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Witch Island: Game Feel

Game Specs

First I had to decide what kind of game this menu would be for:

Simulation & Crafting

Player moves to an island to open their first witch shop!

Gather plants, brew potions, expand your shop, and get to know you neighbors.

Next, what kind themes should the menu have?

Relaxing

Magical

Twinkling

Colorful

Fantasy

Whimsical

What tools would I need?

Unity

Photoshop

Visual Scripting

Figma

Constraints

Time: I only had three weeks to get from the prototype to the final project

Art & Sound: I could only use self-made or Unity assets

Now that I had a general idea of the project outline, it was time to research!

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Research

SlimeRancher.png

Slime Rancher - What works?

The menu immediately communicates how the game looks and feels

The users' eye travels from the title to the options, then the art

The background can distract from the buttons and they don't have enough feedback to reclaim that attention

potionomics.png

Potionomics - What works?

The menu catches the user's eye with colorful assets found in-game - this creates interest in gameplay

Art and design quickly immerse the player in the game's aesthetic

A lot of extra text - can distract user from important areas

Wireframes

Wireframe1.png

How to Communicate the Aesthetic?

- In-game environment

- Bubbling cauldron

- Bookshelf with buttons   on it

- Interactable potions

- Botanicals

- Glowing/magical particles

pause.png

Pause Menu Goals

- Match the environment from the main menu

- Utilize the schema established by main menu so players' understand the button mechanics

Wireframe2.png

Golden Path for Users

- The menu needed to draw the players' attention to the important element

- Utilized lines created by bookshelf, herbs, and cauldron handle to move players' eyes around the space

 

bubbling.png
fade.png

Transition into the Game

I wanted to have an exciting animation for when the player enters the game, so I drew up a preliminary idea of smoke and bubbles filling the screen to help communicate this transition

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Interactions

My main goals were to provide a copious amount of feedback for each player interaction and ensure these interactions reinforced the themes I had previously defined.

There were many consistent forms of feedback on each interactable element: sound when clicked, hover effects, clicked effects, feedback on what the button changed, and particles to draw the players' attention. You can see various implementations of each type below. (Hover to play)

These effects were also aligned with the game's theme: the particles were twinkling and star-like, the hover effects were bright and effervescent, the buttons themselves emitted an ethereal glow from within, and the potion bottles felt alive.

Each element provided feedback and reinforced the environmental experience.

Implementation

The routine feedback covered in the above section is pivotal to any play experience. In addition to these foundational elements, I wanted to implement feedback in a way that would broaden the player's experience and make them feel transported into this magical world.

One way I enriched the space was through transitions.

The cauldron bubbling and brewing in the menu helped sell the narrative in general, but I also used the idea of the cauldron boiling over and filling the world with smoke to sell the fantasy during large transitions.

For smaller transitions, I really wanted to sell the idea of the player moving into the potion itself.

The menus inside this space needed to feel floaty, bubbly, and magical. This was often achieved through particle effects, subtle camera shake, or animations.

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Post Mortem

Technical Limitations

Screenshot 2022-11-12 212538.png

If I had the chance to expand on this project, I would also have loved to add more accessibility options to the game and reflect those changes in the option menu.

I didn't learn some technical options until after I completed this assignment. For instance, I would go back and make the drop down menus match the aesthetic of the game.

Quality of Life Changes

After completing this project, I noticed the credits screen needs more options so it wouldn't be cumbersome to the player. These would include things like a fast forward button and an option to skip to the end. There options would go a long way to making that menu more navigable and user-friendly.

Because this was a solo project, I had to settle for whatever art and audio I could create or find on Unity. It would be wonderful to revisit this project someday with assets that were specifically designed for the theme and game feel. I think that experience would specifically challenge me as a UX designer to continue iterating on the mechanics seen above!

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