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World of Warcraft UI Panel

Author: inwowgold Source: http://www.inwowgold.com

Apparently you need a thick skin to work on interface design.

Ultimately, the UI and design team agreed on a warm interface design that called to mind an old library, with parchment paper and rich wood grains. This iterative process is the ideal of how interface design would work, although that's not always how it happens.
The Death Knight status bar interface went through a different path. For one thing, the design team needed something right away so that they could actually use the class during playtesting. So something had to be created immediately. Early versions of the panel had the runes listed as icons below the health bar -- very simple, if not sexy.

Later innovations, including the display used for the BlizzCon '07 demo, incorporated a sword into the display. Later, the team created graphical elements to make the status area look like one big blade. An issue came up: how to effectively show the player when his/her runic power is full? The team added a small ball at the end of a meter that would glow. Still, it lacked that certain "something," so Blizzard's lead artist took a stab (no pun intended) at the blade. He created a couple different versions, including one with a trio of skulls at the top. (Skulls aren't kosher in China for cultural reasons, so that interface never got past the art stage.)

After months of tweaks and endless revisions, the team settled on a final Death Knight status bar interface that... looked almost exactly like what they started with. "The HUD can't be flashy," Thompson admitted, explaining that sometimes the simplest is best. The blade is gone. The runes are very clear and bright and the level of runic power is obvious.


Finally, Sakamoto talked about all the little changes the UI team had to do -- at the last minute -- in order to fit in separate buttons for a player's achievements and PvP status. The lag indicator was incorporated into the system button, "saving a total of eight pixels," Thompson quipped. Bag icons were shrunk by a few pixels. Tons of little tweaks were made during beta...

What's interesting is that the whole team, designers and artists and programmers, are involved in figuring out the best way to display information for the user. Good ideas can come from anywhere. When one person suggested removing pets from bags, putting them into a "zoo" in the player's character panel, and allowing them to be summoned like spells, the idea just "clicked" with the whole team. It was a solution that they all liked, and you'll be able to see the results when Lich King is released.
During a Q&A period afterwards, people asked questions about dozens of specific features or specific interface mods. But you could generalize some interesting tidbits from the answers. For one, some information is intentionally hidden from the game client to thwart the creation of bots.

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