What they see, what they get

Recently, Me and my programming circle of friends asked our artist to redone the UI of one of our long-running game projects. What project, you may ask? Why, Battle Royale, of course! (Known as Hunger Games in English Versions).

While the changes detailed in this article won’t be pushed to the English version yet, I found our train of thoughts behind the UI changes interesting so let’s talk about it here.

So, what got changed?

(Both screenshots are from the Chinese Version of the game, but the exact changes are unrelated to languages.)


Old UI


New UI

Aside from the obviously rehashed avatar artwork, the biggest change is the font used to label the player’s status, together with the changes of the visible HP/SP gauge. Let’s talk about them one by one.

Font and color Issues

The old UI used a font that’s remain unchanged until just now. Originally when we’re programming the interface, we’re thinking of something really threatening. Since we want to direct user’s attention to their status. Especially the part where player’s current health status is shown. (Fine in Green text, Caution in Yellow text, and Danger in Red text) Then if the player is also inflicted with a special debuff, the corresponding debuff will light up in different colors.

However, recently some of the player just felt that something is not right, but cannot pinpoint where. As what I said before in this blog, you cannot let your player spell out the problem for you. So we performed some testing and find out the colored text sometimes dazzle the players for some reason (I mean, at least I don’t think anything got wrong…)

Well, it’s true that indeed the contrast of fully colored text on a black background seems to be unnatural, and after looking into some design principles regarding colors, we eventually choose white on black since that’s the most attention grabbing combination without the unnatural contrast.

However, we still need the Green = Fine, Yellow = Caution and Danger = Red color coding to preserve the user’s habits. After years of playing, I doubt any long time player would see the “big red text” without any action. That’s why we added the appropriate glow on the white text. Due to the text is now glowing instead of being pure colored, the original sans-serif font proves to not showing the glow enough, forcing us to change the font into a serif font.

Let’s put it this way – This is easy on the eyes.

Fill Vs Outline

After dealing with the color and the font of the status texts, the original HP and SP gauge now seems out of place due to lacking a glow and using pure, brighter colors.

Of course, our first thought regarding that is to just change the color of the fill to be deeper, matching the hue of the new glow.

Then, we found out that against the black background, the changed gauges now is hard to see due to their colors being too dark. Time to change that as well!

If filling something with dark colors won’t work, then let’s just create some highlights. However, to the old players, suddenly changing the human shape to always filled human shape only with highlights marking their current HP and SP provides to be confusing – The players has get used to the changing fillings, and now the fillings won’t change which is met by some negative feedback.

Facing with that, we reversed our line of thinking a bit. What if we don’t include the fills in the first place, and just used the outline as the gauge, and highlight the parts of gauge to act as the indicator?

To the players, the highlight acts like a filling of colors due to we made the outline much bolder compared to the early design.

Well, that’s the story behind the game’s recent UI change. Originally we only wanted to change the color of the text, but that eventually leads to more changes that resulted in a much different UI, as long as our players like it, it’s good for the game.

Until next time.

Post a Comment