Hello, this is Alice, your resident 2D artist at Mobius Digital! For Outer Wilds, the overall UI look and feel is retro NASA, but also minimalistic and modern. Alex also requested (demanded, really) that we shy away from anything decidedly “futuristic-looking.” With that in mind, I set out to find some reference to suit our desired aesthetic.
1) Shape/line language
First, I researched some NASA control panels and took note of the shapes and line treatments that made them look the way they did. I mainly used these images as references.
2) Projected display
Our reference consisted largely of physical control panels, but we knew that the HUD would ultimately be projected on the player character’s visor and thus would resemble white on black screen displays. We based a lot of highlight colors used on these reference images. (Yes, the second one is from Star Wars.)
At this point, it was clear that a major theme in our UI design was a mix of inspiration from physical gadgets as well as digital elements. I based the resources portion of the HUD on the round shapes of these fuel and gas tank gauges, and I also threw in some tech-y looking read-outs within for flavor.
The rest of the HUD UI was relatively easy to figure out, since it was largely function driven. (Note: This is NOT the final assets or layout)
But next comes… implementation! Of course this looks pretty on paper (err.. psd), but we won’t know how successful this UI design truly is until it’s put into the game and tested with players. If you have some further questions about UI or Outer Wilds, let us know in the comments!
Thanks, Alice! With so many tools and vital information at hand, it's a tight balance giving the player all the information they need--in the time it took to write this update, there's already been a few vital tweaks! We're excited to take this concept and make it a reality in-game!