Role: User Experience Designer
Time: 4 Months (2017)
Overdrive is a slot car game based in robotics. Each car knows where it is on the track and knows the location of enemy cars. The player can customize their weapons and power ups. The game has various modes, allowing for many different play styles. The player controls their car from the app.
I was not on the Overdrive project for very long before it was sunset and the team was moved to different projects at Anki. One of the tasks I took on was to analyze the experience as a newcomer. Did the experience make sense? How could it be improved? The Overdrive Team wasn’t interested in a complete re-haul of the app, but there were some small tweaks to be made that could smooth out the experience.
Small Adjustments Yield Big Improvements
In this example, I added a few small elements in order to make the page more clear.
• Added Platform: This kept the characters from feeling as if they were floating in space. It made it more clear who was selected and grabbed attention.
• Defined icons: The Bronze Chevron encompassed all these characters and was a level. By adding text, it became much more clear. Quests felt confusing as well. Was that the number I had completed or had left? Adding text removed any doubt.
• Regrouped Content: These characters are referred to elsewhere in the game for daily challenges and other events, so it was important to move their names outside the collapsible selection, so the player could pick the right opponent at a glance. The information on the previous iteration was also fairly scattered, so I grouped it. Players shouldn’t have to search around for information.
After these changes were approved by my Art Lead, I broke out my created assets and applied the changes in Unity.
AR Exploratory Work
While on the team, we had the opportunity to explore AR game modes. We tried various things, such as using AR Kit/AR Core, using tracker markers, and using and identifying cars based on silhouette and decals.
Game Exploratory Work
• Make an additive mobile game.
• Create engagement outside of the track for when players weren’t at home.
• It needed to have a Campaign, PvP, and create a system that fed into the on track play.
• People that owned Anki Overdrive.
• People that did not own Anki Overdrive, but might want to.
• How to support the pre-existing leveling system
• How to show this new content to the player
• How to keep the game bite sized
I explored an option that took advantage of the all the customizability that was
already in the game. It was an asynchronous play style, which allowed for quick game modes without needing real time matchmaking. I was responsible for rough wires, polished wires, prototyping, and game design.
The Virtual Game would exist off of the Main Screen. After entering the Virtual Play section, the user could either play the Campaign, PvP, or check out the Daily
Challenge. Following through, the user could continue onto the campaign and select the next track available.
In order to keep the players moving in an out quickly, there would be options to save Load Outs. The user could quickly update their Load Outs (drivers, cars, weapons, etc) in order to compete best against their opponents and the track conditions.
Quick Load Out
On the Track Screen, the player would be able to see their opponent stats, the
number of obstacles, and the track conditions at a glance. It allowed them to make a decision on what car, racer, etc. they wished to bring into battle.
I created a system where the player could have a few preset Load Outs. The goal was to streamline the player experience. I also offered a button that lead directly into the garage if the player wanted to create a new/custom Load Out.
These Load Outs would leverage the content that the player had already unlocked in their regular Overdrive game. Some content would be blocked if the player hadn’t unlocked it from Track play. This mobile game play would also allow players a chance to earn extra coins so they could purchase weapons from the main store. The game already had a robust item system, and I wanted to make it feel important in all aspects of the game.
In order to keep the meta from getting stale, I added in some track conditions. There would be a pool of track conditions that are randomly added to the track. Wind, ice, dirt, etc.
On top of that, the play would hit several QTEs while in the race. Depending on their Load Out, the track conditions, and how the other player handled the same condition would determine speed and their place in the race. In PvP, the opponents have the same track conditions and obstacles. Although they would play at different times, the player would play against a simulation of their opponents results, making it feel as if they were playing at same time.
Victory would offer up a reward for engagement. These coins, items, etc., would be applicable in the main game and incentivize people to return to Track Play when they could.
Project Take Aways
My exploratory work ended up not getting built, as the team decided to explore different avenues. However, the process was enjoyable. It felt like a viable option that would have added value to Overdrive. This allowed me to stretch my game design wings.
As for the whole of Overdrive, I only spent a short time on the team, but learned a lot. It was my first work project that dealt with hardware and software. It made me aware of attention splitting between device and track. Also how important haptic feedback and sound were to the success of a gamepad that existed on a smooth surface (phone/tablet screen).
There were parameters that I was first introduced to such as battery life, and hardware specifications that opened up whole new spaces for design thought and adaption.