Project Overview

Astrofactz is an educational video game project that I co-produced as part of the Bradley University Interactive Media Showcase in the spring of 2022. The showcase is held annually to highlight the products and skills available from Bradley University Interactive Media students and provides a fun and interactive day for people of all ages in the community at the historic Peoria Riverfront Museum. 

As the User Experience Design Lead, I designed individual screen layouts for our programming team to implement as part of a short video game for children to play at the event. Over the span of the 6-month project, I collaborated with a team of over 10 students and professors in various areas, including art, animation, and programming to ensure our game was fun, visually appealing, and intuitive for the users.

The Challenge

Our goal was to create a 1-2 minute interactive experience that was appealing to kids aged 8-12 and complemented the theme of the event, which was technical innovation over time. Astrofactz is a 3-D single player puzzle game in which players from the future rebuild historic space vehicles on an unfamiliar planet so that the vehicles can be displayed in a museum of past space artifacts. 

The Solution

Our cross-functional team consisted of game designers, artists, animators, and U/X and U/I designers. We chose to create a game that was a twist on a typical puzzle assembling experience. Instead of a 2-D puzzle, we made a space-themed 3-D puzzle experience with a unique storyline and fun characters to guide players along the way. As the lead U/X designer, I ensured that the art style was consistent with a fun, cartoon-like theme and appealing to children. I also did interface layouts and oversaw the work of other U/X designers.

Story Development

One of my responsibilities was to develop a story that explained why the players were assembling artifacts. I worked alongside our art team to develop interesting characters and an overall plot that explained the player experience.

We decided on a space theme to create an interesting environment for the players that worked well with the technical innovation theme of the showcase.  We incorporated space-specific elements into the game such as deciding that the artifacts would be damaged as a result of a solar storm. These ideas inspired an introduction animation that played prior to the player accessing our level selection screen. 

Visual Experience

One of the main projects I worked on was an intergalactic control panel that would act as our level screen. I worked with the team to review this design and used the feedback to adjust and enhance the design to be fully cohesive with all portions of the game. The final design required the player to make a selection in one area before they could move onto the next selection option. This design choice was tailored to the audience’s age group and intended to ensure that the player was not overwhelmed with choices and had a clear idea of how to move forward in the game.

Play Testing

During development, our team participated in a testing event to try out our game with potential players. We gathered valuable feedback in the form of direct observation and a post-event survey that helped with further development of our game. Some key takeaways included: 

  • Players liked the snapping mechanic we had for the puzzle pieces
  • Players wanted some kind of reward or indication when they attached a piece correctly
  • Players wanted clear instructions to help them understand how they were supposed to interact with our game


Finished Game

The finished product featured two different artifacts that players could assemble: a space rover and a rocket. Players could choose between an easy or a difficult mode of play. Difficulty level varied by how fast puzzle pieces moved and how many pieces there were. 

Interactive Media Showcase 2022

Astrofactz was one of the exhibits that was featured at the Peoria Riverfront Museum as part of the Interactive Media Showcase. The experience was set up for children to play on PCs. Museum guests had the opportunity to meet our team and play our game throughout the course of a weekend. 


During the process of developing Astrofactz, I learned what it takes to produce a game, including brainstorming the initial design, building the game, gathering and incorporating feedback, and producing a final product that is shared with a public audience. Communication was also key in collaborating with a team over a period of several months to produce a fun, visually attractive, and functional game.