FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN, SECOND EDITION

Telling the Player What He Needs to Know

What, apart from the current view of the game world, does the player need to see or to know about? What critical resources does he need to be aware of at all times, and what's the best way to make that information available to him? Select the data from your core mechanics that you want to show, and choose the feedback elements most suited to display those kinds of data using the list in "Feedback Elements," later in this chapter, as a guide. Also ask yourself what warnings the player may need and then decide how to give both visual and audible cues. Use the general list from "What the Player Needs to Know" earlier in this chapter, but remember that the gameplay you offer might dictate a slightly different list. Your game may include unique attributes that have never been used before, which require new types of feedback elements. For example, a game about clothing design might include an attribute called originality, and you could display the level of origi­nality with a set of iconic images of T-shirts, ranging from plain white (unoriginal) to something outrageously tie-dyed (very original).

Once you have defined the critical information, move on to the optional informa­tion. What additional data might the player request? A map? A different viewpoint of the game world? Think about what feedback elements would best help him obtain needed information and how to organize access to such features.

Throughout this process, keep the general principles of good user interface design in mind; test your design against the general principles listed in "Some General Principles" earlier in this chapter.

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