Uncharted 4 – A Perspective

It’s the last installment in the Uncharted series of Nathan Drake’s treasure hunting adventures and gun fights, and this time, Naughty Dog has pushed the gameplay and the graphics beyond imagination. The hype was on a mammoth scale for the final farewell to one of gaming history’s most exciting franchises. By the way, this isn’t a review for Uncharted 4, it’s just my perspective on the gameplay and the graphics for the title. It also made me go for my first PS4 – the Limited Edition Uncharted 4 bundle.

I just finished Chapter 8, and there was plenty of energy, mind-boggling puzzles and enough stress for surviving in a fighting situation, an anticipated feature of the gameplay anyway. Collecting hidden treasures of course (and fretting over the missed ones usually) but I’ve somewhat become a pro at this one. Apart from the intense gun fights Uncharted 4 has added an exciting crouch-movement in stealth mode too. The stealth move was present in previous titles too but has greater significance in Uncharted 4. So when you are surrounded by tall grass you can remain undetected to a group of mercenaries and take them down quietly to avoid a full-fledged gun battle. Watch for the stealth meter as it fills from White (about to be detected) to Yellow (something suspicious and investigating) and finally Orange (you’re screwed, dude!).

Uncharted takes you on a virtual holiday around the world and I absolutely can’t wait to play the next chapters in Uncharted 4 to see how the adventure takes me to other locales — I know the Madagascar map is awesome from the promos. When it’s Uncharted it’s been a norm to play the title more than once to absorb the story and the gameplay.

I just wish that this isn’t the last title in the series but that seems likely. The Internet is talking about Naughty Dog’s willingness about the development of the Uncharted series with a different studio. A serious gamer once told me the series would continue but with a new character. I don’t want to speculate though I wish Sony doesn’t pull the trigger on one of its most successful titles.

Finally, I will post some Uncharted 4 game screen captures. Enjoy the vivid landscapes while it lasts. The graphics quality is just jaw-dropping.

Also, au revoir to Nathan Drake!


Uncharted 4-1

Uncharted 4-3

Uncharted 4-2Uncharted 4-5Uncharted 4-6Uncharted 4-7

 


Further Reading:
Could Uncharted 5 Actually Happen? Here’s What The Director Says
Naughty Dog Creative Director, Neil Druckmann, weighs his opinion on a possible fifth franchise title. Interesting read.
A Brain Dump of What I Worked on for Uncharted 4
Ming-Lun Chou worked on the programming of Uncharted 4 at Naughty Dog. This is a brilliant post on the behind-the-scenes of the game (to avoid any spoilers, I will read this after I complete the game). You can also see some game graphics in his blog post.

The Fun of Building A Lego

It’s been a dream to experiment with Lego. It brings pleasure for me to build something out of pieces of colourful plastic — ‘bricks’ as they are lovingly referred to by enthusiasts. So I picked up my first kit to begin with a majestic 578-bricks Fire Plane from Lego’s ‘Technic’ series.

With great help from my significant other, it took us just a day to complete the construction and by that, we exceeded our own expectations. Truth be told once I started the construction brick by brick there was no stopping. The exercise required time, focus, logic and tons of imagination. The manual was very straightforward with vivid visuals. Although I found a typo on the colour of the pins I was so much into engineering the plane that I figured out the right way.

It’s a fabulous product and you can see the structure details in the picture. The rudder, the flaps, and the elevators tilt up and down when a small lever is pushed (see the upright handle pointing up right in front of the tail-wing). The fan rotates when you move the plane, the engine looks so much real too (behind the fan, you can see the yellow piston). Below the fuselage there’s a small cargo hold for the ‘water’ consisting of blue button-shaped legos and controlled using a lever system again (the pearl head grey button on top of the cockpit). I must appreciate the design team at Lego for imagining the details of this plane, it must have been tedious work. I could see a lot of creativity-meets-architecture with solid product design strategy. This was just a beginning for more Lego adventures to come. So keep watching this space.

Lego Fire Plane

Lego Fire Plane built from 578-pieces.

UX

The Best UX Design Articles of April 2016

A catalogue of some of my favourite and insightful UX articles published in April 2016.

A Checklist For Planning A UX Benchmark Study
An insightful article on the basics of benchmarking the UX of a website, app, or product, to support the health of the user-experience of your product.

Design Sprints for Branding
A lesson in product development from Google Venture’s (GV) design sprints, and why it makes great sense for the branding of the product itself.

Less Is Still More: The Importance Of The Minimalist Approach To Web Design
This article explains the importance of minimalism on websites, and how visual complexity affects a user’s perception of the site in milliseconds. It’s a great piece for creating a good first impression for your visitors.

The Product Design of IoT
Joe Johnston (VP, Experience Innovation at Universal Mind) talks about devising a holistic user experience for ‘Internet of things’ products in this amazing article.

Apple, The Original Human
Daniel Eckler outlines Apple’s legendary philosophy of incorporating human and emotional aspects in its product design with examples.

What the Past Five Years Have Taught Me About UX Design, Part 1
A first in a series of articles, Bob Hotard (Senior User Experience Designer at AT&T Digital Design & User Experience), reflects upon the UX trends relevant in 2020.

Keeping Life Meaningful: Designing the Senior Residence Experience
This article focuses on designing a better experience at senior residences.

What I Learned From the World’s Greatest Product Designers
InVision’s co-founder and CEO, Clark Varberg, shares the views of product designers from innovative companies in this insightful article.

Moving to a UX-Critical Culture
Baruch Sachs (Senior Director, User Experience, Pegasystems) provides his views on building a robust UX culture within project teams.

Articulating Design Decisions
A sample chapter from Tom Greever’s book Articulating Design Decisions published by O’Reilly Media.

Create a UX Measurement Plan
An insightful article on developing a user experience measurement plan, to advance the maturity of your UX practice.

Merging User Experience and Systems Engineering
In pursuit of ensuring a collaborative structure, an expert panel discusses the process of merging UX into a large company that usually approaches projects from a systems-engineering point of view.

Good Learning Design: Five Unique Challenges and Their Solutions
This article unravels the potential of developing a good learning experience in MOOCs and other learning resources, through examples of best practices.

 

Featured Image – by courtesy of ebayink / Tablet use 1 (Some Rights Reserved)
UX, Mobile, iPad, Tablet, HCI

The Best UX Design Articles of March 2016

A catalogue of some of my favourite and insightful UX articles published in March 2016.

UX is Not Design
The ‘design’ in ‘UX Design’ is not related to visual aesthetics. This article reveals the true meaning of user-experience design.

How everything we design will in turn design us back
Entrepreneur and Creative Director, Jones Virtanen, writes on the interesting notion of ‘ontological design’, which says, everything that we design in this world, will in turn design us back.

Smart UX: Designing For The Future
A list of valuable future-oriented UX design questions for your next application or website design project.

How We Made Our Client’s Site Accessible by Law
Vince Sevilla presents a case-study about a California-based disability centre, and how his agency redesigned an “accessible” website.

Usability testing of Mobile Applications: A Step-By-Step Guide
Justin Mifsud, presents a structured view of testing mobile applications in this very insightful article.

7 Remarkably Simple Methods To Boost Checkout Conversion Rates
In this article, co-founder and CEO of Invest Consulting Khalid Saleh, speaks at length about ‘shopping cart abandonment’, and the checkout process conversion rates. And how to improve the analytics and the experience.

Microinteractions: The Secret of Great App Design
As a mobile app designer, you just can’t ignore the power of microinteractions for providing a delightful feedback. This article outlines the why, what and hows of dealing with microinteractions to design better apps.

How to Make Your Site Senior-Friendly
Declining eyesight and motor abilities create tremendous usability challenges when designing for senior persons. This is an insightful article which speaks about the sensitivity of building websites for seniors with key UX recommendations.

Five Best Practices for Becoming a Data-Driven Design Organization, Part 2
Michelle Bacigalupi (Experience Design Management & Strategy for WebEx Online at Cisco) lists a set of best practices for developing a data-driven design organization. You can also read Part 1 of the article as well.

Product Pages: UX Tips to Boost Conversions
As more products flood the shopping market, the competition to get stuff sold online will intensify. An article that broadly outlines the UX elements to make your product page stand out.

Best UI design principles to develop strong mobile apps
A comprehensive list of details that could make or break your mobile app.

Probability: A UX Designer’s Second-Best Friend
Probability is about making educated guesses about the future. Even without research, we all have an innate sense of probability, that makes us judge a bad idea from a good one. A very good article on the effects of using probability in UX design.

 

Featured Image – by courtesy of ebayink / Tablet use 2 (Some Rights Reserved)

UX, Keyboard, Computer

The Best UX Design Articles of February 2016

A catalogue of some of my favourite and insightful UX articles published in February 2016.

User-Centered Design Artifacts
An expert panel comprising UX professionals discuss artifacts a UX team should create during a design project to best enable the team to understand the design problem.

Mobile-First eCommerce: What Customers Expect and Value in Mobile Shopping Experiences
Senior Omni-Channel Commerce Consultant, Afshan Kirmani talks about best practices for increasing conversion rates for eCommerce mobile experiences.

Designers shouldn’t code. They should study business.
Designer Joshua Taylor weighs in with his opinion about how designers must focus on their craft, and the business.

The Three Views of (Information) Architecture
Information Architect, Dan Klyn speaks about designing a sitemap experience, by drawing an analogy with a real building architecture process.

3 Keys To Creating a Frictionless Experience
Elements in “anticipatory” design principles for creating a seamless experience. An article by Joe Johnston (you can’t miss the amazing hand drawings from @hellokevinwhite).

5 Steps To Conducting An Effective Expert Review
A write-up on the process for an effective expert review with examples and suggestions by Jeff Sauro.

What Assembling Ikea Furniture Taught Me About User Experience
BodeTree.com CEO and co-founder Chris Myers describes his experience with IKEA furniture and compares it with a traditional user-experience design process.

15 SEO Best Practices for Structuring URLs
A drill-down of the best practices to improve site structure and search engine ranking.

Beyond Usability: Designing with Persuasive Patterns
When products suffer from higher bounce rates, users miss out on the chance to experience what the product has to offer. Building persuasive user experiences is imperative. Anders Toxboe lists a set of persuasive patterns in this interesting article.

10 Most Common Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make
Tech blogger, Alan Smith presents his list of must-have design principles for small businesses who are struggling to make a compelling website.

Featured Image – by courtesy of N i c o l a / Microsoft Type Cover 2 – IMG_4252 (Some Rights Reserved)