Because we knew pretty early that plenty would be happening on-screen simultaneously, I knew that minimal and compact UI design was a must. With the potential of an estimated four players on screen at the same time, slicing through slimes to the beat, a lot of particles get spawned, a ton of movement is interpreted by the player's brain, and there is a high chance of sensory overload in intense moments of gameplay.
Much like many other things we've been working on in the project, our UI has gone through quite a few iterations. We pretty much always seemed to lean towards having critical data involving each player visually centric to that player's character. This means that important data would always be near them instead of at another point on the screen.
Additionally, we needed a way to convey the beat timing to the player. If we have several players with several different beat timings, all on screen at the same time, how are we supposed to show that to each individual player? Should we display all beats as the same highest common notation? Should we display each player's beat separately but close to their character? Should we implement it into the environment?
These were all of the questions we were asking ourselves early on. Recently we've even been talking about moving the health of the players around to experiment with different feedback, much like other multiplayer games do. Persistence is key, especially when it comes to designing a system that conveys feedback to the player.
- Alexander "Hawkins" Croom
An early version of our player icon, health, and beat timer.