Wednesday, January 27, 2016

11:38 am

Project Overview: Deserts of Kharak Expedition Guide
Project InformationResponsibilities
Format: HTML5 and WebGL• Concepted contents, interactive elements, and aesthetics
Function: Additional DLC• Documentation; preliminary design goals, UI/UX flow, and scope considerations
Studio: Blackbird Interactive• Updated, maintained, and implemented fictional content into the final product

Deserts of Kharak: Expedition Guide


This companion application features detailed backstory and lore for Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and Operation Khadiim, the expedition to the Jaraci Object. Learn more about the people, military equipment, and the planet of Kharak.

Explore new lore, written by the original author of the Homeworld Technical Briefing: Martin Cirulis. In-depth planetary data, all-new kiith histories, and extensive personnel and hardware specifications are crafted to enhance the player's experience of the game's narrative.

Presented in an updated, interactive format, readers are able to learn intricate details about the Homeworld series. Behind-the-scenes development content including pictures and video, fully 3D planetary satellite view, and a 3D vehicle catalogue containing comprehensive data on units seen in Deserts of Kharak.

"The Deserts of Kharak: Expedition Guide adds all-new backstory to Homeworld lore, and includes additional making-of content for fans of the series."


I consider the opportunity to work on a new Homeworld title as a bit of a dream come true, especially after diving into the Technical Briefings of the original games and enjoying them immensely. My enthusiasm for the lore of the series resulted in being put in a position to design, implement, and release an updated, interactive guide. Not only did we intend to mirror the experience of poring over new details and fiction created for Deserts of Kharak, but the guide would also include numerous interactive elements; including 3D representations of many of the units in-game, as well as making-of content for the fan looking for more.

Originally concepted as a mobile app or digital magazine, the scope grew with the planned addition of more assets and interactivity, ultimately resulting in a PC app that offers considerably more content than other applications in the space. Martin Cirulis (the original author of the Homeworld Technical Briefing) supplied additional text to the existing narrative; fleshing out the backstory of the events that were to take place in Deserts of Kharak. This content was complemented with imagery, audio, and interactive snippets presented using HTML5 and WebGL. In addition to designing and concepting the Guide, I also maintained and implemented much of the lore. On the maintenance side, I proofread and edited the fictional content to ensure it matched both pre-established lore and the narrative we created for Deserts of Kharak.

Once the backstory had been properly aligned for consistency and checked (and re-checked) for egregious errors, implementation began. The Expedition Guide is essentially a series of HTML pages bundled through InDesign, and packed into a binary wrapper for presentation. To create nearly every page depicting fictional content, I used Adobe's Muse. For animated imagery (such as the carrier "schematics") Adobe's Edge Animate was used to smoothly and easily integrate dynamic content in an HTML environment. In addition to animations, parallax scrolling, and page composition, I also implemented custom CSS and Javascript for elements such as page transparency and tooltip functionality. The project took roughly 2 to 3 months from beginning to end, including the concepting and prototyping phase; production itself took about 2 of those months. The final product is a document that offers almost 25,000 words in fictional content, delivered via an interactive medium suitable for a Homeworld game released over a decade after the last game in the series.

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