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What makes a good menu?

Hello,

So as I begin to wrap up my latest project, I've started working on my menu screens and thought to myself what makes a good menu screen. Its often a part that gets overlooked but after all, its the first impression the user gets of our games!
There are many things that can make a menu good in my opinion, whether theres just a cool perspective, a nice mechanic, something emotional ... Lots :)

What I think would be good is to have a thread to inspire, simply contribute by sharing your favourites here. Preferably with a video showing it in action.

Here's a few of mine;

Brutal Legend



LA Noire



Metal Gear Solid 4

Comments

  • mounted88mounted88 Posts: 1,113Member
    I think before a menu, it should have a opening scene telling a story(if there is a story to be told)

    He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

  • JarrenHJarrenH Posts: 206Member
    edited March 2013
    The two games that come to mind for me is Gesundheit! http://bit.ly/GesundheitGame and The Tiny Bang Story
    Http://AppStore.com/thetinybangstory

    Both have menus that look like they are part of the game world. It creates an immersive experience that makes you feel like your in these strange worlds, not just trying to finish the level.
  • ElfizmElfizm Posts: 489Member

    Contre Jour HD had a very atmospheric menu which involves worlds and had a lot of animation. I love it.

    Simple lot of levels I would say simple like angry birds. It's easy for the user.

    And that's it haha I like the first one too much.
  • iCreationZiCreationZ Posts: 158Member
    The majority of "great" IOS games (Where's My Water, Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, Tiny Wings etc.) seem to have a simple, colourful screen with few buttons.

    They often have some animations going on, but not many. Just enough to make the user want to delve in to explore more, because they never give away all of the games secrets and Easter eggs at first glance. This is important, because it helps the scene appear more dynamic and fluid, as well as adding another layer of polish (even if it is simply a pair of eyes that follow the players touch for example) to the overall game.

    More often than not, the best games limit the buttons on their initial scenes to; Play, Settings, Other/More Games.

    A menu system has to be consistent throughout, with art style representative of the in-game graphics. If you're using bright and colourful buttons, but your game is like Contre Jour, it just won't fit.

    Finally, first impressions mean ALOT! This is the best chance you have after your icon, screenshots and description to sell your app, and it's the first thing a reviewer will see.

    Make it stand out, make it different and make it awesome!

    Therefore, a good menu tends to:
    - Be simple
    - Be colourful, or at least follow a scheme
    - Incorporate some movement or animation
    - Feature few buttons
    - Be consistant with all other scenes in your game
    - Be eye-catching


    (Just theory, so no video... Sorry! ;) )

    iCreationZ
  • beefy_clyrobeefy_clyro Posts: 5,390Member
    mounted88 said:

    I think before a menu, it should have a opening scene telling a story(if there is a story to be told)

    @mounted88 Story is important, if a story must be told.
    JarrenH said:

    The two games that come to mind for me is Gesundheit! http://bit.ly/GesundheitGame and The Tiny Bang Story
    Http://AppStore.com/thetinybangstory

    Both have menus that look like they are part of the game world. It creates an immersive experience that makes you feel like your in these strange worlds, not just trying to finish the level.

    @JarrenH Thanks for that, I havent played either so might have to take a look at them. I agree it should like part of the worlds. I tend to lean towards preferring the immersive types as opposed to the cute, heres your levels type!

    The majority of "great" IOS games (Where's My Water, Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, Tiny Wings etc.) seem to have a simple, colourful screen with few buttons.

    They often have some animations going on, but not many. Just enough to make the user want to delve in to explore more, because they never give away all of the games secrets and Easter eggs at first glance. This is important, because it helps the scene appear more dynamic and fluid, as well as adding another layer of polish (even if it is simply a pair of eyes that follow the players touch for example) to the overall game.

    More often than not, the best games limit the buttons on their initial scenes to; Play, Settings, Other/More Games.

    A menu system has to be consistent throughout, with art style representative of the in-game graphics. If you're using bright and colourful buttons, but your game is like Contre Jour, it just won't fit.

    Finally, first impressions mean ALOT! This is the best chance you have after your icon, screenshots and description to sell your app, and it's the first thing a reviewer will see.

    Make it stand out, make it different and make it awesome!

    Therefore, a good menu tends to:
    - Be simple
    - Be colourful, or at least follow a scheme
    - Incorporate some movement or animation
    - Feature few buttons
    - Be consistant with all other scenes in your game
    - Be eye-catching


    (Just theory, so no video... Sorry! ;) )

    iCreationZ

    @iCreationZ Haha no worries on the video, some excellent theory here! I'm sure many will find it useful, thanks! I think it pretty much agree with everything you have said here :)
  • iCreationZiCreationZ Posts: 158Member

    mounted88 said:

    I think before a menu, it should have a opening scene telling a story(if there is a story to be told)

    @mounted88 Story is important, if a story must be told.
    JarrenH said:

    The two games that come to mind for me is Gesundheit! http://bit.ly/GesundheitGame and The Tiny Bang Story
    Http://AppStore.com/thetinybangstory

    Both have menus that look like they are part of the game world. It creates an immersive experience that makes you feel like your in these strange worlds, not just trying to finish the level.

    @JarrenH Thanks for that, I havent played either so might have to take a look at them. I agree it should like part of the worlds. I tend to lean towards preferring the immersive types as opposed to the cute, heres your levels type!

    The majority of "great" IOS games (Where's My Water, Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, Tiny Wings etc.) seem to have a simple, colourful screen with few buttons.

    They often have some animations going on, but not many. Just enough to make the user want to delve in to explore more, because they never give away all of the games secrets and Easter eggs at first glance. This is important, because it helps the scene appear more dynamic and fluid, as well as adding another layer of polish (even if it is simply a pair of eyes that follow the players touch for example) to the overall game.

    More often than not, the best games limit the buttons on their initial scenes to; Play, Settings, Other/More Games.

    A menu system has to be consistent throughout, with art style representative of the in-game graphics. If you're using bright and colourful buttons, but your game is like Contre Jour, it just won't fit.

    Finally, first impressions mean ALOT! This is the best chance you have after your icon, screenshots and description to sell your app, and it's the first thing a reviewer will see.

    Make it stand out, make it different and make it awesome!

    Therefore, a good menu tends to:
    - Be simple
    - Be colourful, or at least follow a scheme
    - Incorporate some movement or animation
    - Feature few buttons
    - Be consistant with all other scenes in your game
    - Be eye-catching


    (Just theory, so no video... Sorry! ;) )

    iCreationZ

    @iCreationZ Haha no worries on the video, some excellent theory here! I'm sure many will find it useful, thanks! I think it pretty much agree with everything you have said here :)
    Don't quote me on this stuff, it's all just observations I've made over my many years of gaming! :D
  • RPRP Posts: 1,990Member
    edited March 2013
    Virtua fighter 5 menus were great. (I could not find a good example, but there is some footage of the menus in here)


    Wing War had a great menu interface for it's time (considering the controller was a flight stick).


    Those are kinda like polar opposites. Wing War has seamless integration with the menu/options as it is connects well with the theme and overall atmosphere of the game.
    Virtual Fighter as a fighter has less integration between the menu/options and game/controls. It has to rely on bling and pumping that showroom style atmosphere to bring wow factor to the menus. Both carry it out nicely, but when there is too much bling (animations, other things going on) it takes away from the game (not to mention load times to sort through menus/options), besides are you focusing on playing a game or a menu? I'm down with menu and GUIs that push the envelope, as long as they don't push it too far to the point that the effect the game or performance (particularly time issues).
  • beefy_clyrobeefy_clyro Posts: 5,390Member
    Definitely Polar opposites there @RP
    I agree on your points that the menu's although with added polish should not slow the user down to much getting into the game, after all, they are playing the game and not the menu!
This discussion has been closed.