My client started a business as a consultant for Unreal Engine (UE4) development and built several game play systems that he could sell in the UE4 marketplace. He asked for a website to promote his business that matched his level of talent.
Unfamiliar with the UE4 gaming culture, I needed to understand his users. Who paid money for UE4 material? Who were the users that enjoyed this medium as a hobby? My audience was going to be game designers and developers but also game studio execs who needed a piece of game quickly. These users need shortcuts for rapid prototyping to demonstrate a concept or to supplement a section of their game where there mechanics are weak.
My client’s first impression was very important. The UE4 users looking for my client’s talents need to find what they need quickly, fall in love, and choose to buy — fast. Their biggest enemy is time.
With my target audience and prototype user in mind, I searched the Unreal Engine Marketplace for what competition was out there. There were a few studios with serious and beautiful websites to compete with, but the majority of the content was provided by hobbiests who did not use the profile information at all.
Therefore, I came back to my client with my findings:
If you can set yourself apart as a serious studio with proven, production-ready pieces, you will be taken seriously and customers can easily find value in your expertise.
From my research, the modules you create are the portfolio to prove your work. The real money is in catapulting this portfolio into consulting and contract work. Meanwhile, continue to build more game play systems for fun and a little side hustle cash.
Aces. Now go do it!
The client was impressed with my overall understanding of the direction of his business. He agreed that he wanted a website that showcased exactly those insights.
I started our meeting with this question: Which mediums am I designing for? I suggested the UE4 Marketplace, YouTube for tutorials, and the Asadeus Studios website for when he develops a following. Customers will stumble across his work on YouTube and in the Marketplace, but he’ll create loyalty on his website. He agreed even though it meant extra work — not just his website.
Therefore, the real work began. What collateral did my client have to work with?
- Code snippets
- A fully functional mounting system for single rider, multiple riders and non-specific animal
- Tons of pen and paper art
- Sample animations
Therefore, I started to draw:
If you are a believer that the first sessions with pen and paper are meant to be more talking than drawing, then you would have loved this session.
We discussed jumbotrons, and video, and animations, and catchy copy.
We left the first working session with homework. I was going to wireframe potential page layouts. My client was going to provide me sample animations, so I could string together a video jumbotron.
Listening to my client
Truly listening to my client gave me all the copy I needed. His passion for his work was soundbite after soundbite that I could use when I wrote his bio and his game design philosophy.
His standards of “production ready” software that was not only bug-free but multiplayer and able to build off of it in C++ or additional Blueprints. All I needed to do was catch all of these ideas in my notebook (or record the conversation). All I was doing as a designer was capturing that passion and bringing it to life.
For my first deliverable, I presented the following low-fidelity wireframes to my client:
So, there you have it. Low-fidelity Wireframes. Client loved them and green-lighted me to continue the remainder of the project as follows:
- Insight statement about Asadeus Studios
- About Statement
- “Production Ready” blurb
- Consulting copy paragraph
- Copy for Gamework Systems
- Produce the video jumbotron (yeah, I edit videos too)
- Build Navigation and Footer
- Create images for games, consulting images, system images, and embed the videos
From there it stopped. It’s time for me to get back to it and help share the genius of Asadeus Studios with the world. Since this work, my client has shot several tutorial videos and continued to build game systems like the mounting system, the inventory system and others.
My future plans for this project include:
- Mocking up wire frames in Balsamiq
- All the collateral you see above
My client and I continue to work on this, so stay tuned for high-fidelity mock-ups and the link to the final website.