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Global Steel

UX Design for an Indie Game

Being developed by Macondo Games, Global Steel is an upcoming 2D Run-n-Gun game inspired by Saturday morning cartoons from the 80's.

I have been working on the game's UX, through sketches, wireframing and prototyping.


The Aesthetic

We were pretty clear about one thing - the game is retro. It shouts "80's" and reminds of you of Saturday morning cartoons you probably watched growing up.

The game would feel like an episode you play, not a classic video-game. That was an important message that was needed to be conveyed through the design.

Upgrades Menu

I started with the Upgrades menu. This is where players can customize their loadouts - choose perks they unlock as they progress through different levels. What started as Interface Design quickly turned into further UX iterations and wireframes.

(flow and interaction wireframing)

The initial goal was to have all the perks (enhancements) that covered the character's Armor (Ultimate Ability), Health and Weapon qualities. This needed to be customized on a single screen with selectable Tabs and sliders on a single screen.

(sliders that let you switch between perks/loadouts)

Heads-Up Display

I was also working on what the HUD (Heads Up Display) in the game would look like.

Things to consider:

- Being a game based on cartoons from the 80's, the design should reflect the art style. 

- Even if things in the game look like something from a cartoon, key game elements like buttons, triggers, signifiers should be visibly present to convey the right information at the right time. 

- Things like computer monitors and display areas should not only convey the right information but also stick to the art style.  

In-Game Overlay

(Iterations for the Pause Menu, Dialogue Boxes and Endgame Stats)

Iterating on the font-types, information placement and spacing. This appears at the end of the mission where the player sees their stats.

When the game is paused, players can see advertisements of brands that exist in the game's universe. Subtle hints at lore too. Along with that, gameplay previews and tips that generate occasionally.

Switching Between Menus

Prototype of sketches (Mouse control)

Moving forward, the most crucial aspect of the player's experience would start at the beginning - when players boots up the game and find themselves in the seat of a 'commander' that takes control of the Base where they can view selectable characters, mission overview and progress.
It was decided by the team (developers and artists) that the game would support both Controller and Keyboard+Mouse layouts. Hence, it was important for me to consider how and where I was going to locate information like, "Press 'this button' to do 'that'."

The idea was to create a 'bot' or a monitor that hangs from the ceiling of the Base. This would showcase a small version of the room the player was in. Consider it like Tabs on browser. Instead, this one highlights where each room is location and how you can access it. The rooms being; Character Selection (also where the Upgrades Screen is), World Map and Stats page.

Final Look at the Base

Being a work-in-progress, the developers are implementing these ideas into the game as the days pass. I've had the opportunity to update the game's social media - where you can view updates and catch up on what's happening. 

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