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[UI+UX] UI + Menu Thoughts

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    [UI+UX] UI + Menu Thoughts

    [Everyone, myself included, know that the game is in pre-alpha state. I'm not criticizing nor judging the UI, only extrapolating based on what we have right now. I understand that it's highly likely that many of the issues I mentioned below have been, or will be addressed. I just wanted to have my 2 cents in there, just in case]

    I'll start by first mentioning what a good game UT3 was in its core. If it weren't for the lack of proper UX goals and UI polish / available actions, the game could've been much more immersive and successful.
    UT3's UI lacked many features, and carrying out certain actions were very confusing (the social features in particular).
    I think the UI, particularly in-game and pre-game menus - are key to making an immersive experience, which leads to more players, staying in-game for longer sessions every time, and preferring the game in question over others - when it's time to play (think of how the opposite happens when you have a bad UI).

    I think I have 2 major points I'd like to discuss - the UX with the UI in general, and the UI elements used throughout the menus.

    Menu UX

    To make things more clear:
    UT99 was a pure windows-based UI. There was no primary window or action carried out, only many windows stacked on top of the other that didn't interfere with each other.
    UT2003/UT3 UI seems to have been aimed for managing a single action at every given time. You were either in the main menu, a sub-menu, or the mid-game menu. They all took up the entire screen.
    UT2004 was a hybrid of both concepts, leaning more towards UT2003 than UT99. uWindows were somehow still there, but not really, since you could only access one window at any given time (in-game menu, music player, chat log, etc.)

    With the new UT, the direction seems to be in favor of multiple "windows" at the same time, which is great. Unfortunately, the current state makes it very difficult to understand the window/action hierarchy as far as the menus are concerned. Am I in a hub right now? Am I staging a match? What's underneath the player card? Most menus and screens (other than settings menus) take up the entire screen, and you don't know what's going to happen when you exit that screen.

    Perhaps it'd be wise to implement a browser-UI approach to this issue. In other words, I'm referring to UT99's uWindows, with minimize-able tabs that can also alert the user when something's happening. There's some UX work that needs to be done to understand which tabs cannot be opened twice, or can be stacked (like most OSes do these days for multiple windows for the same program).

    Additionally, I think there should be a clear indication of what's going on at any given time, perhaps with a main tab, or by having the main tab (which is, essentially, the game, fragcenter, or a hub staging screen) serve as the background for the game. In that case, tabs can never take up the whole screen (just like UT99, only with tabs).

    Another general UX thought - I'd strongly advise profiling UX based on the devices used to carry out an action. For example, using the mouse to enter a chatbox breaks immersion, when instead you could do everything from the keyboard (press "T" and type). Same goes for changing palm orientation on the keyboard, that could essentially constitute a device change.

    Menu Elements
    I think the game menus utilize icons (and huge ones too, sometimes) very prominently, which I think shouldn't happen in PC-only, mouse-and-keyboard games that are highly likely to be played in front of a computer monitor and not on a TV from a couch.

    Mobile UIs and console UIs look sexy in screenshots and concept art, but PC gamers need old-fashioned "clunky" interfaces since they use different devices to interact with the program, and can hit 4x4 boxes very easily (which is nearly impossible on high-DPI touchscreens, or with a console controller's cursor).

    IMO, we should strive to use text for everything except the truly obvious drop-down menus, such as Settings. A new user might find the influx of icons overwhelming.
    In-game menus suffer from a different issue - I find it very hard to acquire the action I want to carry out in-game. The in-game UI is very unique since it has to be perfectly intuitive to be effective. Players will not have the initiative to start a single-player match just to investigate UI elements.

    I'll discuss the game's menus first, and the in-game UI second.

    When starting the game, you're greeted with FragCenter, and useful links on the left. However, the header bar (especially the two leftmost buttons - which appear to be "close all" and "reset/open server browser") is very confusing for several reasons, including those mentioned above under "Menu UX". If the server browser were to be its own, standalone tab, with the game's main screen serving as a default, persistent tab, this could be resolved very easily. The icons and their relationship with the screen have not been established. Am I going to take up the entire screen when viewing a player card? Is the server browser going to kick me out of my hub? What's going to happen to what I was doing when I click the "UT" button on the top left? Will I be able to go back to what I did?

    Additionally, as I mentioned above, I think the header shouldn't utilize icons for drop-down menus. I also believe everything should be scaled down since there's no need for so much mouse travel for drop down lists.

    As for the in-game UI, I'll just post a throwback to my vision here (please enter the thread for a complete run-down of the functionality and design):



    I was wondering if we could integrate more elements from my concept above into the game, while removing the top-left match summary text and replacing it with the current match stats table. I'm concerned with the current UI state because it takes time to acquire settings. The header bar suddenly has new buttons, which I find to be disorienting. An example would be the "Change team" button.

    This is why my UI concept introduced a bottom bar for current match/server-related actions, keeping the game menus on the top header.

    Additionally (and these could be considered bugs), you have to click the screen to start typing after pressing ESC. And the chat history no longer appears when pressing ESC. Both of these features were integral parts of my in-game UI concept (which, as I understood, was mostly accepted).


    Other Bugs / Additional Thoughts
    I think it's imperative that the user will be able to escape to the menus or run console commands at any given time (other than I/O intensive loading of matches, but not when connecting to a match, on the other hand).
    Right now, some screens prevent interaction with the game. An example - the newly-introduced "ready" screens (that show the teams).


    I've written too much
    I'll wait for some input from everyone to see if I should continue.

    Snir (DDRRE) out!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by DDRRE; 09-15-2015, 08:47 PM.
    Snir "DDRRE" Hassidim - Living and breathing UT since 2002!
    "When Video Games and the Enterprise Meet" - Read my chronicles of building a gamers club at my workplace.
    Facebook | LinkedIn

    #2
    Anyone? :X
    Snir "DDRRE" Hassidim - Living and breathing UT since 2002!
    "When Video Games and the Enterprise Meet" - Read my chronicles of building a gamers club at my workplace.
    Facebook | LinkedIn

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      #3
      Bumping....
      Snir "DDRRE" Hassidim - Living and breathing UT since 2002!
      "When Video Games and the Enterprise Meet" - Read my chronicles of building a gamers club at my workplace.
      Facebook | LinkedIn

      Comment


        #4
        After playing ut2 for so many years, I became attached to the UI
        Opening ut4 (I still have no idea what the launcher looks like) seemed.. odd to me, it was hard to figure out how and where to get to places, compared to ut2 where you had a drop-down menu with clear-to-read menu's all the way.
        I like the server/hub system atm, and the SP menu looks quite nice, its just the intro menu I don't quite agree with.

        Also, you seem lonely D: maybe my post will bring your thread to light.

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          #5
          Originally posted by MarkTheF4rth View Post
          Also, you seem lonely D: maybe my post will bring your thread to light.
          Last attempt to bump, I'd love to hear more feedback.
          Snir "DDRRE" Hassidim - Living and breathing UT since 2002!
          "When Video Games and the Enterprise Meet" - Read my chronicles of building a gamers club at my workplace.
          Facebook | LinkedIn

          Comment


            #6
            I'd only like to add (sorry that I'm only criticizing here, I love the game so far) that I find the current interface extremely confusing. This begins at server browsing (I don't know what a HUB is) and ends at the stats shown after the match.

            Finding matches without bots seems rather difficult as I have to click through all the hubs to find a populated server.

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