Magma is a top-down 2.5D single player, stealth game where the protagonist plays as a dinosaur and has to save his/her village from Magma-enemies by diverting their attention and cleverly making his/her moves to open all the gates for the magma to pass through.
After play testing with over sixty users, we realised that our game was the most suitable for kids of the age 6-8 years old.
From design document to digital prototype, I was responsible for the game design of this project and conducted five play tests, paving a more precise direction for our game. Rapid paper and digital prototyping refined most of our game design decisions. To test out stealth, we quite simply got testers to play a game of hide and seek with us, to learn the different ducking, sneaking and hiding techniques employed by them.
Some of the feedback we received for our game: “It reminds me of playing hide and seek as a child.”, “I love the whole dinosaur-lava chase.”, “This game is so simple, yet engaging for hours.”.
Operation Bastion is a 3D, top down, multiplayer, twin-stick shooter, based on Relic Entertainment’s Last Stand gameplay.This project, with Relic, was accomplished through an iterative game design and development process.
The project has been a great success both at the Centre For Digital Media and Relic Entertainment and presented at Show ‘n’ Tell (organised by and at Relic’s HQ).
The endeavor started with laying out the game’s objectives, and the team and I decided to build new mechanics, hitting the core pillars of Last Stand, ergo operation bastion came into being, which is a LAN multi-player RTS styled shooter game designed for the audience that loved and cherished every bit of Last Stand and Company of Heroes. The game would be played within 30 minutes and could be learnt by a non-gamer within a couple of minutes.
Roles & Responsibilities
I was the Interaction designer and producer on this project and was responsible for brainstorming, game conceptualizing, paper and digital prototyping, play testing and tweaking features, managing communication in a more development heavy team, being the point of contact with Relic and enforcing rules of scrum with both the teams.
Traverse helped me exercise Scrum and Agile in more detail, working in close proximity with developers and the importance of pivoting, as that played a major role in making our product usable. As an interaction designer for Mixed Reality; along with user tests, interviews with gym owners and climbing aficionados, I took up bouldering classes to better inform the final design of Traverse.
Zazoo, an IP of BizzyBaby Media, Bombay, India; is an animated web series for kids of the age 3 years up to 12 years old. The protagonist Za, and his alien best friend Zoo, together explore the world of planet Unali. Zazoo’s Augmented Reality game app (currently in the design phase) brings to life the character duo and their playfulness, for kids of the age 4-7 years old.
Being the experience lead designer and the creative director on this project, I designed and helped to develop a working prototype for Zazoo game app. The game essentially consists of more mini games, planned to be released each month with a new mechanic that the kids watching the web series can relate to and play with.
With Zazoo, I have learnt designing for Augmented Reality and applied my knowledge of UX of designing an app for kids, to it. While Zazoo was being designed, it was repeatedly tested with my own nephews who fall in the target age group and has given me much insight on laying out the in-game monetization structure for apps too.
Falcon is a 3D, couch co-op, twin-stick, vehicle-based shooter, created with Blackbird Interactive.We decided to opt for a couch co-op as it brings out the social aspect of playing together, allowing players to work as a team and give way for co-operative maneuvers like boosting teammates up during combat and providing cover for their partner. A vehicle-based gameplay was chosen because that is Blackbird’s forte.
1. 3D Interaction Designer:
• Collaborated and communicated face-to-face on small, cross-discipline teams, namely, art, development, sound and with co-designers.
• Enforced co-operativity in the game by linking the power cores of the two players (vehicles) together with a narrative supported feature. The viewport of both the players would be constrained to one screen and their bodies would explode if they went too far from each other. Hence, enforcing co-op dynamics.
2. Level Designer:
• Laying out the level from flowchart to final playable prototype in Unreal Engine
Obediently listening to player's feedback
• Using an existing game, "Little Big Planet 2" for rapid prototyping to test the level and the co-op dynamics between play testers.
• I made sure the art team was always involved in design and development decisions and vice-versa.
• Switching from designer to producer hat was quite interesting in terms of features that would stay or frag.
• Falcon was pitched by me at PvP (Pitch Vs Pitch) Game Circuit in July 2018, at Blackbird Interactive Studio.
‘Relapsis’ is a Virtual Reality transmedia story-telling experience based on a dystopic world, set in the year 2080. Artificially intelligent robots have taken over the world and there is a sickness/disease spreading all over. Relapsis was created as a free exploration world for the user, which takes them on a quest to solve a murder mystery, role-playing as a police officer/detective; from the physical world to the web terminal, thereon to a virtual world and back to physical reality.
Roles and Responsibilities:
On this project, I was wearing several hats, such as:
Production Manager –
Maintaining Trello board
Conducting daily stand ups
Following up on art and design and combining with development work.
Conceptualization to Delivery – all the experiences were separately designed – physical, virtual and web. There are puzzles in both physical and virtual worlds. I had to wear two hats at once, viz., Designer and Production Manager and taking decisions on features like various puzzles, was difficult but achieved through Agile tools, like Bull’s eye and a supportive team.
Suspension of disbelief was needed to be achieved through planning each puzzle as if a simulation of the real-world mystery solving case.
The flow of the police officer’s (user) interaction was made seamless by adding a cue at the end of each puzzle that hinted the user to interact with a different world, for eg., When he/she interacted with the web-terminal to check their messages, they were directed to check the criminal reports, in the real world, which further led to findings and hinted them to put on their VR headsets and immerse into a conversation between the A.I. Robot and a doctor trying to work on a cure for the disease that is spreading.
The puzzles led to immersing the user into putting together the pieces of the puzzle and solving the mystery to spot the criminal behind an infamous murder.
Director of Interaction –
I was responsible for script writing and directing the video call with the police officer’s boss when the he/she is seated in a futuristic automobile which takes flight as soon as the officer(user) puts on the headsets. The video had to be succinct in providing the user with information about their task while immersing them into the role of a police offer/detective, also, introducing them to the aesthetic of the outside reality (virtual), which is a dystopian, cyber punk world with a blade runner aesthetic, based in Neo Bangalore, India.
WeRVR is a VR studio initiative co-founded by myself. With a multi-disciplinary team of 4, we set out to prototype our first game - WezRds Rush.
What is WezRds Rush?
WezRds Rush is a Virtual Reality, first person, tower defence game, where you play as the King who embodies a giant Wizard in order to protect your castle from enemy invasion.
What was my role?
Since it was a small team, I wore many hats. My contributions encompassed these domains:
Who is the audience?
The game is designed for young adults who enjoy playing hack-n-slash games. This demographic comprises of people who enjoy storytelling experiences as well as newer technologies, like Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities.
Who is the client?
During the design of the game, my application to the Oculus Start Program was acepted and therefore, Oculus @ Facebook became our first client.
What was our process?
The game takes inspiration from an older iOS version called Knights Rush and WezRds Rush was an attempt to translate mechanics from the mobile game to Virtual Reality.
Week 0 Goal: Prototype ‘flinging’ mechanic as quickly as possible.
I gathered 5 users, to prototype flinging using rubber balls. They were asked to throw balls that were rolled in front of them, more than one at a time.
Users had to bend their necks for a long time to fling those many balls. Each one of them complained about their arms getting tired, yet we fed them pizzas after :p .
Week 1 Goal: Prototype ‘flinging’ mechanic with arms bent at 90 degree.
The same group of users found it more comfortable to fling the same number of balls from a bent arm.
Week 2 Goal: Set up a unity project using VRTK (Virtual Reality Tool Kit).
VRTK is a great tool to get started with Virtual Reality prototype building in Unity3D. Of course, we evaluated OpenVR and SteamVR too.
Week 3 Goal: Prototyping basic interactions with grey boxed Unity scene.
Using a simple 3D model for a castle tower, tree assets as well as coloured spheres, we were able to get a scene up and running.
I tested the position of the tower and iterated upon it, till I was certain I didn’t have to bend my neck to interact with enemies.
Week 4 Goal: Set up a base architecture for code and set up camera for first person.
A modular code structure was set up as we knew we wanted to build on the game using elements we had prototyped with.
The camera was tested by me over and over again, especially to eliminate having to look down for long periods of time to interact with enemies.
Week 5 Goal: Make enemies move towards you, the player.
Much balancing, such wow. I spent hours tweaking the speed with which enemies moved towards the player, as well as the number of enemies that were being spawned. The goal was to have enemies that were rolling in your direction.
Week 6 Goal: Make enemies interactive.
Each enemy gameObject was given an OnTrigger property and using the left and right controllers laser pointers could be shot at the spheres to select them.
Week 7 Goal: Test interactivity of the enemies.
Enemy spheres started colliding with each other while rolling which disrupted the OnTrigger interaction. We had to set a NavMesh for each enemy so that it would have a set path to roll towards the you (castle).
Week 8 Goal: Test interactivity of enemies.
If the right controller shot a laser point at one enemy, the left couldn’t at the same time. We were frustrated, let alone, users.
Week 9 Goal: Fix Oculus controllers interaction.
If the right controller shot a laser point at one enemy, the left couldn’t at the same time. We were frustrated, let alone, users.
Week 10 Goal: Test, Test, Test.
Since, the delivery of the prototype was due in 2 weeks to Oculus, I started reaching out to the community and made many business connections, namely, VRAR Association Vancouver, Mythical City Games as well as IndiePod who had previous experience with VR, Oculus Headsets as well as Oculus Start Program application.
With some useful tips from community forums as well as having showcased our product at the Full-Indie held at the Centre For Digital Media on October 23rd 2018, we were in good shape for Oculus delivery.
Week 11 Goal: Polish prototype with basic UI and any nice-to-haves.
In the initial weeks, our testing process had informed us that the must-haves would be essential for the prototype delivery and the nice-to-haves needed prioritization. I used red routing to identify which features were vital to our product based on user feedback.
I performed a Red Route exercise, which allowed me to prioritse our backlog and work towards building the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as soon as possible. The features in bright red are the ones with most importance as they are used by the players most often and are what really constitute the game. The other features were pushed down in the priority list of features to implement.
Through this exercise, we were able to narrow-in on our product.
Week 12 Goal: Test the build, get art in place for submission requirements and press SEND!
It wasn’t all smooth-sailing but we made it. Below is some of the art we used to submit our prototype.
• Communication between Art, Design and Development teams is key to success.
• Prototyping cheaply and efficiently at every stage helps steer ship in the right direction.
• Reach out to communities earlier for feedback, thoughts, coffee, all of that good stuff.
• Having led a team of 3, and being the only woman, I feel strong and motivated to be in leadership roles.
Our Future Community (OFC)
Our Future Community is a 3D interactive video game that aims to increase awareness about climate change through academic education in grades 10th up to 12th (high school)
Senior Game Designer and Developer
• Lead a team of game designers and developers through a design cycle :
- Define the problem
- Brainstorm solutions
- Eliminate solutions that have failed previously or those that don't match the requirements of external stakeholders
- Build interactive prototypes
- Test prototypes refine the design of solutions
• Conduct daily stand ups & maintain a trello board for tasks
• Follow up on art and design and combining with development work
• Create a Game Design Document which elaborates on the:
- Purpose of the game
The game is primarily designed for K-12 (10th to 12th grades) high school students in Vancouver and Delta, British Columbia. They would be expected to play this game in a classroom setting and optionally in a non-classroom setting too.
Two types of clients:
• High schools --> For example, Kitsilano High School students have interacted with this WIP game and the teachers have shown a high interest in using this tool to educate students on climate change.
• Vancouver School Board --> They would be our distributer in Vancouver, catering to all schools that agree to teach climate change in their classrooms.
Our Design Process
Game Design Document overview (GDD)
Sketches for building the game flow
Food Waste Management Quest
This is an early prototype where a waste truck comes to the player's house to pick up trash and the player's job is to segregate the trash before disposal into the correct coloured bin without missing the truck.
This prototype was only developed to pitch the idea of different types of independent quests to external stakeholders.
I believe that stories are the most powerful tool for human connection and have extended my user experience design, journalism and computer science knowledge towards innovative story-telling and designing interactive products.
I am currently a Product Designer 'Llama' at LlamaZOO Interactive where I work with Mining, Oil, Gas, Aerospace, Medicine and Forestry industries to help visualize their 3D spatial data through Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Owing to my computer science engineering background, I communicate day in and day out with software developers on my designs to make sure the interaction of products works seamlessly. I have self-initiated and led two entrepreneurial ventures up until now, an Augmented Reality game for kids and a Virtual Reality game for young adults. Over time, these skills have accrued to shape me into a people-person.
I also enjoy longboarding, hiking, photography and volunteering for local organizations solving climate change.