It's all about U and I
Hope you're all doing great, we've been hard at it with El Presidente and I'm really looking forward to showign some artwork for it very soon!
One of the things we've been spending a lot of time is figuring out the User Interface or UI of the game. In it's wider definition it relates to 'the space where humans interact with a machine or device'. That can be the mouse and keyboard on your pc, the look of a menu on your tablet, or the life bar on a video game; generally the goal is that 'the UI should be self-explanatory, efficient in it's use and enjoyable'. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_interface)
For us what does that mean? well, the game has to have artwork to give you a feel and story, but it's not a painting you only look at, you have to interact with it, therefore we have to add a layer of information that the player can use in order to play the game (Like where to begin or how many points you have scored).
For me personally, this aspect has been one of the great experiences of discovery that this project has given me. My background is in animation and ilustration so I'm used to playing with the expanse of the screen or the page to create an image, and each image will have an area of primary focus (where the eye should look at first) and subsequent areas of information after that.
With games that's still there of course, but we have to consider things like card names and features for instance, and all of this has to sit on top of where I had drawn a nice little bunny coming out of its burrow! Suddenly the art has to make space to fit the content, but at the same time, the content can't get in the way of the art else it pulls you out of the world, They have to complement each other.
Alongside this we have to think about the way the items will be used too, If we give them cards, are they playing them in front of them on the table (Duel style) or are they holding them (As if they're playing poker). Putting the card value and effect at the bottom might work if you put them on the table, but if the player is holding the cards fan-like in front of his or her face, they only get to see the top corner of the cards, so maybe that's where the relevant play information has to be in for ease of use.
There are so many little questions to think about but we've worked very hard to find the answers (And many thanks to Maria, Jason for their advice as well everybody else's wonderful input in the test stages so far!) . For El Presidente I really wanted to make both aspects coexist in the same space but let each other do their job and I'm really excited about the results which we'll share very soon!
Right I've gone on too long so I'm gonna say goodbye for now!