The interface for Destiny was once called by the press, "The best part about Destiny" (Geek.com). It won major awards from the National AIGA and Graphis, making the cover of the latter's design annual. As with Halo, we're starting to see the influence of the Destiny UI start showing up in other contemporary titles. I led the team that created this new IP for Bungie. Some features of the UI (internally and externally) include:
Extensive player inventory, with unique icons for most items, created through automation.
Quick and intuitive navigation through these dense inventories via an easily controlled cursor.
Effortless multiplayer joining in all activities.
Flexible overflow valves that reduced bug wake as our internal localization team to brought the game to 11 languages.
Support for 4 platforms, as well as a PC port.
Visual updates and quality-of-life features added throughout the lifespan of the game.
Flexible investment systems allowing designers to build features with little UI involvement.
Take a look at the final product...
The Cursor Answer
Because the player inventory in destiny could get quite large, navigating from one end of the screen to the other via directional pad could get rather tedious. After much research and prototyping, I settled on a cursor design that felt natural and comfortable controlling it with a thumbstick.
It was a specific design goal to require people to explore the destinations of Destiny and become "Activity Omnivores" rather than settle into a single activity type. The cursor worked well in in our solar system map; The Director. This allowed players to freely and quickly explore around an organic layout.
An added benefit of the cursor was that it allowed us to display contextual details for items in the game without having to carve out a disconnected, dedicated area of the UI to display it.
Wide Open View
One of Destiny's biggest strengths is its beautiful and detailed environments. Rather than compete with or obscure the view, we designed the HUD to only reveal informational elements as needed. What did stay up, remained legible from a sofa, while keeping the view open.
Finding out more about a player you come in contact with would be difficult if you had to navigate the UI and find their name in a list. My design for interactions gave players a prompt if they looked at someone else for a set duration, allowing them to invoke a player details screen.