Saturday, February 23, 2008

Top 10 Usability Guidelines for Games

UI guidelines for games ...

"Pre-game

Appropriate opening display and main menu implementation

* Use a splash screen for an emotional opening sequence, but limit the number of displays before the actual game to the minimum.
* Implement the game's main menu with custom graphics.
* Avoid using UI components with standard graphics.
* The left softkey should be used for Select or the Options menu, the right softkey for Exit/Cancel/Back.

* Design the game so that it does not require the user to press two keys simultaneously, as this may be difficult on the small keyboard.
* Use the navigation key as a primary game control. Users should be allowed to move with the navigation key and select items/perform actions with it.
* Use only one key for one command.
* Inside the game, the left softkey should pause the game and bring up the main menu or a pause menu. The right softkey is optional – it may be disabled completely. If enabled, it should be used for exiting the game (with confirmation).

Game experience

Pause and save

* Single-player games
o Provide save game capability (except for very short games).
o Provide pause game capability.
* Two-player games
o The game should go into Pause mode for both players if one of the players is interrupted. It must be possible to continue the game.
o The player who was not interrupted should receive information about why the game is being paused. For example, “Waiting for the other player to continue.”
* Games with more than two players
o Design games so that the interruption of one player does not interfere with the other players’ game. The interrupted player’s game can be switched to the background without pausing the game or the player can be dropped from the game. The preferred action depends on the game type.

Provide feedback

* Provide appropriate status information depending on game type (for example, character health, ammunition, score) clearly. Make sure the amount of status information is not excessive – one or two status indicators are plenty for most games.
* Provide clear feedback on essential elements in the game: when a level is completed, when a bonus level is reached, when the players achieve something (score a goal or kill an enemy).
* Essential elements need visual feedback so that the game is playable without sounds.
* In multiplayer games, provide clear feedback about who has won and lost. Communicate to the user about his/her performance by using “you” instead of a name or color symbol.
* In multiplayer games, after the user has sent a challenge to a friend, provide feedback that the challenge has been sent successfully"    (Continued via Forum Nokia)    [Usability Resources]

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