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Video Game Interface Types

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

Continuing on from the last blog post this one will discuss some of the different types of interfaces used within video games and how we can correctly describe them. If you have not read the previous article then it might be worth a read before you indulge yourself on this one.

Different types of interfaces are used within video games for a verity of different reasons, some are used to provide the player with statistics or locations which they must travel to, others are actually in the game world and can only be interacted with via the player's characters. Each of these interface types can be categorised into one of the following Diegetic, Non-Diegetic, Spatial, Meta interfaces.

Diegetic Interface Types

A diegetic interface is an interface that is included within the game world, this means that players can interact with them via there characters. It also means that the player's character can hear and see them within the game world. These types of interfaces really help with player immersion as they often have to interact with them via there characters. GTA is a good example of a diegetic interface as the player can only interact with the device via the character to perform different actions that relate to gameplay. There are plenty of other games that use this type of interface really well such as Aliens isolation in which the player uses a verity of in-game devices to perform various actions.

Take the radar, for instance, it does not take any direct input from the player's character but does take input from external sources which are used to then output information to the player, this information can only be view in the game when the player's character is holding the device.

Non-Diegetic Interfaces

Non-diegetic interfaces are the opposite of diegetic meaning they do not exist within the game world and are no interactable via the player's character. These are typically what would make up for heads up display (HUD). Most games will need to communicate to the player various statistics such as speed, health, map location or mission objectives. The HUD's allow for this and more to be presented in a compact and efficient way.

However, there are game HUDS that are an exception to this such as the world of Warcraft, which uses a very complex HUD. To see why this HUD works and does not overwhelm the player check out the previous article.


Spatial interfaces like diegetic interfaces in some respect because they are present within the game world, however they are not intractable. they often are used to help the player see hidden objectives or areas of importance. Sims is a good example of a game that uses a spatial interface very well to help show to the player preferred action of there characters.

Meta interfaces

Meta interface are representations and unlike spatial interfaces are not recognised spatially, They are often used for effects such as taking damage or possibly to indicate a characters speed. Many FPS game will make good use of meta interfaces such as Doom or Call of duty.


You have probably realised by now that video games will often make use of more than one type of interface to ensure the players are able to interact with it effectively. If you are still unsure about the type of interface you might be designing or making you can use the chart to identify which one it is.

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