Does this sidebar make me look fat?

The main actions for my game is building, selling, and upgrading towers. I have been wondering how the user should do these actions?  Right now I am going to focus on just the building aspect. I might do another post that talks about selling and upgrading.

When I first implement this part of the game I chose to code it the quickest and easiest way that I could. Now that I want to get this ready for play testers, I think that I should create the UI/UX  the “correct way”. Basically draw everything out using pen and paper and get people feedback before coding. I already did some pen and paper work and decided to converted them to images (using Keynote), for your viewing pleasure.

UI 1:

This first design is basically what I currently have.  You tap on a tile and it display the towers that you can build. This is the simplest to code and is fairly easy to understand. The main thing I don’t like about this is how much finger movement is required to build a tower.

 

UI 2:

For this one when you tap on a tile it display the towers that you can build around the selected tile.  This one is very appealing to me, but I fear it is also the hardest one to code and get right.

 

UI 3:

The towers will always appear on the screen and it gives the user two ways to build towers. First they can tap on the tower to build and then tap the tile to build on. Second they can drag from the tower and it create a ghost version that they drag it to the tile they want it build at. I like the idea of the ghost version because I could also show the firing range of the tower.

 

UI 4:

For this one I am thinking more like an RTS game, where you have the list of towers in a scrollable area. It would have the same input methods as UI 3. The main difference is, it is reducing the visibility of the most importance part of the game, the map. I am currently displaying it on the right side of the screen, but it could be anywhere.

 

Those are currently the designs that I am fixating on, maybe after this post, more idea will come to me. Even with these designs I still have some things that I am not sure about:

  1. Finger travel: This is the main thing I want to avoid. On an iPhone it is not a big deal, but on an iPad (or Pro) this gets annoying.
  2. Blocking the screen: On the iPhone the screen is so small that I worry about having to many things on the screen. On the iPad I have lot of screen space.
  3. To many taps: I worry about requiring the user to tap a lot.
  4. Number of towers: I am not sure how many towers I want to have in this game.
  5. Needless coding: I don’t want to spend too much time coding when the input system may change.

I would love to get some feedback about these designs. Maybe you can think of something simpler. Maybe you have things that just bug you in Tower Defense games. I would love to hear it.

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