How to Plan, Design and Build Quality User Interfaces

Introduction

I like to call User Interfaces the Crown of games, mainly because it’s the first layer on top of everything else(parts, post processing effects etc.) We all know that studio’s current tools for designing interfaces is pretty limited, so we must resort to a third party software/service like Pinterest and Adobe XD that can fill in the gaps.


Background

• What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social platform which makes discovering information on a global scale using images. Pinterest also makes it easier to pull together designs for almost anyhting including user interface designs, building designs, clothing, music, art and so much more!

• What is Adobe XD

Adobe XD is a vector based tool used for designing/prototyping user interfaces for websites mobile apps and other platforms. Adobe XD can also be used to design logos, symbols and vector art.


At this point, be sure to have an account on Pinterest and Adobe Creative Cloud. Your Adobe account is required in order to use Adobe XD.

Creating a User Interface Concept

Your game interface such as the menu that will always stay on a player's screen needs to be made in a way that will impress your players because having a cluttered game menu could lead to players losing interest in your game quickly. A user interface concept needs to meet each and everyone of these principles:

Usability
Your interface is responsive to any form of interaction.

Navigatable
Navigating your interface has to be seemless and effortless. Don’t make it a maze just to find where the store is, where a setting is etc.

Desireable
The design of your interface is clean with no excess materials and appropriate for your game’s style.

• Creating/Finishing a Concept

As soon as you’ve logged on to Pinterest, you can either seach “UI Design” or “UI” or the specific UI element that you need a basis from.

Let’s take this UI element as an example


Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/569494315359434179/

However creating this in studio would seem like a nightmare without the proper tools, shapes and resources, so let’s start designing in Adobe XD.


Designing a User Interface

Utilising Adobe XD for designing UIs will open infinite possibilities for designs and choices for your design. You can adjust and modify to your heart's desire, make revisions in any area that seems unrefines and even test your design in realtime with your phone or computer.

• Designing a Concept

As soon as you’ve opened Adobe XD, go to the list of screen sizes and select the “Web 1920” as seen below:
image

You may also use other screen sizes in the future when designing UI for mobile devices or smaller screens.

After clicking on Web 1920 button, this screen will open


Go to the top of the window and click the arrow pointing down (beside the “Saved” indicator) and the screen below will show up:

Name your document as you wish, but if you are OCD with format, just name your document as so

GAME_NAME User Interface - Concept 1

and click save.

Back to the canvas, remember the toggle I posted earlier in this post? I will be creating a similar design in Adobe XD.

• Designing a User Interface Element

Taking things slowly, each individual UI element should be designed carefully for an equal design through out the interface.

So first off, zoom into any part of the canvas and create a rectangle by pressing R on your keyboard and clicking on one point and dragging.


Go to the right side of the screen and change the size to Width 150 and Height 80 as seen below:

Scroll down and you will notice the “Border” setting, turn off the border. You will also notice the rounded rectangle just under the opacity slider, click the first rounded rectnagle and set the number at the very right to 40 to make the rectangle rounded.

It should look like this:


Next, create a circle by pressing E on your keyboard and doing the as creating a rectangle. Make the size of the circle 70 x 70 and turn off the border. Make the fill of the circle the same colour as the beige background.

You can create the beige background by creating another rectangle and making the fill colour anything you desire, make the background layer unedr the rounded rectangle’s layer by dragging the shape layers than can be found by going to the bottom left of the Adobe XD window and clicking the very bottom button as shown below:
Screenshot%20(9)
(The button in blue)

And this panel will show up:


Drag the background rectangle under the rounded rectangle so that the background won’t overlap the toggle.

As soon as you’ve created the cirlce, your toggle should look like this so far:

Now duplicate the beige circle by selecting it and pressing Ctrl + D and dragging it to the left. Make the fill colour of the circle you just duplicated something other than white or just leave it as is. and your toggle should look like this:

Designing UI Symbols

Creating symbols on Adobe XD is fairly simple, but to make it even more simple, we have to improvise.

• Creating a Cross Symbol

Create two rectangles, one is lenghtwise and one is crosswise like this:
image
Size them as so:
W: 40
H: 4

Next make the rectangles rounded and make its roundedness set to 10
image

Select both of the rectangles by clicking and holding shift and union them by going to the right panel and press Ctrl + Alt + U then set the rotation to 45 degrees (the property can be found near the size property)
image

and the cross symbol should look like this:
image

• Creating a Check Mark Symbol

Create another lengthwise rectangle with similar properties to one of the rectangles in the cross symbol.


This time, we’ll be using the other rounded rectangle option which has the broken line like rectangle. Set the values to these numbers:
image
Create another rectangle at the bottom of the first one and size as so:
W:20
H: 4
And set its rounded corners as so:
image
Your check mark should look like this:

Union the rectangles together and rotate the union to 45 degrees.

Drag the cross symbol into the first circle in your toggle and the check mark into the second which should look like this:


Building a User Interface

Now that you have the assets for your interface, you have to export them from Adobe XD. You can't just export the toggle as it is, we have to break down the toggle into pieces like this:


You can comile the check mark and cross symbol into a sprite sheet, but that’s a whole different tutorial. Please note that you have to colour all of the assets white.

• Exporting Assets from Adobe XD

In the left panel with all the shape layers, right click on all of the toggle elements and click “export selected” or press Ctrl + E. After saving the elements, we will need to make use of Pixelfix because the image files tend to have dark outlines, so select all of the exported elements and drag them into the pixelfix application(more details can be found in the pixelfix post) and now you’re ready to import the elements into studio!

• Importing UI Elements into Studio

Upload all of the UI elements and give back the circle its necessary colour.
Position and scale the UI elements to match the design in Adobe XD.
Script the elements to move and react to a player’s click.

Result:


References




Toggle Elements:
Check Cross Symbol%20Container Toggle%20Body

Toggle UI:
Basic Toggle.rbxm (5.1 KB)

Note:
When uploading the assets to Roblox, you could use the Roblox Studio asset manager for game specific interfaces or upload via the website to use the toggle in any game that will use the toggle. Avoid uploading multiple copies of ui elements! Your inventory will become cluttered with redundant assets.

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Nice tutorial.

1 little criticism is that your demo does not work out of the box. Users will have to manually upload the assets because you used the “Game Uploader” and not the web one.

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I prefer Affinity Designer for vector-based UI design.
It’s intuitive, effective and packed with features and costs a one-time payment of £50.

5 Likes

Adobe Illustrator is also a nice tool for Vector-Based UI Design, It’s basically my go-to program for making UI, etc. Only downside is the cost, it also takes a few days to get the hang of/learn.

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I use affinity designer too. I tried XD, the full version, not much of a fan really. Affinity seems much more cleaner, easier to use, and I never have once found a limit with it. Ever.

I also use affinity photo too. I have access to adobe photoshop and illustrator, but I genuinely found these 2 programs better.

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To those who have and will mention Affinity and Illustrator being better than XD, I 100% agree with that, however this is just a guide for mainly startup developers who doesn’t want to spend much on their initial investment but still wants to create quality interfaces. I will see if I can come up with another guide in the future using Affinity or Illustrator, but this is all I can provide for now. Thanks for the criticism and feedback!

Quality tutorial, thanks! Can’t wait to try out making a UI.

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Great for a beginner UI designer. Though more tutorials in Adobe XD would probably be necessary- since like most other Adobe software- it’s not very beginner friendly. I think the bigger problem UI designers face is how they can implement their UI into Roblox Studio for compatibility across multiple platforms and screen sizes… so a more in-depth look at that portion would be greatly appreciated.

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This is a helpful tutorial for people that are beginners, and that are getting into UI. Glad you made this tutorial this well help a lot of people out, Nice tutorial you made for the. People that Need this.

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What do you use Affinity Photo for? Is it useful in the context of game development to any significant extent?

Thanks for sharing this guide, UI design isn’t my particular strength and I’ve personally just used roblox studio tools to create UI, I’ll be sure to use the shown technique for my future games, although I don’t think you showed us how to animate it going from the cross to the checkmark.

Edit: never though I would use pinterest ynironically for game development, you learn something new everyday!

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Agreed, You can get similar results from XD and illustrator. Illustrator is the best if you have money to waste, but if you have a low-budget XD is the best option.

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Disagree. Affinity Designer and Illustrator are very similar, how ever I tried both and actually prefer designer. and for only $50 its not bad (but I did not have a price in mind when I chose it)

Well, Affinity Photo is basically Affinity’s version of Photoshop. Now about your question,

Is it useful in the context of game development to any significant extent?

Well like most answers it depends on what you do in the field of game development. If you are a builder or a scripter, it wont help much. But if your a graphic designer, someone who wants to make assets for games, yes its very helpful. :slight_smile:

Great guide for beginners to UI design! I must say, I like how you’ve laid out and presented this. Everything is organised with clear boded titles to separate sections. I hope you carry on making UI guides because its easy to understand.

I remember a few months ago you wanted some help with improving your UI and after you improved it by following my example, I said that I hope one day you can help people in the future. I’m glad you have done so. :slight_smile:

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That example looks so nice so i remade it , it has the animation and it uses only 1 Circle Asset . I used Slice to make the round shapes.


Slowed down for demonstration
Grab it from here AnimatedToggle.rbxm (5.3 KB) (i am not an expert in UI so I might have made some mistakes)
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And here’s my remade version with only three assets. I made it in a rush, so it’s definitely not centered right.

CheckBox.rbxm (6.4 KB)

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this is why I animated the ui , i don’t want players seeing this and do not take this in a bad way i am just pointing it out

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