Here's one of the few design docs I can share from my time at LucasArts. The goal here was to design the U.I. flow for players inviting friends to parties on XBLA.

General Info

Invite Friends

While on the main menu or while in any lobby pressing the Y Button should bring up an overlay, henceforth referred to as the SOCIAL OVERLAY. The Social Overlay shall have two options (For players who are not currently in a party)

  1. INVITE FRIENDS

  2. INVITE XBOX LIVE PARTY

  • Opens the Xbox blade where players may invite friends from their friends list to join their party

    • May fail if the game is already full

      • Trigger Error Message:

        • Game is currently full. No other players can be added to the game at this time.

    • As soon as any member accepts an invitation, they are added to the party of whomever sent the invitation. The INVITOR now becomes the PARTY LEADER.

Invite Xbox Live Party
  • Sends invitation to all members currently in your “Party” on Xbox Live

    • May fail if the game is already full

      • Trigger Error Message:

        • Game is currently full. No other players can be added to the game at this time.

    • As soon as any member accepts an invitation, they are added to the party of whomever sent the invitation. The INVITOR now becomes the PARTY LEADER.

Party Leader

  • Party Leader selects which game their party will be joining

    • Selects which matchmaking lobby to Join

      • Quickmatch

      • Operation

    • Selects Faction Bias / Match Settings

    • Selects when to Start Matchmaking

Party Leader Limitations
  • Party Leaders cannot join another player’s party

    • Error message should be displayed to party leaders attempting to accept an invite to another player’s party

      • "Current Party must be disbanded before accepting invitation."

        • Okay

          • The only option available, pressing A will close this dialog

          • Pressing B will also close this dialog

Kicking Party Members
  • Only the PARTY LEADER has the ability to remove/kick party members

    • Highlight Player on Party List

      • Press X

        • Dialog Is displayed:

          • “ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO KICK [GAMERTAG/PLAYERID]?”

            • NO (SELECTED BY DEFAULT)

              • If player selects NO, player is unaffected, KICK PLAYER dialog is closed

            • YES

              • Player is kicked from party

                • Display Dialog reading “[GAMERTAG/PLAYER ID OF PLAYER BEING KICKED] has been removed from party”] to party leader and all remaining party members

                • Display Dialog reading “[GAMERTAG/PLAYER ID OF PARTY LEADER] has removed you from the party”

Disbanding Party
  • If Party Leader is disconnected, party is automatically disbanded

  • If there are no party members other than party leader

  • Party Leader chooses to disband party

    • When a party has been created a third option (DISBAND PARTY) should be added to the Social Overlay that is displayed when player presses the Y button.

      • ONLY the PARTY LEADER has the option to Disband Party

        • Party Members have a different option to LEAVE PARTY (discussed later)

Disband Party
  • Selecting DISBAND PARTY should first bring up a secondary overlay

    • “Are you sure you want to disband your party?”

      • NO (SELECTED BY DEFAULT)

        • If player selects NO, Party is unaffected, disband party overlay is closed and player is returned to SOCIAL OVERLAY

      • YES

        • Party is Disbanded, an additional overlay should be displayed reading

          • “PARTY HAS BEEN DISBANDED”

            • Okay

              • The only option available, pressing A will close this dialog

                • Return player to SOCIAL OVERLAY

              • Pressing B will also close this dialog

                • Return player to SOCIAL OVERLAY

Other Party Members

  • All other party (other than Party Leader) members do not have control over matchmaking options etc. Instead these options should be grayed out for them and an overlay displaying the following message should be displayed:

    • “Waiting on [PARTYLEADER’S GAMERTAG]…”

  • Party Members can invite friends to someone else’s party

Leaving A Party
  • When a player is in a party (and it not the party leader) an additional option is added to the SOCIAL OVERLAY, the LEAVE PARTY OPTION

  • Selecting LEAVE PARTY should first bring up a secondary overlay

    • “Are you sure you want to leave this party?”

      • NO (SELECTED BY DEFAULT)

        • If player selects NO, player remains in party, overlay is closed and player is returned to SOCIAL OVERLAY

      • YES

        • Player is removed from party Party is Disbanded, an additional overlay should be displayed reading

          • “YOU HAVE LEFT THE PARTY”

            • Okay

              • The only option available, pressing A will close this dialog

                • Return player to SOCIAL OVERLAY

              • Pressing B will also close this dialog

                • Return player to SOCIAL OVERLAY

Party Limitations

  • Maximum party size of 8

    • If player attempts to send out an invite when there are already 8 party members they should receive an error message:

      • "Cannot join party. Party has already reached maximum number of players"

        • Okay

          • The only option available, pressing A will close this dialog

          • Pressing B will also close this dialog

    • If player had sent out more than 8 invites (before the party was full) and a player attempts to join a party which is now full they should receive an error message

      (Note: we may not have to do this, if the Xbox API already has this functionality built in)
      • "Cannot join party. Party has already reached maximum number of players"

        • Okay

          • The only option available, pressing A will close this dialog

          • Pressing B will also close this dialog

Matchmaking Considerations

  • Matchmaking should accommodate for parties, by only placing them in games with enough space for all members in a party.

  • Matchmaking should try to group party members onto a single team (especially during Operations)

    • If this is not possible, matchmaking may split a party across different factions

      • Split should try to group as many party members onto the Party Leader’s team as possible

        • Ex: the Party Leader should never be the “odd man out”

U.I. Considerations

Need to accommodate some UI space on the Main menu for the party to be displayed

  • Player should see self in party at all times

    • Should not have to display additional slots if they are empty as the mockup below shows (instead just add slots as players join)

      • This keeps the UI from being cluttered by unused space.

  • This may not be the best solution in regards to our current UI, as several menus use Left/Right sliders , so other methods of displaying party/party management may need to be explored

Josh Kulinski

Senior Game Designer

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