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Sonstiges: Developer Diary - The Creation of a 3DS/Switch Game

Michael Grönert, am 26.12.2016, Seite 9 von 10

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Part 9: Skill tree & Menus
Today it’s time to expand the link between the mini games and the overworld. Just a few games that simply start as soon as you turn on the device, as it currently is the case with our "Gong". Usually one is greeted by a title screen, which presents the name or the logo of the game and maybe offers a first set of options. In some cases, the logos of the participating companies or a short intro come before this. I would now like to start with the part that starts or follows the title screen - the different menus. Each game should have the following menu items:

1. Start Menu: This is where specific settings for the game are made, such as the number of players and the difficulty level.
2. Options: General settings for graphics, audio, control, etc. can be made here.
3. Development: Here the skills of the game can be further developed, such as the difficulty level, graphics and much more.
4. Achievements: This option holds a list of unlocked achievements like "xxxx points reached" or "level Y beaten".
5. Exit game

These menus then adapt to the respective game and its development progress while reusing as much as possible. I’ll explain this with the start menu for our first mini game "Gong":

Start menu of "Gong" before development

A start menu allows you to set the number of players and to determine who controls which player. Initially the player number in "Gong" can not be changed since at least two players have to participate and the possibility for more than two players has not yet been developed. For both players, it can be determined whether a human or a simple AI controls the paddle. Thus, two people (even on a single 3DS) or two AIs can compete against each other. Of course you do not get any experience points in either of these cases because it would be easy to cheat the system this way or be straight-up unfair. If you have learned the skill to let more players enter, a new option appears that allows you to adjust the number of players. For each additional player set here, new options for assigning them to a human or AI player appear.

Start menu of "Gong" after development

Putting the experience into practice
The current most important menu item is the "development". Here we find a skill tree through which we can learn something new. Learning abilities costs skill points that we gain by leveling up. They are arranged hierarchically, as some skills are required for others. For example, you can not activate the four-player mode until the three-player mode has been learned. When you select an ability, some information is displayed in the bottom left. Any number of abilities can be selected if all prerequisites are fulfilled. These prerequisites are currently limited to learning all previous abilities. If sufficient skill points are available to learn all the selected abilities, an apply button will be activated. If this is clicked, all selected abilities are unlocked irrevocably and the skill points are deducted. After that, skills of the next level(s) of the tree could be learned.

Skill tree of "Gong"

The learned skills will affect everything immediately and we can use the new options as described above. All we have to do now is to make sure that we do not forget everything we have learned - it has to be saved. For this, one bit is sufficient for each skill, i.e. a "1" for learned and a "0" for not yet learned. Since we have already dealt with the topic of saving and loading in the previous diary entry, I will not go further into it.

The remaining menu items are the general settings - we have none so far - and the achievements. The achievements will be treated in the next diary entry. See you next time, I'm looking forward to seeing you. ;)

Do you prefer to read this diary in the developer's mother tongue? Then click here to read this diary entry in the original German language!

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