UI/UX, Lead UI Artist
"Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge is an action-adventure virtual reality experience from ILMxLAB that lets you travel across the galaxy to the planet of Batuu and live out your own unforgettable story."
As the UI Lead, I was responsible for end-to-end design for all in-game UI features. Menus, typography, icons, AR-in-VR hud elements, custom UI shaders, tutorials, localization, settings, motion graphics. I also maintained technical documentation for all mission content, challenges, inventory, journal, and worked with game designers to untangle the spaghetti of nonlinear story progression. Shipped in Unreal Engine.
I was the first UI/UX designer ever hired at ILM. I shipped all the UI for the first launch in November 2020 in just 5 months, working mostly with the art director, game director, and engineering leads. For our follow-up release 10 months later, I maintained and improved core features and also expanded on augmenting storytelling with more in-world UI.
I built an in-world spatial UI system using a collection of shaders with different parameters. The primary goal was to keep it minimal and avoid too many elements visible at a time. Being selective with these parameters allowed me to create differentiation between game mechanics.
The number of inventory items increased in the second release. Working closely with the gameplay engineer, we designed this expandable inventory that balanced the need for quick access with the need to hold many quest items.
We gave priority to weapons in the 'mini' slots. Later we also added an 'organize' mode to make those actions more efficient. I also gathered feedback about desired improvements, and worked with our gameplay engineering lead to ship the shoulder holsters feature, allowing an item to be stored on the player's back.
The inventory pouch was one of the most complicated UI mechanics. The fun idea of turning a conventionally 2D UI element into a 3D object doesn't scale well. Diagetic elements have to follow laws of reality and industrial design, thus inheriting all the problems of real-life objects. If we had more inventory items in a future release, we would have moved most of the feature to the 2D Pause Menu.
An important game element to guide the player to the objective, this feature proved extra problematic as a diagetic VR element.
I also improved usability and ergonomics on the 3D gauntlet design, working with our gameplay engineering lead and art director.
I made the settings easily accessible from both the main menu and the pause menu.
Many settings have states dependent on other setting states, so keeping the design files well-documented saved a lot of engineering headache.
We shipped some highly requested settings in a patch after launch to appease experience VR players who expect much more detailed control over their play experience.