Cleebo Casino is an online Free-to-Play social casino available to play on Facebook. Cleebo Casino provides players with the unique experience of playing their favourite casino games against a real live dealer located in Las Vegas. While a number of existing products allow players the same experience, Cleebo Casino is the first to provide this service as a Free-to-Play platform.
As Cleebo Casino is a Free-to-Play game a large portion of the project was focused on the development and implementation of social features. These features were intended to help distinguish Cleebo from its competitors, while also creating a sense of community between the players and even the live dealer.
For this project I was brought onto a small startup team of roughly 15-20 people as the project's first dedicated UX designer. Upon joining the project my role was to oversee the UX design of the overall product while also designing a number of social features to enrich the base game experience.
As I was initially the only designer working on the project I was required to maintain ownership of all features in development at a given time. This required me to gather business requirements from the project management and stakeholders. I would then use those requirements to create a set of design goals for the given feature and begin low-fidelity prototyping or sketching. When moving forward with a given design concept I would then create medium-fidelity digital wireframes and interaction flows for the feature. I would then create an interactive final wireframe using Axure RP. Finally I would gather all created deliverables in a feature design document and present that document to the developers responsible for implementing the feature.
Over time my role on the project expanded to include a number of additional responsibilities. In addition to my UX design responsibilities I took ownership of all in-house and remote usability testing, managed and updated the content/style of the Cleebo official website, and managed all email communications sent to Cleebo players.
A large design challenge I faced on this project was learning to design for a game that was equal parts digital and livestream. As the primary game experience of Cleebo is the ability to play against a real dealer in Las Vegas, it was absolutely critical to create a seamless user experience between the players and the dealers.
To achieve this I worked remotely with the studio team located in Las Vegas to ensure that the experiences of both the players and the dealers were constantly in sync with each other. I then worked with our team's front and back end developers to gain an understanding of any tech restrictions or limitations present in our system. Once I gained that understanding I then worked to design methods to minimize or eliminate the effects of these limitations from the player's experience.
Another substantial challenge I faced while working on this project was the creation of the game's economy system. As Cleebo is a Free-to-Play system it was necessary to create an economy system that allowed for microtransaction purchases. To create a system that was both fair and fun for players I worked to create a gifting system within the game. This system allowed players to potentially play the game forever without spending any money, but to maximize efficiency required the player to socially connect with other Cleebo players. The intention behind this was gain a secondary value of social engagement from players who were unwilling or unable to perform a monetary purchase. Additionally as Cleebo is a casino based game I was required to work closely with the team's accountant to ensure that all design decisions made were legally valid and did not unintentially classify the game as a gambling product.
I feel very privileged to have been a part of this project and feel it has helped me grow as a designer in a number of ways. As the only UX designer on the project team I was forced to take on a very self directed role and quickly learned to take ownership of my work while communicating with several other teams/diciplines.
As part of a small team I also learned to quickly adapt to new responsibilities outside my initial area of expertise. I feel this experience has made me more well rounded as a designer as I have gained a greater undertanding of the work involved in the other diciplines of game development. Finally, as I had the opportunity to join the Cleebo before the game launched, I was able to gain experience in the process of developing a game both pre and post launch.