I am very excited about Heavy Rain. Not on the pretence of the game being the next step in interactive storytelling or a more mature gaming experience. Besides what looks to be a good story set to beautiful visuals and a dynamic score there is a promise of better interaction. This game will tackle the issue of the dreaded Quick Time Event. Quick Time Events are best described as cut scenes where the actual gameplay is limited and the interaction is often of simple nature, e.g. press a button repeteadly at the right moment. The ambitions where originally even higher as the develepors had Sonys upcoming motion controller in mind. What Heavy Rain will try to do is create unique interactions for moves and actions and have them map more naturaly to physical actions from real life. The game will make use of all available inputs of the six axis hand controler and make use of multiple simulatinious inputs to create these more natural mappings. How well they manage to execute this remains to be seen but it would be good for the console game industry as a whole if Heavy Rain changes the traditionaly unimaginative QTE and replaces it with something a bit more immersive.
As Ajax, JQuery and other technologies have enabled more dynamic states in our designs. The consequences of this is often overlooked. Changing states on mouse interaction and using varied forms of animation to guide users through these transitions requires planning and proper execution.
UI animations are good for clarifying what is happening, avoiding jerky/disruptive changes of state and allowing the user to comprehend the new state faster. To do this properly means setting the right values for your animation and defining good hit areas. This is not only crucial for the experience at the point of interaction but will also set the overall feel for your site as a whole. I have jotted down a few basic guidelines my work tends to follow.