Archive entry by Ste Pickford on Tue, 02 Jun 2009
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Seriously Casual
This is a really early layout sketch for the Magnetic Billiards title screen.
We had an idea to use Victorian style big round brass buttons in the UI, and this was a layout to use these buttons as part of the main menu.
I even knocked up some 3D models of this stuff, but it didn't look very good and wasn't very flexible, so we dropped this idea fairly early on. We switched to a more conventional menu driven system (click the follow-up link above to see a more current version of the title screen layout). You have to try these things though, and you have to throw them away when they don't work.
I'm at a similar stage on our new project - sketching out screen layouts and initial UI ideas. It's fun and exciting, but very difficult too - sometimes there's just too many undefined possibilities at this stage of the desgin to pin down any particular screen layout or set of UI features.
The UI is so important though that it kind of develops along side the actual features of the game, rather than being subservient to the feature-set. If a game feature can't be neatly integrated into a simple to understand UI scheme, then there's a good chance we would look at dropping that feature, to avoid making the game overly complicated and off-putting.
It will be interesting to compare the sketches I'm doing now, with the end result in a few months time.