Védelem: The Golden Horde is a medieval Real-Time Strategy and Survival game set in the 13th century. Build, expand and defend your lands against the deadliest Mongolian invasion ever witnessed.

Project Specifics

Team Size:                     17 developers

Development:            32 weeks

Engine:                            Unity (D.O.T.S.)

Genre:                             Real-Time Strategy

Store:                              Steam

Release:                        June 2021

Platform:                     PC

Main Features:

  • Thousands of units on screen.
  • Full-fledged informative UI.
  • Visual-based Tutorial.
  • Tile aquisition & territory expanding. system.
  • Several units to train and buildings to construct and upgrade.
  • Reactive AI adapting to player’s progression.
  • Multiple game modes to suit different type of players.

My Role(s):

  • UI/UX Designer
  • Game Designer

UI Design and Implementation

  • Designed the entirety of the User Interface, including Menus, in-game UI and its multiple features.
  • Implemented Pause-Resume system in-engine.
  • Implemented all tooltip texts and descriptions.
  • Created multiple Interactable Wireframe using Adobe Xd to quickly iterate early on during pre-production, featuring dozens of slides and hundreds of connections to simulate UI in-game flow.
  • Created easy-to-read and visual-based documentation to break down complex UI-related features.
  • Implemented and iterated on the in-engine layout.


  • Wireframe successfully used as a starting point to clearly communicate UI elements, functionality, layout, flow and navigation to both UI artists and programmers early on during pre-production. 
  • Visual documentation avoided the need to have additional and tedious documentation.
  • After a constant iteration, tooltip implementation were used to present and introduce the players to the vast range of features available from the very start of the game.

Economic System Design

  • Designed all the economic systems and subsystems of the game, including:
    • Type, quality, use and interconnection between the resources available to the player.
    • Buildings’ identity, structure, logic, function and and their statistics.
    • Tile system: territory acquisition and tile system cost increas.
    • Unit and upgrade cost.
  • Used a mix of flowcharts to visually and quickly illustrate the main correlation between the several subsystems and Excel living documents to keep track of all the statistics and their iterations.
  • Implemented statistics directly in Unity.
  • Balanced statistics based on focus tests, blind and guided playtesting sessions.


  • It was used as a solid starting point for other connected design, mainly Combat Design and Map Design.
  • Established a foundation to balance all the other systems.
  • Extremely useful to gather metrics, forge & refine player progression throughout the different phases of the game.
  • The Dynamic cost of the tyle system was used to create different game modes and more challenging scenarios.

Tutorial Design and implementation:

  • Designed and implemented the whole tutorial experience given strict time constraints.
  • Designed an early text-heavy iteration of the tutorial to be tested during the Early Access release.
  • Designed diffent layouts until its final iteration.
  • Wrote and refined all the topics and the descriptions present in the Tutorial.
  • Implemented short videos for each single topic into Unity.
  • Used Adobe Xd to create and quickly iterate on the layout.
  • Used Powerpoint to keep track and iterate on the Tutorial topics and their descriptions.


  • Allowed the player to familiarize with what the game has to offer inside two different categories: Basic and Advaced topics.
  • Reduced the risk of increasing player’s frustration caused by obscure features.
  • Shorten the gap between experienced RTS players and those new to the genre.

User Experience & case studies

  • Created a Player Persona based on RTS players.
  • Created a Player’s Journey.
  • Studied different Motivational Models in order to create a survey to gather data on RTS players.
  • Created and shared a survey among dozens of different RTS communities that gathered 1000+ responses and redirected traffic and interest towards the project.
  • Used Powerpoint to summarize my findings and create both one-pagers.


  • They helped the designers and the entire team to come up with early and solid design pillars, guiding the team’s decision-making and prioritization during the early phases of development.
  • They were key to develop an accurate sense of empathy from the whole team towards the type of player the game is targeted to and so overcome any developers’ personal bias.
  • They anchored the product team’s imagination around the end user and, by doing so, prevented them from designing around an “elastic” player.
  • Used the informed consent of those who took the survey in order to create a 600+ users mailing list for potential playtests and creation of a Discord community.

Steam Achievements

  • Created 100+ achievements to be implemented.
  • Added achievement on Steamworks.
  • Used Excel to create documentation for designers, artists and programmers to keep track of the progress.


  • Achievements gave us key data to measure players’ progression, use of the several game modes and general engagement.

Check out my other projects

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