Visual Direction & UI

Working with Exient Oxford and Rovio Entertainment, the development of Angry Birds Go! was one of Rovio’s first attempts to launch a free to play game.  The economy and game structure of a free to play game is quite different to that of a traditionally designed game that is sold once and perhaps only added to with DLC (Downloadable Content).

On this project I worked with the team first to win the project with Rovio, to get the project and team started and later I was asked to help design and develop the front end and user experience.  We had a short amount of time to re-design the flow as a number of technical issues had arisen from the what was then the front end, it was too high in memory and was also in the classic Angry Birds 2D style – something we needed the game to differentiate from.

Concept Art

In the beginning we were working with Rovio on a back story for the game that included make shift vehicle the birds had built after a ship had beached on Piggy Island; the ship was a container ship and had split its cargo of spare vehicle parts.  Within three months Hasbro joined the development and due to their manufacturing lead times we had to move much quicker on character/kart development.  We designed the vehicles with Hasbro inside 3 weeks!  Then we worked with our concept artists and Atomhawk Design to establish a more intricate style to the vehicles.  At this point I made a couple of sketches for ‘Pink’ – (Stella).


To begin with we built all of the prototype tracks and environments in a style akin to an engineers blue print; this conveyed ‘work in progress’ to anyone reviewing the game at such an early stage and as we were yet to fully explore the art style this was a quick and attractive treatment.

We began with a looped track and Rovio suggested we try a point to point downhill race instead – a stroke of innovation on the typical race experience and very ‘Angry Birds!’

The upgrade screen at the time of design was a key element to the user journey and harked back to a time in pre-production where we were designing a game around fixing and breaking components of the karts, upgrading and ‘crafting’ vehicles.  This screen became redundant almost without us realising, it was removed and this made a simpler UX.

Button Function

This button was iterated several times, it is the booster buttons and this selection shows how it took on a number of functions before you see the version in game now.  It needed to convey a timed boost which was bespoke to the chosen bird/driver.  Lightning is a key symbol in Angry Bids lore, hence the use of it in every design.

Download and play Angry Birds Go! today – Its Free to play and a real hoot!