Mechanics vs. UX: Culture Cards

9:30 AM Friday, August 19, 2016

There's a truly fascinating balancing act occurring right now between UX and game mechanics.

When I began designing Ark Rift, my primary concern was the game's story and mechanics. That's enough for the analog game we developed and still use, however, it's not enough for a seamless translation to a digital format.

Working with our creative director and UX designer, we are facing a myriad of new, exciting challenges including space availability and intuitive UI. Oh yes, "space availability," very exciting.

But it actually is. For example, Culture Cards are taking on a new identity to allow for visual logic, and ease of user experience. In order to increase visual appeal and understanding, we've cut some variables from culture cards.

Ancient Scales. Culture Card.

Culture cards in Ark Rift create turn over turn effects. They can be powerful structures, abilities, and items.

Working as neutral cards available to all characters, these culture cards inform both strategy and overall mood of  character. Once played, they are represented as an icon in one of the two structure card slots available.

These cards initially had 1 variable that was always present and a secondary variable that occurred sometimes, but often not at all.

Working through the visual design of Ark Rift, we can trim the fat to keep just what makes the most sense so we've cut the secondary variable completely to streamline the game. We have to build and rebuild the skeleton for rest of the structure. Fluff can always be added later.