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Rodrigo Bellão Interview

Last week we brought you a FIFA UI concept created by a member of the FIFA community, Mr Rodrigo Bellão.

We managed to track down the master of design for a quick interview. This is what the man had to say about FIFA, menus, graphics and design concepts.

FSB: Hi Rodrigo! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us.

Rodrigo: You’re welcome, its my pleasure.

FSB: How long have you been playing football video games? Has FIFA always been your preferred choice?

Rodrigo: I have been playing FIFA since the first version was released 1993 (FIFA International Soccer) the series became part of my childhood. I had my period as a PES player, but that was down to the improved gameplay and graphics offered by Konami’s game. But since the launch of FIFA 11 the series has shined again and now it’s far better than PES in many aspects.

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FSB: What are your thoughts on the current UI in the FIFA game?

Rodrigo: I believe everybody has a few complaints about the UI. Funnily enough, despite having created this concept I really don’t have a lot of issues with it. I think the main problem is the amount of options that are packed into the menu. I’m not sure if people need to access all these options all the time since different fans play different modes and have preferences. FIFA has grown to become more than just a football game, it is a complete football system. You could split the game into 3 separate games (based on modes) and you would still have a lot of options and this is why I congratulate the FIFA development team for their ability to deal with this monstrous flow of game options.

FSB: Over the years we have had many FIFA fans tell us about their problems with the FIFA UI, do you personally have problems with it?

Rodrigo: My big frustration with FIFA UI is the amount of time it requires to get inside the game. More specifically the process of creating cups is too tedious. My friends and I like to create small cups to play in the weekend and we always think about improvements.

FSB: What inspired you to recreate your own UI Concept for FIFA?

Rodrigo: It was an epiphany, just a thought that crossed my mind and my creative side got the better of me!

FSB: Your UI Concept for FIFA takes many design ideas and concepts from the Xbox 360 Dashboard and from Windows 8, were both of those UI’s present in your mind when you designed this FIFA concept?

Rodrigo: I saw many people focusing on the fact that the interface looks similar to that of Windows 8. I would say that FIFA is a mainstream product, despite this being a personal concept I like to work with some basic rules. People need to be able to get into a match quickly and the interface needs to be familiar to help people get what they want. If I was to create something totally abstract just to show off my skills it might not have the same impact and just end up being something superficial. FIFA fans don’t want to spend time learning how to use an interface, they would rather spend their time learning how to improve their game and be the best.

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FSB: During the announcement of FIFA 14, EA Sports released a screenshot of a potential new interface for the Career Mode in FIFA 14. Have you seen this image and did it influence your design?

Rodrigo: In fact my FIFA concept only saw the day light because of some friends suggested that I should post it on my site. I never imagined that it would receive this much attention from the FIFA community. I finished my interface in January and it remained in my portfolio. I only recently saw the new interface last Friday and it made me very happy, because in some aspects it looks similar to my creation!

FSB: One of the first things that stands out about your UI concept is the vibrant colours and clean design, that makes navigation easier. Could you tell us if this was a focus for you and how did you achieve it?

Rodrigo: My favourite thing about my design is that you can quickly navigate through the menus as it is customised to your own FIFA preferences. When the idea of this project came to my mind I decided that it needs to be super clean. Design is a game of contrast, if you stand in the middle, you will hardly be noticed.

FSB: We are also very impressed with your in-match HUD, it’s so simple and unintrusive. It does lack a map feature that many fans love, is there any possibility that you could feature a map with minor impact on the minimal concept of the HUD?

Rodrigo: I know that EA use the HUD to simulate TV broadcasts. My design is very personal and I believe that it will not be to everyone’s liking. I’ve designed the map and a few other elements; I just decided not to use them.

FSB: Your Career Mode screen features a huge amount of stats and data but it is presented in such an elegant way that it is very easy to absorb, would you agree that with your UI concept players would need to go through less menu’s and button clicks to get the information they need?

Rodrigo: I personally find the navigation of menus in Career Mode to be a struggle, but I play it a lot in FIFA as it a very addictive mode. It was the last screen I worked, and is purely based on my needs. I just decided to think quickly about my needs and discarded the information I consider unnecessary. I wanted it to be very fast to assimilate with progress bars and a few numbers. My favourite part while designing this page was the icons for the menu; it was a very tough exercise.

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FSB: How long did it take you to complete the design from the moment you thought about it until completion?

Rodrigo: The idea came to me in December 2012 and I started in January 2013. I only worked at night and weekends, so it took more time than I usually do, more or less 40 hours of work.

FSB: Would you be willing to assist the FIFA development team in Vancouver if they were interested?

Rodrigo: Sure. I already work in the game industry and I’m the co-founder of small studio in Brazil. But the opportunity to work in a huge studio outside my country would be something incredible. I’m open to any offers!

FSB: Most FIFA fans that have seen your concept so far have been impressed, what would you like to say to them?

Rodrigo: I would like to say that I have no words to describe how happy I am! My work depends heavily on people’s impressions and thoughts and it’s hard to please everybody. As I said before, I only created this concept to practice and my expectations were low. Quite simply, I never imagined this viral/social media response!

Thank you again!

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