The big word Evolution is often used in different cases. The game dev market, including mobile projects, has not missed its chance to upgrade, adapt, and improve technologies. Along with graphics, sound, and storytelling, studios are increasingly paying attention to small but important details. As a result, UI design and UX analysis have become the main trends in mobile game development.
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The Importance of Video Game UI
In video games, the user interface is everything. It helps create a compelling experience that immerses players in the game. Over the years, studios and top companies have continued to refine their approach to UI in games, experimenting and iterating ways of presenting useful and, at the same time, harmoniously displayed information to users.
Game designers must balance the information displayed to propel the player forward without hindering the game – too little information can leave players confused. At the same time, too much can overwhelm or frustrate them.
Modern mobile game UI design requires a lot of attention to detail and features because gamers at the moment of “evolution” are critical of everything in the game.
Early Game UI Design in Mobile Gaming
The history of mobile games contains dozens of successful and not-so-good examples of user interfaces. And we’re not just talking about small indie studios doing simple projects. Even the titans of the game industry make mistakes and create bad designs. But it was not always so.
During the early stages of the gaming industry, including mobile gaming, UI design was minimalistic and intuitive. Back then, there was no trend to bait gamers into seeing ads or make small icons to close ads (to click on them accidentally). Everything the player needed was available, including sound/graphics settings, tooltips, and (rarely) user agreement.
For this, many still respect the old segment of video games and classic game interface design representatives of platformers like Doodle Jump or early versions of Fruit Ninja. But time went on…
Current UI Trends in Mobile Game Development
Current mobile game UI trends retained some key details and features from 15 years ago. Games have become much brighter, more functional, and mechanically better, and, accordingly, have different mobile game development goals. Let’s miss the details of business and profit; everyone knows about it anyway. Now the interface of any game is the main tool for user interaction with software functionality. It is made as simple and clear as possible, following the design traditions.
The latest trend that is the pinnacle of video game UI/UX design excellence is zero interface design. It suggests the absence of explicit controls and menu buttons in the gameplay. Pretty good because if we talk about mobile games, you have to consider different diagonals of the display so that there are no obvious differences in the interface on different devices.
If earlier gamers needed dozens of different tips, then over time, even the keys on the keyboard or the buttons on the gamepad became synonymous with actions: Shift = Sprint, X on the gamepad = Jump, etc. The situation is similar with mobile games. Developers and designers are trying to minimize the load on the interface so that the user enjoys the gameplay. As a result, the current UI trends are minimalism and an emphasis on visual design.
Future Trends in Mobile Game UI Design
Oddly enough, the future has already arrived in the mobile gaming world. One of the most obvious trends in mobile game design is the transition to VR. Next to it, you can also highlight the upgrade of 3D technologies. VR and 3D technologies in mobile games are not very popular. Still, large companies are quietly but confidently investing in developing their mobile projects and modern technologies.
The gaming community expects a big rise in retro mobile game UI design. On the one hand, this is a kind of tribute to the old projects for the first versions of Nokia. On the other hand, this is a promising trend that attracts a lot of gamers who are tired of modern design solutions and want nostalgic games with minimalist graphics.
The interface of a game is essential for it to function, as a primary way to navigate and something that gamers look at for a long time (or several minutes). Beautiful interfaces can help users play quickly and enjoy the mobile product. Decades of industry work with mobile game design have made it possible to clearly define the scope of what gamers want from different projects. Therefore, perhaps over time, everything will start all over again, and the championship will be taken by retro design, and various VR and 3D trends will subside for several years.
How does UI impact mobile gaming?
UI is visual perception and interaction with the game. The main task of the game interface is to prompt and guide the user in the right direction. The gamer makes the decision; the interface is only an element that connects with the game.
What are the latest trends in UI evolution for mobile gaming?
Over the past few years, trends related to voice control, VR technologies, and minimalist design have been actively developing. Each of them has its pros and cons and is at different levels.
What are some best practices for UI design in mobile games?
The best practices are to make the interface in mobile games natural and understandable. It would also be nice to add hints or mini-guides. In addition, pay attention to the visual aspect of the UI.