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Designing on 'Egg!', Part 1

As game designers, we are often asked "what exactly do you do?". As a general process, "design" is used to describe a great number of things. It's not surprising that many people find themselves wondering what an automotive designer, an interior designer, or a game designer actually do! 

Some comically terrible "design sketches" from my notebook. They make absolutely no sense when removed from their context.

Some comically terrible "design sketches" from my notebook. They make absolutely no sense when removed from their context.

Even within games, or within one game studio, individual game designers may work on lots of different things or specialize in something more specific.

On Nix Hydra's 'Egg!' design team, we come up with our big ideas together, and then decide who will design the smaller parts to make those ideas work. For us, "designing" usually means planning and writing how new parts of the game will work. We also spend a lot of time adjusting existing parts of the game to be more fun, make more sense, or work better!

I recently moved to 'Egg!' from another project. A lot of my work so far has involved clarifying information for our 'Egg!' players and making more information available to them. We agreed that we wanted to remove a lot of the guesswork involved in raising an egg. We're working on quite a few ways to do this, but I wanted to give you all a little sneak peak at one of the solutions I'm most excited about: the information toggle.

The information toggle is our way of separating various information that can be viewed about each item in the game. By separating the information into panels and allowing a player to toggle between them, we're letting the player decide what item information is more relevant to their play style. This had the added benefit of giving us more room to work with, and allowed us to add in more useful information about each item.

This is the old item information panel. What is that blue beaker for, and why does it have 2 out of 4 hamburgers?

This is the old item information panel. What is that blue beaker for, and why does it have 2 out of 4 hamburgers?

Starting with some basic ideas, we knew we wanted to center everything within the panel. We also wanted to clarify what the different stats on each item were, and separate unrelated information. Most importantly, we wanted players to be able to view different items without closing the panel, and easily toggle between item stats and the fun descriptive text.

Another questionable "design sketch" - this one will make more sense in a moment!

Another questionable "design sketch" - this one will make more sense in a moment!

After agreeing on all the changes we wanted, I spent some time writing down the ideas in a design document and sharing it with Diane, our UI artist, and Hussein, our programmer, along with my fellow designers. They gave me lots of good ideas and feedback, and I was able to improve my design and create some more official-looking mock ups of the design.

A quick GIF of my mocks showing the new layout and how the toggle works. On one side, the player can view fun flavor text, on the other, important information about the item.

A quick GIF of my mocks showing the new layout and how the toggle works. On one side, the player can view fun flavor text, on the other, important information about the item.

After writing my design and creating the mocks above, there was more feedback from the team! We always make sure to follow a structured design process, in order to allow for this regular feedback and time to make changes. After updating my design once more, Diane was able to create some (much more official) mock ups!
 

A quick GIF showing what the final item layout will look like!

A quick GIF showing what the final item layout will look like!

This feature won't be in 'Egg!' yet, but you can expect to see it sometime soon! Working through the different iterations and design challenges was lots of fun, and the team really helped me improve the design with their great feedback.

Hopefully this helps to explain a little bit of what a designer does, and what the process looks like. Keep an eye out for more posts from me and my fellow designers to learn more about what goes on on the 'Egg!' design team!

- Brendan