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Desynced :
UI/UX design for sci-fi survival strategy game

On the recommendation of our partners from Paradox Interactive, Stage Games teamed up with N-iX Game & VR Studio to build a coherent User Interface for their upcoming sci-fi strategy game Desynced.

Stage Games
UI/UX Design

About the Game

Desynced is a sci-fi survival strategy game that is being developed by Stage Games, a Tokyo-based studio formed by the game dev industry veterans. The events take place in a world where AI is on the brink of self-awareness. Players get to explore new territories and biomes, harvest resources, build bases, and fight off hostilities using fully customizable units. The game features:

  • A procedurally-generated world with a full day-night cycle. There are tons of mysteries to explore and resources to exploit.
  • A narrative that makes you wonder what is real and what is a lie. Players will discover many secrets, some of which should have better remained unknown.
  • Limitless unit customization via Component Swapping system. Every unit or building in the game is a template for which the player decides the functionality. There are endless possibilities for building complex behaviors and game process automation.
  • Single-player and multiplayer game modes, where you can either share control or divide into factions. Players can work as a team or fight for control over resources.

Our Contribution

N-iX Game & VR Studio’s task was to develop understandable logic and a distinctive style for the entire User Interface of the product. With a game of such complexity as Desynced, it was important to come up with effective management of displayed information and to avoid feature overload and possible cognitive friction. We wanted the UI to be accessible to new players from the get-go and to make every element on the screen seamlessly blend into the player experience. Over the course of our cooperation with Stage Games, the N-iX team contributed with the following UI design deliverables:

  • The entire heads-up display (HUD) of the game, including the map, panels of the active selected unit, buildings’ puzzles, etc. 
  • An interface to program controllable units. Our team designed a Component Swapping system similar to visual programming, where players can use node graph architecture to change unit behavior or automate various game aspects.
  • The visual system for displaying units and their activities so that players can quickly access the necessary information.
  • A progress tree that allows players to discover new technologies and a two-level system to see what is already open and what is not.
  • Improved management of game information to ease navigation across map displays, graphs, energy load levels, etc.
  • A library of templates that allows building up large territories with ready-made and configured buildings in an instant. 
  • System of tutorials and key points. Player journal.

Component Swapping System

In Desynced, every unit or building is a template for which players decide the functionality. This means that you can reprogram and equip each unit with Components to define their role, such as calculating resources, performing a specific action, etc. At the same time, individual Components of the system can communicate with each other, creating a complex mechanism that can operate on its own and autonomously react to various game factors. 

In order to succeed, players have to quickly and effectively automate various game processes. Here, everything depends not only on the creativity and skills of the player but also on a thought-out UI logic. For the visual representation of such a complex system, we decided to use visual programming similar to node graph architecture in Unreal Engine. Thus, as simple as drag-and-drop, players can connect different entities into one system, improve their templates, debug with the help of visual hints, and much more. 

Together we managed to build a coherent and intuitive User Interface able to display complex functionality and information without hindering the player experience. It was an exciting challenge for the N-iX team, and our pleasure to work with Stage Games on such an outstanding strategy game.


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