Computer Wargame UIs: A Battle Lost Through Attrition

Over at my weblog, Tea Leaves, I have posted an article - well, OK, perhaps it's really a rant - called A Battle Lost Through Attrition.  The subject matter is, essentially, that simplicity of user interface matters, and that needlessly baroque UIs actively prevent new players from entering our hobby.  I used three operational-level games (Advanced Tactics: World War II, Norm Kroger's The Operational Art of War III, and Gary Grigsby's War in the East) as stalking-horses to provide examples to talk about. 

 

Hardcore operational-level computer war games have a serious problem: most of them are unplayable. 

Not all war games, obviously. And “unplayable” means different things to different people. A game that crashes whenever you start it up, for example, is literally unplayable. I mean something
softer, here: I mean that many games which should be brilliant, which
should capture the hearts and minds of every war gamer on the planet are
instead consigned to a dusty corner of the market by unacceptably
primitive user interfaces, obtuse mechanics, and poor communication of
results.

 

The full article is at the provided link; I look forward to your comments, slings, and arrows.

 

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Comment by Roger Morley on December 31, 2010 at 3:55pm

I read your article, and I do agree with you.

I have TOAW3, and to be honest, i have started it so many times and have felt no inclination to carry on playing it because of the user interface.

Probably the best UI I have ever come across for a turn based strategy game is from panzer general. it is by no means perfect, but is far easier to work around and easy on the eye ( and brain).

Comment by Eric Walters on December 31, 2010 at 1:54pm
GREAT article!  I'm sending the link of your blog to several of my friends who gripe about the SAME THING.

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