Too… many… displays…

When I tested Monster Connection on an Android (just for fun, to check the performance) I noticed something weird. The UI was tiny! Not at all like in the preview on my PC. I scratched my head, wandered back to my computer, and realized I had designed my test UI for an iPhone 3GS resolution of 320×480, while the Android I tested on was at 800×1280. “Well, duh, of course that doesn’t work.” But that moment, when you realize how many resolutions and aspect ratios there are, you get a little scared at first.

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Experimental UI

Typically you have a lot of clutter on the main screen of virtual pet programs. Hunger, Energy, Affection, Mood, Hygiene, Feeding, Playing, Money, Level, Shop, etc, etc. Heck, some even need multiple screens. I’ve reduced this to 3 buttons in my experimental interface.

The first two buttons show food and energy, the two main stats you have to worry about, and you can satisfy those needs by pressing them and maybe selecting one additional option. Other things, like Hygiene/Cleanliness and Mood, will be displayed through the environment and the monster, by looks and behavior.

The button on the right opens a menu that shows you all information, like stats and money, and contains the remaining necessary options: training, fighting, playing, etc. The things you don’t need at your fingertip at all times.

Last but not least you can see an emote on the screenshot above. This way the monsters will be able to tell you how they feel. They will fade in and out as needed, so it’s not a permanent thing.