Of all of the UI/UX considerations in a tactics game, the HUD is far and away the most important. The HUD is the window into the heart of the game, and the dashboard that the player will use to interact with its main gameplay systems. As such, it has two jobs: 1) To tell the player what they can do and 2) Enable them to do those things without unintended friction.

I’ve pontificated at length about tactics UI and UX and HUDs and all that crunchy, chewy, nougaty stuff, so I won’t rehash all of that here. Instead, I want…

This week we return to the wonderfully diverse world of turn-based tactical games, where I live now. And what a glorious place it is, full of isometric grids, unforgiving opponents, and a host of minute decisions that can result in exultation or tears. So finalize your movements, line up your overwatch shots, and let’s jump in.

At its heart, the tactical genre is a drama of information management. The best analogy for it in the board game world is chess, except where chess is a competition of pure skill, with both players constrained by the same set of pieces and…

This started out as a much longer post in which I tried to corral all of my thoughts and observations around tactical games. That quickly became too unwieldy to make for a concise entry. The tactical genre is rich and wildly varied, so much so that no two games, and no two UIs, are exactly alike. So I’ve scoped down to what I think are three crucial considerations for UI/UX designers and game designers working on tactical games, using a handful of examples so as not to get too confusing or out in the weeds.

Information and Immersion

I think the core tension…

Caveat Lector: This Post Really Does Kind of Stink

I feel the need to start this post by defending what might otherwise, and understandably, be seen as a stretch of the definition of UX, a term which needs no further help being stretched. Celia Hodent, in her excellent book “The Gamer’s Brain,” applies the term to the whole experience humans have with a given product, whether it is an object, a service, a website, an application, or a video game,” contrasting it against Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in that it covers the whole shebang, from “first hearing about [a game], seeing it in the store or online, buying it, opening…

Continuing in my long and illustrious tradition (consisting of one blog post) of questioning conventions in RPGs from a user/player experience standpoint, this week I’d like to talk about stats in RPGs.

(Seinfeld voice): What’s the deal with stats in RPGs?

If you play RPGs with any regularity, you probably know what I’m getting at here. But for argument’s sake, let’s throw up a screenshot:

What’s my weakness, girls? MEN!

This is from Ogre Battle 64, which is as good a place to start as any, because the Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre series in general tends to cater to the more hardcore end of the tactical…

Hello! If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve read and enjoyed some of my work in the past. If that’s the case, and if you’re into videogames, I encourage you to follow my new publication, Games R UX! It’s about analyzing videogames through the lens of UX (user experience — essentially the art and science of how people interact with products). If that sounds like your cuppa, then check it out:


If you’re anything like me (God help you), then chances are you’ve tried out a few productivity apps in your day. Maybe you’ve even found one that you like — in which case, why not drop it in the comments? But more likely, you’ve found that for whatever reason, nothing seems to really stick. You know you should (gag) use the Pomodoro technique or whatever, but you just don’t.

These days, managing your own time effectively is the skill of skills. Without being in an office, you don’t even have to pretend to look busy. …

Chrono Trigger box art
Chrono Trigger box art
In a stylized way, the cover art for Chrono Trigger shows off how battle seamlessly occur in the exploration environment. Even if Marle is wearing a bathrobe for some reason.

Chrono Trigger (SNES, 1995) presents one of the most curious cases in the history of the RPG genre. It’s widely considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time, if not one of the greatest games, period. One of its most beloved aspects — the lack of random encounters — clearly demonstrates user-centered design thinking, even if that idea had not been applied to games back when it came out. This feature alone is enough to draw wistful sighs from fans reflecting on their experience with the game. The temptation is to say that Chrono Trigger was ahead of its…

Note: I wrote this before I had explicitly shifted my focus to UX. Still, I don’t think you can discuss the systems of any game without implicitly talking about the user experience. Plus this is a new publication and I need content. So.

Two games at the cutting edge of technology at their time (no, really)

I’ve sunk north of 80 hours into the Final Fantasy 7 remake, and as I plan to finish all of the Hard Mode challenges, I anticipate putting in at least 10–20 more. I definitely have spent several times that amount of time playing the original game, but that number is probably close to how much time I’ve…

  1. Seeking validation for their choices in arbitrary Internet lists
  2. 10 other things, at their sole discretion

Ajai Raj

UX Designer, Game Designer, Menu Enthusiast

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