[MUD-Dev] UI Design in MMOs

rjw rob at wygand.com
Tue Dec 21 03:06:56 CET 2004

Johan A wrote:
> rjw <rob at wygand.com> wrote:

>> Why spend dev cycles developing interfaces and/or UI components
>> that you don't know are going to get used? Build a community that
>> can fill in the wholes after release.

> Why pay big money having shoes sowed in the US when you can have a
> Chinese child do it for a fraction of the cost in Asia?

> While I do agree that allowing the community to modify the UI
> through LUA/XML is awesome, I still think at the end if the day
> the developers are responsible to supply at great UI from the
> start.

Agreed. And as I said in another response in this thread, I believe
the WoW developers delivered a UI that will be the only UI the
majority of their users ever need see. Yes, it has a quirk or
two. Yes, it would be awesome if some of the mod functionality was
in the baseline UI. I think they mostly hit the mark on simple and

As for chinese child labor, the fact remains that developing any
software project is a tightwalk rope of resource management. We all
want to make best product we can, but we are limited by market
factors, people, and money. Choosing to develop and qualify only the
most basic UI is an extremely valid business decision.

> If the community develop programs on the side it's a bonus but
> they should not be required to do so.

And they are not. Plenty of players play with no UI mods.

> Imagine Doom3 shipping with an editor and 1 map and a catchy
> slogan like "design your own destiny". All the people who can't
> design content would have to wait until a few bright individuals
> release their work. Same thing with a broken or unfriendly UI. A
> little extreme but it's following the same reasoning.

Beyond a little extreme. I don't really think the analogy
holds. Sure, I agree that Doom3 with one map wouldn't sell. But the
WoW UI is not broken nor is it unfriendly (I qualify this by saying
it's the most friendly TO DATE, but I do agree it could be more

> One thing that is a little annoying with how Blizzard handles the
> UI situation is that they remove features as people discover
> them. They have left a lot of freedom in what can be done with LUA
> (very nice) but too much since they change the rules everyday.

> For example, they removed the distance to target hook and hooks
> used by Thottbot. While some of the decisions are understandable,
> its still annoying to have a feature introduced and then removed
> because blizzard think it's cheating.

This does annoy me to no end. the distance_to_target hook has been
in a long time, and they didn't remove it until release? Why not in
closed beta? why not open beta? It took until 2 weeks after release
to determine that it gave players an unfair advantage?

"We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward, and always
twirling, twirling towards freedom!"
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