No Time To Play

Tag: user interface

A hierarchy of user interface tech?

by on Apr.23, 2015, under Miscellaneous

I’ve been wondering as of late if it would be useful to make a hierarchy of games by the level of user interface technology they require. For instance, the original Adventure only requires a teletype for output (and input, see below). Rogue already needs a character-addressable display, say a videoterminal. Once you can work with pixels, you can make anything from Dizzy to Doom. And then you have the vector displays arcades experimented with for a while, back when CRTs were still a thing.

Beyond that, things get more blurry. I mean, obviously most modern games require 3D acceleration, but that’s only a matter of quantity, not quality. It’s entirely conceivable that future CPUs will be able to render in software games we can only run on expensive GPUs right now. But for now the distinction may still be meaningful. Or is it?

Or we can look at input. Much has been written about single-key games, but what about games that can be played with only a D-pad and one action key? (Think feature phones.) Games that can be played with just the mouse? Never mind what can be played with the keyboard alone — that covers everything from the aforementioned Adventure and Rogue all the way to *Master of Orion*. But gamepad support on PC games is such an uncommon feature nowadays to warrant its own tag in various catalogs.

The question is, what could such an analysis teach us outside of a better historical understanding of how computer games evolved?

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Weekly Links #54: the big GUI rant

by on Jan.26, 2015, under News, Off-topic

It’s a week with no links again, so if you don’t mind I’ll take the time to rant on a topic that’s been obsessing me for a long time now. Be warned that this is only tangentially related to games.

But first, a signal boost.

I’ve never played Glitch, but I heard of it closing down when they released their assets into the public domain (a great initiative), by virtue of hanging around with the Open Game Art crowd.

Turns out, a friend of mine seeks funding to create what she’s describing as a text-based prequel to Glitch. And while I dunno about the project, Generic Geek Girl‘s portfolio is enough of a recommendation for me. Take a look.

Now, on to the main topic for today: graphical user interfaces. Fasten your seatbelts.
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Never mind game design, what about user interfaces?

by on May.23, 2013, under Gamedev


I’ve been playing a bunch of old DOS games as of late (instead of working on a game I might add). As you might expect, they’re a mixed bag, and that’s not because of their age. But even in games that are still fun to play — and trust me, there are quite a few — I couldn’t help but notice certain problems that show up again and again. Worse, they show up before I even get to play the game proper. It makes you wonder, didn’t they play each other’s games back then?

And then I realized why these problems seemed so familiar: because I still routinely encounter them, e.g. in Flash games.

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