Ever wondered how a game like Arkheim - Realms at War is made? What is the journey of an idea before it makes it to the game? How are bugs being fixed? Who creates the beautiful images? How do we keep players entertained? And - who are the human beings behind this project? The Arkheim - Realms at War Team invites you to take a peek behind the scenes. Today we want you to meet UX Designer Jakob!
1. Hi Jakob. First of all, tell us something about yourself. What is your background and how did you end up in the Arkheim Team?
Originally I started out as a hobbyist in the modding scene, doing 3d and UI design. My first job in the industry was working as an allrounder with a focus on UI Design and frontend development. When Travian Games started building a User Experience department I switched there, since I always enjoyed using analytical approaches to problem solving.
I have been on the team even before Arkheim existed and we were still prototyping several game ideas.
2. How would you describe your role in the Arkheim Team?
I work closely together with our Game Designer and the Game Director.
During the conceptualization of new features, I try to reduce the complexity of rules without affecting the overall design goal, in order to make the feature easier to understand and implement. After the game design concept is finished, I usually start with a lot of sketches, trying to understand how exactly a feature works and how it is connected to other parts of the game. Then I use Sketch and Unity to build the basic structure (foundation) of the interface elements. I always try to include as much feedback from the players as possible and often this step includes experimenting with different versions and reworking existing features until we are satisfied with the results. Once this is done I hand over the feature to our UI Designer and Developer for the final implementation.
3. Can you give an example of a good and a bad UX design?
- If a feature can be easily found, is accessible to all players and is intuitive and fun to use it is well designed.
- If a feature is hard to find, confusing or overly complicated and tiresome to use, those are signs of a bad design.
But making a good design is not as easy as it might sound. Good UX design is a team effort that requires everyone to work together. It takes a long time and often many iterations, so you also have to consider the effort vs impact of a feature.
In the end I think you cannot really judge a design without knowing its constraints but a good designer will make the best out of any given situation.
4. What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
Having a game with complex mechanics, and communicating these in a clear, consistent and simple manner.
5. What's your personal top 3 all-time favorite games?
- Ostriv (It is still in development but give it a try if you enjoy city builder 😊)
6. And lastly, do you have a message for our readers out there?
Continue to give us feedback! Even if we cannot implement everything, it is always valuable information that helps us improve the game.
Do you have any more question for Jakob? Let us know in the comments below!