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Skeuomorphic UI (Design Concepts)

Tullius CiceroTullius Cicero Junior MemberRegistered Users Posts: 4
edited May 2014 in General Discussion
Foreword

Hello CA and forum users. This is my first post in the Total War forums but I have been an avid fan of the series since being given the original Shogun for my birthday nearly 14 years ago.

Like many people I was disheartened by launch state of Rome II, having eagerly anticipated its arrival since the initial announcement. Though disappointing for fans, I am certain the members of the CA team are feeling it hardest of all - despite its failings, many hours of hard work was put in to the development of this title, and their continued post-launch support shows that they are indeed working hard to rectify outstanding issues in spite of some outright hostility and vitriol on these forums. I would therefore ask that moderators ensure that all immaturity or abusive behaviour be left out of this thread as it is neither constructive nor needed. Feedback is welcome, hostility is not.


Skeuomorphic UI

One of the most striking aesthetic changes in Rome II was the decision to abandon skeupmorphism in favour minimalism. For anyone who is unsure as to what those terms mean, it may be helpful to think of how smartphone UI has changed in the last decade and how the use of 3D icons and paper/metal/wood textures has gradually be phased out and replaced with "flat" design (as seen in the new iOS7).

This was a bold departure from the design of previous Total War titles, likely done in order to revitalise the design and bring a sense of modernity. However, though done with the best of intentions, in my view it remains a slightly misguided decision. Bringing modernity into an historic setting creates a strong disconnect between player and content. Simply put, it breaks immersion. With that in mind, I set out to create a few crude design mock-ups depicting what Rome II might look like if the skeuomorphic approach to UI was restored.

Family Tree & Family Member Information with Skill Tree

Senate and Cursus Honorum

Settlement Information

(Note: I appropriated the design of forum-user JLC for the Senate House layout and Civil War sliders, many thanks to him. Also note that this is not a functioning UI, they are simply rudimentary composite images indicating how it might appear.)

I believe that a skeuomorphic approach infuses mood, atmosphere and character into the UI, as well as helping to suspend the users sense of disbelief in a way that modern or minimalistic UI cannot. These images were done over a few hours by an individual with little skill or knowledge of user interfaces or graphic design. If Creative Assembly were to assemble its design team and retroactively adopt a similar aesthetic style (as they have done to tremendous success in the past) I believe it could help inject the 'soul' into Rome II, whose absence users have lamented, and allow players to enjoy the experience to its fullest extent.

Thanks for reading, and good luck to the CA team with all future endeavours. You can't make diamonds without friction.
Post edited by Tullius Cicero on
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Comments

  • Kraken93Kraken93 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 981
    edited October 2013
    I like it although some of the textures are very low res. And there should be a mix of marble/scroll textures for the Roman and Greek factions, and then stone/wood for barbarian factions and then perhaps clay/scroll for eastern factions. It would help to give the campaign a different feeling when you play as a different culture.
    I was asked to change my signature to something less provocative. This is Fitzgerald, the German bunny.
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")
  • worneswornes Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 259
    edited October 2013
    You are completely right, they changed the style and it has been a terrible change, your design looks good and I bet if they worked on it they could make a much better one, I don't understand the reason for such a change in the UI but well, there are already several posts about this but I doubt it will be fixed.
  • MorgothicMorgothic Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 2,166
    edited October 2013
    With some brushing up, it could look great.

    However, your end turn button seems to suggest an abandonment of yearly turns, which I am against.
    Fast like the wind,
    Silent like a forest,
    Intrusive like the fire,
    Immobile like a mountain,
    Under heaven and earth, I alone am feared.
    -Takeda Shingen
    My Movie and Music review blog
  • jfcjfc Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 30
    edited October 2013
    Very, very good!

    That'll be JFC...:D
  • Kraken93Kraken93 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 981
    edited October 2013
    Morgothic wrote: »
    With some brushing up, it could look great.

    However, your end turn button seems to suggest an abandonment of yearly turns, which I am against.

    You could have seasons without breaking the yearly turns. First year= Spring, Second year= Summer, Third year = Autumn, Fourth year= Winter.
    I was asked to change my signature to something less provocative. This is Fitzgerald, the German bunny.
    (\__/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")
  • MorgothicMorgothic Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 2,166
    edited October 2013
    You could have seasons without breaking the yearly turns. First year= Spring, Second year= Summer, Third year = Autumn, Fourth year= Winter.

    The yearly system is also good in terms of attrition, punishing the player for moving into deserts, not out of the capital in winter.

    We also cannot expect CA to remodel the entire campaign map for Winter...
    Fast like the wind,
    Silent like a forest,
    Intrusive like the fire,
    Immobile like a mountain,
    Under heaven and earth, I alone am feared.
    -Takeda Shingen
    My Movie and Music review blog
  • moglornmoglorn Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 187
    edited October 2013
    Whoa nice designs there OP, could you not make a mod for that? i would download that in half a heartbeat
  • RealWarfareRealWarfare Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 2,034
    edited October 2013
    I almost lack words... that is so beautiful. This is some of the exact things CA should implement in Rome 2. The UI concept of the previous titles was beautiful, and your design looks amazing. :)
    The best is yet to come
  • nekonarinekonari Member Registered Users Posts: 40
    edited October 2013
    Nice concepts, but I actually would like to see more flat and simple UI design in games than skeuomorphic UI. For your examples, I'd point out that content is a bit hard to distinguish from controls and other non-content UI elements.

    Just to add, I really, really despise all those really weird, corny sci-fi window dressings in majority of games that doesn't add anything to usability, and adds only a little to the gaming experience.
  • Tullius CiceroTullius Cicero Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 4
    edited October 2013
    JFC* apologies haha.
  • Tullius CiceroTullius Cicero Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 4
    edited October 2013
    I like it although some of the textures are very low res. And there should be a mix of marble/scroll textures for the Roman and Greek factions, and then stone/wood for barbarian factions and then perhaps clay/scroll for eastern factions. It would help to give the campaign a different feeling when you play as a different culture.

    Yeah there are definitely a few dodgy textures and low res images in there, it was all mashed together pretty sloppily. If I spent a few more hours I could probably polish it up a bit and use a variety of elements to differentiate between cultures like you say.

    For the moment I just have to remain quietly optimistic that CA might backtrack slightly on the minimalism in future expansions and titles.
  • FortiplexFortiplex Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 142
    edited October 2013
    Is it possible to make a mod for it? I'd download it!
  • WhiteFlagofWarWhiteFlagofWar Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,667
    edited October 2013
    I very much like where you're going with that (was actually a huge fan of the "circular" section containing things like trade/diplomacy.:D) Certaintly easier on the eyes than what we have now(and this is coming from someone who doesn't hate the current one)

    Though I still think that the year per turn thing more or less ruins any reasoning behind having a family tree, it would change too fast to be able to draw anything meaningful from it. Neat looking though, very nice :)
  • Siven80Siven80 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 484
    edited October 2013
    Good concepts.

    Its how the UI should have been laid out.
  • RiekopoRiekopo Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 2,254
    edited October 2013
    Looks a thousand times better than what we have now.
  • El Monstero29El Monstero29 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 540
    edited October 2013
    I REALLY like your senate page! That looks so cool! I wish CA would do something along those lines.

    Good work man. I don't know why people are knocking the low res textures.....its a freaking mock up people! Jesus!
    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve" - Bilbo Baggins
  • MomotaruMomotaru Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 15
    edited October 2013
    Hear Him! Hear Him!

    Very nice, well done.
  • KilllessKillless Member Registered Users Posts: 53
    edited October 2013
    What a great improvement on the current disaster!
  • WaterSquirrelWaterSquirrel Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 196
    edited October 2013
    It's a matter of taste, really, and I don't find that the UI makes it difficult for me to suspend disbelief; Rome II is full of much worse anachronisms than the UI, that pull you out of the moment and remind you that you're playing a game (capture the flag comes to mind). The same is true of Skyrim, which also broke away from the traditional UI of earlier titles.

    I believe the design intention behind these modern UIs is to get them out of the way. By making them minimalist, they don't feel like a barrier between you and the world. They're also agnostic, and can be better reused for different playable factions (marble eagles wouldn't make sense as a motif for the Egyptian faction, for instance).

    I like the old UIs, but I also like the design of the new one.
    let them hate, so long as they fear
    i5-3570k, GTX660 Ti , 8GB DDR3/1600MHz, Win7 64x
  • ZetsZets Banned Banned Users Posts: 91
    edited October 2013
    This looks awesome. I hope CA will make similiar changes.
  • jpinardjpinard Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 676
    edited October 2013
    So much better. I could comment on each one, but if I had to beg CA to focus on one set vs. another, I'd want them to do the Senate and characters the way you have them.
  • NeonCrayonNeonCrayon Member Registered Users Posts: 33
    edited October 2013
    I just had an eyegasm :D
  • Mr.WaterMr.Water Member Registered Users Posts: 64
    edited October 2013
    That's how things should be

    come into and learn it,CA staff~
    Everyone need water!!!:o
  • Shiningpotato16Shiningpotato16 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 569
    edited October 2013
    This incited that wonderful feeling when you know that something is lacking, and you are frozen in your attempt to find a phrase to describe when a savior comes by and releases you.
    If the water is up to your neck: chin up
  • ChaChaLocoChaChaLoco Member Registered Users Posts: 53
    edited October 2013
    That UI already looks MILES ahead of what we currently have in Rome II. If they took your ideas and worked with them it would be fantastic. Also, bring back the settlement population counter CA, and have recruiting ACTUALLY deduct from it, etc. Thanks!
  • break99break99 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 293
    edited October 2013
    Great post OP!

    It's just too bad that it won't be implemented since it's not stupefied enough for the "broader audience" that CA is targeting.

    I think CA is crying on our money!
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  • moridinmoridin Member Registered Users Posts: 73
    edited October 2013
    Great post OP! the UI design change, removal of family tree, province system and limiting building slots to 3 -6 along with no walls for "minor cities" are perfect examples of CA streamlinings that nobody asked for and strips the game of so much of what was immersive and awesome in the first place!!
    IMO these "streamlinings" were nothing more than "cost cuttings" so that they dont spend a single $ worth of money on coding/designing which they could spend on marketing!
  • jpinardjpinard Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 676
    edited October 2013
    Tullius Cicero - I took your wonderful screenshots and modified them a bit so they'd require the least amount of effort on Creative Assembly's part. I hope you don't mind. Please hop on over to this thread and see what I suggested:

    http://forums.totalwar.com/showthread.php/103343-Easy-things-you-(CA)-can-do-to-make-the-game-way-better-(interface-and-gameplay)/page2 .

    Specifically Post #16 and Post #17 :)

    It all fits in rather nicely in what I was saying in that thread and CA has posted some potentially? promising comments there.
  • ErminazErminaz Senior Member USARegistered Users Posts: 5,909
    edited October 2013
    Wow that look really nice. And it is amazing on how a little aesthetics can change the feel of immersion.
    Tacitus Quotes:
    Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
    They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.

    Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.
    The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.

    I found Rome a city of filth covered marble and left it a pile of rubble. - Me
  • FAT_KONANFAT_KONAN Senior Member Canary IslandsRegistered Users Posts: 885
    edited October 2013
    Foreword

    Hello CA and forum users. This is my first post in the Total War forums but I have been an avid fan of the series since being given the original Shogun for my birthday nearly 14 years ago.

    Like many people I was disheartened by launch state of Rome II, having eagerly anticipated its arrival since the initial announcement. Though disappointing for fans, I am certain the members of the CA team are feeling it hardest of all - despite its failings, many hours of hard work was put in to the development of this title, and their continued post-launch support shows that they are indeed working hard to rectify outstanding issues in spite of some outright hostility and vitriol on these forums. I would therefore ask that moderators ensure that all immaturity or abusive behaviour be left out of this thread as it is neither constructive nor needed. Feedback is welcome, hostility is not.


    Skeuomorphic UI

    One of the most striking aesthetic changes in Rome II was the decision to abandon skeupmorphism in favour minimalism. For anyone who is unsure as to what those terms mean, it may be helpful to think of how smartphone UI has changed in the last decade and how the use of 3D icons and paper/metal/wood textures has gradually be phased out and replaced with "flat" design (as seen in the new iOS7).

    This was a bold departure from the design of previous Total War titles, likely done in order to revitalise the design and bring a sense of modernity. However, though done with the best of intentions, in my view it remains a slightly misguided decision. Bringing modernity into an historic setting creates a strong disconnect between player and content. Simply put, it breaks immersion. With that in mind, I set out to create a few crude design mock-ups depicting what Rome II might look like if the skeuomorphic approach to UI was restored.

    Family Tree & Family Member Information with Skill Tree

    Senate and Cursus Honorum

    Settlement Information

    That is some impressive stuff, waaaaay better than the smartphone UI we got right now.
This discussion has been closed.