UI design is one of those criminally overlooked areas of not just game design, but anything where someone needs to make use of an interface. When it comes to video games, designers have the added problem of showing the player all the information they need, while still being able to show the gamespace to the player. For today’s post, I want to explore the concept of a Focal Point and what that means for properly showing data.
Recently, I tried and ultimately found myself not enjoying the open-ended game Satellite Reign. One of the things that bothered me about the design and was a bullet point the developers were pushing, was saying that the mechanics would lead to “Emergent gameplay,” that would let the players shape the situations around them. Having given up playing the game, I did not find it to be emergent at all and I wanted to explore this concept further, because this is one of those dream game design concepts that designers can (and have) chase.
When it comes to successes, Blizzard easily has one of the best track records for their games; with each series becoming a brand unto itself. This kind of notoriety and brand recognition is something that most companies dream about for their products and Blizzard has been taking things further. With five different brands being supported, Blizzard has been using a very smart strategy to grow their fan base from just “Diablo fans” or “Starcraft fans” to being “Blizzard fans.”
Recently, former Bioware developers got together to pitch the Kickstarter for Mooncrest, a return of old school RPG design with modern combat. And while their pedigrees are impressive, they messed up with one of the most amateurish Kickstarter presentations I’ve seen this year. Kickstarter is no longer in the gold rush period set by games like Broken Age and Planetary Annihilation, and it’s important for would be Kickstarter project makers to understand what needs to be in a Kickstarter to avoid the same fate as Mooncrest.