Short Exercise: Visual Design of Games


A game I think is beautiful is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (for Nintendo Switch) Review | PCMag

This game is both artistically beautiful and well-designed. The display of information is done incredibly well, with two groups of core elements in different opposite corners of the screen. At the top left, the number of hearts, power equipped, and weapons are represented with simple yet recognizable graphics. This info all represents the character’s current state in a shorthand way. In the lower right, a circular snapshot of a map location, as well as a sensor, temperature, and weather bar sit. These represent the state of the world around the character, providing all the necessary information for the player to get their bearings about the location. A particular choice for these elements is they have dark backgrounds, which contrasts against much of somewhat lighter-colored palette of the world around the player, which helps the information stand out. This design choice is appealing, non-invasive to the gameplay, and incredibly useful for understanding the conditions of the game at any given moment. For a large scale game like this with variable environments and constant change, these indicators are key to a great game experience.

An additional design choice I love about BOTW is the the stamina wheel. It only pops up when it is relevant, which is a great way to reduce the number of elements always on screen, but when it does show up it is bright green and right next to Link, making it obvious to the player how much stamina they have left.

There are a million more things to say about how good BOTW looks, but these design choices are the ones that stood out to me as both  useful and appealing, as well as key to the experience of playing the game.

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