New Midli UI Design
Apologies for the lack of updates recently! We have been super busy with the latest test which we sent out to a small group of our DinoBits (based on a few specific criteria, such as device), and quite a few events we have been attending and taking part in. We will talk more about the test in our next update, and what changes/improvements we've made based on the results of that and our own internal testing, but today we wanted to show you how the UI has improved, and the new vessel platform we've created! Settle in 'cause this update may be a long one as Lou is super passionate about talking UX!
We have been thinking a lot about how to optimise Midli's UI. I myself (Louise) have a background in UX Design, so I constantly obsess over how to make an interface as clean and intuitive as possible. Especially when it comes to games, I like my interface to be really minimal. I think it adds to a game's immersion when you don't have to see things like numbers, points, or lots of buttons cluttering your game environment. Another thing, especially with mobile games, is that screen real-estate is very scarce.
As it so happens, I was also wracking my brain for months trying to figure out how to redesign the platform Heli bounces off of. I was pretty unhappy with how flat the platform looked, and we also didn't really ever have a good lore reason for why the platform was there. Of course in a fantasy game, not everything needs to have a reason, but we wanted it to have some better meaning and connection to Heli. After dozens of sketches and brainstorm sessions, I came up with a kind of "out there" idea that the platform could replace the vessel bar. This meant freeing up tons of space at the top of the screen, meaning we had more space to work with in the levels, we could have a bigger focus on the art, as well as finally giving the platform some logic for as to why it was there. The platform is also already an area you will have your eyes on, so it was just good UX logic that you could look there to also see your progress of how far along in the level you are and which color fragment you have collected the most of.
With this great idea, it was up to Christian to take the new and beautiful vessel platform into Unity and really make it look as magical and alive and it's intended to be. He hadn't really touched on shader coding much (because as he says "it's a terrifyingly scary looking beast"), but he's always wanted to figure out how it works, and we knew it would elevate our game's aesthetic tenfold.
He has done an amazing job creating a living liquid that reacts to the movement of the platform, as well as filling up and changing color as you collect fragments. And in order to make it react well to the world around it, he created a set of new glow and overlay shaders which we're actually now using across a whole bunch of assets to make the game look more alive, vibrant, dynamic and interesting!
We hope you've enjoyed this little (slightly long, haha) update, and have seen how much development can go into creating just one tiny aspect of a game. We are super excited to show you a lager game clip in the next update with all the extra polishing we have been doing to the rest of the game, so stay tuned for that and more info on the upcoming beta!