Meet the Team – Jonny
We’re delighted to continue with this Meet the Team series! We bring you members of the Star Trek Fleet Command team, and we ask them about their roles and favorite things about the game. Let’s warp in!
Meet our UI Lead, Jonny!
Today we have the User Interface Team Lead in the hot seat. So what’s your role inside the team?
My role is to work with the UI Team, Art, UX and the engineers to create a fun and engaging User Interface that celebrates the IP while still adhering to mobile gaming conventions.
What kind of skills and experience are needed for your work? Is creativity a big part of your job?
Creativity is paramount, twinned with a good knowledge of games.
You have to think visually and have a good eye for detail. Successful UI Design is about laying out info in a way that creates a frictionless experience for players. Though sometimes it is about getting out of the way of an awesome piece of art.
In terms of experience, our UI Team has come from UI, graphic design, animation, and web design backgrounds. If you are just starting out in a creative field, and want to get into UI, I would say take a game you play a lot and to improve the layout, or remix the style in an interesting way.
What is it that you love about your role and how does it impact the community?
The thing I love most is stepping through a new feature from a player’s perspective and identifying the places that call for a fun reward moment. A little flash of light, or a simple animation to tell the player that they made the right decision and have reaped the rewards.
On a larger scale I love seeing the players’ reaction to new content, and how they immediately make it their own. We have a plan for each new piece of content, but seeing the players grab something and come up with novel officer combinations, and strategies, and even the memes is brilliant.
What do you find fascinating about the game and the franchise?
The most fascinating thing to me was how early the players started creating meta-diplomacy that is in no way enforced by the game. Non-aggression and mining pacts sprung up. Mega alliances were formed. It’s really satisfying as it ties in with the narrative of the game, and the universe of Star Trek.
Star Trek itself is fascinating as it is optimistic and philosophical, while still allowing for some more dramatic and bleak storylines. It’s also crazy to see how much of the technology shown in the early series is now commonplace. Alexa is just another form of UI, but it debuted in Star Trek.
Can you tell us what are you currently working on?
An upcoming feature that will allow players to utilize even more of their officers at once. There may even be a blog post about it soon.
If you were a Star Trek officer, who would you be and why?
Probably Riker, if I just choose from the TV Series. I like a bit of bravado on the bridge.
If I can pick an officer from Fleet Command I would be Five of Ten. Vanilla Jaylah already looks entirely badass but the Borg-ified version is so imposing. I’m not messing with the ship she is commanding.
What is the thing that made you more proud on STFC? Something you’ve worked on?
I’ve been on the team since the very beginning and one thing we wanted to get right from the very start is to make sure we respect the IP. We’re all huge Star Trek fans, and it was always going to be thrilling to create official content, and even expand the universe.
We wanted to recreate Iconic moments like the ship reveal. We wanted to make the game feel big, epic in scale so the players become explorers expanding their frontiers. And we wanted lots of story driven missions that hint at the machinations of the various factions.
Recently I’ve been very happy with how we’ve introduced content from disparate series (Discovery, TOS) in a way that makes sense within the existing game.
Tell us about some Funny development moments that you remember
So, we work closely with our contact in CBS to make sure that what we are making is on-brand and hitting the highest quality bar possible. But with player avatars and seasonal tokens we get to create some really silly things. At Halloween we give away Gummi-Tardigrades™ (because they are known as “water bears”, geddit?) and we had some really funny conversations about how monochromatic tattoos would lay on fur while making the Jaylah Tribble avatar.
Any other curious thing you want to tell the community – this is your moment to shine!
Years before launch we had a mini game where you can follow your ship when traveling across the galaxy and scan for anomalies and beacons. It felt a bit like an on-rails shooter and it was SUPER BORING. No one wants to sit there tapping ‘scan’ when there are all sorts of interesting stuff at the end of the journey. We scrapped the idea and significantly shortened travel time.
Also we edited some of the standard emojis in game. If you use the hamster emoji you get a Tribble. The alien and space invader emojis are swapped for Orion and Andorian smilies, and if you use the plus, minus and divide emojis you get the symbols for the main factions. There are even other modified emojis to find.