In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, three DigiPen students consider what went right and what went wrong
while making their senior year game, P.H.L.O.P.
, otherwise known by the catchy name Physics Has Limitless Observable Possibilities
In this excerpt, the students explain why interface design played a crucial role in P.H.L.O.P.
“Focusing on a usable experience greatly improved the playability of P.H.L.O.P. We heavily researched how other games had made a complicated user interface accessible to anyone. A lot of thought was put into how the player would interact with the widgets and how buttons and menus should flow.
We focused concretely on aspects of the interface that were vague, confusing, or missing. We added tooltips (the text that pops up when one mouses over a button), hotkeys, icons, and a messaging system to help keep the player informed of what is going on in the user interface. Interaction with the widgets took several iterations to evolve the interactivity to a level that was natural. Experimentation with the user interface was a huge asset; we did not ignore it as a way to get to the gameplay, but understood that it was a large part of the experience.
To help this rapid prototyping of the user interface we developed a state-based C++ script environment for the menus. This allowed the ease of a scripting language but the power of having the menus be part of the native code for the game.”
You can now read the complete postmortem
, which includes more from the trio of students on what worked and what did not in creating P.H.L.O.P.
(no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).