Skyrim's UI
Published 2 months ago
An analysis of Skyrim and its User Interface.

Praise – What do you like about the user interface

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a game that is renowned for many things, but I believe that it is underrated for its user interface design. The game implements a simplistic and very minimal display with only up to 4 things on the screen at any given time and then a very intuitive pause menu that includes a map, inventory, story elements, and settings. What this means. The minimalistic approach allows the players to focus on combat, navigating terrain, and exploration which are the main objectives of the game itself. The art design for the UI remains consistent with the rest of the mythical vibe of the world with the borders of the bars and the compass at the top having a calligraphy feel to them.

Overview – What is the game about

This game is about navigating a mystical world of dragons, clans, magic, and combat through a captivating story with intense open-world elements, leaving the player with the ability to decide how they want to play. This freedom is what has drawn a large player base and cult following to Skyrim. By extension, the UI of this game includes references to the magic, health, and stamina of the player with a compass at the top of the screen to indicate the direction they're traveling, landmarks to visit, and waypoints to move in the direction of.

Issues – What are some issues with the user interface

An issue that could be argued about the UI of Skyrim is that it does not show enough information. Another argument to be made is that the bars disappear when they arent in use. This means that unless a player takes damage, uses magic, or uses stamina, these corresponding bars will not be visible. These two possible issues are, in my opinion, features that make this game even better than with the supposed changes.

Strategy – How could the interface be improved upon

However, if were to improve the UI of Skyrim, I would integrate the bars more seamlessly onto the screen, similarly to the way that fallout implements the health and gas on the cover of the power suit. Although the bars and interfaces are distinctly Skyrim, they could be more artistic and contemporary in their approach. However, since this game is somewhat dated, this seems excusable to me. For the time period in which this game came out, it was standard for this format to be used, but their implementing a disappearing health bar for when its not in use was revolutionary in it of itself.

Encouragement – Restate things you liked about the game and any encouraging aspects

All in all, I think that this game does a good job of implementing seamless interfacing with the player, communicating important information in a way that is consistent with the world built around it. Skyrim communicates important information to the player at key times in the experience that help to make decisions and encourage the individual playstyle that the player can chose.
Caleb Pfanstiel
CIS Student - Student