Category Archives: Human Computer Interface

E-zine – LOL + COD: Declassified

Different types of games have different HCI’s, sometimes completely different ways of using and seeing them, the HCI is one of the most important features to a successful game, it is the bit that gets the player involved in the game and that’s what makes it successful.

Technology

Depending on what game and what platform it’s on it can have a range of technology, League of Legends (LOL) is for the PC so it uses primarily a mouse and keyboard, but you can get specially designed mice that are for that game only, meaning it removes the use of a keyboard by placing button/keys on the mouse so you only have to use one hand which is convenient for the player.

On the other hand, Call Of Duty: Declassified (COD) only has one technology as it is for the PSvita, but the vita has a variety of feature that come with it, It’s a portable gaming device so it can be taken anywhere, it has dual analogues meaning you can play first person shooters and it has touchscreen and a rear touch panel, the game can use all of these to enhance the players experience and it’s done quite well, the idea of having a rear touch panel and a front touchscreen means it opens up a lot more opportunities, in COD you can use the touchscreen to easily access certain things for instance you can drag the grenade icon to throw a grenade anywhere on screen.

Interfaces

Considering the touchscreen of the Vita, COD lacks the use of this feature with its menus, having to use the D-pad in the menu selection is slow and annoying as the touchscreen would be easier and faster, it neither uses the rear touch panel so the full use of the Vita are sadly gone to waste.

In LOL the menu style is fast and simple, due to the recent update the in-game-shop has a new faster system meaning that there is now a “Recommended” item list for the character you play as before the update we didn’t have this, and also you can now search for the item you want in the new search engine at the top which makes life a lot easier.

Human Factors

Within LOL the difficulty all depends on who’s on the opposite team, one match you could be against a whole team of “noobs”, then the next the 3 year winning champions, it all depends on if you play as ranked or random, you can play against bots (Computer) which are the easiest things to beat and win, a new update is coming out which is going to add a new difficulty for the people who think they’re good.

LOL is also mainly male based as the game mostly appeals to males between the ages of 16- 25 the reason for this is probably the outfits that some of the champions where…

On COD the difficulty all depends on your level in the game, the servers try to match you up with other players near enough to your own level so the games are fair, still doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy because you’re still going to get destroyed by bouncing Betty’s and RPG’s and then “Rage Quit”

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Non Linear

Nonlinear means something that’s not in order, so something that can be done in multiple ways for example a game, a nonlinear game can have multiples amounts of endings and the game can be played in any order, from the way the missions or objectives are carried out to the way you kill a certain character or weather you let them live or not.

The way they do this is making JavaScript code that uses multiple beginnings, outcomes and ends e.g.

const int nPaths = 4;

void fillLimits(float* pLimits);

void mysteryDerp(int nReached);

void NonLinearGame()

{

static int nLimitsReached = 0;

float paths [nPaths]; // four paths

float pathLimits [nPaths]; // we limit each path

fillLimits(pathLimits) // we set our limits

for (int iii = 0; iii < nPaths; ++iii) {

float& refVal = paths[iii];

float& refMaxVal = pathLimits[iii];

// refVal will increase in each frame

refVal += 1.0f;

// but if refVal reaches or surpasses its limits we reset it.

if (refVal >= refMaxVal) {

refVal = 0.0f;

// a limit was reached

++nLimitsReached;

// call mysteryDerp to reflect the event

mysteryDerp(nLimitsReached);

}

From: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/making-a-game-non-linear-is-very-easy.76261/

This is an example of code for a nonlinear game, see how you can limit paths and limit what rewards you can get out of it, this can be done using Unity, it has its own JavaScript creator where you can write in and test your own code, or an existing coding and use it.

But you can just simply create it yourself, storyboards and the narrative you’ll be able write it down, draw it, use editing software like Adobe illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, you can use either the most expensive tools to help, or the cheapest, it really doesn’t matter as long as it’s really good and imaginative and it works well.

Monopoly Board and Box!!

Monopoly Board and Box!!

Finally finished my Walking Dead Monopoly board complete with money, chance and mortgage cards, dice, character pieces and money.

E-Zine Article

This is an online E-Zine article that I wrote explaining how a storyline can enhance the gameplay of a game, also 2 reviews on 2 different platformed games.

 

One of the important foundations to a good game is the storyline. The storyline lets the player immerse themselves within the game and makes them feel as though they are a part of it, a good story can be key to a successful game because some of today’s bestselling games have some of the best story’s to keep the player interested and to keep the game moving so it doesn’t get boring, Assassin’s Creed is a good example, it’s based on true events and teaches history a lot better than most history teachers but it has one of the most diverse story’s ever as you move between the past and present within the characters mind.

The writer of any story uses different writing styles and techniques to try and enhance the games story and the game and gameplay itself, in doing so they open up a number of possibilities in what they can do, it mainly depends all on the genre of the game, in a horror game the writer would use suspense to enhance the gameplay as it would make the player either scared and carry on playing for the thrills or because the player wants to find out what happens next in the game, the writer could also use romance in their favour, the use of a couple madly in love with each other could get the player emotionally attached or bound to the game as they want to see what happens to the lovers also if anyone of them were to die in the game the player would feel emotion towards that and that would strive them to kill or exact revenge on the character who killed such person also maybe making them buy the next game to feel those emotions again.

There are also many ways to tell a story, be it by the traditional chronological order or using a more elaborate means using flashbacks and not in the right order, they could use an interactive story where the characters decisions in the game can affect how other characters act towards them, can affect how the story take them and affects the ending of the game, usually by issuing commands or choosing dialogue options, also certain things in the game could trigger certain things as well.. Being in a certain area at a specific time could trigger a specific cut scene or another part of the story, having certain members on your team or member types depending on the game could have an adverse effect on what can or can’t happen in the game, like in Fallout: New Vegas depending on which faction you were with, only certain groups of enemies would attack you, you can do only certain missions with a faction, people will act according to your faction and morality level and certain things while out roaming will only happen if you have done or obtained something or an object/weapon.

There’s also a few other ways to enhance the gameplay using the story, these are called Diegetic, Spatial and Meta components, Diegetic components are things that replace the generic HUD and are visualised by the character of the game and also by the player themselves, the 2nd is spatial, spatial is something that can be seen by the player but not by the character like the emotions that appear above the characters head in Sims and a selection reticule around a character, the 3rd is Meta which is something that happens to the camera that only the player can see like the blood type fog when you take damage in Call Of Duty or when you’re in last stand on Borderlands 2.

So there’s all the many ways that the storyline can enhance the gameplay.

League of Legends Review

League-of-Legends-logo

 

League of Legends is an online MMORTS (Massive Multiplayer Online-Real Time Strategy) Game that is the biggest and most played game in the world at the moment.

In the game you are something called a summoner in which you control champions to try and defeat the enemies minions, towers, inhibitors and their Nexus also defeating enemy champions on the way as well, when destroying the Nexus you therefore win the game and after you get exp for how many Champions you have killed and what level you got up to with your champion, every time you start a new match your champion is back at level 1.

During each match you level up by killing minions and the enemy champions and in doing so you get to upgrade your abilities to make you stronger, also you can buy items that make you stronger and faster and ups your health and mana in many ways using the gold you earned from killing enemies, the battle system is a real time strategy meaning that there is no turn based system but a fire-at-will type which you basically kill the enemy before he kills you by using good strategy, power and skill.

The battle system is good as it requires the player to develop the skill to think and react quickly in tight situations and having to learn how to use their champion effectively, it also requires the player to understand how the system of the game works as you can’t just charge in with fists, staffs and swords flailing, you need to come up with either a strategy as a team or at least a strategy for yourself and it also allows the player to get used to these types of games because I believe this is an easy way for someone to get into this type of game as it features a good atmosphere, a good layout for the HUD which is easy to use and understand and the whole game itself is really easy to play and to have fun with.

Overall League of Legends is one of the best online games I’ve played so far and I am still playing it a lot, the best feature of the game I think is the abilities that you can use, throughout each different champion there are a diverse selection of abilities that they can you, level up and become stronger and dominate the battle field. GameRevolution said “On the whole, League of Legends is a very well-done game; it would be a worthy purchase at $30, but you can actually download it for the low low price of free.” And gave it a B+ and Kotaku said “League of Legends is a beast. An unassailable success that every other games developer or publisher is trying to figure out.”

Borderlands 2 Review

Borderlands-2-Hands-On-Preview-E3-2012

One of the most important parts of a good game is the storyline.

It’s the storyline that keeps the game alive which in turn makes it a good game, a bad storyline however could make the game crash and burn, an example of a good storyline is Borderlands 2 for the pc, it has the best storyline I have seen and played in a long time and a really enjoyed it as the story and whole theme of the game was funny yet immersive as the cast of the characters and enemies were compelling enough to keep me playing.

The storyline starts off as Handsome Jack the main bad guy, trying to kill you because you’re a “Vault Hunter” this for me was the starting point of being pulled into the game and being immersed by the dark humour of the dialogue and the open landscape filled with bandits, psycho’s and badass marauders plus other annoyingly difficult enemies to come.

The story is truly great and incredible to play or even just watch as you discover the what it means to be a vault hunter traversing through vast wastelands full of bandits and discovering new planes with many psycho’s to kill in as many ways as you can think, be it by explosives, poison, acid burns or just a simple shot to the head, with the many variations of guns in the game you’re gonna have a hard time choosing what destructive weapon you’re going to use next.

In the story leads you through missions upon missions upon side quests to try and foil Handsome Jacks plans while at the same time finding out more about him, his plans and who this mysterious Angel is that keeps helping you and it all takes you on a journey through the land of Pandora meeting new allies and old ones from the original Borderlands while shooting and blowing up enemies, there are over 17,750,000 weapons to collect and use with many special abilities and perks + vehicles to use and grenade mods, shields, skins, heads and eridian to collect.

I am not the only one who loves this game IGN said “Ultimately I don’t feel this is something console gamers will miss, but for those of you with great hardware it’s an additional thing to enjoy.” And Euro Gamer said “Compared to the dull, empty-eyed stoicism of so many triple-A games, it’s still a welcome blast of idiot humor, too. How many others enter a room and chuck down a turret with a lofty shout of “Meet mah girlfriend”?”

 

 

 

Borderlands 2 HUD

There are many Games and many HUD’s but in Borderlands 2 there is something different, the layout is so simplistic and easy to use and understand, the way you get it in the game is pretty cool as well, at the start from another character you get something called an ECHO Communicator which comes with a class-12 heads up display and you can see it loading up in front of yours and the characters eyes making it a lot different and special to other games

The HUD features a Health&Shield bar, a compass, level bar, Ammo&Grenade count, mission&team summary, reticule and an active ability, all of these take up minimum space and they leave a lot of space still for the actual gameplay but still easily visible when playing. The use of bright yet smart colours allows you to determine easily what is what, all together the smart HUD and menu system is a really cool way to look at things and is easily accessed and used.

2 Good Designs

Terms To Remember

Diegetic

Is an interface that is included in the game world – It ca be seen and heard by the game characters, I.e. the holographic interface in Dead Space 2

 

Spatial

Spatial is in relation to three dimentional space, it is geometric 3-parameters model of the physical universe in which we exist. in relevance to to gaming it is the dimension in which the creation of in game assest are created according to.


Meta

Representations can exist in the game world, but aren’t necessarily visualized spatially for the player e.g. Blood splatter on the camera when taking damage.

 

HUD

(Heads Up Display) Is a transparent display that represents data without the user having to look away.

 

GUI

(Graphical User Interface) Is a type of interface where the user can interact with electrical devices using images rather than text commands.

My monopoly board! (In the making)

This here is the on going process of creating my own themed Monopoly board.

As you can see I’ve done it in the theme of The Walking Dead episode games because we had to do it in the theme of any game we wanted, so here mine is.

More updates coming soon!