Party Crashers


Party Crashers

This was a project I was on for Fuse in my sophomore year. Party Crashers is a VR, on-rails, beat-em-up game where the player is a kid defending their birthday from an onslaught of piñata animals who have come to ruin it. The player has two objects - a roll of wrapping paper for a bat and a present for a shield - and would use these to defeat the piñatas. The player would use the bat to whack approaching hyena piñatas and the shield to block and reflect the shots from party hat birds.

My Role

For this project, I was given the role of head UI designer, with my task being to create the design for the score display, the pause menu, the settings menu, and the tutorial instructions.

Project Timeline

One thing that made designing for a VR medium for the first time challenging was that, unlike traditional 2D interfaces, the user is inside the game itself. Whereas other kinds of games are played on a screen, the entire point of VR is that there is ‘no screen’ per se from the players' perspective. I focused on diegetic UI for items like the tutorial paper and the score system, being attached to an actual object in the game that the player could interact with, whereas the pause and settings menus would be more standard and would appear when called upon by a button.

Once I decided how the menus and settings would function in game, it was time to design the mockups. I whiteboarded design sketches, drawing concepts of the various menus and their layouts, noting the colors, functions, graphics, transitions, etc.

Once I had the designs approved by my team lead, I designed the mockups in Adobe Illustrator while searching for aesthetics like proper colors, fonts, etc. We wanted the overall style of the UI to fit the party theme, so I focused on light and vibrant colors with wacky and fun fonts, while making sure that all the information was easily readable.

The designs went through many iterations, altering things like spacing, coloration, sizes, transparency, outlines, etc. until I was able to land on a design my team was happy with and served all the functions necessary for any type of player. 

First design for the settings menu (left hand is selected)
Final design for the settings menu (left hand is selected)

During playtesting, our testers often noted that they didn't understand how to play the game or how to even start, saying that they never even noticed the instructions we placed on the back of the shield.

With the limited time remaining to finalize the game, the simplest solution would be to have the game itself tell them to look there. We created a note held in the mouth of a hyena that simply said, "look at your shield." After this slight adjustment, our play testers saw the note easily! 

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