UI design in Games

Game UI and UX design

Mark of the Ninja

“Mark of the Ninja” is a well-regarded 2D stealth action game known for its excellent UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) design. These design elements are integral to creating a fluid and immersive gaming experience.

User Interface (UI) Design:

  1. Minimalistic HUD: “Mark of the Ninja” employs a minimalistic HUD that provides essential information without cluttering the screen. The health bar, stamina gauge, and inventory are unobtrusive and easy to read, allowing players to focus on the stealthy action.

  2. Dynamic Sound Meter: One of the unique features of the game is the sound meter, which visually represents the noise the player character generates. It’s a subtle but effective way to convey information about the character’s actions without breaking immersion.

  3. Clarity in Abilities: The UI effectively communicates the player character’s special abilities and equipment. Icons and tooltips provide clear information about each ability, making it easier for players to strategize and utilize their tools effectively.

  4. Objective Tracking: The game displays current objectives and secondary goals, helping players navigate the level without becoming disoriented. This aspect aligns with good UX by guiding players and avoiding frustration.

  5. Intuitive Controls: The control scheme is intuitive and well-documented in the UI, allowing players to quickly grasp the mechanics of stealth, parkour, and combat.

User Experience (UX) Design:

  1. Stealth Gameplay: The game’s core stealth mechanics are designed for an immersive and satisfying experience. Players are encouraged to think tactically, making each level a puzzle to solve. The sound meter, line of sight indicators, and shadows all contribute to a rewarding stealth experience.

  2. Fluid Animation: “Mark of the Ninja” offers fluid and responsive animations, ensuring that player actions and character movements feel natural and smooth. This adds to the overall enjoyment and immersion.

  3. Risk and Reward: The game’s risk-reward system provides a sense of tension and excitement. Players must weigh the advantages of sneaking past enemies versus taking them out, and the consequences of their choices are clear.

  4. Narrative Integration: The game’s narrative and art style are seamlessly integrated into the gameplay and UI. The UI elements, such as the ink-like aesthetics and visual representation of sound, reinforce the game’s theme and story.

  5. Tutorial and Learning Curve: “Mark of the Ninja” has a well-structured tutorial that eases players into the game’s mechanics. The learning curve is smooth, allowing players to gradually master the art of stealth.

  6. Replayability: The game’s multiple paths, optional objectives, and various equipment options enhance replayability. Players can explore different playstyles and approaches, making each playthrough unique.

“Mark of the Ninja” excels in both UI and UX design by providing a clean and informative interface, while delivering a stealth gaming experience that is both immersive and enjoyable. The game’s ability to seamlessly integrate narrative and gameplay elements adds to its appeal, making it a standout title in the stealth-action genre.

Persona 5, an acclaimed role-playing video game, is not only celebrated for its engaging storyline and memorable characters but also for its stunning user interface (UI) design. The game’s UI is a blend of style and functionality, effectively immersing players in its unique world. Let’s explore some key aspects of Persona 5’s UI design:

1. Stylish and Thematic

Persona 5’s UI design is heavily influenced by its overarching theme of rebellion and aesthetics inspired by the concept of “phantom thieves.” The UI elements incorporate a striking red and black color scheme, which not only looks visually appealing but also symbolizes the game’s rebellious nature.

2. Dynamic Animations

The UI features smooth and dynamic animations that give the impression of a constantly changing and living environment. For example, the menus and transitions are adorned with intricate movements and transitions, making the UI engaging and captivating.

3. Persona Summons

When summoning personas (powerful beings in the game), the UI takes on an artistic and thematic flair. The cards and animations used during these sequences add a sense of mystique and excitement to the gameplay.

4. Clear Information Hierarchy

Despite its stylish appearance, the UI maintains a clear information hierarchy. Important information, such as character stats, health, and skills, is presented in an easily understandable format, ensuring players have the data they need for strategic decision-making.

5. Integration with Gameplay

The UI seamlessly blends with the gameplay. It incorporates elements such as the in-game smartphone, which players use for various functions like checking messages, managing relationships, and even saving their progress. This integration adds depth to the gaming experience.

6. Persona Management

The UI for managing personas is not only functional but also visually impressive. The persona selection screen showcases stunning artwork for each character’s persona, making it a treat for fans of the series.

7. Thematic Menus

The menus themselves are not just utilitarian; they are also themed to match the game’s concept. This includes a visual representation of a thief’s hideout and a calendar system that advances as the in-game days progress.

Ingame HUDs

Effective HUD design involves ensuring that these previews and gauges are clear, unobtrusive, and easy to interpret. They should be strategically placed on the screen to avoid obscuring the player’s view of the game world. Transparency, minimalistic design, and thematic integration can enhance the gaming experience.

Moreover, HUD elements should align with the game’s art style and thematic context. For example, a futuristic sci-fi game might have high-tech, holographic gauges, while a fantasy RPG might incorporate medieval-style fonts and icons.

Balancing the HUD is an art in itself, as it must convey essential information without overwhelming the player. Well-designed previews and gauges contribute significantly to player immersion and enjoyment by providing real-time feedback and enhancing the overall gaming experience.

General HUD elements


Mini-maps are common in many games, especially open-world and exploration-based titles. They provide a simplified, top-down view of the game’s environment, showing the player’s location, nearby points of interest, and the positions of allies or enemies. This helps players navigate the game world and make strategic decisions.

Many games display current quests, objectives, or tasks on the HUD. Players can easily reference this information, ensuring they stay on track and complete objectives efficiently.

When managing items, weapons, or gear, the HUD often displays previews of the selected item, allowing players to see details like stats, attributes, and appearance. This helps players make informed decisions about equipment and resources.

In first-person and third-person shooters, the targeting reticle provides visual feedback for aiming. It often changes shape or color to indicate accuracy or the potential to land a critical shot.

In games with exploration or detective elements, a scanning or analysis HUD can reveal information about objects, characters, or the environment. This may include highlighting points of interest or providing clues.

Stealth games often feature a stealth meter that indicates how visible or audible the player character is to enemies. It helps players gauge their level of stealthiness.

In narrative-driven games, the HUD may display dialogue options and the consequences of the player’s choices during conversations. This allows players to make informed decisions and shape the game’s story.

In open-world games, the HUD might display the current time of day or weather conditions, contributing to the game’s immersion and realism.

Many RPGs and adventure games include a journal or quest log HUD that tracks the player’s progress, ongoing quests, and objectives.

Some games feature HUD elements for resource management, such as food and water gauges in survival games or fuel gauges in driving and flight simulators.

In games with extensive maps, a GPS-style HUD can guide players to waypoints or destinations. It often includes directional arrows and distance indicators.

Story-driven games may display the emotions or reactions of characters during dialogues or interactions, helping players understand the impact of their choices.

In many action games, damage indicators appear on the HUD to show the direction from which an attack came, allowing players to react quickly to threats.

In action and fighting games, combo displays show the number and type of combos achieved by the player, adding a competitive element.


Consequence predictors in form of text or icons


Health and Stamina Bars

These are fundamental gauges in most games. The health bar shows the player’s remaining hit points (HP), while the stamina bar is used for actions like running, jumping, or special moves. These gauges are essential for survival and combat.

For games involving magic, special abilities, or skills, a mana or energy gauge is used. It displays the player’s available resource for casting spells or executing unique actions.

In shooters, the HUD often displays the remaining ammunition in a player’s current weapon and the total reserve ammo. This information is crucial for managing firepower in intense battles.

When abilities or items have cooldown periods before they can be used again, cooldown timers provide a visual representation of the time remaining. Players can plan their actions accordingly.

Gauges can also show debuffs, status effects, or buffs that affect the player or their character, such as poison, burning, or buffs to attributes like strength or speed.

Survival games set in extreme environments may feature a temperature gauge to monitor the character’s exposure to heat or cold. This gauge can affect the character’s well-being and survival.

In underwater exploration or space-themed games, an oxygen gauge is used to indicate the player’s remaining air supply. Players must manage their oxygen levels to avoid suffocation.

ehicle-based games like racing simulators and flight simulators often include a fuel gauge that shows the amount of fuel remaining in the player’s vehicle. Running out of fuel can have serious consequences in these games.

Games featuring mechs, robots, or powered suits may have an energy gauge that represents the available power for special abilities or actions. Players must balance energy consumption to use these abilities effectively.

Racing games may incorporate a car health indicator, displaying the condition of the player’s vehicle. Damage can affect performance and handling.

Some game modes, especially in puzzle or arcade games, use a time limit gauge to put pressure on the player to complete tasks or objectives within a set time frame.

Role-playing games often employ morality or alignment gauges to track a character’s moral choices and decisions. This gauge can influence the character’s alignment within the game’s narrative.

In beat ’em up and action games, a combo multiplier gauge may display the current combo streak and the potential score multiplier. It encourages players to maintain high combos for better scores.

Psychological horror or suspense games may feature a stress or anxiety meter, reflecting the character’s mental state. As it fills up, the character may become more prone to fear or panic.

Stealth games might include a gauge that shows how visible or concealed the player character is to enemies. Staying in the shadows and maintaining a low gauge helps avoid detection.

Post-apocalyptic or sci-fi games may include a radiation level gauge to inform players of their exposure to harmful radiation. Managing this gauge is crucial for survival.

In many RPGs, an experience bar gauge displays progress toward the next level or character upgrade. As players earn experience points, the bar fills, motivating them to engage in combat and complete quests.

These gauge-type HUD elements contribute to the overall gameplay experience by providing players with critical data to make decisions, strategize, and adapt to various in-game challenges and scenarios.