Traditional Layouts - And why you want them

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Traditional Layouts – And why you want them
Content Delay – And why its bad

So we uploaded miniQuest: Trials, our current game, to FGL and enabled bidding. After 2 days, we get an interesting message:

Suggestions before miniQuest: Trials is approved for sponsor viewing

Hi. I wanted to start off by letting you know that I found some things in your game that you may want to take a look at. Some things may be pretty important for your game, some things may be trivial. I want to make sure that you are aware of them so that you can have the best presentation to sponsors. […] I apologize in advance if I seem blunt while listing these items.
Thank you.

-Game should have a main menu with title of the game.

Here is what our menu looked like:

Well obviously, its a non-traditional menu. We wanted the player to start in the game, get familiar with controls almost immediately, and bypass all of the extra work they have to go through just to play the game.

So, we get that email and we realize that yes, doing something like this is probably a big mistake for both sponsors and players. Sponsors might miss out on lots of branding opportunities that the menu would hold. Players would miss out on the familiar ‘click play’, change settings before we enter the game, learn to play the game at a reasonable place.

Essentially, doing a non-traditional menu was a very, very, very bad idea.

So, a few hours later, we had a new design which was finished coded the following day.

We now have a traditional Main Menu:

and all the other content was moved into a separate Level Select screen that looks like:

Most importantly, these menus work fluidly together with control schemes that flow (like pressing escape moves the player UP a menu until the Main Menu), and have the player to interact with the objects in the exact same way. So the player learns while using the Main Menu.

So we’ll see where this goes…

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I’m not sure if you have the ability to change anything in the game at this point, but if you can, maybe inform the player of the controls while in the main menu? Most games do it by ‘etching’ or ‘painting’ the controls into the background (see: Escape). It would be nicer than having the player resort to trial-and-error to learn how to navigate.

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We currently do give some limited instructions in the main menu. The text at the bottom that says “Welcome to miniQuest: Trials Prepare yourself” changes to some instructions quickly (and changes color to be more visible).

For the rest, the player should be entering the Tutorial level.

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Looking at what you’ve done, you’re probably looking for the sort of menu that MoneySeize made. The player begins in front of a sign that explains how to control the player, and then the player is able to go to different levels from there using what they’ve read.