Towers in the Sky
User Experience for a Game Startup
KeyWords: Interaction Design, Product Design, UX, Flow Charts
Tools & Techniques: WireFrames, Illustrator, Photoshop
In 2011 I was approached by a group of developers who were passionately pursuing an idea for a Location-Based game called "Towers in the Sky." They wanted help not only in creating the visual elements of the game, but also in figuring out some key interaction problems that were holding the problem back.
A Bit About Location-Based Apps:
Location-Based gaming is different from other mobile gaming in that it encourages, or indeed requires, the player to take their phone, go outside, get some air, physically locate themselves in a new or unexpected place (usually at the crafty whim of other players or the game designers, the more creative and hard-to-reach the better) only then being allowed to perform certain actions on their device.
The problem was the game's map was in danger of getting overwhelmed by the number of towers they projected might be built in the game-space. People formed "territories," Game of Thrones style, which would shift and change as towers were taken over or destroyed, or if someone set up a tower really close to yours.
The game depended on people knowing where to plan their trip in real-world space to conquer towers, as you had to be standing there. There was an early-on danger of the app crashing if someone put a large number of towers in one place, each of them at different strengths. Do we restrict the player from setting up more than some low maximum? Do we not reveal the true number of towers in an area until you were up close?
"We had to make a complex world simple. We needed to show how complex it was, without overwhelming the user."
After long discussions about who our user base was, we realized our winning strategy was to enable and empower the user. In a game about real-world conquests, empowerment would win.
I started designing a solution that would allow for variations in GPS signal and phone reception, and also present multiple ways to experience the map. The result was a sliding scale of "resolutions," the simplest being basic circles and the most complex showing the boundaries of territories. In the end this became not only a major setting in the game but also a roadmap for how the developers would build the game.
Project Date: 2013
Towers in the Sky UI
Storyboard for Towers - initial mock
Mock-ups, map and list
Interaction Design, Product Design, UX, Flow Charts
Tools & Techniques:
WireFrames, Illustrator, Photoshop
User Interface Design
Giving a Face to a Game Company
Zabu Studios Inc
For Fun: MemoBuddy