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A Closer Look At The Alpha User Interface

24 Aug 2009


Last week during Gamescom in Cologne, Germany we got our very first look at Final Fantasy XIV as Square Enix revealed a playable version of the game’s alpha build. During the event, several images were released showing off the new user interface. We’ve gone ahead and translated the images so that those of you who don’t read Japanese or German can get a better understanding of what we’re actually seeing.

Controllers, Mice, and a Movable Interface

Players will be able to move different parts of the UI

Players will be able to move different parts of the UI

The user interface in Final Fantasy XI was created by its Producer, Hiromichi Tanaka. While designing the interface, it had to be kept in mind that this game would be played both on the PlayStation 2 and PC platforms. Keyboards, mice, and controllers all had to be able to easily navigate the game’s menus.

That same challenge is present with Final Fantasy XIV as the game will make an appearance on both PlayStation 3 and PC platforms with a possible Xbox 360 release in the future. Apart from menu navigation, character movement, and combat, Final Fantasy XIV will be adding another feature that will have to be developed to work with both controller and mouse. This feature,  is the ability to move around parts of the interface.

This image is an example of moving parts of the interface around. On the left, the player’s HP, MP and TP bars are on the bottom of the screen. The right side of the image shows them at the top with the mouse cursor “grabbing” the bars as if clicking and dragging them to the top of the screen. Apart from the player status bar, we have also seen that the game’s chat log will be re-sizable as well.

The User Interface

Hiromichi Tanaka has stated that this time around he will not be working on the user interface, instead leaving it to other members of the team. While it’s likely that no large changes will be made to the interface seen in the alpha build, the possibility always exists that it will be different once the game launches.

Before we show you a couple translated images of the games interface, we want to point out just what exactly is being displayed on the screen. The image below marks each part of the interface and explains what’s what.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Guildleve Information

The screen shots that we use were all taken while the player was participating in a Guildleve quest. The leve information in the upper right corner is normally not there. It’s possible that the information displayed in the top corner could change depending on what kind of quest or event the player is participating in.

Action Gauges and the Action Bar

The action gauges are described as actions you can take with the item currently equipped in that slot. For example, a person can have a sword in his right hand and a shield in his left. Classes that use two handed weapons such as bows and staves only have one action gauge.

The action bar at the bottom of the screen has a list of different actions that can be used. In the images below, the player uses two different abilities via the Action Bar. You’ll notice a golden arrow to the left of the icon, indicating that the current action has been selected. The name of the ability is displayed above the icon on the bar while the description for the ability is displayed under the action bar. After selected, the ability icon, along with the name of the ability then appear in the action gauge next to the appropriate hand. Another thing to note is that there is a number under each icon on the action bar. Perhaps this means that each action is mapped to a number on the keyboard.

Chat log, Target and Player Stats

Like any other MMO, we can see the chat log on the left, which we know can be made larger. On the right side of the screen we can see the current target of the player as well as the targets HP. The HP of the player can also be seen here along with his MP and TP.

Now that we have all that out of the way, here are two screen shots that we have translated into English for your viewing pleasure.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

Some very interesting stuff to be sure!

There is a part that we decided to leave out of the first image shown, but wanted to be sure to mention. When the Dodo attacks, it seems to refer to the Dodo’s “right”. Could it be that the enemies will have action gauges just as the adventurers do? Will there be a limit on the amount of Action Gauges per monster? Or would a Malboro with several tentacles have a Gauge for each, making them more deadly than ever before?

Another thing to note is the chat log states that the player claims the “Dodo party”.  In the footage we have seen from Gamescom, enemies were running from, or fighting the player in groups.

While the user interface is probably the most important FFXIV item to come out of Gamescom, there are other things that were released that we’ll be working to cover this week including Guildleves and a look at some interesting similarities with some things that have been released so far. Stay tuned to Eorzeapedia for a closer look at Gamescom content!