Arvy Profile picture
Dec 29 19 tweets 6 min read
Would be difficult to give an answer in a thread without sounding a bit reductive, but I'll try my best!

The way I personally see it, the #UI #UX tendencies are shaped by such factors as:

1. The economy (the main one)
2. Accumulation of knowledge
3. Software/Hardware


1. The economy - since we're living in a profit-driven system, this inevitably impacts all facets of our lives, eg video games

Within such system, the pursuit for the most effective ways of extracting profit can oftentimes lead to standardization of approaches and practices

Which in turn leads to trends.

A lot of the titles in the 2nd picture are AAA 3rd person action-adventure games with RPG elements. Some are GaaS'es. All of them seem profitable and safe by the people willing to invest in the ever-growing costs of developing a AAA game.

In turn the cost of an investment mistake increases every year and (arguably unreasonable) demand for constantly growing profit-margins creates certain constraints for the developers

This may lead to "this is how you make a game" template

Which is not a new thing

Remember the countless arcade clones? The platformer craze of the early home consoles? The Doom clones of the 90s?

Heck, look at the mobile market of the last 10 years

Once the markets lose their novelty, such standardization becomes ever-present

2. Accumulation of knowledge - the business thinks only about money, however the developers themselves tend to care much more about the craft.

Thus through practice and research certain solutions tend to be viewed as more user-friendly, effective, practical.

Remember that a lot developers through 80s-90s-00s were pioneers in the field. They had to come up with concepts and systems that we take for granted now.

How do you show HP? How do you control a character? How do you start a game even?

Nobody knew, this had to be invented
[As an aside - I highly recommend this video by Ahoy called Chicken-O-Meter. It's about health bars in video games.


Great stuff!]

And with that - someone could get lucky and come up with something brilliant and convenient the first time they made a game.

But usually the results were wild and all over the place. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes... not so much.

It takes rounds of iteration, practice and knowledge-sharing to achieve desirable results - to make the games understandable, convenient, accessible.

So UI/UX is all about iterating, gathering data, learning and, well, iterating again.

Just as Halo's control scheme became a de-facto standard for console FPSs
Enough people became comfortable with certain ways they use inventories in RPGs

It means that devs have accumulated enough data to come up with more user-friendly solutions, with their own quirks too

This doesn't mean that such solutions and approaches are infallible. That they are "objectively" and undeniably correct.


This can mean, however, that according to our shared knowledge it seems to work for a lot of people, for certain genres. No need to dismiss that.

3. Last but not least - software and hardware constraints.

By software I mean the tools that allow UI designers, artists and programmers to implement the ideas and concepts that they come up with.

If the engine (and the budget, ahem) doesn't let you make a cool 3D UI...
13/? just won't have a cool 3D UI, no matter how creative or usable or beautiful it might be.

Whether you're making your UIs with built-in engine tools, Flash, Gameface or whatever else - there are always technical constraints that inevitably influence our decisions.

And "Hardware constraints" means platforms, input methods, processing power.

Making a game for Switch, PS5, PC, mobile or a VR headset requires different UI aprroaches, different UX expertise too.

Standardized controls and layouts help with cross-platform development...

...but even then the experience of browsing through menus in, let's say, Assassin's Creed on PC and console can't be identical, there are inevitable differences.

The popularity of the platform can be a factor too, impacting the player expectations and production trajectory

In conclusion.

Like I said before, I always root for more diversity in AAA space in regards to genres, mechanics, stories and of course UI.
Although I don't think at all that UX standardization is a negative.

However, just as with any sort of streamlining...

...I mean streamlining in art specifically - we need to be aware that with time it might lead to a certain cookie-cutter, conveyer-belt quality of AAA products

Like in music, the fact that earworms work doesn't necessarily mean that they are the pinnacle of the art form :)

In the end, if we (as gamedev workers) would like to influence the current state of things more, and avoid the conveyor-belt vibes, I think we need to do something about the underlying economic factors first and foremost

But it seems like a topic for another conversation!

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More from @Arvydas_B

Feb 6, 2021
A quick #UI doodle for #screenshotsaturday

and a THREAD:

On stealth gauges, detection meters and some nerdy #UX thoughts on modern stealth
I'd like to talk about visibility meters.

In my mockup for a pretend stealth game it's presented as this drama mask.

The idea for it to be gradually filled from right to left the more our player character is exposed to light or becomes more noticeable in any other way Image
Functionally this serves the same purpose as the stealth meter in early Splinter Cell games.…

I'm talking about this fella: ImageImage
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