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Archive for the ‘design’ Category

Washington Post vs. Safari

Posted by Ad on October 10, 2011

I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street thing since I got wind of it last week. I think it’s a great thing, tho what results it’ll yield, when, and at what cost remains to be seen. But at least they’re shining a spotlight on some issues in how the economy looks. Really, money makes the world go round.

But I’ve been having some problems following the thing. I’ve had a few crashes while reading news sites. The Washington Post is one of those sites that without fail crashes Safari for me. Just to be sure, I fired up the site on my iPhone, let it load, and waited. Then the screen went black and returned to the menu. On my laptop, Safari just hangs, and I must force quit. Granted, my laptop is old, and I haven’t updated to the most recent version of Safari (see last post for one of the reasons why), but my phone’s OS and Safari are kept up to date.

While I doubt the Washington Post web crew are anti-Apple (especially with Steve Jobs’ recent death) or deliberately setting up their site to crash browsers and drive readers to other outlets, it’s symptomatic of a problem that a lot of sites has: clutter. Fancy new flashtastic features that most users don’t notice until it bothers them somehow, and clutter. Back in the day, most search engines filled their front page with categories and options, while Google stood apart with its simple, clean, and quickly loaded page. Today, even Google’s filling up their pages with clutter, tho it has the foresight to not load the stupid preview thing on the outdated Safari version on my old laptop.

Really, too many sites today are full of junk. Long pages that take too long to load on a phone, full of superfluous bloatware that crash browsers or that just slow everything down. I might have mentioned‘s terrible, terrible ad before. It covered the whole window, and I had to take a moment to look for the “close ad” button. Not good design, not a good user experience. Many sites use a networking bar at the bottom of the page, one of my favorite sites the Escapist is one of them. Obtrusive and annoying, not just on old computers.

Seriously, while some machines have a lot of real estate on their screens, laptops, the more and more ubiqutious pads, and of course phones, have small screens. Sure, I get to about 2.5 megapixels on my desktop machine, but my iphone? Way less. (Sure, you can zoom, but that requires you to change your grip or else you’ll get tendonitis or something from trying.)

So, websites need to be smaller and less demanding for a few simple reasons:

– small screen devices
– compatibility / not crashing
– not annoying users

Rant over.

Posted in advertisements, design, the internet | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Really about color, ain’t it?

Posted by Ad on May 12, 2011

Today’s topic was prompted by an upcoming costume party I have to attend. For which I have some trouble coming up with a low-work constume that’s both cool and fits the theme. And that doesn’t require me to shave my beard.

Anyway, this got me thinking about costumes. Clothes. Fashion. Attire. I don’t pay that much attention to it unless it’s exceptional in some way, and with games being fantasy lands full of exceptional outfits, few of them stand out enough, and I often find myself more intrigued by background NPCs than by the main chars. As for exceptional and not, we get characters (usually female) who wears less and less and it’s less and less of an issue in the industry overall. Or it seems to consumers like me.

But putting aside the straps and loincloths that the less dressed characters wear, most characters wear stuff that in our culturally diverse expressive modern/post-modern world wouldn’t be entirely out of place. Sure, body paint, goggles, and a huge-ass sword might not make it into the everyman’s wardrobe, and if they did, there’s probably only one day a ¬†year when those things would be taking out of there. But the clothes themselves might actually work.

While more commonplace in my country than in palces without conscription, uniforms might not be all that suitable everyday wear. Sure, camo colors and the camo pattern has made it into everyday use, and jeans have lost to more loose pants with more pockets. Still, uniforms will probably not become everyday fashion. Nor will the swimsuit-based outfits in games.

So what would we expect to see a generation raised on video games wear? Layers. Parts. Leggings are apparently in, and they lend themselves to a variety of other clothes. I don’t think men, who generally just wear “pants” and some kind of “shirt”, should wear those, tho. Coats, vests, armwear, headgear… just as long as ppl don’t start sporting those ridiculous goggles, I’m all for it.

And colors. Since games started coming in color, color has been important to the design in games. We could go classic with colors referencing the Mario brothers, or more modern referencing Kratos or the Master Chief. Pick any game with characters with distinct design. Here’s a quick spectrum:

Auron, Kratos, Nariko (rule 63 of Kratos?), Zero in red; Gordon Freeman and Chell orange; Wario, Daisy, Penelo, Scorpion and too many chars in FFX in yellow; Link, Luigi and Blanka green; Mega Man, Sonic, Sub-Zero, Chun-Li, and lots of others in blue; Waluigi in purple; Zelda, Peach, Kairi in pink… I won’t list characters in black.

Actually, colors might be the most striking thing about video game design. IRL, we went from bright colors in the 70s to unnatural colors in the 80s followed by more and more black in the 90s and 00s. Now we’re seeing a return of color. I’m thinking it’s partly thanks to video games.

So really, the way video games will impact what we wear is color. We’ve grown up with a gallery of colorful characters, be they pink-haired princesses or sporting red body paint; be they human or hedgehogs or what the heck Bowser is. Surely this will change how we think of what we wear.

I have a red shirt I wear from time to time. I hear surprisingly few redshirt jokes. Apparently, Star Trek is so 1900s.

Posted in design, video game industry | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »