Creator Edd Coates shares why he started the project and talks about the plans for the database.
What is the most important part of a video game? Is it the plot, characters, or gameplay? But will you play a game with a clunky interface that is hard to understand? And what if you want to make your own title but aren't sure how to deal with what the players will see? This is when Game UI Database comes to the rescue with thousands of UI references meant for UI/UX designers.
The database was created by UI Artist Edd Coates, who wanted to give other professionals what he never had.
"Early in my career, I really struggled to learn the fundamentals of UI design because of a lack of resources, so one of my goals is to provide the tools that I never had when I was first starting out," he told Forbes. "There's still a lot of misinformation out there with regards to UI, so I'm determined to help others in a fun, visual and unintimidating way that will hopefully bring a lot of new people into the field! I hope this comes across in the language of the database, and it's something that the site will definitely be leaning into in future updates."
Game UI Database now has over a thousand games, each containing screenshots of various elements of their interface. Coates says that references are incredibly important to designers, and the platform might help them improve their work.
"Based on my experience, there isn't always enough time to conduct proper research. With milestones looming and publishers putting pressure on developers to deliver vertical slices, UI/UX mistakes are often made early in development, simply from a lack of useful data."
Speaking about the differences between how games handle interfaces, the creator mentioned Persona 5 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The first shows how game UI "can be so powerful when utilized properly", the interface isn't connected to the gameplay but it demonstrates how it can "essentially hijack the visual style of a game and artistically transform it into something completely different".
On the other hand, Breath of the Wild's interface doesn't try to overshadow the gameplay, "utilizing transparent panels and a minimalist aesthetic that allows the world of Hyrule to become the focus of the players' attention."
The database started as a personal project, however, now there are many players contributing to the cause. In the future, Coates wants to expand it to include VR references, video content, color analysis tools, mood boards, and a glossary of common game UI terms. He is also working on a new book that aims to “not only shine a long-overdue spotlight on the field but also celebrate game UI across the entire history of video games.”
Check out the database yourself, read more about it here, and don't forget to join our Reddit page and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.