UI/UX app design

ABSOLUTION

I have been an avid gamer for basically my entire life. I’ve played text adventures, roleplaying games, first-person shooters, point & click adventures, almost anything I could get my hands on. Through those years of gaming, I dreamed about being a game designer, and that dream got me into 3D environment art which eventually morphed into graphic design and now UX design. (you can read more on that here).

During my third year at university, we had a project to create a short 3D video game within Unity. Our concept brought us to “Absolution” a Science Fiction survival and exploration game inspired by horror adventures like SOMA, Amnesia, Alien: Isolation and Penumbra.

We were focused on having a created demo that would be familiar to fans of this genre, and it turned out to be a fun project. (You can check out the trailer here)

Almost a year later, when I began working on my first UX and app design projects, I was completely lost for what to design first. I wanted to try out so much, yet nothing felt like the right first project. That’s when I got the idea to create a spin-off mobile game of Absolution.

This posed a certain challenge: how do you make a mobile survival horror game without resorting to a 3D “Amnesia” style game that we already worked on? It had to be different and offer a new experience in exploration and survival. A connected experience to create a feeling of not just playing a game but being a part of it. This is how Absolution was born.

THE
CHALLENGE

TEXT
ADVENTURE

Absolution places players on a derelict space station as they awaken from deep cryostasis. No one knows why they’re here or what’s going on. What they do know is that someone or something else is here.

First and foremost the game would be a modern text adventure, but instead of using classical mechanics by typing in each action, the player would be able to click on highlighted words within each text block, which would then open additional pop-up screens for further examination.

Along with that, they would also have specific scenarios that utilized additional mobile functions, like geolocations and voice prompts, but more on that later.

"Main Screen"
"Item interaction"

APP STRUCTURE

Absolution consists of 4 major screens that can be accessed at any point during playtime: Home, Navigation, Network, User.

The home screen would always display detailed descriptions and story elements to aid our players in their progression. While this portion would present the bulk of playtime for the users, it doesn’t have a drastic dominance over the other sections.

By keeping the app always online, there would be the possibility of interacting with other players exploring the same derelict space station.

NAVIGATION

Throughout the exploration process, it was paramount that players had the ability to always track their progress and learn where dangerous enemies and beneficial items were located.

An important aspect of the game in its interaction was an always-connected network that allowed friends to communicate in-game and give each other information about locations.

Through the messaging feature, players would be able to share information. Sending directions to help or deceive your friends. 

"Map"
"Map Legend"
"Your Network"
"Search"

NETWORK

An important portion of the game is the Network. Here players are able to search for new connections and keep track of their current friends.

Keeping track of each other, this was an important idea for the game because it’s competitive and cooperative at the same time. Everyone is racing to find out what happened and get away from the monsters inhabiting the space station.

Players would constantly be able to check up on everyone and see where they were and what they were doing, but also, interact with them. When someone is being tracked by a monster, others can set off alarms in the area to either lure the monster away or lead it to the player.  You won’t be able to finish the game by yourself easily, but others won’t be always helpful.

USER PROFILE

This is the hub for all of the players’ statistics and information. They will use this screen to always check on their progression and achievements, but most importantly, view when their next movement will be available. Absolution would function on a timed play module so as to allow players to have time to examine new rooms and items and connect with their network to see what they have learned and want to share.

Along with that, each user will have two Activity trackers. These track how long they have been playing the game and how long their current character has been alive.

When a character is attacked by an enemy or led into a trap they will almost certainly die. In that event, players will begin the game all over again as a new character awakening from cryostasis, but they will still retain all statistics and information received from previous characters.

"User Profile"

WRAP-UP

This app is still a work in progress project so there will be changes coming to this case study in the future, but at this point, I wanted to share my current process and thoughts on the design while I’m still learning new tricks in the UX world.

Working on this game I’ve learned a lot about app design, UI/UX and game design. I think if I started this project last year there would be much less research and preparation before the actual design process. Therefore, I can confidently say I’ve come a long way and have no intention of slowing down my progression.

If you enjoyed this case study be sure to check out my other work as well, or if you are interested in seeing more of my UI/UX work, visit my Dribbble profile.