Puzzlescapes: Jigsaw Journies 

Game Design, UI/UX Design, Graphic Design and Animation

Narrative Jigsaw Journies

Puzzlescapes is a narrative jigsaw game from Nix Hydra. In Puzzlescapes players can select their difficulty by choosing their piece count and shape preferences. After solving the puzzle, players can then interact with it the puzzle and progress a narrative, solving a series of puzzles to complete a short, rewarding story. Puzzlescapes was released on the iOS, Android and Amazon stores in May 2019. 

I worked on PuzzleScapes as the Lead UI/UX designer, game designer and animator. 

Design Goals

Puzzlescapes was targeted to  middle age adults (40-55) and retirees (65+.) With them in mind, I identified my main design goals

1. To create a sleek user experience that would give players simple and straightforward controls to optimize their puzzle experience.

2. To ensure the interface was simple as our user base was older and generally not as familiar with some of the mobile patterns younger users grasp. However, I didn't want the UI to ever make the user feel like it was talking down to them.

3. To familiarize older users with some more modern mobile design patterns so they felt like they were getting a premium and high end experience.

Design Process

An important aspect of my design process is always storyboards, thumbnails and wireframes. For UI and Game design, I always like to map out the flow an interface will take before tackling the aesthetics. 

For Puzzlescapes I used a variety of wireframe tools - Mockups, Photoshop and my handy dandy dot grid notebook. 

I love using wireframes as an implementation tool as well. My wireframes gave the engineers on my team a change to get ahead of my designs, and begin building the support for my ideas. 

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Design Inspiration

When designing the UI Art for this game, I wanted something that would capture the tactile joy of placing a good jigsaw piece or turning a page in a gripping tale . 

I used simple shapes overlaid with a paper texture to create the keystone of my design and everything fell into place. I went with a relaxing color scheme to match the zen/lifestyle angle of our game, so players could relax with Puzzlescapes. I selected Berkshire Hathaway as our header font as the swirls on the descenders of the typeface reminded me of the nibs of our pieces, and fit nicely with our literary theme.

I drew on my scrapbooking/papercraft background to digitally recreate embossed and letter pressed looks to finish off the screens.

Puzzle Game Design

In addition to my UI Design and Art work, I was the main game designer on the jigsaw experience for players in Puzzlescapes. My main goals when designing this game: 

1. To ensure the players got as close to the fantastic and tactile experience of solving a non digital jigsaw puzzles.

2. That players were provided with the appropriate tools for digital jigsaw solving. These tools needed to be functional, easily accessible and instantly graspable.

3. 
The experience of solving a jigsaw in Puzzlescapes was consistent and enjoyable, whether the player was doing a 6 piece puzzle, or over 300 pieces.

To the right you can find a sample of my documentation on the Jigsaw user experience and design.

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Click to view full documentation 

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Puzzlescapes was released in May 2017 on the iOS, Android and Amazon stores. Ultimately the game was removed by Nix Hydra during their rebrand in 2018 to fully support their visual novel titles - but I am still very fond of our relaxing jigsaw journies!

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Copyright Katie "Vivifx" Lucas 2016-2020  

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