Disaster Golf is a fast-paced golf game developed by the senior class of game design students at Bradley University. Players would use natural disasters such as meteors and lightning to move the ball across the map and into the hole at their fastest speeds.
Development spanned over the course of a year, with the game including 17 levels and 7 disasters. Find it available for free on itch.io!
The project started with an initial level and prototype developed by a previous class. Our objective was to take this prototype and rebuild it from the ground up into a fully fledged game. With the changing needs and objectives of this project, we focused on agile development and flexible team compositions to make the game the best it could be.
We presented our game to Rockstar New England on two occasions during development to incorporate professional feedback. Once the game was complete, it was showcased at the annual FUSE event at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, where thousands of people from the Peoria community see what the Interactive Media department students of Bradley University have worked on.
On the Disaster Golf team of 30 individuals, I acted as the UX/UI team lead. I personally designed several wireframes and screens, but most of my role involved collaborating with my team members on making the UI of Disaster Golf the best it could be. This included pulling references, making wireframes and final versions of screens, making icons, long discussions on optimal placement of elements and how to achieve certain goals with our programmers, improving the tutorial sections of the game, and optimizing user flow.
I specifically took part in team lead meetings to help manage the direction of the project, which included taking part in lead presentations, where the leads would cover progress made and any changes in direction to development to the entire dev team. As the UX/UI team lead, I was largely focused on managing the workload of my own team, by having weekly standups and utilizing Jira to keep track of their tasks. I helped determine and prioritize the tasks they took as well as their deadlines. I also assisted them in their tasks with feedback, especially from a UX perspective.
As the UX specialist on the overall team, I also personally created two user tests every week to get feedback on our game as it developed, and proctored playtests when they occurred.
Starting this project, there was no clear direction to go, as the rest of the game hadn’t taken shape yet. What systems the game required and what art direction would be best were still up in the air. We initially started with a blank but functional style, but once the game had more of an identity, the team swapped over to the wood planks and signs that are seen in the final product.
This particular style was chosen in part due to brown being a color that would not clash too heavily with a myriad of environments. The game had bright green, saturated reds, and bright blue backgrounds, and we needed a UI that would not blend into any of those colors. We also noted that with all of our outdoor environments, signs would be fitting, especially considering we used a signpost as the checkpoint marker in-game.
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