Monday, November 06, 2006

Mobiles, design, and gameplay

Interface design features for mobile games ...

"In this article we will discuss some good and bad game and interface features. Many of the developers jumping into mobile-games are trying to recreate console and arcade style games. Although this is a very nice technical challenge that should have every developer tingling inside, it might not be the best thing to do and attempt. It's much better to look back at the early days of game design, when graphics all looked blocky and crap and when game design was an area that had alot more attention then console games get these days.

Interface simplicity

There are two major things you have to keep in mind concerning the interface and user-experience, first one is that most players will be picking up your game in short breaks. They need to be able to quickly start it, and quickly put it away without losing "everything". The second thing is that you are dealing with alot of non-technical people, without any or little gaming experience. So keep things simple and intuitive.

The first step of your game, not counting any splash screens or logo's, should be the question to use sound yes or no. Keep the question this simple, and use the softkeys for yes / no. Normally the left button is a positive action, so the Yes should be on the left, and the No on the right. This is to ensure that the player doesn't have to remember if she left the music option set to ON after quiting the last game. It's always a very emberrasing moment to have game tunes playing from your phone in the small crowded area's. - This however does not clear you from having the "music" option in the game menu! A player might want or have to switch it off or on while playing the game.

After this music-selection screen, the next step should be a fast transition to the game menu. Although a nice logo or other animation might be looking cool, it gets old very fast. Just show the menu, and make sure the player can start playing in only a few steps."    (Continued via orange.Pixel)    [Usability Resources]


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