It’s a rewarding journey to work on Piggy Banksy, a multiplayer networked game experience for Games for Change Festival. During the pre-production, I majorly participated in the design research and ideation, and design documentation. For the production part, I was responsible for the usability, UI/UX design and front-end of the big screen. I also assisted in running playtesting. Here are some lessons I learnt from it:
- The Transformational Framework is a useful guide for pre-production and evaluation.
By making sense of the seven kinds of transformations and connect it with our experience design, I learned a way to deconstruct my design idea and improve it.
- A good design documentation helps keep everyone on the same page.
Choosing the topic under Art & Civic Engagement with the team is harder than do it alone. Because 1) It’s broad. 2) Everyone has their opinions about it. It often seemed comfortable to just verbally describe my ideas — but they fell flat and get interpreted different than I intended. Drawing things down, print it out and having something physical allows me to do more showing, not telling is very helpful, when everyone could just looking at them together and making notes on them.
- Working with a client helped me understand more with this tool and the production pipeline.
- Compared to visual design, my experience design and storytelling is less competent. However, in this project, I was able to think hard on how to tell a good story by thinking about the interest curve, the character, and the game mechanics. It’s also helpful for justifying the whats and whys for design outcomes.
- Being a UX Designer gives me an opportunity to explore art styles of my interest. Creating visually-appealing and functional character models helped me practice my 2D skills. It also trained my decision-making process, when technology is ambiguous and time is tight.
- I got a chance to code some meaningful generative art!
- Playtesting is very flexible in its form — depending on its purpose. When it’s too early to execute the high fidelity prototypes, you can simply do a sanity check by pitching it to your peers.
- Never lose the idealism easily. We’ve talked to so many people, receiving so much information, and sometimes we are easily influenced by different opinions. Finally, we find the story WE want to tell. The learning is that, you can adapt, understand and integrate, but at the same time, hold on to what got you inspired and passionate first of all. That fire and passion keep you on the right direction, and other opinions just got their way to fit in — if didn’t, they might not be suitable and just move on.
I really appreciate the collective efforts of our group, and how they helped me throughout the process. For example, during the meetings with our group, our producers always try to be clear and patient, debriefing the development plan and guiding us from knowing nothing about the project, to finally creating something everyone is satisfied with. Our programmers and designers are really smart and helpful teammates to work with, from who I learned a lot about how to collaborate efficiently, and how I could improve as a game designer and UX designer. I think that having a efficient team would really benefit everyone by allowing space to explore our interests and getting things done at the same time.
In the coming June, I’m hope to try my best to host the experience at G4C Festival. I think it requires
- Flexibility: whenever there were 20 or 80 attendees, we should be able to run it with a good pace.
- Thinking realistically: Making sure the logistic is well planned.
- Bug free.
- Be ready to present.
I’m also interested in meeting people at G4C to learn more about game design, games for education and games for behavioral change.