Defining Video Game Interfaces (VGIs)

VGI depicting a linux operating system

Most everyone today interact with graphical user interfaces (a.k.a GUIs) when using a computer (phone or otherwise). This makes sense as people are visual creatures and it helps them use computers effectively.

Technical people like programmers or computer power users may choose to use command line interfac (CLIs). You can accomplish so much when you get used to using CLIs.

So what is a video game interface (VGI)? That’s what I hope to explore in this article.

VGIs versus Video Games

So video game interfaces, eh? ” I can imagine you saying. “Why invent a whole new term when you can just say ‘I made a video game?‘”

I want to invent a new word to help distinguish VGIs from video games. People associate video games with fun past times. I wish my term to be more associated with producing some value.

I want people to think Video Game Interfaces: Play to Work… or something like that.

Untapped Potential

I grew up playing video games from an early age. This is today a very common experience. I am impressed at how complex information can be presented in a visually engaging way in video games. A great interface presents players with enough information to accomplish their in game task.

I see huge untapped potential. People like playing games. Creators like creating them. What if we can recruit many more non-technical to do more involved tasks by thinking up fun interfaces for work?

What if we can explain work in the context of a rich game world?

A Type of “No Code” Interface?

I argue that “no code” is to make programming related tasks easy for non-technical people. A team of programmers still needs to build the platform but the benefit is to expand who can accomplish work tasks. It isn’t a perfect process by any means but the value proposition is interesting to explore.

I think VGIs are related to the “no code” trebd. A VGI is simply a type of user friendly GUI except it leverages the language of video games to help a person accomplish tasks.

The early days of VGIs

I’m not sure how many people agree with me on how practical a VGI is. I suspect not every developer today has considered or appreciates how within reach video game frameworks are.

It must certainly be the case that a curious few are acquiring the skills to produce both video games and great meaningful software.

I want to believe there are already dozens of VGI prototypes out there in the wild generating value. The future is underway.

Getting involved

Think of what problems exist in your world. Think of what a VGI might look like to solve those problems. Think of who in your world would use the VGI and build a prototype for them.

I like Unity as a game engine because it can export WebGL builds which is just HTML, JS, and CSS. Those static files can be hosted and shared somewhere. Unity can then be viewed as yet another client to some backend software.

I recommend also learning the language of video games. Storytelling sets context for players to do action. User Interface (UI) elements guide the player in various game loops.

If you are inspired by what I’ve written feel free to leave a comment.

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