Dec 2018 - Jun 2019
A Better way
Legacy is a mobile side scroller RPG that aims to give young gamers who are going through physical therapy that have a limited means of mobility an avenue of entertainment and socialization, which also serves as an extrinsic motivational factor to complete their physical therapy routine. In addition to the game itself, physical therapists can passively monitor their patients'progress and interact with them through a companion app.
Originally our audience consisted of anyone that wanted to improve their physical health. After much deliberation, we decided to focus on players that were recovering from injuries; specifically young adults with lower extremity injuries. We reached out to both physical therapists and patients to understand the pain points that existed in the physical therapy process.
After the initial user research, we analyzed their pain points and decided to focus on some of the most critical ones to tackle on.
FEAr of Pain
Lack of motivation
LAck of Physical therapist
and patient connection
Forgot to do the exercise
USER JOURNEY MAP
I created four different personas for our hypothetical users based on the pain points we decided to focus on to better understand the user behaviors.
In order to find out the user's desired features, I created user journey maps for the two of the persona types: the Progress Tracker and the Competetive Gamer.
The Game Design:
Legacy was inspired by other popular fantasy games, chosen for the genre’s ability to make fun and tell interesting stories while creating an immersive game world. We went with the 2D platform-style because we felt it was the easiest for anyone to pick up and play, as well as inspiring exploration and replayability. By focusing on a story-driven game, we want the player to feel invested in the world and the characters within it. Since the player's progress in the game is directly tied to recovering from their injury, we can create a positive feedback loop for the player by fostering this investment in the story of our game.
In order for the game feels polished and visually engaging, I created animations for all the characters, monsters and items.
The UI Design:
During the early development process, the art team needs to nail down the visual style for our game. Since RPG is a popular genre, the art director and I did a lot of art researches to find the best art style for our in-game UI. I came up with three different UI iterations.
First, I went with the classic RPG style with darker and metallic aesthetic but quickly realized our game is very light-hearted and kids friendly. In the second iteration, I lightened up the background and attempted to add a paper-like aesthetic which lead to the final iteration.
In the final iteration, I got rid of all the heavy colors and went with the paper aesthetic. It created a gentle and friendly feeling, and the team agreed this visual style really fits the image we want Legacy to present to our players.
With the placeholder avatar (do not own the avatar image)
How do we incorporate the exercises players need to perform in physical therapy, into a gameplay mechanic?
We needed a way to have players perform their exercises in the game that felt natural, important, and did not interrupt the flow of gameplay. We answered this question by implementing a quicktime event that prompts players to perform their exercises while playing through the level in a natural gamified way that also ties into the narrative.
To facilitate communication and the opportunity for feedback between patient and physical therapist, we looked into creating a wearable sleeve device that would measure and transmit all data involved in the performing physical therapy exercises. This speculative device would use “smart fabric”, pairing with the game over bluetooth to register and transmit the movements of the user’s foot while they play.
The Companion App:
Bridging the communication between physical therapist and patient couldn’t be achieved solely through the game, so we developed a companion app for the physical therapist to use.
In game, the patient would provide feedback about different pain levels, and any issues they encountered while performing the exercises. This data would be available to the physical therapist through the companion app, and allows the therapist to track their patients individually and modify their regimen as they progressed through the game.