10 Things You Didn’t Know About Video Game UI

For the love of U and I.


UI doesn’t get enough love.

Every time you hear someone commenting on how incredible a game’s graphics are, the chances are they’re referring to the character models, or the environments, or even the particles/effects. But hey, I can’t be too mean to you lot - who’s going to be sat there ogling footage for the next Resident Evil and shout “Whoa! Look at that ammo counter!”?

But therein lies part of the problem. Even some gamers who've been playing their entire lives struggle to determine just how many elements in a screenshot are UI or not.

I can’t count the amount of time I’ve mentioned to people that I used to work as a User Interface Artist and they responded with “so, you do like... the pause menu and the life bar, then? Is that all you do?”

Though I’ve worked on UI for a few AAA games (and for countless smaller titles), I still get asked the same questions. What even is UI, and why would anyone want to do it? Well, here are some things you probably didn’t know... about videogame UI!

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Hiya, you lot! I'm Tommy, a 35-year-old game developer living in Gateshead (not "Newcastle", never say "Newcastle"). I've worked on Cake Bash, Tom Clancy's The Division, Driver San Francisco, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, Kameo 2 and much more. I enjoy a pun and suffer fools gladly.