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User Interface Evolution

Here are some boring facts about the User Interfaces(UI’s) that have been made for our projects, It’s long, but worth a read!..


We’ll start with the UI that was made for The Crucible’s TC version for UT3, during the time of the MSUC, although I made others before that.

Character Customization Screen


The whole UI was redesigned and remade about 3 times before finally looking like that. Every window that the game needed was made several times, and because of some limitations in the UT3 UI editor, scenes had to be remade even more times when they were renamed.


Next came the UI for The Crucible’s UDK version, although this version was never released, I did make an entirely new UI for it, with a grey and red color scheme, it was styled similar to the above image, but was once again quite different. Here you can see the options menu, these generally made use of my complex and easy to use auto settings generation panel, made my work much easier when it was finished.

Standard Options Menu

This UI also featured a handy tool tip which would appear when you hovered over things, simple function, but actually quite difficult to make..


Then as we started developing stuff using the UDK, we discovered that future UDK updates would no longer feature the UT3 UI editor, and would instead be using Adobe Flash alone. At this point it became obvious that I had to learn that if we wanted to have any kind of a UI in our games…


So I spent months learning Flash, and I was able to make some nice stuff with it, but it was a lot harder to work with, especially the communication between the game and your UI, seeing as how the system is separate.


I began creating the UI for Rook’s Keep using flash, but halfway through I was struck by an idea, and desperate to not use flash I decided to pursue it.


I began creating a 3D UI, one that could render meshes, particles, materials, and just about everything you would find in the actual game. Needless to say, this was no easy task, and there are reasons why nobody else has ever tried to make such a thing, but I aimed to be the first.


I succeeded, up to a point, It could render all the things I wanted it to, I had overcome all of the expected problems in some way or another, and it was going very well…


It was my hope that Rook’s Keep would be a Pilot for my nice UI, and that it would give Rook’s Keep something unique in the gaming world, something that would set it apart, but this was not to be…


Once it came time to actually design a UI for Rook’s Keep, my UI was still difficult to work with, because its so complicated to get it to work, its complicated to make things with it. It would also require much more content than originally planned for Rook’s Keep, and even then, its a bit of a gamble..


So instead Rook’s Keep will be using a simple 2D UI system that DarkCarnivore was experimenting with at the time, and my UI is now somewhat abandoned by me..


However I did plan for my UI to ultimately be licensed out to the UDK community, so long as they credit us for its use. But before it can do that, I have to make and in-game editor for it, and it needs a good cleanup, as well as some additional features.


So maybe one day I’ll finish it, and we’ll have a decent UI that we can work with on the UDK…


4 Responses to “User Interface Evolution”

  • Storm-X:

    How the UI looks nice… :D

  • Bulska:

    3D UI?

    Ever seen Scaleform 3D UI? Looks pretty neat.

    It seems it can be used to bring Flash thingies in 3D into UDK.

    • Thats what I meant by using flash for our UI’s in the UDK, since that’s all it supports now.

      But I was making a proper 3D UI, one that renders meshes, not simple angled planes like Scaleform Flash does…

  • bjossi:

    Personally I like simple, 2D UI better, at least for menus. Easier on resources and it doesn’t really need fancy engine features if the art design is well done.

    For reference I love the Deus Ex UI. It is simple, easy on the eyes and makes very good use of the available screen space. For example you need to make a lot of savegames to have to scroll down the list.

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