When we started the user interface design for Cogs, we decided from the very beginning that we wanted to create an immersive world that felt less like working with a computer and more like interacting with a steam-powered machine. That philosophy has followed us through every aspect of the design process.
When we transition from screen to screen, an elaborate machine cranks the wood and iron widget away and brings in a new one. Time and moves are counted with analog clocks and odomoter-style counters rather than with a typical data overlay. And while the clever puzzles and challenging gameplay are what make Cogs so addictive, it's this attention to detail that makes the game so compelling.
Brendan, our lead artist, had a great time designing the elaborate machines that form the user interface. Each widget is different from the next. But designing a game as a steam-powered machine isn't without its challenges.
To insure a positive user experience, we were careful to balance the realism of the user interface with speed and responsiveness. We solicited plenty of user feedback and spent countless hours tweaking the speed of every UI element to reach the sweet spot where the user can enjoy the animations without being frustrated by the transition delays. In the end, we think we've achieved a user interface that's as entertaining and beautiful as the puzzles themselves.