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The Games I dream of

I used to dream of creating games, but it's difficult to give up a life of comfortable hours and good pay to join an industry that churns through people. So I'm posting my game design philosophy here

Author: mrjimorg

What are you looking at?

Posted by mrjimorg Wednesday July 24 2013 at 4:16PM
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Game companies spend a great deal of money and effort creating beautiful landscapes which play host to intricately detailed creatures, some of which use the latest technology to dynamically morph in a given situation..... and the users never see it. Instead, the users and looking at the UI elements- Has that button refreshed? How's my health bar? Has anyone in the group or my guild sent me a message? For healers, the scenery never changes- they have to focus on their mana as well as the entire group's health bars to insure that no one ever dies. So, all that beauty is missed. Sadly, most often when you focus on the 3d world, you are looking down on your character in order to see what's behind you rather than looking out at the world .

Person A: How did you like that new area? 

Person B: It had nice carpet.

The gamer isn't in the game world, part of a group of adventures, fighting to kill a giant deadly scorpion- he's a guy sitting in a dark room managing the health bars making sure none of them fall too low. The UI isn't a part of the game- it's become the game. The User Interface is the part of the program that simultaneously bridges and separates the user from the game. The best interface is the one that helps pull the user into the world instead of focusing away from it. However, the user interface provides us with information that we need. But this information can be represented in a way that focuses the users attention on the world.

I'm happy to say that there are several games that have made a good effort in minimalistic design, and so I want to give them credit for this. However, I have yet to find one that takes minimalistic design truely to heart. Some examples (There are too many to list, but here's 3):

Tera online uses the mouse for looking around, and requires the player to press Alt in order to release the mouse in order to click buttons

Everquest is the only game I've seen that set the default camera to be looking from the perspective of the character

Wow trains people to know their hotbar by touch and to focus on the targets and world.