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Hohbes
#1 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:38:01 PM(UTC)
Hohbes



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Hello! My name is Jenny Peers and I am the User Interface (UI) Artist on Fable Anniversary. I have been at Lionhead for nearly 2 years and 3 months now, and love my job here! Before I started here, I was studying Computer Games Design BA (Hons) at the University of Wales in Newport while working as a freelance artist and web designer in my spare time. My passion for games started when I was around 8, having seen and played on a friend’s games console. This spurred me to want a career in the games industry.

I first came across Fable while in my late teens, and I absolutely adored every minute of it. From that point onwards it was my dream to work on a Fable game. I am over the moon to have been given the opportunity to work on Fable Anniversary! Enough about me, now back to work!

So what is a UI artist? UI stands for User Interface. This can include in-game menus, heads up display (HUD), icon design and even creating Xbox 360 Dashboard themes. I have to find functional and attractive ways of displaying key information to the player while they are playing the game.

Press Start:





One of the first screens players are greeted with in Fable Anniversary is the Press Start screen. I have made 4 versions of this screen which are randomly displayed each time you load the game. The key thing I wanted to do with these screens was to make them interesting and showcase a range of different environments you can explore in the world of Albion.

Frontend and Pause Menu:





Once you have pressed start, you are taken to the frontend menu which takes the shape of a book. While designing what the frontend should look like with lead designer Ted Timmins, we went through a number of different layouts and ideas. When we sat down to review all the concepts we noticed there were a few things that were still not quite working. Ted randomly commented “Can it be a book?” and the more we thought about it, the more it made sense. Each player is starting their own story as a new hero, as they progress through the game every action is being documented and their own story book is made.



I created a new set of concept images and worked on the visual design of this Fable book. This has also inspired the design of our strategy guide. The book theme is used for both the frontend and the pause menu, and strengthens the paper theme which runs through the Inventory as well as other HUD features. It makes use of simple navigation to enable the player to quickly start or continue a game, manage their saves (all 18 of them!), and make a new hero as well as featuring a special achievements page! (There will be more information on the achievements soon!)

HUD:





Being the UI element that’s viewed most, the first task I gave myself was to tackle the HUD. I wanted to design something that remained familiar to players who have played the original game while still creating a fresh and refined UI. The visual treatment I decided on uses golden framed elements to help celebrate Fable Anniversary and give a bit of elegance. The HUD uses over 400 unique icons for displaying objects including items, characters and spells. I recreated all icons as vector shapes which has allowed them to be resized quickly and easily for multiple uses. The Mini Maps have been restyled to have a more hand drawn look and the map container can be easily resized or completely hidden for the more advanced player. As you play the game, elements of the HUD fade in and out as and when they are needed, minimising the amount of information on screen at any one time. Players also have complete control over the HUD opacity. If you want to raise the difficulty of your game, try setting it to 0%!!!



Inventory:



The inventory screen was one of the biggest changes to the UI. The original game had many levels of options which you had to go back and forth through to find what you were after. I have tried to simplify it by creating a new layout which allows for quicker navigation. The Xbox 360 Controllers trigger and bumper buttons control which section you are viewing and their sub-sections.



The two thumb sticks and D-pad are put in control of filtering the content and reading item descriptions. Using this new layout players can quickly flick from choosing their equipment to reading about their current quest with minimal button presses.

Quest Complete:





The Quest Start and Quest Completed screen follows the paper visual style by presenting you with an actual quest card. The card presents a summary for the active quest on its front side, it can then be flipped to show a more in-depth breakdown on its reverse side. When you have completed a quest successfully, all rewards gained are listed and the card is given a Guild stamp of approval!

Region and World Map:





The Region Map screen now has more space to show the map and text for each location, making it easier to see region information at a glance such as which shops a town has or if any houses are for sale. Players can also filter the location list so only regions that have active quests are displayed. The world map itself has had a big visual style update so it looks more hand drawn and compliments the updated mini maps. I referred to the original Albion map heavily and was keen to try and keep a familiarity between the old and new. By keeping the colours similar I hope that, at a glance, players still recognise it as the iconic Albion map. A new full screen world map view has been added, allowing players to zoom in and pan around to explore every fine detail as well as utilising it for loading screens. It was important to me that the map should become more of a feature, animations and a few hidden surprises have been added for the keen eyed adventurer...

Edited by user Tuesday, November 26, 2013 11:13:18 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Hound Zero
#2 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:51:23 PM(UTC)
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it looks really nice, great job better than fables sanctuary thing anyway
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OriginalFurie
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:18:05 PM(UTC)
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Hello Jenny, the UI is looking good so far. Loving the front end. I assume that when the game loads we zoom in on the book and it opens up to reveal the menu? If not, missed opportunity, get to work. Still, it looks so pretty.

Personally I'm not too fond of the inventory screen, but there were so many different elements in the game that needed to go into that so I can see why the choices were made that way. The rest looks fantastic though. Totally in love with the new Quest Complete cards. I seem to remember the old ones also had some story text on them. Is that incorporated into the new Quest Complete cards at all? Not sure if it was that or the journal of the character, actually and I have a sneaking suspicion it was the latter.

Originally Posted by: Hohbes Go to Quoted Post
HUD:


Being the UI element that’s viewed most, the first task I gave myself was to tackle the HUD. I wanted to design something that remained familiar to players who have played the original game while still creating a fresh and refined UI. The visual treatment I decided on uses golden framed elements to help celebrate Fable Anniversary and give a bit of elegance. The HUD uses over 400 unique icons for displaying objects including items, characters and spells. I recreated all icons as vector shapes which has allowed them to be resized quickly and easily for multiple uses. The Mini Maps have been restyled to have a more hand drawn look and the map container can be easily resized or completely hidden for the more advanced player. As you play the game, elements of the HUD fade in and out as and when they are needed, minimising the amount of information on screen at any one time. Players also have complete control over the HUD opacity. If you want to raise the difficulty of your game, try setting it to 0%!!!


I do have a question about the HUD. You said that the opacity can be changed, which I believe it could in the original game too? Anyway, is it possible to change the opacity of different parts of the HUD or is it an all or nothing slider? It looks from the images shown that the map at least is separate from the other elements but what about the resource bars? The reason I'm asking is that I'm the sort of player who would like the health and will bars to show in combat or when they need recharging (which the contextual HUD should take care of) but I'd also like to turn all of the other elements off completely for as free an play area as I can get. No maps or pop-ups, not even controls showing up.

I'm sure there are others the same who might like the bars and controls to show regularly but not the pop-ups or mini-map. So is there a way to separate those elements of the HUD and turn them off, on and transparent at will? I suppose distinct elements would be Map, Resource Bars, D-pad Items, Button Actions and Pop-up Notifications, making five possible bars to turn them transparent or one Master bar to do them all. Would it be possible to include this in the time before release if it isn't already a part of the game?
Originally Posted by: Hohbes Go to Quoted Post
It was important to me that the map should become more of a feature, animations and a few hidden surprises have been added for the keen eyed adventurer...
We'll keep our eyes open for the Sandgoose then. Wink

Fabulous job all around really. Can't see how you could have done much better without making some pieces needlessly complex and others have too many options. Without changing the gameplay it couldn't be much better. Having said that, there are some minor ways the UI could be changed in game that could really make a difference to the way it plays. A simple buy button next to the stealable items in shops would go a long way to making that seem less disconnected to the list of buyable items, for example.

Edited by user Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:19:04 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Cut a BBcode tag in half.

JenTheThirdGal
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 5:07:09 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: OriginalFurie Go to Quoted Post
I do have a question about the HUD. You said that the opacity can be changed, which I believe it could in the original game too? Anyway, is it possible to change the opacity of different parts of the HUD or is it an all or nothing slider?


Hi OriginalFurie,

Thank you for you nice comments about the UI.

To answer your question about the opacity of HUD elements, it is a slider which controls everything at once. However, it is possible to turn the mini-map off completely and alter the size it is shown, regardless of what you set the opacity to be. Playing around with these options and combinations can give different results that suits multiple styles of game play.

Thanks!

Jen
UI Artist - www.MissJenArt.com
OriginalFurie
#5 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 5:42:19 PM(UTC)
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Thanks for the reply, Jen. Adorable avatar - I want to kidnap it and keep it as a badass maid, but enough of my extreme levels of "Don't want to wash up".

It's a shame the health bar isn't separate, or at least that there isn't a red corners style indicator for people whose Health is low. I suppose there's always the Guild Master though. He handily warns about it very occasionally, if I remember correctly.
nobbybasspunk
#6 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 7:17:05 PM(UTC)
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Looks good! The book interface is amazing, looks slick. @JenTheThirdGal, can we select certain areas of the HUD to turn opaque? I want to see my health and mana, but I'm not fussed about my multipliers, etc. Can't wait till February!

@OriginalFurie - you one smooth dude.
ThunderclapJSL
#7 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 8:18:01 PM(UTC)
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Amazing work Jenny and from the whole team. I have to say it really shows dedication you guys having the time to post about these things. Not many developers do this and it's a shame.
Ever since Fable 2 release I have been a big fan of not having a HUD screen blocking my field of vision. I personally have always supported screen corners turning red upon damage rather than bars that block too much of the screen or otherwise wont let the player get immersed to the game. Of course this is not the case in Anniversary, but turning them completely off tough is a good addition. Guild Master will always come to aid when I'm low on health.

One thing tough that did pop in to my mind was that the Achievements tab is on the pause menu. Why is that?
I recon it will open up the Xbox360 live menu and show the achievements there rather than in-game?
I personally would have wanted to see achievements implemented to the game itself. Maybe sub-category to stats or in world map screen...?
This is not a big issue, however now days achievements are a big addition in games and it has always been something that takes you away from the game itself.
It removes immersion in so many other game titles.
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JenTheThirdGal
#8 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 8:20:56 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ThunderclapJSL Go to Quoted Post

One thing tough that did pop in to my mind was that the Achievements tab is on the pause menu. Why is that?


We have done something special for the Achievements, we will be announcing more info about them soon! So stay tuned ;-)
UI Artist - www.MissJenArt.com
Its derpachu
#9 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 8:30:47 PM(UTC)
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Wow, that is real nice. Love the look. Didn't stray away as much from the Original UI.
I've been waiting for this for a while.
badgerofdeath
#10 Posted : Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:42:14 PM(UTC)
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Wow! I love it! I'm a bit disappointed by the start screen, as I loved the light breaking though the trees, but I think I can live Tongue

I love the map and the clothing screens, looking very nice and I like how the frame of the mini map goes the whole way around. Also nice to have a peek at the guild woods and the map room.

Edited by user Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:56:27 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Read the first post again...

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Dark Knight23Q
#11 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:19:48 AM(UTC)
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good stuff guys! Grin Clap
DvFsandman
#12 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:17:11 AM(UTC)
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I couldn't help but notice the "change hero" tab. Any word on what that will be?
Fata1moose
#13 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:43:33 AM(UTC)
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Looking pretty good! The UI needed a makeover as it was one of the weakest parts of the original game and it definitely didn't age well.

Originally Posted by: DvFsandman Go to Quoted Post
I couldn't help but notice the "change hero" tab. Any word on what that will be?


Probably to switch playthroughs, it is in the main menu. I would assume loading a game will only show loads from the last played hero.

Edited by user Wednesday, November 13, 2013 1:44:41 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

CultofByron
#14 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 2:53:40 AM(UTC)
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Thanks for another great feature! It's interesting to see the differences between the original Xbox and the PC/Lost Chapters menus too.

I love the idea of the menu as a book, it does make perfect sense. From what I've seen of Fable II, was the menu design influenced at all by that game?
willthethrill92
#15 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 3:26:44 AM(UTC)
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I love it! The UI looks absolutely amazing. Thank you Lionhead for not just regurgitating the old game with improved graphics. Fable /TLC was my favorite of the series but it definitely had room for improvement and the menus were definitely chief among them!

Keep up the amazing work! Y'all are awesome.
Oscar Poe
#16 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 5:25:47 AM(UTC)
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awesome screenshots, i love the main menu especially!! i love me some snow!!! Grin Grin
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Archelocus
#17 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:42:59 AM(UTC)
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The new UI is definitely looking good.

As a minor concern: I hope that the greatwood entrance in that screenshot is an early build 'cause it doesn't look right.
In general many of the screenshots I've seen the areas seem like they need a bit more foliage, but the colours and everything just don't look right.
Dark Knight23Q
#18 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 8:56:52 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Archelocus Go to Quoted Post
The new UI is definitely looking good.

As a minor concern: I hope that the greatwood entrance in that screenshot is an early build 'cause it doesn't look right.
In general many of the screenshots I've seen the areas seem like they need a bit more foliage, but the colours and everything just don't look right.


if i'm hearing you right, you're saying that theres just to much greenery? and in the original there was a more orange autumn look.
well i think it looks fine, they've still kept that cartoonish look that we all love.
Meadsey
#19 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:06:40 AM(UTC)
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The new map looks awesome and I hope if there are any significant loading times that the displays for them looks as good as the rest of the opening artwork. My only concern is not being able to rotate the hero when choosing clothing and hopefully you will be able to choose individual pieces of items instead of just outfits.
Enodoc
#20 Posted : Wednesday, November 13, 2013 9:16:08 AM(UTC)
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Very nice! Love the book style, and the map is looking good too! Glad to hear you've kept the same layout as the original, I wouldn't like to have to try and retcon the maps again.
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