Big budget games with ground-breaking gameplay can so often be let down by difficult user interfaces, cryptic menu systems and poor usability. User experience design and information architecture have become fundamental to the process of developing great websites and mobile experiences; could the same tried, tested and trusted techniques work for AAA games?
In the world of mobile gaming it's frequently the smaller independents’ who are the real innovators. Often coming from a web background, many independent mobile game developers are producing beautifully considered interfaces for a whole new class of intelligent contextual games, while the big publishers are still attempting to port console games to inappropriate devices. Have the web backgrounds of these independents’ given them an innate understanding of designing for user context or is it just never having been restricted by the sometimes stringent requirements for Gold Master and the limitations of the 10ft interface?
This is of course a two-way street. Some of the processes involved in game design for consoles have a far greater lineage than that of design for mobile and web, and as such there are techniques that deal directly with adherence to a set of constantly evolving industry standards that could certainly be considered by the wider developing community.
11th–15th March 2011