Should I design UI in raster or in vector editing software?

| | August 4, 2015

I am working on a IOS city builder game (more like planet builder)
but that’s not the case, I was making the buttons in photoshop when something hit me:
“if I make raster icons in photoshop, they will look pixelated on ipads!”

And so I proceded to illustrator to create the same things, but illustrator has nowhere near the amount of cool tools, that made my buttons look so cool in photoshop.

The question:
Should I stick with vector graphics and make them work? so then I have resizable buttons.
or
Should I just create several sets of buttons, which are different sizes? a set for ipads,a set for iPhone 5’s a set for iPhone 6’s..

One Response to “Should I design UI in raster or in vector editing software?”

  1. As Krom Stern pointed out, there is no “correct” way of doing UI for a game. To be honest the whole rasterVSvector thing is misleading, as you should always chose the one that works best in the particular case (look at this –> article for more info on raster/vector, and when to prefer one over the other).

    Now when it comes to games two things are always in conflict, that is memory and computation. As the article above points out, vectors might be cheaper to store but more expensive to compute.

    On the other hand, you could create a raster image of your button for the best quality (say iPad), and then generate a mipmap of the button (normally used for texture LoD), but this way you would have all possible button sizes, which you could swap over devices.

    If you are interested in more advanced techniques for achieving resolution independent vectors, by taking advantage of the Signed Distance Field of a full scale raster image, and then re-generating it on the GPU using shaders, take a look at this paper by Valve.

    That aside, I think you’ll be alright if you just use bitmaps (rasters), especially if you can make them look better. Think of optimising only if you actually need to!

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