This prototype was created over 8 weeks to assess our ability to work together as a new team to concept, build, and launch something from scratch in a short time period. My responsibility on this project was to create and implement UI art and animations, explore UX design needs, and manage the project's development. We used the post-mortem from this experiment to set ourselves up for success on the studio's next project.
We designed our environment to be gray, boxy, and full of trash, so I wanted the UI art style to be the opposite; colorful, bright, and organic. As the player progresses through the game, they see plants growing which transform the environment, and it's at this moment the UI art style begins to make reflect its surroundings. By showing this contrast in the UI art style early on, I was hoping to give players a little hope of what's to come in this trash-filled factory zone.
Accessibility is important to our team and we wanted to make sure that we developed with this in mind. On the UI side, I established a large minimum text size, good color contrast (especially with the HUD), and legible buttons. I set a character limit for dialogue so we could avoid large chunks of text. I researched motion sickness due to camera movement and worked with our programmer to discuss which setting to keep as default. I also worked on a customize-able settings menu, and even though we were unable to implement the functionality, it was still a great experience for our team to start early with the planning of this, and our lessons learned here will be applied to our next project.
I wanted to try something new for this project, and read about UX maps in Celia Hodent's book The Gamer's Brain. I was inspired from the example there and wondered how I could make a map that is custom for our game's needs? I gave it a try by highlighting key interactions a player would make and work from there. My home base was opening the game; what steps would the player take before doing that? What steps do they take after that? This process allowed me to come up with key questions that would influence the game's design & UI. From here I was able to work vertically per feature to create and iterate on the wireframes and mockups.
At the start of the project, we decided to share the project management role, however more than halfway through we realized we had severely over-scoped and were behind on our production goals. With the team's consent, I took control of project management for our last few weeks. I implemented weekly meetings to see which tasks in the current week were on their way to completion and which were blocked. We also took that time to set up our tasks for the following week and schedule any meetings we needed. I added a priority column to our task board and as a team we cut the lowest priority tasks, we then took a look at our high priorities and determined which we tasks we had time for.
Once it came to post-mortem time, I created the schedule and time-boxed our reflection meeting. We started at 11am and ended at 6pm. We were able to cover everything from our surveys, made time for movement breaks and lunch, AND ended as scheduled! I don't have visuals to show off project management, so here's a picture of us celebrating a successful post-mortem process and the completion of our prototype. <3