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Minecraft Inventory Redesign

This was a UI/UX project where a pivot was assigned after prototypes for a given focus were given.


To start I went and compiled data from blogs, forums, and other media players use to get an idea of what the player base things of the inventory system.

The goal was to find out what they didn't like, what they wish was different, as well as what their interactions with the system were like.

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Research Summary

It was designed for a different scale

At the beginning (Java Classic Version) MC supported 128 unique items and blocks which the player could interact with. Due to this, giving the player 36 inventory slots gave them access to carry with them up to 28% of all the items in the game at any one time which gave plenty of access to players.

Furthermore, a lot of the previous items were variations of armor, tools, and weapons which the player would only need the best tier of. This cut down the effective item count to around half that giving the players the ability to really hold up to 50% of all potentially useful blocks in their inventory at once.

Fast forward to today. The item count has jumped to go above 972 entries (taking our inventory down to barely fitting 3%) and unlike the beginning, most of these are usable/placeable items that depending on the goals of a player might be essential.

It holds players back

The “Builder” type player now has a huge variety of blocks at his disposal and the option to only pick 36 blocks and each selection can only hold 64 of that type of block.

64 blocks is such a small number that any creative oriented player will have to agonize filling multiple inventories with one type of object only because they wanted to build the foundation of their base.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the “Adventurer” type player which loves to explore the infinite world but is now restricted in the number of item types they can carry. This creates the issue that after clearing multiple villages or dungeon or finding a few rare resources the play needs to start selecting what to throw away and what to leave behind.

In a third variant we have players trying to take on a boss which now need their inventory to hold combat related items. Most of their slots will now go to golden apples and different types of potions as there are standard for a big fight as well as weapons for ranged and melee combat. Moreover, these players now also need the items to summon the boss they wish to fight or find their way to the correct location which will generate extra junk in their inventory.

It has no quality of life features

There is no way to restock your inventory for other storage types should you be in the middle of a big building project.

There is no way to sort your inventory or any storage type.

There is no way to stack blocks of the same type together automatically.

There is no feature to help find a specific item.

How do other games approach this

The game itself has a very active modding community and some of the most popular mods address this exact issue. There are countless mods that create portable inventory options to serve as inventory expansion
Most of these do so in the form of bags, backpacks, or portable chests. (IE. Forge Backpacks)


A few of them focus on removing the stack restriction the base game has to allow more of the same item to fit in one slot. (IE. StackUp!)


And one of the most popular inventory mod adds the quality of life features missing above. (InventoryTweaks)

Outside of the modding community, we can look at other games that have a similar inventory system and similar issues such as terraria. In their case, they still try to address the issue by adding the quality of life features discussed above.

Problem Statements

Problem Statement 1

The inventory system is too restrictive for the selection of items and blocks the game has today.

Problem Statement 2

The inventory system lacks basic quality of life features to make navigating the game’s 972+ items and blocks.

Redesign Goals

More space

Give more portable storage to the players for them to more freely move items around weather it is to build or explore.

Convenient to use

Add the missing quality of life features that so many other games in the genre use. (sorting, quick stacking, ect.)

Easy to use

Allow players to complete most of their inventory related operations in a smooth and fluid manner.

Wireframe & Breakdown (Inventory)

  1. Auto-Replace: this is a toggleable button that when active will automatically replace broken equipment and tools with another copy if the player has the appropriate replacement int heir inventory.
     

  2. Quick Store: When pressed automatically stores items in nearby chests that contain the item in question. (ie. All wood in a player’s inventory will be stacked with existing wood in chests if there is no instance of a specific item then it will remain in the player’s inventory and will have to be manually placed).
     

  3. Restock: When pressed, automatically fill any slots containing an item up to a full stack by taking the materials from nearby chests.
     

  4. Sort: When pressed will sort the items by their ID/Item type causing them to line up in groups filling the inventory top-left to bottom right.
     

  5. Search: Writing the item name will cause it to be highlighted in the inventory and will cause the relevant tab to be opened should it not be in the main inventory.
     

  6. Crafting book: it has been moved and placed by the crafting window.
     

  7. Player Inventory tabs: 3 extra inventory tabs containing. Same space as the main inventory. Clicking on them lets you see the inventory of the clicked tab. (Tab 1: default inventory)

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Wireframe & Breakdown (Storage)

  1. Auto-Replace: this is a toggleable button that when active will automatically replace broken equipment and tools with another copy if the player has the appropriate replacement int heir inventory.
     

  2. Quick Store: When pressed automatically stores items in nearby chests that contain the item in question. (ie. All wood in a player’s inventory will be stacked with existing wood in chests)
    if there is no instance of a specific item then it will remain in the player’s inventory and will have to be manually placed.
     

  3. Restock: When pressed, automatically fill any slots containing an item up to a full stack by taking the materials from nearby chests.
     

  4. Sort: When pressed will sort the items by their ID/Item type causing them to line up in groups filling the inventory top-left to bottom right.
     

  5. Search: Writing the item name will cause it to be highlighted in the inventory and will cause the relevant tab to be opened should it not be in the main inventory.
     

  6. Crafting book: it has been moved and placed by the crafting window.
     

  7. Player Inventory tabs: 3 extra inventory tabs containing. Same space as the main inventory. Clicking on them lets you see the inventory of the clicked tab. (Tab 1: default inventory)

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Design Pivot

"The game now has a new equipable item type (Pets). These items may have additional functionality and will be placed into an equipment slot or they can be stored in inventories when not in use."

Wireframe & Breakdown (Inventory)

Changes

The base game currently has 2 types of pets. There are mounts that the player can tame and ride around, and there are companions that follow the player and, in some cases, help fight or keep monsters away. To this end, I start differentiating between mounts and companions as the game already treats them differently.
 

2 new equipment slots have been added to accommodate this, one for mounts and one for companions. And they are now located where offhand items used to be. Offhand items got pushed up to the top to accommodate. The reasoning behind this was that because the equipment is shown in the window in the middle than if pets are to be also shown in that window it makes more sense for them to be equipped near the area, they would appear in.
 

Lastly, I also shrunk the empty space in the crafting section to accommodate the new elements in such a way that there is still some negative space partitioning the areas and not making it feel too cramped.

  1. Crafting UI: it has be shrunk to take up less space. The elements themselves are the same size but there is less empty space between them. The goal was to not make the equipment area seem cramped once the new slots were in.
     

  2. Mounts: This is where players slot mount type pets.
     

  3. Companions: This is where they slot companion type pets.
     

  4. Offhand Slot: To make space for the new slots I move the offhand slot to be on the top. The reasoning here is that because the inventory uses a 3D view of the equipment, should the fea5ture also apply to pets then it is more intuitive that the pets be closer to the bottom where it would appear.

  1. Crafting UI: it has be shrunk to take up less space. The elements themselves are the same size but there is less empty space between them. The goal was to not make the equipment area seem cramped once the new slots were in.
     

  2. Mounts: This is where players slot mount type pets.
     

  3. Companions: This is where they slot companion type pets.
     

  4. Offhand Slot: To make space for the new slots I move the offhand slot to be on the top. The reasoning here is that because the inventory uses a 3D view of the equipment, should the fea5ture also apply to pets then it is more intuitive that the pets be closer to the bottom where it would appear.

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Wireframe & Breakdown (Storage)

Changes

Storage filters now need to accommodate an extra category.
 

With this in mind there are now 3 distinct categories that would have fallen under the umbrella of “Gear” so I am splitting the filters between gear and resources.
 

Resources are now on the left and contain all items that can be placed in the world or used to craft other items. Gear was left on the right and split 3 categories, Armor, Tools, Pets. 

This was done to enable players to be able to more quickly find what they are looking for.

  1. Resource Type Items: On the left, I moved all the filters for items that fall under the category of blocks or crafting resources. For all player needs regarding building and crafting items they only need to look left.
     

  2. Gear Filters: due to the design pivot we now have too many distinct items in the gear filter so iv expanded it and split it into 3 separate filters. The top one is for tools and weapons, this is gear that goes in the player’s Hotbar. The middle one is for equippable gear such as armor. And the bottom one is the new pets category which while it is equipped it also has special interactions and functions and as such gets its own filter. This allows players that only want to change their equipment to only have to deal with the right side filters.
     

  3. Equipment Tab: while in storage inventories I added a new tab to allow players to access their equipped items from the storage inventory. This pulls up their equipment UI as shown below and they will be able to change equipment directly from here.
     

  4. Equipment UI: the UI for the equipment tab is the same as in the main player inventory to make it simple for players to know where everything goes.

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Minecraft Inventory Redesign

A UI/UX Project to redesign Minecraft's inventory system and to readapt the proposed design after being given a design pivot.

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