SGJ Podcast #275 – Usability and the User Experience in (Space) Gaming


Hey friends, welcome to this week’s podcast! This week, Jim, Spaz, Hunter and I sit down to talk about usability and the user experience in games, mostly space games (of course) but a few others as well. We first define what goes into usability and the user experience, for the purposes of our discussion, and then look at games with good, mediocre and poor usability, all of which you can see listed below! It ended up being a really fun discussion in the end!

Next week on the show, we’ll be checking in with past episodes and see where some of the games we talked about years back are now, if anywhere. Plus we’ll check in with each other and talk about what we’ve been playing. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please drop them below, email us at or hit us up on the forums.

Show Notes

In-Game Usability Factors

  • Situational Awareness
  • Ease of Accessing Information
  • In-Game Navigation
  • Entity/Ship Management
  • World Interactivity

Out-of-Game Usability Factors

  • Accessibility of Settings
  • Save Game Management
  • Main Menu Design

Games with Good Usability Overall

  • Freespace 2
  • 3030 Deathwar Redux
  • Star Fleet Armada
  • ADIOS Amigos
  • Master of Orion
  • Nexus: The Jupiter Incident
  • Elite: Dangerous
  • Objects in Space
  • Star Dynasties
  • Fractured Space
  • Starcraft
  • Rebel Galaxy
  • Space Rangers HD
  • Star Traders: Frontiers
  • House of the Dying Sun
  • Pulsar: Lost Colony

Games with Okay Usability

  • Drox Operative
  • Beyond Sol
  • Master of Orion II
  • Wing Commander Series
  • Star Trek: Klingon Academy
  • Star Wolves Series
  • Rules of Engagement (I love it, but c’mon)
  • Guns of Icarus
  • Star Trek Online
  • Starpoint Gemini Warlords
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Stellaris

Games with Poor Usability

  • Much of the X Series
  • Evochron Series (though it’s getting better)
  • Battlecruiser 3000 Series
  • Emperor of the Fading Suns
  • Independence War II unmodded
  • Star Trek: Bridge Commander
  • Distant Worlds Universe
  • EVE Online
  • Star Citizen
  • Star Trek: Birth of the Federation
  • Star Trek: Legacy
  • Apollo4X
  • Stars!
Author: Brian Rubin

Chime In!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.