Billy Garretsen, UX Design Lead here, and in today’s update we are going to take a look at some sweeping changes to the Crowfall® interface and menus as the team switches gears from prototyping into shipping mode. Since the interface affects so much of the game, it made a lot of sense to try and lock those down sooner rather than later. This is the beginning of many user interface (UI) improvements coming to Crowfall and we hope our players like where things are headed.
Let's take a deeper dive of some of the new updates...
Crowfall does not have the typical MMO server/shard structure and instead has a bigger emphasis on visiting numerous worlds and being engaged in multiple active campaigns. Because of this, we knew that we needed to prioritize browsing and discoverability of worlds. What we came up with is a multi-category world browser that serves available worlds in a clean tile grid that can be filtered and sorted by criteria like PvP rules and world size. It is a simple approach that gets more detailed the deeper you go.
As we develop the world menu, we hope to add more categories and recommendations so players can find the worlds that fit their tastes and get right to the fun.
While many menus are currently disabled, you can see what is on the horizon. Pretty soon players will be able to manage their accounts from within the client, browse a more robust set of gameplay & character videos, shop and gain access to a larger collection of customization settings. Where the game lobby used to be little more than a server list, it is becoming a robust hub that can continue to expand as more features come online.
We have been making incremental changes to the head-up display (HUD) and floating windows in the game for a while now, but this update shows off the updated visual direction that we will be using at launch. We took a hard look at our font choices, colors and textures and have begun the process of refactoring all of the window framing and layouts. Some changes are purely cosmetic while others are full redesigns. (Keep an eye out for a new and improved character sheet coming soon.)
Our tool tips have also undergone a facelift, featuring more dynamic layouts for items and greatly improved readability for stats, lore and descriptions. We are implementing an all new custom layout for power information that I am particularly excited about. Most importantly, we are expanding our tool tip support to include hovering over stat names, headers and other screen elements for additional help and information.
So why all these changes? Long ago we established a brand guideline that carried us through the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and development of our website and social media.
Over time, the UX presentation in the game has deviated and lost some of its brand identity. Part of our goals when creating a brand was to maintain a consistent tone and presentation across all media. To bring the UI in the game closer to these goals, we followed these steps:
- Remove unnecessary framing and texture, rely more on negative space in layouts
- Utilize wider font selection for improved readability in a variety of use cases
- Put the game content front and center; let the UI sit back to give full focus on characters and environments
- Reduction of shape detail and a general flattening of window content
UI ROADMAP Q2 2017
There is still a lot of work left to do, but we are tackling everything head-on with focus and excitement. Each revamped module is like a little victory that gets us pumped to keep pushing new updates and improvements to the UI every week. Here is a sneak peek at the upcoming UI work we are aiming to get into the game over the next few months.
- All new character sheet with armor chart and improved statistics tracking
- Improvements to tool tips and power descriptions
- Tool tip layout and readability enhancements
- Player account management within the client
- All new and improved user settings
- Overhaul to featurette videos and video browsing
- HUD customization
- Skill tree overhaul
Check back soon for more exciting UI updates.
See you in game!
UX Design Lead, ArtCraft Entertainment
BONUS: NEW WALLPAPERS