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UI Design Process: Aces Wild

Tyler Doak very generously shared his UI design process on Aces Wild! The following are screenshots from throughout the development process with detailed captions from Tyler about design changes.

Be sure to also read our interview with Tyler and check out Aces Wild in the UI Archive for screenshots of the latest version.

Very First Mockup, not an actual screenshot.

Very First Mockup, not an actual screenshot.

 

Very first screenshot. No UI YET!

Very first screenshot. No UI YET!

 

A big update, but still no UI!

A big update, but still no UI!

 

First Shot of the UI. Only the health actually animated (the tiny green bar). The Wild meter is above it and the large flare on the left was supposed to animate as your Wild filled up.

First Shot of the UI. Only the health actually animated (the tiny green bar). The Wild meter is above it and the large flare on the left was supposed to animate as your Wild filled up.

 

First update to UI. Much better cohesion. Health is red/yellow and Wild is blue for some reason. The segments on your Wild were based on using attacks (Crash attacks used up one segment).

First update to UI. Much better cohesion. Health is red/yellow and Wild is blue for some reason. The segments on your Wild were based on using attacks (Crash attacks used up one segment).

 

Changed the Colors and added more segments because the design changed. Added some shading too. The new flat texture to the Health was much easier to read.

Changed the Colors and added more segments because the design changed. Added some shading too. The new flat texture to the Health was much easier to read.

 

Some minor changes. The Wild bar had a scrolling flashing effect that intensified as your Wild filled. Huge overhaul as I brought the setting from the mountains to the city and made it pure side view 2D, instead of slightly overhead (I heard this happened in Super Mario Bros. too?). The gameplay was always pure 2D, simply an aesthetic change, but it did help with readability and asset production. Added enemy health bars! I like them right on the enemy, again, so that you're looking at the action and not the menus.

Some minor changes. The Wild bar had a scrolling flashing effect that intensified as your Wild filled. Huge overhaul as I brought the setting from the mountains to the city and made it pure side view 2D, instead of slightly overhead (I heard this happened in Super Mario Bros. too?). The gameplay was always pure 2D, simply an aesthetic change, but it did help with readability and asset production. Added enemy health bars! I like them right on the enemy, again, so that you’re looking at the action and not the menus.

 

Another small change. Removed the segments from the Wild meter and changed the texture on the health bar to be horizontal instead of the vertical segmented one.

Another small change. Removed the segments from the Wild meter and changed the texture on the health bar to be horizontal instead of the vertical segmented one.

 

Another small change. The Wild meter went to pips again (just love how it looks in general, just not for this game). Also added the Ranking (Jack-Queen-King-Ace) display to the left of the health. That space existed for that reason since I first added that star, but never implemented 'til now.

Another small change. The Wild meter went to pips again (just love how it looks in general, just not for this game). Also added the Ranking (Jack-Queen-King-Ace) display to the left of the health. That space existed for that reason since I first added that star, but never implemented ’til now.

 

Got rid of the pips for the Wild meter again. Added another damage multiplier mechanic that didn't last to the final release. There's also a cooldown display underneath the wild bar for your dodge and dash. These mechanics became less and less restricted as the game went on. You never really could fly in the early versions! Also updated the font! Made them a bit more 3D. Looks like I hated the Ranking display or it wasn't fully implemented so I got rid of it. Added a notification for scoring underneath the score. Added some game world effects for when enemies are about to attack and when your wild is filling up. A lot of these elements would be removed later.

Got rid of the pips for the Wild meter again. Added another damage multiplier mechanic that didn’t last to the final release. There’s also a cooldown display underneath the wild bar for your dodge and dash. These mechanics became less and less restricted as the game went on. You never really could fly in the early versions! Also updated the font! Made them a bit more 3D. Looks like I hated the Ranking display or it wasn’t fully implemented so I got rid of it. Added a notification for scoring underneath the score. Added some game world effects for when enemies are about to attack and when your wild is filling up. A lot of these elements would be removed later.

 

Ayyy! Finally got rid of that dumb star. Also had to redo the placement of everything to accommodate 2 players. I spent a lot of time redesigning the overall Health/Wild bar here and I really like the results. Changed the Ranking system from the JQKA format to a number. Got rid of the large 'SCORE' text.

Ayyy! Finally got rid of that dumb star. Also had to redo the placement of everything to accommodate 2 players. I spent a lot of time redesigning the overall Health/Wild bar here and I really like the results. Changed the Ranking system from the JQKA format to a number. Got rid of the large ‘SCORE’ text.

 

Shot from the 1.0 build. Changed the Ranking display a bit. Added the difficulty and stage above the timer. Added an indicator to the player character when they took damage so you'd know who was who during 2 player and just so you could track your character better when you got punched around the arena. Added the threshold for the Panic mechanic in the wild bar. It turns red when you can use it and increases each time you use it. Added nice animations for the wild and health too. The KO counter was added because during 2 player testing it because really fun to see who could get more KO's. This will likely be a bigger focus on any Aces Wild sequels.

Shot from the 1.0 build. Changed the Ranking display a bit. Added the difficulty and stage above the timer. Added an indicator to the player character when they took damage so you’d know who was who during 2 player and just so you could track your character better when you got punched around the arena. Added the threshold for the Panic mechanic in the wild bar. It turns red when you can use it and increases each time you use it. Added nice animations for the wild and health too. The KO counter was added because during 2 player testing it because really fun to see who could get more KO’s. This will likely be a bigger focus on any Aces Wild sequels.

 

A 1.x update (not sure which version!) I added a display for how many Defeats the player had for the current stage and overall. Added a label to Wild. You can also see indicators in world space for off screen enemies.

A 1.x update (not sure which version!) I added a display for how many Defeats the player had for the current stage and overall. Added a label to Wild. You can also see indicators in world space for off screen enemies.