Gravitas

-Work in Progress: Gameplay-
Technical Designer Writer Voice Actor || FPS Puzzle-Platformer ||  Unreal 4.8 || 13 developers || 5 months

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USER INTERFACE DESIGN

All of the UI/UX work I did on Gravitas was to the Main Menu and Ending Credits sequence.

 

Updating the Main Menu

Since I had created the menus and done significant UI work on the previous 2 Guildhall game projects, my team members asked me to polish the main menu of Gravitas.

 

I created a new level dedicated to the opening menu, placed cameras all around it (one for each menu section), added some blended transitions between them, created a special 'start game' sequence where the camera would fly through a door into black, and cleaned up the layout of the menu Widgets. I also added animation, screen fades during transitions, and repositioned the menu elements to flow better with the background environment.

Each Main Menu section had a special background in the lobby area:

The initial menu after the splash screens looked out over the overall lobby, with the centerpiece sculpture rotating in right side of the menu. If the player selects "Start Game", they transition to the main door, must enter a name for their save profile, and fly through the doors as they open into black to begin the experience. Since this is the first thing every player ever sees within Gravitas, I wanted it to be a well-composed shot that introduced players to the beauty and cube-focused aesthetic of our game world.

The Options Menu blended over to a camera looking down at a bench covered in the special literature created for the game. One book in particular, an appropriate textbook titled "How Does Cubes Work?", is centered below the menu windows. 

The Level Select Menu camera zooms in on a small LCD screen at the base of the centerpiece. This screen presents the player with a list of the save files found in memory, and upon selection opens a scrolling list of every level with assossiated titles and pictures. This setup turned the Level Select Menu into a sort of directory for the Gallery, and set up a nice camera transition through the main doors when the player selects their desired level.

Overall, I was very pleased with the Main Menu's final version.

 

Animating the Credits

While I was updating the Main Menu, I was also tasked with polishing the ending credits. The credits were originally a static list that would scroll using a manual transition function and a small cube that fell into a corner at the beginning the sequence. The ending credits were also triggered by the player passing through a massive trigger placed along the player's general ending path. This made the timing very rough and difficult to update. The ending credits, like the Main Menu, had been functionally finished for weeks but never received a final aesthetics pass.

The first thing I did was update the timing of the actual credits Widget in the final gameplay sequence. Rather than trying to place a trigger in space to hit at the right moment, I hooked it up directly to the final chain of Robot Behavior logic, showing the phrase "The End" in good rhythm with The Curator's final narration.

Next, I updated all of the movement to use Widget animation, and split the credits into several different text boxes to have them scroll at different speeds. This created a slight sense of depth between the text boxes and worked well with the different sizes and movements of each credits section.

Last, I updated the falling cube to move more naturally, falling into the recepticle with weight and rotating thoughout the sequence as if powering a system of gears that kept the credits scrolling up. The final effect looked good, and felt far smoother and polished than before the changes.

The Ending Credits ended up becoming a satisfying final sequence for Gravitas.