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Sep 16

Weekly Update #161: Menu Progress

So, last week, I showed you the now finished textbox design for GENBA no Kizuna. And the week before that, I provided a little glimpse at the DPA menu, which is essentially the same as Raiko’s notebook in SHINRAI.

Over this past week, I have worked some more on the menus and prepared everything for them to be integrated into the game. This meant creating a whole bunch of assets, something much more difficult and time-consuming than it might actually sound.

Aside from the menu design itself, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when creating a user interface. Very tiny details that are easy to miss or forget about altogether. Like a single button for example.

Since the menu buttons are interactive, there are different versions needed of them, which indicate different states. For example, you have the general button design when you simply look at it on the menu, but don’t interact with it. Then you have a version of the same button in a “highlighted” state, which occurs when you move the cursor on top of it. Those are the two most basic states every single button in our game needs.

Beyond that, however, you could also have a state where the button is disabled (you click on it, but nothing happens, since the contents are inaccessible at the time). Or a state when a button is “activated”. In SHINRAI’s game options, for example, the button for the currently active setting would be displayed in darker colors (so if you have selected window mode, the window mode button is darkened, while the full screen button looks normal).

This means that I need to create two to three or even four different versions of one and the same button, depending on its function. So, if you take a look at just the game settings for GENBA, you can probably imagine that the total number of button assets can multiply very quickly (and with so many, it’s naturally easy to forget about some):

Of course, there is no absolute need for this, but visual cues like these are still important. They visually translate what’s happening and are, to some extent, even expected by the player. I mean, you would probably find it odd if you play a game and move the cursor on a button, click it and… nothing happens visually, right?

But that’s not all there is to it. You also have to make sure that the labels on the buttons are properly centered as well as keep an eye out for typos or texture mess-ups. I kept double- and triple-checking everything, since it’s really easy to miss something. I almost forgot to make pop-up notifications, for example, for those cases when you want to overwrite a save file or quit the game.

So I hope that I didn’t forget anything else. Although I guess Natsu will let me know if I have, as I have sent her a package with all the menu assets the other day. Meaning that she can now officially start coding the menus and thereby lay the groundwork for our game.

Title Screen, Main Menu, Game Settings, DPA Menu, Save/Load Menus etc. are all there now, as well as other basic things like the textbox and cursor. I still need to create new menu sound effects, but for now, we will use the ones from SHINRAI and simply replace them later.

Anyway, this turned into a slightly longer blog post than I anticipated, but I thought it’d be interesting to share some info on how these things work. By now, this isn’t anything new to me, but when we started working on SHINRAI, it was rather astounding just how many little details there are, which you don’t initially think about when beginning your VN dev adventures.

But yeah, next, I’ll be focusing on sprites and backgrounds. With those, we will then be able to start coding actual scenes. And afterwards, I will take care of the sound design, which I’m not too much looking forward to, but it’s gotta be done.

Oh, right, last week, I also mentioned that I was working on another thing, which was supposed to be unveiled by now, but I sadly didn’t quite manage to finish it. It is almost done now, however, so it really won’t take much longer before I can properly talk about it!

But until then, please enjoy the rest of your weekend and take care! :3

 

2 comments

  1. Noryn

    I am so excited for your next games because I am a huge fan of Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair!

    Please take your time and make another masterpiece VN but hopefully make it quickly because I am seriously excited with the rest of your many fans!

    Best wishes and looking forward to your new games!!! <3333

    1. gosatsu-admin

      Thank you so much for these kind and very flattering words!
      It’s really great to hear that you have enjoyed SHINRAI so much!

      We will definitely do our best to create another enjoyable experience and hopefully, it won’t take us too long to do so!

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