Game design, ux design
Design Buddies Game Jam
Project Manager, UX Researcher
The Design Buddies Game Jam was a week-long jam revolving around the theme of "community." Since I had no game design experience, I chose to form a team of 2 developers, 1 artist, and 2 designers to participate. We had to ideate, design, prototype, test and share a playable game in the span of week.
Come up with a concept and develop a playable game or prototype to submit to the Game Jam for the judges and community to play and enjoy.
We began brainstorming ideas on the first day of the jam. Our first concept was a playable character would wander around in the dark to try and find their buddies using sound cues. Each time a buddy was recruited, the player's vision would be slightly increased.
With those main mechanics in mind, we took it a step further and iterated on the idea. Eventually, we chose to develop a puzzle stealth game that still included the buddy recruiting ability, but this time, each buddy had a special ability of their own. Each buddy would be able to help solve the puzzle in a unique way. To keep it simple and ensure that the scope wasn't too large, we limited our project to three playable buddies and one puzzle stage.
I conducted secondary research for the game. I looked at various games within the same genre, like Timelie and more, for inspiration. I compiled a document analyzing our direct and indirect competitors to see how we could make our game unique and different and establish who our target audience is.
I created proto-personas based on the assumptions of our target audience. These included the Puzzle Lover and the Casual Gamer. Both play video games, but have different values and playstyles.
After examining other games, we came to these conclusions:
Due to the time constraints of the project, I created proto-personas based on the assumptions of our target audience. These included the Puzzle Lover and the Casual Gamer. Both play video games, but have different values and playstyles.
As a team, we each sketched out various level designs that we could build for our prototype. This came with challenges because we had to design a puzzle that wasn't too difficult to solve, but was still fun and challenging for the player. None of us had experience with level design, so we did our best and learned on the fly.
While the prototype was in development, Jiayi and I worked on wireframes for the UI screens and the overall branding of the game. We created a simple mood board to ensure that we were on the same page and came up with a variety of logo and typography combination ideas. When we compiled them, we showcased them to our team for feedback and made the final decision.
With a clearer idea of our game concept, our developers created a working prototype based on our level design and game mechanics. Once it was built, we put it to the test. I was able to test the prototype with 3 participants that I recruited from my friends and family. During the tests, I observed their behaviors, reactions, and asked follow-up questions when needed.
Based on our test results, we met again as a team to discuss our priority changes. With only two days left in the jam, we knew we had to get started soon and had limited time to make these changes.
As my first game jam, I am very grateful for my team and for all the things we learned along the way. It was a great experience and I hope I can make more games in the future.
If I was given more time to complete the project, these would be my next steps: