STEPHANE CUI
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January 2019 - June 2021

Ubisoft Montreal

ABOUT THE GAME

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction is a three-player tactical co-op game set several years in the future of the Rainbow Six Universe. The Rainbow Six operators face off against a totally new breed of mutated alien parasite. Infecting human hosts and their surroundings, this new enemy is more lethal and challenging than ever before. PC-PS4-XBONE

ABOUT MY CONTRIBUTION

I was a part of the project from the start up to its closing as one of the two initial UX Designers at Ubisoft Montreal, the leading studio behind the game. A wild and crazy ride, many new ideas and concepts emerged and had to be thought out during this project, mechanics that weren't seen in other games before. I held the role of UX owner for most gameplay and core loop features.

Pick Phase
HUD
Mission Dashboard
After Action Report
Operator Album
Options

The Pick Phase is the step right after the matchmaking process has sent 3 players into a game, basically your pre-game lobby. The flow is composed of 4 steps:

- the mission's objectives and threats are exposed to the team for them to anticipate the challenges

- the picking commences with which Operator to choose from, players see their teammate's selection

- once an Operator is chosen, the player goes over their weapons and gear

- once all 3 players lock in their selection, the screen ends and a 3D action shot is played, each character playing a short pose animation

It was a great challenge to design as the elements to expose to the player changed over time as we defined what a "normal" game was (objectives, XP, random threats, other teammate's weapons or not, etc.). We did a lot of wires on this flow and screens alongside the art and game design team. We also had to collab a lot with animators for the end action poses. For bloopers, we even started in the beginning with a turn-based selection flow to prevent players from fighting over the same Operator, which we canned a bit later.

UI Art: Pascal Caplette

Game Design: Nicolas Jaujou, Andrea Zanini

I loved my time working with my fellow game designers for everything signs and feedback. From player status, mission journey and feedback, scoring, communications (text, voice and ping), loadout info, and much more. We worked a lot on getting the noticeability of each feedback just right, adressing playtest and team tests in a very adaptive and pro-active way. From a UX-standpoint the approach was to be visible as the game world of Extraction has a lot of textures, patterns, events which can lead to focus-blindness to anything else. 

UI Art: Pascal Caplette, Pascale Blanchette

Game Design: Nicolas Jaujou (Mission), Andrea Zanini (Gameplay)

The dashboard is a screen the player can access by pressing TAB/Options to view mission objectives, map, remaining neighboring resources, score breakdown, team info (and player management), and lastly a brief overview of their Operator's abilities. The map system came in very late as a last minute addition and we could not get a dynamic mapping system which forced us to implement a baked texture structure; I defined the art style for the textures (last image) and worked very closely with our level design teams to get each map as accurately as possible.

The dashboard itself, just like the Pickphase, was a screen that evolved along with the team's perception of what a mission is; do we show everything? nothing? just score? A lot of back and forth took place from a mission/UX aspect. This screen also houses flows for player reporting, social actions like profiles, adding to friends and muting. 

The After Action Report was a rock-n-roll feature due to our initial lack of resources in UI motion artists which only came in very late and with the scoring formulae drastically changing too often (medals, no medals, score is individual, shared, etc). Nevertheless after 3 large iterations which spanned across all of development, we landed on one that hit each beat with a meaningful layout and presentation. 

The Operator Album is the screen where the player can view and customize their Operators; since the information in that screen was so similar to the Pickphase, that menu naturally inherited from a large portion of the Pickphase's design (for UX reasons but also economical reasons). I also spent a lot of overtime doing the capture and editing of the in-game ability previews of each Operator that the player can view in that screen.

I designed the Options menu and wrote the majority of the texts in that menu. The controller remapping system was based on input-input remapping rather than input-action remapping which was more of an economical choice given how the game's input system was built and was also a proven approach in Far Cry New Dawn, another title from Ubisoft Montreal. We also put together the color blindness system which are basically RGB sliders with more than 100 different swatches for a pre-defined list of high priority colors for the player to customize. I had a lot of fun with our team at Ubisoft Kiev and my Options-programmer hero Frankie Chan working on these. 

Operator Album