Every once in a while, we like to give fans a peek into our processes for creating engaging, efficacious learning games – something we’ve been doing for 16 years now! It’s a chance for our team to reflect on how we approach the act of making, and a chance for our readers to get an inside look at the inner workings of a leading learning game studio. Today, we’re sharing a closer look at our strategies for creating visually stunning educational games!
Our visual design process is focused around crafting playful, engaging user experiences that unite the best representation of the product’s subject matter with a visual style that will appeal to the unique preferences of the learner. Our team’s breadth of experience gives us the range to meet and exceed the visual requirements of any project, for any audience, and on any platform.
Throughout the design process, our Visual Interaction Designers work closely with our Game Designers to rapidly iterate upon and test information design and interaction models. The team incorporates user feedback into comprehensive wireframes and style mockups. At the same time, our in-house Game Artists explore visual styles via extensive research, mood boards, concept art, and animatics.
Early on, we also explore whether to pursue a 2D or 3D aesthetic for the project, considering the tradeoffs of each style. For instance, 2D offers cost savings in production but can diminish spatial information that may be important for your learning goals. For each project, we work with clients to pick a style that best serves the project, and test our visual design assumptions early and often.
During the early phases of production, the team builds a selection of key assets for implementation into the game engine. Interacting with “live” art assets as early as possible allows our artists to identify any blind spots in the visual design while our technical art team tests and solidifies the art pipeline. As production progresses, senior staff from every discipline regularly review builds to ensure that the game meets our rigorous quality standards.
Example of an early phase interface from Mission to the Mesozoic
We pride ourselves on creating one-of-a-kind aesthetic experiences. However, we recognize the importance of staying in tune with prevailing stylistic trends. To appeal to users familiar with these conventions, we build upon established, platform-consistent interaction metaphors. Highly-responsive interactions and generously-animated gameplay elements are hallmarks of exceptional user experiences, and we pay special attention to these areas.
Our artists immerse themselves in the game content through extensive subject matter research, and take into account core learning objectives to ensure key topics and objects are depicted not only beautifully, but accurately and in a manner conducive to learning efficacy. To see more examples of these strategies in practice, check out our full learning game portfolio – and if you or your organization would like to learn more about creating a visually stunning learning game of your own, we invite you to reach out for a free consultation!
More educational game development insights from the Filament Games blog:
Making Great Learning Games Pt. 1 – Defining Learning Objectives
The Value of Working with an Educational Game Developer
Designing Accessible Educational Games