a potential design choice. Many never advance beyond the preliminary phase; those that are developed to the point where they could actually be applied become the pool from which the final selection is made. This process stems from the principle that there is usually no uniquely right way of accomplishing any task.”

the difficult choices are those that apparently have no “mathematical”, “logic” or “data” favoring … the decision is more of an artistic challenge the a scientific challenge.

bellow i describe one of many DESIGN DILEMMAS we have/had with the level_menu of Asslay Gore our coming endless hack&slash.



all design dilemmas occur from a situation of observation, shall it be from team members or from test users.

1. in this specific case it has been from test users: the top image the “test” was the level_menu screen that we used during the Indie Prize showcase in amsterdam. a simple observation led me to conclude that the users did not understand that what we thought to be a very good “ENTER” button, was actually a ENTER/PLAY button … and made no use of it – BAD DESIGN! conclusion: we need new design.

the second image; the “definition” is the first sketch layout i made, to pass to the design team. in it i try to point out to all the needs we have in the new level_menu design: i wanted a clear recognizable PLAY button, i wanted a HELP/TUTORIAL button, and the option to go back to the MAIN MENU/HOME page.

the following three images vs1 vs2 and vs3 are results from a round of Visual Storming … like brain storming but with images …

eventually you have to make a decision.

in this case, we did not like any of the Visual Storming results and opt for a different solution (not final) all together: build a spacial tutorial level, that must be played before this, or any of the following 5 levels can be played.

is it the best solution? i dont know, for this we will have to go through the same process again and again until we are happy: test, test and test.
02-27-2014, 04:50 PM
#2
Joined: May 2010
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 295
I think you are getting ahead of yourself, wasting time on such trivialities isn't important, any menu will work, as long as the user can understand it, if they can't, then fix it, why not use some words? 3 words and it doesn't matter what icon you use, and 100% of people will know exactly what you mean.

Developer of RTS Machines at War 3 for iOS, Mac, Windows.
RTS Land Air Sea Warfare for Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows, Mac
Games for iOS, Mac, & Windows - Dev blog

02-27-2014, 06:14 PM
#3
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 990
Getting the user to the game quickly is important but the menu is close to the least important part of the game.

With something as minimal as this I would suggest having the game in the background.

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
Time to measure - Brain challenge https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time...820864672?mt=8
The light box, can you solve it (free) (on google play too)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-...6300?ls=1&mt=8
02-27-2014, 08:47 PM
#4
Designing a good, user-friendly UI is important. Luckily there are a lot of knowledge already existed in this field.
You can read books on UI/UX design like "Don't make me think",... Though most books focus on web UI design, it's applicable for games too.
02-28-2014, 12:50 AM
#5
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Barcelona.
Posts: 72
"dont make me think ..."

good morning liteking, Destined, Rasterman and friends ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by liteking View Post
Designing a good, user-friendly UI is important. Luckily there are a lot of knowledge already existed in this field.
You can read books on UI/UX design like "Don't make me think",... Though most books focus on web UI design, it's applicable for games too.
great quote! "DONT MAKE ME THINK" ... and other tips "Getting the user to the game quickly"

Raterman, we want to avoid words for the simple reason that we want people from Korea, France, Peru, Kongo and all nations play the game comfortably not only english dominators.

and i don't feel we are wasting time. we are an Indie studio! we have limited capabilities, so with in our limitations we must push 100%! and MENU design helps to build the over all look&feel of a game! it transmits our efforts.

i am posting here our almost final layout design ... look at it and tell me: is it not more friendly than the "out come" design?



thanks for the advice! even if not always agreed to, all is taken in consideration.
02-28-2014, 01:06 AM
#6
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 990
Personally I think if you having one level per screen and swiping, "the test" version is probably the best with the icon changed to home.

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
Time to measure - Brain challenge https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time...820864672?mt=8
The light box, can you solve it (free) (on google play too)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-...6300?ls=1&mt=8
02-28-2014, 10:23 PM
#7
If you want to know more about this field, I suggest going to Amazon and do a search for "UX" or "User Experience", you will find lots of good books there.
I've been reading a few, and they are extremely helpful
03-01-2014, 03:49 AM
#8
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Auckland
Posts: 115
I think the home button is a bit too prominent. You really want to guide users to click to play the level, so why are you giving equal importance to going back to the home screen.
03-02-2014, 03:24 AM
#9
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Barcelona.
Posts: 72
play? home?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyJoe View Post
I think the home button is a bit too prominent. You really want to guide users to click to play the level, so why are you giving equal importance to going back to the home screen.
very good point! thanks Onlyjoe ... we will take that in consideration, and now we have a rule #247 in UI design: its the "what do we want users to do?" question that should dominate our UI design.

and thanks all for the feedback ...
03-02-2014, 03:53 AM
#10
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 990
I assume the ticket thing is the level, why did you choose not to make the ticket the thing to click?

Please follow me on twitter @JamesDestined I post lots of development from both my game creation and professional development.
Time to measure - Brain challenge https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time...820864672?mt=8
The light box, can you solve it (free) (on google play too)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-...6300?ls=1&mt=8