In this case study published by Ludomade, authors explore the limitations and constraints of designing games for small wearable devices – i.e. the Apple Watch. Below are some takeaways from the development process of Mineshaft: Dynamite Blast (Ludomade, 2014) – guidelines you’ll find valuable to design interactions beyond the realm of games:
- Think about how it’s going to feel playing a game that’s strapped to your wrist: holding your arm up in strange ways gets tiresome quickly, so keep play sessions short.
- Minimize the player inputs – simplify everything.
- On a 280×280 screen, space fills up really quick, so consider as few on-screen buttons as possible.
- When buttons are necessary, think about their placement based on which wrist the watch is on. You don’t want players to cover everything up whenever they need to jump.
Graphic design on small size screen
- Texture-packed realism isn’t going to work on such a small screen. Choose a graphical style and color palette that maximizes definition at this size.
The role of the form factor
- Consider square and circle screens when designing UI, keep those buttons out of the corners.
- Minimize the amount of UI needed – the small screen gets cluttered quickly.
- You must remove the default “swipe right to close app” function.
- There’s no audio on most watches so use audio as an accessory.
Check the final game on Android Wears and iOS (smartphone/tablet).
Article originally seen on Dotventi.