Screens, Screens and more Screens!

Well my current game is coming along nicely. It should be ready for a feature-complete Alpha release next week followed by some polishing and beta testing and then post-beta polishing/fixes for a Gold Master at the end of the month (fingers crossed!)

The actual game engine was written very quickly, then we spent a couple of months polishing it with extra features and visual effects. However, one thing you should never underestimate is the time taken to make extra (non-game) screens in your game. I’ve spent the past two months working intensely with the artist making extra screens and writing all the supporting code. The game has the following screen:

- Game-screen (obviously)
- Loading screen
- Title screen
- Options screen
- Credits screen
- Player Manager screen inc. Enter Name dialog and error/confirmation dialogs.
- Trophy Screen
- Career Stats Screen
- Shop Screen (yep it’s got a shop!)
- Level Select Screen
- Story Screen
- In-game menu
- Hint dialog
- Special dialog
- Various award dialogs
- End Level screen complete with a whole raft of stats.
- Intro animation
- Game Finished animation

Phew! You can see what I mean about a lot of screens, and some of them needs tons of code. However, I’m pretty sure I can reuse lots of code (or at least the principle) in future games, which will speed things up. But plugging in and aligning all the graphics takes ages. Normally there are errors with them too that need to be fixed, and then someone at the top says they want to change them anyway ;-)

Sometimes when people say they are going to make a game they are only thinking about the “actual” game-engine, not all the other stuff that you need for a modern game to cut the mustard. Anyway, something to think about – I hope that you found it useful.

3 Responses to “Screens, Screens and more Screens!”

  1. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » A simple exercise to get better at press ups… Says:

    [...] credits, trophies/awards, introductions, story, map, level complete stats etc. These all take a long time to program. Once you’ve finished a small project, make another, and another gradually increasing the [...]

  2. Jason Harrison Says:

    Very true. Static screens can take a long time, what is even worse is menus. Unless you spend a lot of time building a menu definition system, you can end up with lots of “custom” code which needs to be rewritten every time there is a change. Even with a menu definition system (language, content, code) there can be so many additional connections between game state (settings) and menu interactions that specialized code is still written.

  3. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Absolutely. I have some menu components in my framework that I reuse to speed things up but would like to make a screen layout editor that auto creates the menus. Somebody I spoke to today said that UI could take up to 70% of a project, that sounds a lot but then when I consider that I finished the gameplay for my current game months ago, it’s pretty close to the truth…