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That Damn Goat

All work shown is not finalized. The game release is slated for late 2023 on the Nintendo Switch and Steam.

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Role

UI/UX Designer

Timeline

1 year 2 mos

(Spring 2022-23)

Skills and Tools

Visual Design, Product Research, User-Testing, Prototyping, Cross-Functional Teamwork, Figma, Illustrator, Photoshop

As the only UI/UX Designer on the That Damn Goat team, I collaborated with the UI Developer and Lead Designers to understand our high-energy game and its player base to create an accessible menu system to match.

The Opportunity

Chaos and usability, an unlikely pair

That Damn Goat is the definition of chaos with randomized characters and levels changing on a whim and, of course, a rearing goat to stop you in your tracks!

 

With the game pushing forward into development, there became a growing need for a polished menu system and UI design that allows our players to focus on the attention-grabbing game at hand.

The Solution

Chaos is the name of the game

Mimicking the chaotic nature of That Damn Goat in the menu navigation and design was the key to providing

our players with an introduction to the game’s mechanics with a solid usability model underneath it all.

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The Audience

Targeted for E10+ 

That Damn Goat is most suitable for ages 10 and over, but play testing revealed even younger audiences gravitated toward the game. This was something I always kept in mind when designing our menus.

Establishing a solid framework

By carefully mapping interaction, I was able to optimize the previous menu system to effectively incorporate multiple-player selections supported by a dynamic and quirky UI design style.

A simplified UI layout and style were created to complement an altering in-game art style, setting the stage for The Goat to be a prevalent presence in the startup menus.

All possible scenarios where multi-player agency can be visualized within That Damn Goat's navigational system were imagined.

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Foundations of Multi-player Rationale

Compiling my own game UI database filled with diverse navigational patterns aided the expansion of the menu and HUD screens to include additional states and scenarios supporting multiple player inputs.

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Heave Ho and Super Smash Bros Ultimate were essential to understanding this collaboration with multiple players, whether within gameplay or in their menus.

The Rationale of Player Ready-Up

The most challenging part of designing the functionality of the Player Ready-Up screen was ensuring a smooth set-up process for multiple players editing their own player cards.

 

I researched how controllers connect and disconnect to the Nintendo Switch console and visualized how that information can be communicated within Player Ready-Up.

From the order of players joining the game to whether they're using a single joycon, both joycons, or a pro-controller and playing with CPUs, I thought of it all and created the necessary screen states to fit each scenario.

Redefining That Damn Goat's UI

Creating a visual design that communicates game mechanics and an in-game art style derived from the theme of chaos was another challenge I faced. 

I developed and iterated on three initial visual styles to gauge which one had the strongest compatibility with the unique appearance of our game levels and aligned with the UI's function of being a clear, concise fast-track into gameplay. 

Style Finalizations

The team and I settled on the nit and grit of a textured style paired with cleanly shaped UI elements. Paired with the open layout I introduced toward the end of the visual exploration process, this UI style creates an opportunity for aspects of the gameplay to be introduced in the menus without compromising on functionality. 

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The final design of the game's UI will combine these two approaches.

Click-throughs for Functionality

I created an interactive prototype of That Damn Goat's entire menu system as a tool for visualizing every step our players will take, including the functionality of multi-player selections.

Implementation in Unity

Teaming up with our UI developer Nick Baker, we worked together to implement the game's menu system. I handled the UI design and asset handover while Nick executed all of the functionality and UI animations within the Unity game development engine.

In-Game Overview - COMING SOON :)

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Takeaways

With industry insight from my Design and UI/UX Leads, I was able to understand where the work I was doing fit in the grand scheme of That Damn Goat as I was coming from a more digital product-based background.

 

I learned how to confidently take charge of the UI team's direction through constant research and aligning my work with art and development.

Most importantly, the project's mindset of experimentation pushed me to discover ways to create out-of-the-box game UI that is engaging but also utilitarian. 

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