Position – Design Lead     Categories – Mobile, IOS, Sketch     Timeline – 8 Weeks

This is a concept mobile character creator using Dungeons and Dragon‘s 5th edition book to allow players to quickly develop a character and manage them with the same quality of detail found in the book itself. The game (DND) for those who do not know is a table-top role-playing game that has been around for almost 40 years focusing on narrative storytelling and dice rolling.

Explore the Project Deck.

Project Goals

How can a mobile app encourage gameplay of Dungeons and Dragons, a primarily paper and pencil experience, among both current and interested players? How can this technology leverage pain points in the current system to get more players into the storytelling faster?  From these key questions 4 challenges come to mind:

  • Discoverability: Allow new users to easily uncover gameplay mechanics and systems of D&D dietetically providing tips when needed.
  • Onboarding: Guide players through character development in step by step process to avoid overwhelming users new to the game
  • Accessibility: Develop a user flow that encourages storytelling and improvisational acting during gameplay, limiting math and statistics.
  • Feedback Loop: Design a loop which promotes growth as gameplay continues for months, if not years over time allowing players to become fleshed out.

Example of Current Game Character Sheet

 “It’s not about math but making stories”

Persona Development

Making sure this system is built specifically for player needs, as picky as we are. I developed three personas for each primary user. This set of users matches each of the skill levels usually found among players of the game. This first being a newcomer brought in by friends and family, then more advanced players. Lastly, the Dungeon Master or DM who controls the player’s environment and acts as the “storyteller” of the adventure.

Experience User Flow

For the DND application, I decided on focusing on the character building experience found when you first play the game found in the following flow. The loop identifies the in-game play time.

The experience starts with players meet time in-person, commonly at a friend’s house or local game store on the weekends.
Local Bluetooth forms a group identifier that players connect to allowing players to chat and interact with each other whenever interested.
A Step-by-Step Guide helps players start picking race, class, background, and inventory. Each step builds and curates detail w/ information from the last step.
Digital character sheets are automatically generated from information with statistics and modifiers automatically calculated to simplify player management.
As game continues, players collect new equipment, grow in strength, and generate character journals all stored and shaired in app among the group.

Competitive Analysis

Looking at current applications and paper systems in use by game players it is clear that there is room for improvement. During this process, a couple things were made clear to fix and build on. The first being the visual styles are all wildly unappealing to a large audience either focusing on hyper-fantasy which is not good for new players or a very simple “developer” style while functional, has little appeal beyond that and not very usable.

Paper Prototype User Testing

Reviewing the early Paper Prototype with gamers, designers, and friends both in and out of the school the reactions were very positive. many people liked the improved character creator with the primary changes asked were increasing the personalization as well as making the UI simple, and consistent with all actions.

Digital Prototype

With the user testing in mind, I moved to the final UI and Prototyping made in Sketch and Marvel respectfully. In the design process, I made sure to simplify the UI as much as possible using a diegetic information display fully to make sure the character creator has both the usability that new players demand but the same complexity the game system itself requires and many players crave for.

Below you can find the current the current prototype form with code development in-process. If you wish to perform a video user test, use the following link https://marvelapp.com/ux/131846j

Application Success Metrics

Testing the prototype with people both new to the game and those who are more experienced with the system, I found that this greatly improved the initial onboarding time with little confusion. Previous onboarding times were between 2-3 hours depending on previous playing experience. With the Grimoire, time was cut down to 30-45 minutes, a 600% improvement

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This case study is over, but I’ve prepared a few more so let’s keep going.