|User Experience Designer and User Interface Artist 2020
Coming Soon to Steam, iOS, and Android
Tools used: Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, Spine 2d, After Effects
|Tanto Cuore is a deck-building card game for 2-4 players, wherein players take the roles of “Master of the House” and employ the most effective mansion.|
I was brought on to the project as a freelancer to handle all of the user experience concerns with translating a physical card game into a video game and to create all of the user interface assets. While Tanto Cuore as a physical card game has been out for ten years, this was the studio’s first attempt at making a video game.
Adapting a Card Game for the Digital World
The process of doing a video game adaptation of a physical card game introduced a few problems that required methodical solutions. Tabletop card games are social experiences and it was important to keep that element in mind when designing the digital version. I needed to find a solution to presenting the complex rules of the game in a way that would make sense to a new player without burdening experienced ones. Additionally, the cards from the physical board game put a lot of emphasis on the character art, and the design of the digital cards needed to retain that focus while being informative in a smaller space.
Research and Competitive Analysis
I spent some time researching how some of these problems have been solved by other card game adaptations on the market.
Mapping Player Flows and Wireframing
Using the core gameplay rules, I mapped out the player’s in-game experiences and began prototyping what these experiences looked like.
Because the cards and character artwork are the main focus of the game, I used animations to bring each aspect of the game to life. Big game events like illnesses, turn transitions, and Private Maid abilities feel alive with over-the-top motions and effects.
Rules and Order
In order to convey the myriad of subtle rules in a large card game, it was paramount to make all of the information easily digestible. The last thing I wanted was to force a player to pause and read a rule book the way first-time players are expected to do in similar card games. Thus, focusing on new users and displaying information on a need-basis was my priority.
As a means to help players understand their options during their turns and to keep the user interface clean and uncluttered, lesser-known action options are highlighted if a player qualifies for them. Alternatively, action items are removed when they are not applicable.
Playing with Friends
Because physical card games afford players the ability to interact and communicate amongst themselves, it was important to provide players with various ways of sharing the game. As such, Tanto Cuore offers players both local and online multiplayer options for playing with their friends.
Expanding with Expansion Packs
Since the physical game already has multiple expansion packs and continues to have cards added regularly, it was important to build the interface to handle an ever-growing roster of characters. As new physical cards are released, their virtual equivalent can also be made available.
This allows players to have the ability to mix cards into the playable deck from each expansion to build unique and ever-changing strategies and gameplay.
Single Player Adventure
We created an engaging single-player campaign that sends the player through different mansions, meeting many of the characters along the way, and uncovering the secrets that each mansion has hidden.
Screenshots contain artwork owned by Arclight Games and Japanime Games
This project’s art style was a bit out of my typical wheelhouse, but I was excited to take on the challenge of such a complex game and to create a style different than my own. The experience design was influenced by a few other digital card games such as Hearthstone, Eternal, and a browser version of Dominion. We expanded off of what existed and put a lot of effort into allowing players to control and use this game any way they want with either mouse, keyboard, or controllers. The multiple control options also afforded us the ability to build out a local multiplayer option to many of the fans’ delight. The game is still under development and I look forward to sharing more soon.