Monthly Archives: June 2016

Shogun 2s User Interface, Center

The central area of the Total War interface receives the highest attention from the player. This post will look at a number of the elements that appear there.

Total War Encyclopedia

There are many pages within the encyclopedia. A look at one page gives a good understanding of the user interface (UI) element given the consistency used throughout the encyclopedia.

Encyclopedia Page

  • Light Blue – Main Subject Categories.
  • Dark Blue – Scroll Bar.
  • Green – Navigation Buttons.
  • Light Green – Part of Page Description.
  • Orange – Topic Navigation.
  • Pink – Relevant UI Image.
  • Purple – Page Title.
  • Red – Main Title.
  • Yellow – Browser Breadcrumb.


  • The scroll bar (Dark Blue) is not themed, resulting in it looking quite out of place. Perhaps this area was not given as much priority which is understandable as perhaps players don’t use the encyclopedia so much? From my experience I didn’t, and that is a sign of good game design.
  • The designers used the encyclopedia icon next to the UI elements main title (Red) likely to subtly have a player associate the image with the words Total War Encyclopedia.
  • The cancel button, and the navigation buttons are grouped together (Green) in the top left. For this area the designers have used the Main Menu button for the Home Button in the encyclopedia, they rely an understanding of ‘importance’.
  • The use of bread crumbs is good for players to quickly backtrack when navigating (Yellow).
  • The on hover underlining used for the main page categories is more link like (Light Blue).
  • There is a further reading tab located at the bottom of the page (Orange) which makes sense since the read is likely to look there. At the bottom of the page, the left and right topic options are displayed based on related topics in the manual.
  • For the main article they used topic headings, text descriptions with images, and icons which prove to be very helpful (Pink & Light Green) in conveying the point of the article.

Continue reading Shogun 2s User Interface, Center

Shogun 2s User Interface, Bottom Left/Middle

The Bottom Left/Middle Area of Shogun 2s Campaign Map User Interface is an elegantly designed, helpful popup filled, context sensitive area that displays key information about a players Navies, Armies, Agents, Construction, Recruitment and Battles options.

The UI element as a whole is thematically suited to the time period, incorporating a Japanese battle banner, appropriate color scheme, and style to complement the rest of the UI. In addition a neat feature of this UI area is that depending on the context of a players selection this UI area will change. For example when a player clicks an empty space on the campaign map it is hidden, if an army is selected army information will appear in the form of a Tab.

All these design decision make this UI element a screen space efficient, compact, informative, aesthetically pleasing part of the campaign map that ‘fits’ well into its surroundings, and help build the experience of a general during the Sengoku Jidai..

Army Tab

Army Tab
Army Tab

The Army Tab displays information related to the selected army. The UI element is made up of a Dial and a Banner.


Army Tab Dial
Army Tab Dial

The Army Tab Dial can be broken up into the following sub-elements:

  • Red – Clan icon.
  • Teal – Army leaders name.
  • Dark Blue – Arrows allowing cyclical cycling through units of the same type, in this case army.
  • Purple – Army leaders image.
  • Yellow – Disband button.
  • Green – Chat.

Considering this element:

  • The layout of the dial is interesting being somewhat symmetric, and the dial art asset has a shine at the top of the dial which may attract a viewers eye.
  • The Purple and Teal elements are not necessary, but are welcome as a thematic elements for a player.
  • Functionally the Dark Blue, and Yellow elements allow a player to quickly jump from army to army, and disband them if necessary.
  • The other side of the campaign map, the bottom right, features a stylistically similar dial.


Army Tab Banner
Army Tab Banner

The Army Tab Banner is jam packed with vital information that can be broken down in the following manner:

  • Orange – Used for unit replenishment indicators, where a:
    • Green circle with a + means units are replenishing.
    • Green circle with a red slash means are not replenishing.
    • Skull which means units are suffering attrition.
  • Light Green – Unit experience.
  • Dark Red – Unit portrait with color coded background (Radious’s mod added this I believe).
  • Dark Green – Special Attributes e.g Accuracy, Improved Armour.
  • Yellow – Unit Rank.
  • Purple – Unit Strength. If the unit is being replenished a dark grey area will appear with a visual indicator of the new strength at the next turn.
  • Teal – Unit Type Icon.
  • Dark Blue – Recruitment Tab. This only appears when a general is present in the selected army.

Looking at the banner in totality, all the information fits neatly, and succinctly conveys a lot of information to the player with great use of clear icons in a consistent format.

Continue reading Shogun 2s User Interface, Bottom Left/Middle