Event & My Role
The Global Game Jam 2023 was held from January 30th to February 5th 2023 with a theme of "Roots". I joined the BobaTalks team as a UI Designer with primary focus as a Technical UI Designer implementing art assets and animations into Unity working alongside our main programmer.
Things I worked on directly:
Implementing UI design into Unity - alone and with main programmer
Animating background art and UI elements in Unity
Built 3 Ancestor (level) selection scenes
Moodboard and color palette suggestions
Font options - base display font that artist used to make logo
Potential dialogue box design - was reworked to match art style by artist
Assisting on building level design - game designers were each responsible for their own levels
This team was very thorough during the brainstorming phase. We started discussing each member’s genres of interest, which led to what the artists and programmers were most comfortable making - 2D platformer was our final choice. From there the game designers finalized the game concept and narrative while the artist team worked to develop the visual style.
Each game designer was in charge of their own pair of levels while keeping to the core concept so that the story would flow. The artists created a moodboard for inspiration based on the concept, including color palettes and character options.
This was roughly the time where the artists decided they wanted to create the art because they were not satisfied with the free assets available. While the artists started creating concept art for the game, I found different font options for both the logo and dialogue text.
At this stage, a hand drawn blob style was chosen as the art style to be cohesive with the concept art and simple enough for the 7 day game jam. I wanted to focus on implementing the assets into Unity, so I left the art creation to the other artists and assisted the game designers with building their levels until the final art was created.
I gave feedback on the menu design and layouts as well as UI elements that were made to make sure everything was player focused, while communicating with the main programmer to keep the pipeline moving. One primary change that I suggested, due to the nature of itch.io in browser game play, is that 'ESC' will close the player out of full screen so we had to make the pause menu accessible by 'Tab' and add that keybind to our 'pause' icon since players would not know that by default.
Design & Development
As the art assets were being finalized, I worked to animate and create prefabs of individual buttons as well as build those prefabs into the title screen, pause menu, and settings menu. The main programmer taught me the basics of animating in Unity which led me to animating almost every art aspect used in the game so that they could work on the mechanics.
During the final day of polishing and play testing, I went through each element in every scene making sure each UI element was at the same (X,Y) location and alignment, because even though the UI elements were prefabs, the game designers for each level made changes to the instances on their own levels without communicating to me or the main programmer. In this process I learned about how our main programmer set up the scripts for the dialogue boxes as well as the prefabs that pulled scene related assets.
During this game jam my confidence in Unity grew dramatically and I found that I wanted to be a Technical UI Designer versus just a UX or UI designer. I truly love working with the Unity game engine and felt such joy when an animation worked or I was able to solve a problem or challenge, especially when we started to have a few merge conflicts!
I struggle with my confidence to draw, but I know my design eye is very strong, and I am so proud of myself for learning Unity along with visual scripting quickly. Being able to work very closely with a main programmer who was able to code and develop the entire project by themselves, I found myself learning so much!