Bushido Duels #1: The evolution of the Mon Wheel

We thought this first entry should be pretty light and basically show some of the numerous updates and improvements of the Mon Wheel during the development of Bushido Duels.

“What’s a Mon Wheel?” you ask.

Well, it’s one of the central mechanics of Bushido Duels, a rock-paper-scissors-based system determining how attack cards interact. (See the game’s page for more details.)

Below you can see some of the variants that were used during various stages of the game development process.

The very first test version
The very first test version.
At one point we doubted the wheel and made a table version...We went back to the wheel
At one point we doubted the wheel and made a table version…We went back to the wheel
A different take on the wheel highlighting that the following 4 techniques for any given symbol would be defensive.
A different take on the wheel, highlighting that the following four techniques for any given symbol would be defensive.
The fifth iteration
The fifth iteration. Looks sort of cool but is hard to read.

Quite some changes along the way, right? As you can see they all had different flaws. You’d notice things like freakish colours, varying line types, asymmetric shapes, inconsistency in design. All those flaws can however be summed up with the fact that the cards lacked visual simplicity.

Bad visual design can KILL a good game mechanic! These previous iterations were all too complicated to read in a gaming session. They took too much effort to survey as a player and slowed down the gameplay, they were probably severe enough ruin (what we think is) a good game.

We had the rules, we had the game mechanic (the interactions between the attack cards), and we had the desired shape, The race towards visual simplicity was on.

The final Mon wheel after some feedback and work by Emily Ryan.
The final Mon Wheel after excellent feedback and work by Emily Ryan.

Trying out different approaches and receiving feedback from people outside the company provided insight to what worked and what didn’t. Using that information and our initial idea of theĀ  Mon Wheel we worked with our illustrator, the excellent Emily Ryan. Through Skype calls and e-mail conversations we were able to reach a better more readable wheel.

It was now a Mon Wheel that had all information without the previous flaws and sources of confusion and also looked really nice. It simplified the design, made it completely symmetric and arranged the symbols in a way so the next four symbols are all defensive and the arrows sort of make sense.

The development diary

This is the development diary. It will irregularly be updated with thoughts and details related to current and past projects. In the coming months the contents will mainly be focused on the work done for Bushido Duels.