Monday, July 2, 2018

Bad Design: Pokémon Go's Battery Draining Map Interface

One of the biggest issues with Pokémon Go is its drastic effect on battery life. Combining constant location tracking with fully rendered 3D models will do that. However, there are basic design principles being violated that contribute to this battery drain. For starters, my avatar is constantly being fully rendered both on the map and in the corner. I see many problems with this. Let's talk about this corner first. My avatar has this breathing effect in this corner. Why? Having a full 3D model here doesn't add anything to the core game. It's not something I would miss. Instead, why not have a function that would let you choose a pose for your avatar and set that there instead. In my render, I just use a blue icon as a placeholder. The buddy Pokémon would be embedded in the profile screen instead of on the main interface. XP, level, and the notification badge can stay. It would be a still image, akin to a passport photo. This would also be in line with some of the more recent mainline Pokémon games, where you can choose a pose for your trainer's identification. It would certainly give your trainer more personality and less like a hollow, soulless shell. In addition, add some hair styles to pick from. These characters are so bland, there's no point in charging for new clothes for them. Finally, I removed the research menu button from the bottom right corner of the screen. I always hit this when I'm looking for nearby Pokémon. I feel this would be much better suited in the Pokéball menu in the center. Finally, if I zoom out, my trainer is still being fully rendered. A slightly lower-poly model should be used to save battery and resources. I'm not going to notice my trainer's socks or every spike of their hair when I'm fully zoomed out. And if I did, I wouldn't care. When the render distance for streets on the map is as pathetic as it is, why dedicate more resources to my trainer's hat than a gym right down the street? My render isn't super detailed, but when paired with this commentary, I think the point should get across. Pokémon Go wastes a lot of resources on things that simply don't matter.

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