Skyrim User Interface Designer Checks Into Rehab

After reading this about the Skyrim user interface, amongst other commentary on the issue, I wonder if it is good I don’t have enough time to play it now. Maybe waiting six months until this sort of crap is fixed might not be a bad idea.

You’ve got to wonder how a user interface as bad as that got past usability testing. Was that part of the team on acid?


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  1. Sara Pickell

    You know, other than getting stuck because I didn’t know tab closed it that first time… I like it. I REALLY like it. It stays the hell out of my way. It doesn’t berate me with info assuming my overall goal is to twink my character to death. People will talk to me about my status, so as long as I’m going to a town I can find out about status effects and all that. I feel like I know only a little more than my character knows, enough to make some informed choices for them.

    That’s what I want in Bethesda game. Immersion. To feel like I am, at least in some small way, my character.

    A few rough edges could use some sanding, but in the overall scheme, I think it’s just grand.

  2. Stropp (Post author)

    Hi Sara. Thanks for that perspective. You’ve hit on the one thing that I think all game developers need to understand.

    The UI needs to get out of the way. Any good interface design, whether it be for a game or for an accounting package needs to be in the users way as little as possible. If an accounting package requires the user to take their hands off the keyboard for data entry it has failed. If a game UI takes the player out of the game world, it has also failed.

    Still, it concerns me the number of comments I have read about how Skyrim makes it difficult to do what should be simple actions. Things like not being able to remap keys effectively or not catering to left hand players without a painful process to do so. Or even that constellation system that from what I can tell seems to be somewhat long winded.

    They all sound like flaws to me.

  3. Blue Kae

    I agree with Sara, the UI and HUD are really minimal and though it took me a bit of adjusting, I like it better this way. Regarding the RPS article, I can understand and appreciate most of their points, but I think a lot of the complaints stem from the fact that the UI was designed around the console and ported instead of being redesigned for the PC. That’s a shame, but it’s also not unusual. Personally, I’m playing on PC but using a controller and feeling like I’ve gotten the best of both worlds.

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