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Arx Fatalis XBox Developer Diary part 1: Reworking the Interface
Sia 'Garrett' Manzari, 2003-07-17

Arx Fatalis is a 3D first person dungeon crawler RPG by Arkane Studios, which has been released for PC last year and is currently in the process of being ported to the XBox. In this monthly series of developer diaries by Arkane Studios we will get to know about this process...today's first entry is written by Julien Roby and is about the interface and the way it is being redesigned from the PC version to the XBox version:

As we started production on Arx Fatalis Xbox, our main goal was to adapt the game interface into an Xbox controller.

It was quite difficult as on PC, we used a keyboard (which means more than 100 keys) and a mouse.

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On the other hand, it was also a great opportunity to make the interface really user friendly. Indeed it's far easier to play a game with only a dozen buttons than it is to play trying to remember the whole keyboard.

After our first round table, our main problem was that we were lacking some buttons to perform some gameplay actions we have on the PC version of Arx, and we didn't want to loose any feature from the PC version.

So, to avoid losing any element of the gameplay experience we decided to redo the whole interface from scratch.

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This was great as it was also a good opportunity to increase the game's accessibility.

In the days following our first rework we realized that we had to consider the XBOX TCR in our redesign.

TCR are the rules you must follow to have you're game approved for a console. If you don't follow them, your game won't be allowed on the console you're developing it for.

So the point we initially didn't take into consideration was about the safe area. The safe area is the area on the screen where you can't put critical gameplay info, text etc.

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We didn't have this obligation on PC and Arx PC's original interface was built all around the border of the screen... which was not really adapted to the safe area TCR.

So we had to rethink our whole interface to be sure no info would sit outside of the safe area. E3 was near and we had to have something good to show. So after some kind of "brain torture":) we really got an interface we were pleased with.

Finally constraints led us to a friendly interface. It worked out so well, that sometimes we actually wish we had the same interface on the PC version :)

Average Reader Ratings: 7.63 (8 votes)
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