Welcome to an ongoing series of ‘UI/Branding Teardowns’ at Vyxl. The articles in this series are not intended to be excessively deep, but focus on key aspects of a game titles’ UI and Branding; providing a summary intended for design reference.
RaceRoom Racing Experience (RRRE / R3E) Sector3 Studios 2013 PC
R3E is a free-to-play racing simulation title developed by Sector3 (previously known as SimBin). The title offers a small selection of free Cars and Tracks, with the option to unlock additional content by purchasing in-app-currency known as vRP.
Main menu/landing screen
Single Player screen with primary UI section on the left and secondary ‘radial style’ UI section on the right
Settings screen: again showing primary and secondary UI sections
Web Portal (easily accessible from Main Menu screen)
Car & Track summary/Race Launch screen
Loading screen (w/tooltips @ top)
Track splash screen
Slick, sharp, modern(ish) presentation
Muted colour scheme
Neatly embedded (Web) Portal to help drive community engagement and sales of in-app-currency ‘vRP’
Cars and content visually well-presented, shown at suitable scales
Button styles are chunky and present a tactile feeling
Well-thought-out Car & Track summary/Race Launch screen
Beautiful background elements and screenshot treatments used throughout
UX frustration with screen navigation not clearly showing status of available content
Over-bright (nearly all-white) UI presentation: not ideal for gamers in dark rooms, or who are playing night-time races and accessing the UI occasionally
Pixelated buttons; unclear and uninspiring hover states
Frustrating screen pagination
Secondary ‘radial’ UI details appear too small/fiddly and doesn’t connect cleanly with the Primary UI section to the left
Poor choice of primary font (‘Microgrammad‘) – a bold, ‘sci-fi’ style which offers readability issues at smaller scales
Unclear popup/dialogue box design and layout (eg; Quit confirmation)
Some poor iconography
Key RACEROOM branding is strong; clearly communicates ‘Racing’
Primary logo device -arguably- contains subtle ‘rR’ (or ‘Rr’ depending which way you read it)
Primary logo decal very similar to that of pre-existing MotorSport Vision: owners of a number of UK race circuits including Brands Hatch and Snetterton.
Convoluted product title and confusing acronyms (RaceRoom Racing Experience/RRRE/R3E) may diminish brand recognition and confuse communication within gaming community and for sales
In order to highlight one of the key UX issues mentioned above, let’s select a Car class, perhaps GTR2:
Now let’s select a Car, perhaps the RUF RT12R:
Only now the user discovers neither the Car (or its multiple liveries) is available.
Vyxl final thoughts
Overall, R3E’s UI is clean, chunky and likeable. Style-wise it feels dated but functions well at a basic level. It’s only through the trial and error of trying to find available content that a key -and significant- UX frustration appears. And significant because it affects the Player regardless of whether they freeload entirely or spend large amounts of real, hard cash on vRP’s to buy content (something the developer really wants you to do).
There is also a missed opportunity of collectionism here too- by clearly displaying owned content at the top hierarchical levels, Players maybe more likely to engage with completionism: something the Gran Turismo titles of old hinged a great deal of their gaming satisfaction around.
The branding is solid overall, but weakened by confusing titles/acronyms and a far-too-similar (and pre-existing) logo device with the UK’s MotorSport Vision company. Eurogamer reviewed RaceRoom in 2014 and called it “the best racing game you’ve never heard of”.
I can’t help feeling the branding -and that title confusion- is partially responsible.
So here, within a reasonably short article, Vyxl presents UI and Branding issues which arguably affect a titles’ sales and monetisation success.