This project demonstrates the value of feedback and clarity in interaction design. While this may seem obvious, the complexity of the core interactions in games you play may surprise you. 

Take for example, firing a weapon in Modern Warfare 2. Feedback includes (deep breath):

  • Muzzle flare visual effect
  • Gun firing sound effects
  • Camera shake
  • Gun recoil animation
  • Crosshair animation (expands with recoil)
  • Crosshair color change (turns red over enemies)
  • Hit indicator icon appears when hitting target
  • Kill indicator icon appears when killing target
  • Bullet hole decal in the world where bullet impacts
  • Sound effect for bullet impact
  • Particle effect where bullet impacts (varies based on surface or enemy)
  • Enemy hit animation (or death animation)
  • Enemy hit sound effect
  • Changing ammo count in heads-up display
  • Reload UI indicator

The interaction may feel natural in-game, but none of these feedback mechanisms are free and no single one of them solves the problem on their own. Clarity and feedback mechanisms are often overlooked as new features come online in the development process as we tend to rush on to the next feature. 

I have witnessed many designers stumble understanding what's wrong with their gameplay when new players struggle, sometimes electing to add whole new mechanics rather than clarifying the existing mechanics and interactions.

Discovering and fine tuning the right assortment of clarity andfeedback mechanisms takes playtesting and iteration. Playing lots of games and closely studying the litany of small details involved with "simple" interactions helps, too. There is often no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead we have the luxury of standing on the shoulders of giants.

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