Another Death

A zombie geolocalized mobile game

RoleProduct Designer
Duration 2 years

Introduction

For our Sup'Internet end-of-studies project, we had to make a innovative web project with a team composed of students from the 3 different bachelors of the school (design, development and marketing). We chose to make a geolocalized mobile video game on the theme of zombies. We wanted a game with a clear and simple principle. The player plays a human or a zombie. Our game cut into monthly season during which both factions (zombies and humans) had to achieve their goal. As a human, the user had to survive to collect a certain number of ressources and as a zombie, the user had to prevent the humans to fulfill their goal by contamining them to make them zombies too.

In a 12 person group, I was in charge of the visual identity, the website and application UX and the realisation of different page of the application.

[NB: all this game development and work happens BEFORE the release of pokemon Go]

Goals

Design a game

It was the first time we designed a game, so we needed to understand all the particularities that come from this media

Understanding the market

It was really important to analyze and understand the current market to propose a real, unique and innovant game that can find its audience.

Research

Understanding the different categories and analyze competitors

01. Geolocalized application market research

Before starting the game design and the application development, we studied the geolocalized application market to know first if our game had a place in the market but also to better understand which audience could be the one of geolocalized mobile game.

From this research, we came to three conclusions.

A simple Gameplay

We wanted to make our game around geolocalization and augmented reality. But at this time, those aspects were already complex by themselves for a lot of people. So we didn't want to lose our users with barbarian and technical terms. We needed to offer to the user some elements that he can easily understand and be linked to. In our case, it was a simple and readable interface and an easy to access gameplay.

Constraints

The mobile games are subject to contraints and we had to take them in board during the game design conception and our game development. We noticed three main constraints :

Game time - The users play mostly on multiple short sessions because it's a nomad activity and because of the phone autonomy.

Player's focus - It directly depends of the player environment and his game time.

Connectivity - The access to a 3G nerwork is a crucial element for online game on smartphone, even more in the case of a geolocalized game.

A special support

A game on a mobile phone don't have to be approach as a game on traditional game console. It's a special support with its own possibilities. The gamers like to play in their living room for two hours straight, urban games can't replace that because they aren't that immersive. But they have their own potential.

02. Mapping

Next, we analyze and put our strongest competitors in the geolocalized mobile game area thanks to a mapping.

03. Benchmark

Then we made a benchmark of our main competitors focusing on 3 specific points : the game design, the features and the monetizarion.

04. Lessons

A paradoxal target

Our core target are between 15 and 26 years-old, they live in big cities and play a lot on their phone but they don't necessarily trust geolocalization.Even if our users play in big city which have great connectivity, they also play in subway where the connectivity can be really bad. This paradox can become our force if we could transform the subway as a gameplay mecanic that can really distinguish ourself from our competitors, even if it's a passive mecanic.

A risky monetization

Our best competitors and model succesed to push innovation forward to fund themselves thanks to brands. The advertising and the "pay to win" are denigrated. Our main conversion step being on the stores, we couldn't allow us to have bad regular comments. So we needed to develop an interesting system as well for the brands as for the player to fund our project.

A secret gameplay

Geolocalization and augmented reality are innovations. Combine innovations with a heavy gameplay would be too indegistable for our users. But offering them a light content would be an error too. So we needed to offer them a content that speaks to them and the they like but with great underlying mecanics. Be capable of offering a content with a dual reading that important was a key to our success.

Game Design

Elaborate a complex but easily understandable gameplay

After this first research stage and thanks to its lessons, our group could think about the universe that we wanted for our game and define its mecanics. So we thought about conditions for victory, the controls that our users could have and also a way to monetize our game without making it a "pay to win" game. Once all these elements were defined, I could start working on the UX.

Story case and user flow

When our game design began to be more precise, we could make some user stories to better understand our users and thus elaborate a better experience. After that, I established an organized hierarchy and worked on the steps our users would be taking because it was essential to designing our final solution.

Visuals

Moodboard and visual identity

01. Moodboard

For our game visual identity, we took two different ways of inspiration. A first one was for our ingame illustration. We searched inspiration aroud zombies, post-apocalyptic world all in a mood between catoon and realism. Our second inspiration mainly concerned the UI of our website and application. We found some ideas in the futuristic interface that we could see in sci-fy movies in particularly.

02. Visual identity

We used this style guide, not only for our application but also for our documents, our social media, our websites etc...

Base

Working on wireframes

With wireframes, I could organize and structure our content to create an interface that solved the gamers's needs.

Solutions

Final designs and features

For the application, every important informations (contamination rate, ressources collected, map...) had to be easily accessible. So I centered the navigation around 5 main elements : the home page, the profile, the map, the quests and the class actions.

Everything at one look

The home page was really important. It regroups every important informations about the current season.

Profile page

From the profile page, the user can access to its inventory but also its ranking where he can see his position compared to others. It's a way to encourage him to become number one.

Quests

To gain more ressources that are one of the condition for victory of our game, we offer quests to the players. Some of them are specific to precise classes.

Class actions

It's possible for our players to unlock classes if they pay for them. These classes allow to unlock new actions that changed the gameplay. This experience doesn't make the game easier because we didn't want a pay to win game, but those classes offer a more interesting gameplay.

Constant pressure

Our game is based on month season. At the end of a season, one of the two factions is declared the winner, the best players are rewarded thanks to our ranking for example and a new season can begin. Those seasons iare a key element of our game and everything comes from it, so the countdown until the end of the current season have to be visible everywhere. Moreover it gives a little pressure to the player, that helps the apocalyptic mood of a zombie game.

Conclusion

Another Death is a really important and dear project to me. First of all, it was the first time I had the opportunity to work on a game and I learnt a lot. Especially because it was a mobile game, I learnt a lot about the constaints of this kind of game. Moreover, this school project was made with a big group of people and I was for more than a year the manager of the design team. It was the first time I managed for a long time a group of people and it was an interesting and enriching experience.

At the end, this project never officialy came out and been left as a school project. However, when we did our last project presentation in our shcool, the video game pokemon go just came out. And now that we saw the success of this game, also based on geolocalization and augmented reality, we say to ourselves that we were on the right track ;)

Thanks for reading ! ✌

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