BarkHeader.png
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Role on Project

UX/UI Designer & Producer

Engine Used

Unity

Development Time

September 2019 - April 2020

Team Size

8 People

Play Bark N' Time

(Email kylewood@thewoodsworks.com for Access)

Whiteboxing & 3D Menus

From the early onset of the project, I knew I wanted to go for 3D styling. Our vision statement was "A 3D game with a whimsical, lighthearted tone where you play as a dog who must do indirect actions in order to progress". As such, I wanted to create a playful menu that felt like you were seeing it from a dog's point of view, filled with objects a dog might interact with. And thankfully with a large, multidisciplinary team, I could make that my primary focus.
 

I started this process where all great menus start: Whiteboxing. Working with Canvases in 3D posed some challenges, but thanks to my experiences in previous projects I was able to manage quite well. I used basic Unity shapes and buttons, refining the navigation and framing of the space to what I desired. After playtesting came back positively, I moved forward to refining my models in Maya.

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Moving to Maya

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The modeling process went smoothly, referencing images of real-world objects to ensure I was getting an accurate shape for various projects the filled the scene. I took care in grouping and combining models so that they could be given materials accordingly when returning to Unity.

 

There was an interesting new technique I used in this menu's creation. Using a tool within Maya, I was able to convert bits of Font directly to 3D models, allowing me to integrate our game's font into the menus without over-scoping my amount of work. Using Maya's "Difference/Combine Boolean", I was able to 'punch' the shape of my lettering out of my completed models. This allowed the lettering to physically recess into the button, creating a very dynamic 'on press' visual. While this addition was ultimately not used in the final game due to time constraints, I'm very proud of how the effect turned out.

A Lesson On Scalability

As I was working in Maya, I realized an issue with one of my Menus. I realized that the credits screen was already quite inefficient and complicated, and would only get more so with all it required. In a previous project, I had added an extended credits screen near the end to solve this problem, but I was quite unhappy with it. Not wanting to repeat that bad practice, I did some competitive research on scalable menus, trying to find something that would fit this game.

I found my solution in the newspaper-style credits. This style was very simplistic on the model front, only needing one model that would be duplicated as many times as necessary. 

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Return to Unity & Feedback

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With my model work completed and the deadline fast approaching, it was time to head back into Unity for implementation. Implementing the menus went without any major issues due to my prior diligence. With that work finished and the deadline approaching, I worked to polish up our various other bits of feedback to the same level.

2D elements worked for these, so long as they still existed in the 3D space. Several of these, such as the interest icon was actually made of three sprites for the sake of layering. One to serve as the backing, one for defining the border, and a sliced fill sprite in between to drain over time.

Regrettably, due to time constraints, several objects weren't able to be added to the world space, such as the timer or objectives list. Despite this, I focused on the vision statement to tie them into the identity of the game, and I am happy with how they turned out.