Yeah, it’s been a bit hectic around here.  Just thought I’d post some links I found interesting over the past few days…

A couple good interface design links in this post over at We Can Fix That With Data (links #3 and #4 in that post).  I particularly liked the Information Design is Graphic Design article, lots of food for thought, especially for indie devs.  One of the biggest irritations of most indie games for me, so far, has been the at best mediocre (and some times, downright horrid) interface design.  It’s always the simple stuff, too, things like…

  • Don’t make your update patching process a full screen production (think they might want to do something else while you are laboriously moving that progress bar for the next hour?)
  • It’s tough, (believe me, I know!) but facing a screen filled with a hundred buttons, widgets, gizmos, and colored bars of every color including infra-black when you first log in is just a bit much.  Google the term “context sensitivity”… read, learn, apply.
  • The only thing worse than a screen cluttered with controls is a screen where you can’t find the controls.  At all.  Perhaps a pop-up describing the menu access hotkey would be appropos?  (And make it an annoying pop-up at that, one that makes the player read it to figure out how to get rid of it.  This tip is kinda… critical… after all.)
  • If you have mouseover functionality on your toolbar menus, try to put the descriptive text somewhere near the toolbar?  Having it on the complete opposite side of the page is irritating, at best…
  • Toolbar icons.  No offense, but try harder.  To quote: “What in the name of all that’s holy does a squiggle stand for?”  If all else fails, see mouseover functionality, above.

I know, it’s stupid.  I can deal with 8-bit sprites, but too many buttons will drive me away?  Short answer: yep.

Nice little musing about the process of creating design documents over at the Rampant Coyote.  I may have to try some of those pointers… I tend to get more verbose than he suggests, and it does tend to bog me down.

MMOCritic has been posting some design concept manifestos of a sort, one on faith systems and one of guild thief systems, so far.  Some interesting perspectives to try on for size, if you are searching for design inspiration.

Eh, better get a move on… more actual content this weekend (I hope).  Til then…