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Lionhead's Atkins On Overhauling Fable III's GUI, iPhone Inspiration

Discussing Fable III's inner workings with Gamasutra, lead game designer Josh Atkins talks about Lionhead's approach to streamlining the game's GUI, and ho
Discussing Fable III's inner workings with Gamasutra, lead game designer Josh Atkins talks about Lionhead's approach to streamlining the game's GUI, and how the team took inspiration from the iPhone. Slated to release on October 26th, the Xbox 360 and Windows PC game features a new GUI, or Graphical User Interface, that replaces the traditional 2D menu system featured in previous games with a collection of 3D rooms (e.g. Map Room, Wardrobe, Treasury, etc.) that players can access and interact with. "... it was one of our big things to reinvent for ourselves," says Atkins "We started out by asking ourselves what we hadn't done well, and we wanted to improve it. In Fable and Fable II, the GUI was fine, but it wasn't great." The designer talked with his team about how they could integrate the GUI for a more seamless experience: "We did a lot of things. We broke it down into the things that a player will want to do, and not so much focus on how to over engineer it to focus on the things they might do." "We wanted to focus on the things that a player will want to do, that will come up in the average play experience, and we tried to make those perfect and not worry about the sideways, outside stuff that could come up. We tried to make this as clean an experience as we can for the person who is having the experience we feel they should be having." The team even looked at the iPhone for inspiration on simplifying Fable III's GUI: "We did think a lot about something like the iPhone when we were looking at our GUI, because the reality is that it doesn't do everything, but what it does do is so good and so clean that you don't think about all the things it doesn't do." Atkins added, "I tend to look at [Apple's] stuff with great awe and admiration, and we definitely took a lesson about not putting the kitchen sink into every single feature but try to make it as smart and as clean as you possibly can." The full interview with Fable III's lead game designer Josh Atkins, which also offers insights on how Lionhead's team is structured and how that group works to realize Peter Molyneux's lofty goals for the game, is live now on Gamasutra.

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