Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
That said, here are two basic principles that you can consider when designing GUIs for your games:
Keep it simple : Simplicity is often maddeningly difficult to achieve when you're caught up in
the excitement and adrenaline rush of programming a complex game. If you don't absolutely
need a button, menu option, or instruction in a game, don't use any. Try and get away with
a GUI that's as lean as possible by trimming away as much of the fat as you can—your players
will thank you for it. Find out the least amount of functionality or customization your game
needs to still remain fun and playable, and aim for that. You can always add more complexity
later if you really think it's necessary. It usually isn't. Remember that players don't want to click
lots of buttons or read through complex directions; they just want to play your game.
Make it obvious : If your GUI is well designed, players will know what they have to do just by
a glance at the visual layout of the GUI elements. Players want immediate results and don't
want to have to search for what they're looking for. If they have to click buttons, make them
easy to find, make sure that their functions are self-explanatory, and ensure that that their
effect is immediate. The best games are designed so players can discover the rules and how to
play the game while they're playing it. If you feel you have to give players a lot of instructions
on how to play the game or what to do next, there's almost certainly a problem with your GUI.
And if all this seems blindingly obvious, that's just great!
One of the many advantages of Flash as a game design platform is that you can use its drawing tools
to literally draw your GUI on the stage. Most other programming environments require you to create
each button and text field out of code and then meticulously plot them on the screen with x and y
coordinates. It's a very precise process, but it's tedious and slow. You can do that with AS3.0, too, if
you really want to (and there are actually many instances in complex interactive GUI design in which
that might be preferable), but there's no need to go to all that trouble when Flash's built-in drawing
tools are so much fun and easy to use. For the quick little games you'll be building in this topic, they're
perfect.
Inputting and outputting
In the number guessing game that you'll build in this chapter, you need to process two kinds of
information:
User input is the number that the player enters into the program to guess the mystery
number.
Program output tells the player whether the guess is too high or too low, or whether the
player won or lost the game.
Input and output are the two most basic elements of communication in computer programs, and all
games use them to some degree. In the number guessing game, the input and output are in text form;
in other games you'll be looking at, input and output take other forms. For example, the input might
be in the form of moving a player character around a dungeon, and the output might be being eaten
by a monster. The basic principles remain the same, however: if you understand how it works with
text, the rest will be much simpler to grasp.
 
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