I really believe that getting the details right is what makes the package feel good. Having spent 15 years developing games for a living, according to other peoples designs, one thing that stands out to me, the difference between mediocre games and amazing games, is an unrelenting attention to detail. Seeing what is good and what is bad, and cutting what is bad.
That attention to detail takes time, and focus.
I'd like to share with you, the details that you might not spot yourself just from watching the video.
In this post I am only going to talk about that one simple options screen.
All it does is let the user turn music and sound on and off. Two things. Two very simple things. How much detail can that involve? Let me show you.
- Transition Out: The main menu and the options screen use the same background. The main menu buttons exit in the generic way, but the background does not fade out as it would when going into the game or the tutorial.
- Transition In: The UI has 3 elements. 2 checkboxes + text controls, and one "back" button control. The buttons are created off screen, and moved onto the screen. The movement is interpolated on a curve, so that they decelerate into position. All elements are in place and working in under 1 second. The check box elements comes in from a direction that matches the exit location of the buttons from the previous screen. The exit button moves up into place unobtrusively from below.
- Elements respond visually and audibly. The exit button 'lifts' when pressed, and the checkboxes react instantly. When the music is turned off it fades out, and when it is turned on, it fades up. Button presses (while the sound option is on) trigger a subtle ping sound.
- Layout: The text and buttons line up and are positioned and sized to fit the background. The exit button is out of the way. Control element text is rendered with a small drop shadow to bring it "out" of the screen slightly and improve contrast against the background.
- Instant Persistence: All changes made are immediately stored to the device, if I change a setting and exit the game, it stays changed when I come back.
- Transition Out: When the user is done, and presses the back button, the control elements all move back offscreen quickly and smoothly before control is returned to the main menu.
Each of these details is a deliberately considered element purposefully designed, checked, and double checked, to create a smooth flow and a polished pleasant experience for the player, and I hope contributes towards making every moment a player spends with my game a joy.
I hope you enjoyed this explanation, and I hope you'll enjoy the game when it is finished!
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