Jump to content
  • Advertisement

User Interface: a simple UI you can switch off

Glasshalfpool

1009 views

It's always been my goal to have as little UI as possible, one that tells you everything you need to know and not a single item more.

Like any game, Tokyo Light Cycle needs to convey certain information to its player. There are things the player can do in certain situations and not in others and they need feedback to tell them what they can currently do.  

Currently, the UI for Tokyo Light Cycle looks like this:

in-game-UI.thumb.jpg.fbe95016e98f782d2ecfd5ca32b51684.jpg

The UI can be broken down into three section. Lap times, Health and Speedometer. Lap timer and health are self-explanatory but due to the nature of the gameplay the Speedo conveys (for a racing game) quite a lot of information.


Start of game

  • Current speed: Red line shows selected speed (in the below example 0).
  • Available speed: White area shows available speed. Grey area shows speed yet to be earned.
  • Charge status: The word "empty" denotes the current status of the charge bar
  • Charge bar: The charge bar itself is visible (and also empty)

in-game-UI_speedo-initial.jpg.ff8ee3f471ad8c1f0213da03048d9c72.jpg

Gameplay begins:

  • Current speed: Red line moves to current max as accelerator is held
  • Charge status and bar: Bar fills and status changes to "charging" as players drifts

in-game-UI_speedo.jpg.d3c0b70b6bd7de544b4e3b11ceaabb9c.jpg

Charge bar full:

  • Available speed: In this case the player has unlocked level 3 speed.
  • Charge status: When the bar is full the words "Cell Full" with a button prompt tell the player the charge is ready to cash in

in-game-UI_speedo-full-charge.jpg.1091e9f50852e23f0fa2b75627471eb2.jpg

I designed this and for a while I was pretty happy with it...

...then I realised that a racing game, by its nature, demands your attention is fixed on the road ahead at all times and that relying on the UI at all to make the game playable is probably a really bad idea.

The world is the UI

The answer of course is obvious. The UI isn't the only thing that tells the player what's happening. Visual and audio cues of different kinds convey this information much more effectively than even the most elegent UI can manage. Whether its the whoosh and boom that accompany a filled boost bar in Burnout, or the way a powerup appears next to your racer in Mario Kart (an upgrade from the original where it just appeared in a box) the information needs to be conveyed in the most effective way, and for a racing game this means a way that doesn't force the players eyes away from the road.

So, this created a whole new goal: to have the entire game playable without any UI at all. Could the UI be something you can toggle off in the menu? Can all the necessary information be conveyed in-world?

I recollect how Dead Space handled showing player health on the player's back:

image.png.9fd797d289a266172a6845f522ea9f48.png

Or the addition of ammo count to the actual gun in Halo:

image.png.dae02803f4b5ed1b7ec53a6af70dc30a.png

Both conveying important, gameplay-relevant information right where the player was already looking.

So the ideas begin to flow and like many other aspects of Tokyo Light Cycle, I find myself taking inspiration from Akira:

The crackle of electricity on a wheel.

image.png.af5fa0166bc264bad2c1a7e8d2556484.png

The afterglow of tail lights:

image.png.0729528704613b837f06decb9eedc8e8.png

Thanks for reading.

J.




0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!