[MUD-Dev] Re: (fwd) AD: [custom graphical] whitestar

Dr. Cat cat at bga.com
Thu Apr 30 18:22:46 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


> 1) Thank you very much.  :)  And I do mean that.

Gee, you could have saved me the time and effort of making further 
replies if you'd just said it was boring, or kept quiet.  Ah well.  :X)

> 2) Do you know any good sources about user interface?  We're still very
> much in the blood-n-guts of the early parts of design, but it is certainly
> something that we have to think about, and not too far off.  Granted, what
> with graduation approaching rapidly, I think the project is on hold, but
> after June, I will be able to dive in with more energy.

To me this is somewhat analogous to joining the initial wave of settlers 
starting farms in the American west and saying "Hey, is there a good book 
on how to start a successful ranch in Montana?"  The answer is no, hardly 
anybody even knows much about that yet, and the few that do haven't 
written a book.  If you want to try it, go invent your own ways to do it 
and hope you're one of the experts in ten or twenty years, rather than 
one of the failed experiments.

I'm a snob about game design and user interface design.  I feel that 
there's at most a few dozen people in each field that know how to do it 
well, and everybody else is just fooling themselves.  They're not asking 
themselves the right questions, and they're not going through the right 
kind of process to develop potential solutions.  I'll grant that people 
who build an interface or a game by carefully imitating an existing 
interface or game can produce work that's "about as good as anything 
that's been done so far", if they pick one of the best things that's out 
there so far to imitate.  But I think there will be far, far better work 
out there in the future and that's more interesting to me.

There is some writing on these subjects out there, but I don't know if 
there's anything I'd highly recommend, and I'm not very motivated to go 
read everything I can find just to know what to suggest to people.  The 
best approach is just to plunge in and think hard and do the best you 
can.  That said, my senior apprentice does often recommend the following 
to people:

     http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/heuristic_list.html

You can also find the full text of Chris Crawford's classic old book on 
computer game design on the web now, at:

     http://vancouver.wsu.edu/fac/peabody/game-book/Coverpage.html

He's also got an archive of all the articles he wrote for his Journal of 
Computer Game Design at:

     http://www.erasmatazz.com/Library.html

I bought Brenda Laurel's book on user interface design, and her book 
"Computers at Theatre" years ago, but I never got around to reading them 
so I don't know if they're any good.  I have a couple of textfiles full 
of demented ramblings of my own that I'll post to the list someday.

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   Dr. Cat / Dragon's Eye Productions       ||       Free alpha test:
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MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.



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