One of the things I ask – or hope I ask – most frequently when working with other designers is “what’s the intent with this feature?”
As a UX designer, I need to know. I’m not trying to be annoying or troublesome. I just need to know that you as a feature designer is aware of why you’re creating a specific feature. Because if you don’t know, I’m going to have a hard time explaining it to a player.
In general there are several questions you should consider asking and answering when designing a feature for a game. The first set of questions are in relation to the micro-aspects of the game, the second to second and minute to minute gameplay loops.
The second set of questions are in relation to hour to hour or even larger gameplay systems that the loops tie into.
From a feature perspective, you probably would start with the smaller loops. If you’re a systems or progression designer, the larger loops might be your jam.
As a UX designer, I look at the overall goal of the game. I look at all of those separate features from a holistic perspective. How are they stacking up? How do they tie into each other? What aspects of one feature will affect aspects of another?
And, because everyone loves when I ask questions around a feature, that’s what I do. I ask questions.
I wish I could give you a ready set of questions to ask in order to draw out the meat of a feature and to understand how it works and what the intent is, but honestly, it is a very contextual set of questions to ask.
You have to start with the game as a whole and understand your audience in order to be able to focus on the right questions.
Once the larger questions such as “how would this feature look in a game for competitive casual players?” (For instance) are answered, you can start in on the smaller stuff.
In my experience, that’s what you need to ask the right questions – experience. I know that’s not very helpful, but maybe this might be:
- What is the intent with the feature?
- What is the purpose?
- How do we present it to the player?
- Are some aspects more important? Which aspects?
- Are there performance considerations?
- Are there back end considerations? Online aspects?
- When I walk away from this game, how should this feature have made me feel?
- How do I master this feature?
- How is it onboarded?
- What does the player journey look like?