Design Student of the Month - Richard Monette

There are a lot of creative students in Canada who are doing innovative work to improve people's life through interactive, visual, informational, and other aspects of User Experience Design. I invited them to introduce who they are and share their work with you. To nominate a Design Student of the Month, email us. The Design Student of the Month for February 2009 is Richard Monette! Congratulations!! Let's hear from Richard.


Who’s Richard?
I am currently completing the last semester of my Bachelors of Information Technology, with a specialization in Interactive Multimedia and Design, at Carleton University. My focus is primarily on the technical aspect of design, particularly graphics programming for video games. As part of my degree I took advantage of Carleton's cooperative education program and had the opportunity to work at Fuel Industries, a game development company based in Ottawa. At Fuel I began learning the skills and fostered the passion needed to design and develop online interactive experiences and games.

What cool stuff is Richard doing?
For my Senior Project, I am currently working with a team of peers on developing a first person puzzle adventure game titled "Glasshouse" using the XNA framework. The design process for Glasshouse has been challenging because working in an all encompassing format, such as a video games, requires attention to many different design considerations. Our design challenges run the gambit of more traditional graphic design for the menu system and textures to the ways in which we uses interactivity in a 3D space to guide the player. It is our aim to ensure that our design is unified throughout the game to create a complete gameplay experience. At the core of our design philosophy is the goal of creating "eureka" moments for the player. These are the moments in the game where the player realizes the sequence of actions required to complete a level. Our levels work by introducing one new skill per level and teaching the player how to master the gameplay technique. After preparing the player, a level concludes with a challenge that requires the player to determine how to apply this new found skill. Later levels in the game begin to require the player to perform combinations of skills and in time sensitive or increasingly hazardous environments. One particular challenge has been developing a visual style to indicate the status of objects in the game. Our relatively minimalist approach helps to add clarity to the game levels and makes use of high contrast color to give quick visual clues to what is happening in the game. Additionally, we have eschewed a traditional video game style interface opting to make all context information built right into the 3D space. By focusing on providing clear audio visual feedback to the player and using a non-violent play mechanic we aim to provide an enjoyable experience for casual and more serious players.

What are Richard’s plans after graduation?

Currently I am planning to return to Fuel upon completing my degree. I look forward to working on future game projects and continuing to learn and develop my skillset.

Want to learn more about Richard?
I can be contacted via email at or follow me on twitter at

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