client
wanderlust interactive
project
cd-rom video game – “the pink panther: passport to peril”
role
 

ui team leader; illustrator; animator; designer

details

the ui took the form of the “pda (pink digital assistant)” – it was the educational component of the game.

the pda would allow users to access real-world info about the countries pink was visiting (australia, bhutan, china, egypt, england, and india). the challenge was that there were 240 topics (covering history, culture, geography, etc.) – each of which needed its own low-res icon that had to be seamlessly integrated into pink’s world.

   
   
   
    for example: selecting “religion” + “china” then “go” on the navigation page would take the user to…
   
   
   
    professor von schmarty's “chinese religion” page, where the animated host would offer five subjects relating to different aspects of the topic (which led to questions like, “how do i make a cartoony icon for ‘ancestor worship’ in 50 x 100 pixels?”). clicking on “confucianism” would take the user to…
   
   
     
   

the fact page on that subject, which had photos, text, and hyperlinks to related topics in the pda database.

the pda was given to me at the start of the development of the game as a rough idea. i was responsible for the information architecture that would determine how this content would be accessed and cross-linked; i had to decide how to visually represent each of the 240 facts as icons, and how to showcase them in a thematically and aesthetically appropriate way; i had to work in tandem with the research and programming departments and oversee a team of artists to implement my design, in addition to doing much of the animation and illustration myself.

part of the challenge was that the game was to be made available in 15 languages (danish, dutch, finnish, french, german, hebrew, italian, japanese, mandarin, norwegian, korean, portuguese, spanish and swedish), so many of the design ideas i had needed to be reduced to lowest-common denominator
specs to facilitate localization (for example, i couldn't use a fancy headline font, because we couldn’t guarantee that the non-roman fonts would match).

the game won numerous international awards, including the european emma award for “best family cd-rom,” and the top award – the milia d’or – at the milia interactive conference in cannes, france.