Looking back - Adventurer's Dream
Hi Noxcrew community!
While we’re away at the Mojang Offices, and to belatedly celebrate Minecraft’s 10th Anniversary, I thought it might be interesting to look back at when the Marketplace began and explore one of the technical aspects of the map that started our Bedrock adventure, Adventurer’s Dream (as well as Destructobot5000, Fallen Keep and Dustville)
In this short glimpse into the Noxcrew creative process (that ex-patrons will remember from days gone by), I’m going to show you how artists Arsenic and Skyao approached this complete redesign of the Minecraft we all know and love, taking advantage of Bedrock’s accessibility and industry tricks to re-write the UI and make Adventurer’s Dream a complete experience.
A UI or User Interface is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s the buttons and bars that help players interact with a game, giving them information about their status and position within the game world.
In the case of Minecraft, the UI consists of the hunger, experience and armour bars as well as the item hotbar during gameplay and the menu screens detailing game options when players are paused or the game is first loaded up.
During the initial stages of Adventurer's Dream’s development, it was decided that we would push what could be done in Bedrock, in both the map and in Minecraft itself and try to alter the style of Minecraft’s UI. At the time, we were unsure if something that could be done so easily in Minecraft Java would work the same way when transitioned over to Bedrock. (Remember this was back when Bedrock was shiny and new and we’d spent years working in Java!)
Initially, altering the UI proved to be a bit tricky. While Skyao had created some lovely menu buttons which integrated very well into Java’s UI system, they worked very differently in Bedrock, due to Bedrock’s responsive UIs. This is where the game scales to match the screen you’re using, stretching or shrinking to ensure everything looks the same at any size, where as Java’s UI doesn’t.
While this works very well with Minecraft’s default UI, this responsiveness can create a few issues when working with custom textures.
Firstly, the new texture gets squashed and stretched to fit the size of the responsive buttons, altering its’ look and potentially ruining the style, especially if the background is a solid image, not a repeatable pattern. Secondly, Bedrock adds a box border around menu buttons, which changes colour when highlighted to inform players which button has been selected. This often does not blend very well with new button textures. These borders can be removed from the UI, but creating a responsive texture that changes when the game is resized takes a bit of work.
The way to solve this problem is by utilising a “nine-slice”. These are used throughout the gaming industry to make UIs and GUIs or Graphical User Interfaces responsive.
The premise is very simple, you create a texture which then gets cut into nine sections, four corners, four edges and a centrepiece. You then tell the program to either stretch or tile a texture, repeating the centrepiece in a grid pattern without altering its initial size, when the UI scales for different devices. In our case, the texture is tiled, ensuring that colours and patterns are consistent across every button. (For more information on creating a ‘nine-slice’ follow this link)
Once we had sorted how to get our patterns to scale nicely, we had to make sure that the buttons themselves matched the theme we were hoping to create. Consistent use of colour is essential in developing a specific tone for a menu, especially when there are 300+ textures which make up a map’s UI system.
In the Adventurer’s Dream UI, we focused on browns, yellows and golds, taking inspiration from wood and parchment to create a more fantasy feel for the menus, as opposed to the greys and blacks of the default Minecraft inventories.
Theming the UI can contribute massively to the overall feel of a map, adding a consistent tone that is important when creating atmospheric or thematic maps. Just a simple change to how players interact with the world can change for they think and feel when encountering your world, altering the experience into something they may never have encountered before in a game they are very familiar with.
I hope you have found this small insight into the Noxcrew creative process interesting. We’ll be back next week with all of the updates from Sweden, so I’ll see you then!