Design Document: Screen Layout

Splash Screen


End Game Screen


Main Screen

The primary display – the one used most frequently by the player – is schematically represented like so:

I have tried to shrink this screen as much as possible, but I worry that even this will not be sufficient for our needs. Sentences involving deals can be very large and may not fit into the available space. Moreover, we’ll need to consume some space with housekeeping buttons. Nevertheless, we’ll make do with this constricted space so that we have access to those smartphones with large enough displays, of which there are many.

There will be at least two animations taking place in this screen. The first is the facial expression animation. The interlocutor’s face will show an emotional expression reflecting his mood, but that expression will not be static; the character’s face will move around slightly as he awaits the player’s response.

The second animation will be with the aural display surrounding the interlocutor’s sentence. It reflects the mood of the character, with red, green, and blue representing its corresponding aura. I have offered an example here, but I am not wed to any particular scheme; I leave it up to the animators to decide how best to handle this.
The background for the player’s input sentence is as yet undetermined. It must be visually weak enough to insure that it is not distracting from the sentence building.
This screen will present SympolTalk sentences using the same I/O scheme as was used with Storytron: smart menus popping up at each juncture in the sentence, presenting the player with the words available at that juncture. This is shown in the illustration by the yellow rounded rectangle.

Dream Combat Screen

This is where we go wild. We want to communicate the notion that this is all taking place in a dream world, so we have lots of creative freedom here. Our best inspirations, I think, will come from some of the many screensaver programs out there. In particular, the many possibilities presented in the program Electric Sheep constitute a major source of inspiration and might even provide us with some useful code.

There are some requirements that must be placed on this system. First, the player is flying through a dream world, but this flight is not in any fashion controlled by the player; instead, as in a dream, he simply experiences the sensation of flight. During this process, the characters that the player encounters in the dream world will be represented by their eyes only. Perhaps these eyes can be geometrically distorted or presented in different colors. As the player flies through the dream world, pairs of eyes appear and the player can attempt to avoid or confront them with a simple pair of buttons or perhaps a mouse/swipe gesture. This will NOT be a hand-eye coordination game: the player will have no problem zeroing in on a desired target or avoiding an undesired target. 

When the player confronts another character, the other character’s eyes are front and center in the screen. This initiates dream combat. The player must be given a choice of which aura he wishes to play; once that choice is made, we launch an animation that shows the player’s aura mixing and churning with the other player’s aura, and a result becoming apparent. There’s lots of room for creativity here. Remember, the three auras are represented by red, green, and blue respectively.
When dream combat is completed, the player “wakes up” and returns to normal daily life.

Interstitial stories

These are special one-shot tales representing odd events that present some sort of interpersonal challenge to the player. They will be the graphically simplest screens in the game: nothing more than text with, perhaps, an image of the face of the character with whom the player interacts, and a text menu of custom responses.