One of the most exciting parts of working at Sidekick is the fact that we're always on the cutting edge of new interfaces and technologies. This means I often have to break out of my comfort zone and rethink UX to fit the interface.
Warrior Wave was developed for Intel RealSense, which lets you control the game with the silhouette of your hand.
I designed the menus with one main goal - get the player to the game as quickly as possible. Despite my love of good menus, I knew that manipulating the game with your hand was the real magic of the experience, and wanted players in the game as quickly as possible. This worked well in the main menu, which has a large "Play" button right at the center. One click, and the Play button takes you right to your latest level.
The other menus I designed with a mix of Kinect and mobile conventions, with large circular buttons mostly at the bottom and corners of the screen. However, it took very little time to realize that this new interface will require fresh thinking.
After experimenting with different controls schemes, we found the smoothest, most convenient way to control the cursor was by affixing it to the top of the player's hand silhouette. However, because the cursor was affixed to the top of the hand, it misbehaved when players turned their hand downwards, and the sensor itself often lost tracking at the edges of the camera's field of view. We needed to redesign the screens in a way that would encourage players to keep their hand up, and stay away from the screen corners.
With this in mind, we redesigned the menus with the buttons in mid-screen. We tried to keep 2 main actions on each screen - left and right. Right always goes "forward" (Continue, next level, etc) , and left always goes back (Restart).
We still kept the conventional back button in the top left of the screen. Since players could use either their left or right hand, there was no way of telling which corner would be more convenient, and in order to maintain conventions, we kept it in its standard location.
And the result? Success! Players found the menus much more intuitive and easy to control after the change.