Today’s multibillion-dollar video game business has over three billion players. More game companies are incorporating UX experts into the development process as the industry grows and games become more sophisticated as a result of advances in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality technology.
From streamlining game onboarding to ensuring UI flows and game mechanics are logical, the game UX designer is critical in creating player-centric experiences.
A typical path into the gaming business for UX designers begins with a foundation in industrial design. Job candidates with an undergraduate or graduate degree in a design field, especially UX design, are also preferred by gaming developers. However, you may be able to move from UI graphics to UX design. Whatever route you choose, you will need a portfolio of work that showcases your designs and process.Whether you work for a small, medium, or large game developer, your role as a UX designer will be heavily influenced by the gaming platform: console, mobile, or PC.
AAA games, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty, are typically played on PCs or consoles, which offer more complicated gameplay and require more powerful 3D graphics than mobile games. As a result, AAA games can take hundreds of people and years to develop.
Character design, UI design and flow, and game mechanics are all responsibilities of game UX designers for PC and console games. To fully utilise the capabilities of these powerful platforms, PC and console game designers collaborate with a variety of stakeholders, ranging from audio producers to level designers.
An interesting character can enhance the immersive quality, progression, and emotional connection of a game. UX designers create character setup screens where players can choose their avatar’s physical characteristics, such as skin tone, hair and eye color, body shape, age, and wardrobe, to ensure that players can identify with their characters.UX designers also assist users in navigating game UI components like the heads-up display. (HUD).
Players can stay informed of key UI information such as maps and player health without losing focus on gameplay by using the HUD, a transparent display positioned at eye level. HUDs in games with reward systems, such as Zwift, a virtual running and cycling training game, also show user experience points. Another UI aspect you could focus on is the hit zone, which is the area on a game character that can inflict damage or other effects.UX designers may also work on AAA game mechanics, such as the interaction mechanism between the player and the game.
To do so, you should be acquainted with crafting systems, which provide resources for players to create virtual objects such as blocks in Minecraft or cities in SimCity. When crafting is effectively incorporated into games it gives players a sense of control and autonomy, as well as the ability to strategize and customise.
In the racing game Need for Speed, for example, some players will spend the majority of their time customising their vehicle in order to sell it online; playing the game is secondary for them. UX designers collaborate with the game design team to create a crafting system, beginning with wireframes and flows.
UX teams in mobile game design are typically smaller and work directly with developers and game designers. These games typically have shorter timelines than AAA titles, ranging from three to six months. While console UX design is mostly focused on menus and flows outside of gameplay, mobile UX design is focused on the interface itself, so you’ll have a more hands-on role in making the game.
Mobile UX designers, for example, ensure that player gestures like swiping up and down are intuitive and that the information displayed during gameplay is adequate while not taking up too much screen space. You could also create the delightful moments that appear throughout the game, such as the confetti shower or treasure chest that appears when a player completes a stage. In-game purchases are also available in mobile games, and UX designers build the interactions that encourage players to buy more lives or weapons.
The AR and VR gaming markets are exploding, with VR gaming anticipated to exceed $53 billion by 2028. UX designers in this field decide how players should engage with virtual game components such as character skins, weapons, and supplies, as well as where they should be placed in the 3D environment.
To capitalise on the chance presented by this market, UX designers must be comfortable creating these 3D experiences, which differ significantly from traditional 2D gaming. Because players can control AR and VR games with a head shake, hand motion, or speech command, you should know how to build for numerous inputs. Ergonomics are also important; because virtual games frequently use body motion, UX designers should choose movements that do not create motion sickness.
You may also be involved in deciding the haptic feedback of a game. When a player’s headset or controller vibrates, it gives the player an immediate physical signal that something has occurred, such as a gun being fired in a shooting game. Above all, designers working on AR and VR games should concentrate on providing players with as much feedback on core gameplay actions as feasible.
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