Games share common user interface elements and design principles with apps, but are more often characterized by the unique look, feel, and goals of their UI. Games succeed when thoughtful design is applied to both aspects—when should your game use tested UI, and when should it diverge and innovate?
The presentation technology that you choose for your game—DirectX, XAML, HTML5, or some combination of the three—may influence implementation details, but the design principles you apply are largely independent of that choice.
Following a consistent color guideline in your game improves aesthetics, aids navigation, and is a powerful tool to inform the player of menu and HUD functionality. Consistent coloring of game elements like warnings, damage, XP, and achievements can lead to cleaner UI and reduce the need for explicit labels.
Appropriate use of typography enhances many aspects of your game, including UI layout, navigation, readability, atmosphere, brand, and player immersion.
A UI map is a layout of game navigation and menus expressed as a flowchart. The UI map helps all involved stakeholders understand the game’s interface and navigation paths, and can expose potential roadblocks and dead ends early in the development cycle.
The philosophy of modern app design is exemplified by clean, uncluttered elements that operate quickly, minimize typing, and automatically notify users of new or updated info. Users interact with the content, rather than with controls that represent the content. Visual elements have crisp fit and finish.
Windows apps run on a variety of devices with different screen sizes and resolutions. Players may also want to change the game’s size, orientation, or screen position during gameplay. To ensure that your game UI looks good and maintains functionality across phone, PC, and Xbox One, the following guidelines help you design UI that looks great, adapts to various screen sizes, positions, and orientations, and dynamically adjusts to user preference.
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