Nine Parchments

Nine Parchments is a co-operative blast ’em up game of magical mayhem where runaway apprentice wizards seize the opportunity to complete their spellbooks by going after the lost Nine Parchments. It combines real-time spell-shooting action with RPG elements. Players get to level up their character and collect magical loot, filling their wardrobe with a myriad of wizard hats and powerful staves. The game is available on PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch in 8 languages.

UI / Interaction design

Keywords: UI design, interaction design, information architecture, accessibility

I joined the project mere months before the launch. The menus and chat were designed with only PC in mind, though the game was to be released on PlayStation 4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch as well.

I ensured the menus could be navigated using only a mouse, keyboard, or controller. I also made certain the text in the game would fit nicely in the space provided in the UI and be read comfortably by most players, whether they played on PC with the screen close to their faces, on a console with the image on a TV a good distance away from them, or on a small screen in Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode.

To do this, I took the UI designs made by the UI artist and meticulously simulated navigating through them with a mouse, a keyboard, a mouse and a keyboard, and different kinds of controllers. When any issues in navigation arose, I adjusted the designs improving the interaction design and information architecture where appropriate making notes or quick drafts on improvements. I also documented the navigation for each menu with each control method so it could be checked as a whole and for it to be updated easily across all UI if any changes were made.

I then stayed on the project until after the launch of the DLC to ensure consistency in menu implementation in terms of both look and feel of it.

Quick Chat system

Keywords: UI design, interaction design, information architecture, accessibility, feature design, prototyping, facilitation/communication

The original in-game chat system was similarly designed to work with keyboard only, but as the game supported online co-op on all platforms, a way to communicate with other players was needed on all platforms as well. This was added in the free DLC released a few months after the game’s launch.

I looked at other games for inspiration, and picked Defense of the Ancients 2 and Rocket League as the main sources to copy from, as both had much used quick chat systems. I made some mockups and quick prototypes of both and ran some informal tests with coworkers. In the end, the system based off of the system in Rocket League was added to the game.

Together with the game design and writing teams we selected the 12 default messages, but I also designed a customization menu where players could alter the the messages as well as the quick buttons for them.