Magic school is finished and you are already on your way to your first assignment to remove a huge curse from an island covered by dark ivy. The Academy of Magic sends you to investigate the source of the curse and to help the inhabitants in freeing their homes from it. Your master comes with you and has valuable knowledge, but he is also very lazy.
I wasn't sure about the topic for the first article so I picked the menu. It's one of the first things the player encounters when starting a game for the first time so there is a first impression to be made. And the menu is something players keep returning to when starting a game or changing the settings. This article is about the main menu and the features and mechanics that I am implementing.
I am making an exploration rpg game where you can interact with many objects. Before the player jumps into this world and presses “new game” I would like to communicate that you can touch a lot of stuff and and it will react. The menu will be in a 3D room where things happen if you mouse over them or aim with your controller horizontally.
Will every player notice there is interactable stuff in the menu? No, I'm afraid not. The mouse might miss interactable objects and the joystick users will probably jump directly to new game. However, those who will notice are hopefully receiving a message/implication that this game reacts to you as much as possible.
Dev time is valuable and I am taking 10 full working days to make the menu and then move on. The first day was about building the 3D Room where the menu text will appear. And as a reference I chose the opening scene from the new netflix show “Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities”:
Its a Horror-Anthology show with great visuals. Some episode are from the victorian time and I liked the opening. Since one of themes of my game is magic it has similar objects and vibes like in the show. So to start of I built the basic 3D room. Here is a Unity screenshot:
I built this room using the array and curve modifier in Blender. Then made 2 planes for a the floor and the cealing. I used some textures form texture.com and gametextures.com and voilà there was the base for the menu.
Next step is to fill the room with objects to interact with. Hence the magic theme the objects will be thinkgs like skulls, potions and dreamcatchers. The concepts is simple, when touchings a potions there could be steam comming out. And when touching a dreamcatcher dust falling off.
If the the interactible menu turns out to be fun and not to time consuming, there are potenial additional features on the todo list. Another inspiration is the menu from the game deadly premonition:
This game has lots of interesting objects that move around and make the menu more lively. But there is a more substainoal elment that is the indicator for food, money and sleep in this game on the right side. Not suitable for my game but I am playing with the idea to support the lore of my game in the menu by giving extra information depending on progression and choices the player makes. This sounds like a bunch of work, but one can dream.
I don't know how much of my interactable menu I will be able to finish in 10 days. I am aiming for 5 interactable objects and some decent lighting. Off to work.