working title: MOLD

working title: MOLD

production blog

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

my weakest discipline…

June 30, 2016

160626_3d_interface_header

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… is without any doubt interface / icon design. It is hands down one of the biggest obstacles (actual content creation is the biggest ;) )  I’ve faced since I started to work on the game and it’s still a big one to overcome. Lets take the basic control interface as an example (..of my design insecurity and painful suffering in this case ;) ).

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the first concept, a verb based interface

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the original plan (back, when I experimented with Visionaire) was to have a “Day of the Tentacle” style interface. Six verbs, static and always visible in the lower half of the screen, nothing too fancy. So, in 2012 I started to work on the first tests….

interface_old

the text was painted digitally, then mapped on to 3D grids in Softimage and rendered with Arnold (please note the complete unnecessary shadows and depth of field :) ) the main reason to move the 2D text into the 3D realm was primarily the way better animation capabilities, but in hindsight, it just was a big time-sink and should have stayed in a simple on/off concept-quality.

(I somewhat like the oldschool feel, though)

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the switch to Unity and a new temporary coin interface

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After my first tests in Unity4 (and with an early version of the AdventureCreator asset) it was getting clear, a ‘coin interface’ would be the best and easiest control method to implement (this phrase was ‘coined’ by Monkey Island 3)

151205_interface_icons_proto

It opens directly beneath the cursor, and seems to have become the standard interface of modern point and click adventure games. I grabbed some free icons from the web to test the game logic, while i drew version after version of 2D icons, but not a single one was really convincing or fitted the style of the game.

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my desperate move to 3D

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160626_3d_interface_icons

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so to get over this hurdle, I started to experiment with a 3D prerendered coin interface. The initial tests were pretty promising, so I dropped the 2D plan, and continued to build the icons out of parts of the protagonist. I’m still not 100% convinced of the idea, but the consistent look seems to fit quite well with the game..

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interface_rollUp

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so, what’s the reasoning behind the strange doughnut shape of the thing? Mold feels and controls quite differently compared to standard point&click adventures (you run fast and a lot ;) ), so it got really annoying when you double clicked on the set (to run), but hit a hotspot instead. The double click opened the menu and executed the choice in the center. With the hole, it simply opens and closes again, which helped to keep the gameplay fluid and intuitive.

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interface_explodeThe latest version (fully animated and hooked up in Unity)

That’s all for this time, feel free to tell me what you think about these controls! (either here or on facebook) ;)

–stephan

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