An Exemplary Interface for All

An Exemplary Interface for All

Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3437-2.ch004
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In the current chapter is analyzed the latest interface of the video game that has been capable of adapting to the evolution of the software and the hardware for almost a quarter of a century: SimCity. By using notions of semiotics and interactive design the isotopies have been detected that boost the interaction of the users. Besides, the elements of the layout of the Web 2.0 are studied which have been incorporated into the latest version of the video game.
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Since the first official and commercial version of SimCity ( the design of its interface (1988) has followed the design of the icons of the programming languages of the interactive system of the computers (Wilson, 1990; Rabin, 2009; Tavinor, 2009), as the whole evolution of Windows has been (Appendix). That is, square buttons and/or in a rectangular shape, like the unfolding menus of the first commercial version, which worked with the MS-DOS (Microsoft –Disk Operating System).

The original version was developed in Commodore 64 in 1985. It was also adapted to the hardware of each period, for instance, the cathodic rays screens, whether it was the television that was connected to the Commodores 64 when they were developed or the early screens of personal computers (Figure 1).

The continuous interaction for several hours by the users required not only the visual protection of the users through special glasses or filters on the screens of the computers, but also being placed at a certain distance in front of the computer. Currently the new plasma technology has eliminated this problem. This is one of the reasons for the expansion of the oriented contents in new interactive devices: video consoles, multimedia phones, Tablet PC, etc. do not require special protections for the user-computer interaction.

Figure 1.

Picture of the interface of SimCity 2000 (year of marketing 1993) on a computer screen of cathodic rays, where the curving effect of the image can be appreciated


In the interface can still be seen the design of the unfolding menus of MS-DOS which went to Windows 3.1, Windows ’98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, etc. These interactive systems have had an influence on the interaction habits of the users (who were born non-digital) and the distribution of the commands on the computer screen. The freedom to move the bars of the unfolding menus on the margins of the computer screen was an important factor within the set of users who are currently called “non-digital generation” (Maybury, Stock, & Wahister, 2006; Cipolla-Ficarra, 2015). However, they were a generation who knew how to program the Commodore 64 in BASIC, manage the databases with dBase III, write texts with the WordStar or the WordPerfect, etc. That is, they turned the automatic office (analogical) into a computer office (digital).


Classical Guidelines For International Users

The use of commercial applications of office automation such as Excel (spreadsheet application), Adobe Photoshop (graphics editing program), CorelDraw (vector graphics editor), etc., gave a greater freedom to the tool boxes of those programs for the different kinds of users who were vertiginously joining the digital office. If a parallelism is drawn of the lay out of these applications with the SimCity it is easy to detect a first set of common denominators which make up the style guidelines for the interfaces in applications which work in PCs under the Windows operative system, like those of Macintosh (Apple, 1992; Clarke, & Mitchell, 2007). The presence of these latest rules or style guidelines in the interfaces design for offline and online multimedia systems of Macintosh can still be detected in the latest version of SimCity, for instance.

Next a listing of the same (alphabetical order). For more details, are found in (Apple, 1992):

  • 1.


  • 2.

    Aesthetic Integrity,

  • 3.


  • 4.

    Direct Manipulation,

  • 5.

    Feedback and Dialog,

  • 6.


  • 7.

    Knowledge of Your Audience,

  • 8.


  • 9.


  • 10.

    Perceived Stability,

  • 11.


  • 12.

    User Control, and

  • 13.

    WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).

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