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Game Interface Design
Published 2 months ago
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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild's (BOTW) user interface is effective, attractive, and intuitive for me, as the whole aesthetic of the UI smoothly fits in within the game.
BOTW is a first-person, open-world action-adventure game. You play as Link, a hero that has woken up after 100 years of slumber. The goal of the game is to destroy Ganondorf, a villain, and save the world of Hyrule. The amount of time it takes to win the game can be as short as an hour to as long as you would like to, as the true goal of the game is to explore the world of Hyrule and do whatever you would like to.
The game was a huge success by Nintendo, as the game's huge amount of possibilities within the game allows every player to have a unique experience, especially with the game's great user interface.

BOTW's UI

First, we'll discuss how effective and intuitive the user interface is. When walking around the game, so not discussing any menus at the moment, you are given useful information in the top left and bottom right of your screen. The placement is out of your view, so you can focus on your surroundings in the game, but is easy to view whenever needed. The placement and layout of the UI is simple, out of the way from the player's action, and effective.
The top right shows the player their health (the hearts) and a picture of your controls for your directional buttons (on the controller): left is shield, top is runes (a type of tool), and right is weapon. The bottom left shows the player a map of their surroundings with shown landscapes and markers. It also includes time, weather, temperature of the current Hyrule environment, alongside your character's heartbeat. All of these are effective and useful, as these all help the player know their current position, how much life they have at the moment, and all of the details of their environment (weather and temperature). When exploring Hyrule, these details matter; for example, if an environment is too hot, Link (the player character) will take damage without any protection.
Besides the initial, out of menu user interface, we also have two menu-like interfaces that the player can access. Above is shown one of them. It shows the player's inventory, quest log, and system settings/options. All of this information is neatly placed away within the click of a button for the player to access anytime. The other menu-like interface is just one large map of all of Hyrule for the player to look at and plan which direction to head next. Everything shown is effective and nothing is missing as everything you are needing to access is quick and simple.
After discussing the effectiveness of the UI, I want to talk about its attractiveness. The art style of the UI is very fitting for the game and does not look out of place whatsoever. It supports the game theme with little markings or design-like drawings that add on to the aesthetic of BOTW.
Here in this picture, we see drawing and patterns that compliment the BOTW's theme, which is very attractive for the user interface.

Potential Issues and How they can be fixed

To reach the menus you want, for players who are not used to Nintendo Switch controls can be very lost in the beginning, as there are almost-hidden buttons you press to access these menus. In the beginning of the game, when a player first starts it, the game does give you simple hints as to which buttons access what, but in my opinion, I completely forgot about these hints because they were not very assertive. The game is heavily focused on a player's unique experience so the player should also access whatever they need to whenever they would like to. However nice that sounds, I believe the game should have been a little more assertive in the beginning, allowing players an option to turn on hints throughout the entire game. This option could then be turned off whenever the player became more comfortable with the game.

Conclusion

The user interface in BOTW is definitely very pretty to look at it, as it is very simple. Despite being simple, it is also very effective for the player, as all information needed for the game is shown. Also, it is all placed in a way that isn't distracting to the player when they explore the world of Hyrule.
Alisa Grigorieva
Someone Dabbling with Game Design - Student
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