DAVID J. SUSHIL, AWARD-WINNING GAME DEVELOPER
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Usability Lessons From Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix
My studio’s latest game, Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix & Her Nightmare, recently earned a Best Design award in indiePub’s 3rd Independent Game Developers Contest.  Our team believes that the graceful usability of Vanessa was a contributing factor to our success. This brief article outlines some of the best practices from our development process.

Before diving into the lessons we learned, an explanation of our game is in order.  Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix & Her Nightmare is a 2D puzzle and platform game mapped to a 3D cube.  In each level, players must guide the titular character to an exit.  In order to do so, they must use Vanessa’s ability to rotate any face of the cube she occupies.  In a way, Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix & Her Nightmare borrows from the best parts of Super Mario Bros. and Rubik’s Cube.

Why does Vanessa play so effortlessly?  I have identified three key components of the game’s design which I believe contribute to its usability.  They are: a subtractive approach, polished difficulty, and a focus on early testing.

Continue reading this article at indiegamepod.com.
 
 
© 2011 David J. Sushil.  All Rights Reserved.  For more information, e-mail davidjsushil@gmail.com.