Sunday, March 13, 2011

Get Ready for Loading. Well wait, hold on...

I have some thoughts on loading screens.    It's not something talked about very often and it's definitely not something you'd see many developers bring up on purpose.

Now obviously, loading screens can be pretty annoying. You came to play, not stare at the monitor and eat another handful of chips.  Next comes my thesis on how loading screens make gamers fat.

Anyhow, they happen to be one of those necessary evils in many cases.  For Legend of Kilflame, we'll be doing everything in our power (which by the way, is the Power of Grayskull, soooo not too shabby) to reduce the amount of load time players sit through.    But we have to be expecting to face some load times, so we're not going to skimp on how we address it.

AAA games have come a long way on this front - well some have.  We can definitely learn from them either way.   Some actually throw enough resources at the problem as to heavily disguise loading screens with things like in-game elevator rides!  Pretty cool, especially when they even build in some plot-relevant audio content and so forth.   The shimmer fades a bit once you catch on to their little trick, but A+ for effort.  

Usually though, you still just stare at a graphic (and maybe some text) and nibble on a Triscuit.  If the graphic is interesting, cool.   If it's relevant to the game in some way and offers  information, extra cool.   If you can actually benefit from paying attention to it, sexy cool.

I've personally always liked when games stuff some useful tidbits on their loading screens.  Not crucial info, mind you, but useful.    The problem is I think sometimes the intern is writing the text.  For example, don't tell me that "A jumps over enemies."  If I haven't figured that out yet, I probably should walk away from gaming.   "Plant mines where your enemy is going to travel."  Thanks jackass, I am trying to but this guy on the other team keeps sneaking up...oh forget it.

So the Legend of Kilflame loading screen will consist of the 7 "Core" that play a large role as key items in the game.   Not only are they items in the game, but they are important to the plot and gameworld.   They are iconic of Ophidian Wars saga, so what better images to convey?  It'll help address the challenge of working outside the realm of the average RPG (no elves, magic, mana, trolls, strength/dexterity/intelligence - etc etc).

We'll also add tips and lore and take time to carefully craft them.   Again, we went outside of the RPG standard universe "comfort zone" so I see this as another opportunity to share knowledge and educate player on interesting facts and gameplay elements.

Load me up some comments if  you have any.

4 comments:

  1. You should have a minigame in the loading screen that affects the following level in some way. The better you do, the less enemies, or more special items, or some map is revealed, or you get money, or something.

    Will you know where every different loading screen will appear and so have different text depending on where in the game the player is, or will it be randomised? No matter how useful your text is, if I've read it once already it'll annoy me.

    (Oh, and make sure you "press A to continue" after a loading screen, there's not much worse than getting half way through some text and the loading screen fading out before you've finished!)

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  2. Love the loading screen, looks great. I'm also a fan of loading screens which inform you of interesting bits of information about the game.

    How long are the loads thus far?

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  3. Thanks guys. So far there's no real way to gauge them because more will happen to beef them up (more content/assets) but we can also do quite a bit to trim them down. It's an ongoing battle. :)

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  4. I Agree with Matt. Any significant Loading should be hidden with a mini game -
    or for example in rpgs something like an inventory management screen/level up screen/quest log(so you can remember what your supposed to do after loading :P).

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