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November 8th, 2013, 03:47
We call good games "intuitive" and bad games "confusing" but really this is a matter of the designer's fluency in the language of games, and also the designer's ability to create novel language for new features that is immediately understood by players.
Not really. Something can be intuitive if it makes sense after it's been specified as well. On the example of the mana bar, I don't assume every blue bar to specify mana. It could be anything. Could be a stamina bar. Could be a bar called "devotion" that's drained by picking up items but replenished by killing enemies.

The red bar for lifeforce is intuitive in an easy to pick up on way. Blood is red. By showing a draining bar you are reminded of loss of blood. It is also intuitive because this is the very representation of your character's composition in the world and therefore conserving it should be on the forefront of your mind. Again, red is the appropriate colour as it signifies a warning. There's also a reason why in most games, the health bar is shown first, or on top of the mana bar.

Still, after someone has explained to me that the blue bar signifies mana, it is intuitive. Mana allows you to achieve extraordinary feats, so it should be easily discernible in the interface. It's also draining and refilling regularly, therefore a bar is the correct representation. You have to manage it in a way similar to health, so it's obvious the two should be represented in the same manner.

@Thrasher and Couch - will you two cuddle and make up now?

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