Dev Update #82: Designing User Experience

By May 30, 2018Dev Updates

We’re going to keep this week’s Dev Update brief. The biggest items we’ve been focusing on this week have to do with design and user experience! This is a lot of concept over practice, but we want to keep you up to date on the discussions we’re having internally. The first design update is about the repair kit we mentioned last week! This is a new part that is meant to enhance the user experience by allowing you to repair parts in addition to simply replacing them. We’re early on in the art design of these kits, but the implementation from a code side is rather trivial since we already have similar functions with consumable fuel cells increasing battery power levels. While we aren’t considering any of our art permanent during this prototype phase, we do want to make sure it looks good. Ekah, the artist working on this task, has shared the in-progress version (seen above) on our Discord last week, and is continuing to refine the design. Keep an eye out for updated art postings soon!

The other design work we’ve been doing is something we haven’t talked too much about: tool tips. These are quite possibly the driest part of a game’s design, but as mechanical complexity has risen, so has their importance. Tool tips and notifications help make sure that your gameplay experience comes with as little clutter as possible, and we’re first implementing this system to help with part management.

In the current builds, as you play and carry out tasks in Gears of Eden, your parts will slowly degrade based on their usage. This makes sense, but unless you’re super on top of watching those menus (to an extent that would simply become busy work, rather than actual fun), it’s very likely that you’ll find yourself caught off guard when your rover breaks down. “Oops, I was just playing and having fun and now I can’t drive or drill or do anything.” That’s frustrating and a bad user experience, and though any good game has consequences, we want to use this system to warn you before such consequences arise. Eventually we’ll expand these type of feedback systems to other aspects of the game’s functionality.

So yeah! Mini Update done! Check back next week for more development news! Until then, if you want to keep up with all things GoE, check out our Twitter and Facebook pages! You can also give a listen to the most recent episode of our Reaching Eden podcast! Our creative director also streams some of his own development work, so be sure to follow us on Twitch! Thank you so much for your support and thank you for reading. We hope to see you again next Wednesday, but until then, have a great rest of your week.

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