Memorable Menus (your faves)

Posts: 2
Joined: 2010.11
Post: #1
I'm seeking inspiration for my menu design and I'm wondering what your fave menus are? Most pro games (halo for example) exibit a blatently uninspired menu system only made interesting my some 3D background, wheras others pull off a lot with little graphical talent (uplink), or a lot with a lot of graphical talent (Toysight, and indeed all of the S.F. games, and by the way, the Widgits menu is totally a rip off of toysight's).

What makes a menu work for you? Functionality? Simplicity? Multiplicity? 3D? Innovation? Mac-like-ness(Aquaticity)?

The menu is the user's first impression of your work, so I'm thinking it's worth a a bit of work to get my menu better.
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Post: #2
I like menus that let me click on choices with the mouse as well as choose with the keyboard using either the arrow keys or typing the first letter of the option (said letter should be highlighted or underlined in this case). Some game, I think it was Halo, did this wrong. They let you select items in the menu with arrow keys but return didn't activate the selected item, instead you had to reach over to the enter key on the keypad. Or something like that, all I remember now is that for at least a week it would tick me off 5 times a day.

Hierarchical menus can be good, especially for settings submenus. The sense I'm using the term hierarchical is like this: clicking an option brings up new options but the old ones are still on the screen in a different column. Like in settings there might be a column on the left that says 'Display,' Sound,' and 'Network' which doesn't change till you're done playing with your settings and a column on the right with the options for whatever category is selected on the left.
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Posts: 338
Joined: 2004.07
Post: #3
Huge UI pet peeve of mine is when a game's menu doesn't respond to mouse control at all and forces me to use arrow keys and return/enter.

My favorite UI menu is probably Starcraft:
- It's responsive. There's mouseover graphics and sounds.
- It has good graphical/aural feedback. When you click options, the UI screens slide in and out with these cool futuristic sounds.
- More importantly, this feedback doesn't get in the way. It's fast. By the time your reaction time kicks in, the new menu is already in place. Contrast to Warcraft 3, where you click a button, and find yourself waiting for the chains to take the old menu away and lower the new menu into view.
- Its style is totally appropriate to the game. Fits it like a glove.

In general, I like the keep-it-simple menus. Don't get the player's way at all. Stay away from gimmicky crap unless you're being quirky (example: Katamari Damacy.) Make it so I can get to playing as quickly as possible. Meaning, skippable splash screens.

Also, make it so that wailing on the return/enter key will get you back to the game. I've had this suggested to me more than once. So say from game over, return takes you to high score entry. Return right away enters the previously entered name, and takes you to the high score screen. Return again takes you to the title, then defaults choice to New Game (or whatever.) Bam, I'm playing again in literally a fraction of a second.

Justin Ficarrotta
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Posts: 684
Joined: 2002.11
Post: #4
The Escape Velocity (any of the three) menus are really good, I think. Also, for some reason, I like the Super Smash Bros. Melee menu.

Whatever you do, DO NOT go the path of Nanosaur and the like. Linear cycle menus = bad!!!

You might try arranging your items in a circle, but do NOT make the circle rotate, because that is confusing. You can, however, spin it for a transition animation Wink

My web site - Games, music, Python stuff
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Posts: 168
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #5
One thing, IMNSHO, is that the user must get confirmation some way that what the mouse is over a link. Or, if not using a mouse - to make it extremely obvious where you are on the screen. And it must be easy and fast to make a choice... So many damn DVDs break those two rules, they takes ages using animations and sometimes the confirmation of a current choice is so minor you have to squint at the televison.
Another thing that annoys me is the lack of support for different sized screens. Having many computers and the expense of monitors has forced our family to get several 640 x 480 monitors for computers that have no use other than gaming. Even games that support that resolution have text cut off at places with some games... Just because most screens are big, doesn't mean the audience you are targeting are the norm.

I like the ease of carrara and KPT guis very muchly, people seem to have forgotten some of the nice techniques(sp?) they introduced...

T'is late and I doubt many will understand that, if you don't - I will have to answer another time as I'm going to sleep soon.
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Posts: 834
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #6
Above all: don't forget teh snappy. Make the menus react immediately, with no transitions exceeding half a second or thereabout.
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Posts: 110
Joined: 2002.07
Post: #7
i like my menus in the racing and golf game, its simple and dynamic ;-)

a good menu is a menu where the player dont need to think about making things, should be "natural way".

play | options | quit
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Posts: 130
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #8
Yeah, the most important thing mentioned here is:
Sure, you can some transition effects(esp if it's when starting a new game(ie, it's going to the loading screen) etc, but esp not when pressing a button bring up new optiones etc), but too long ones just get tedious(like, Myth 3 is a bad example of this. Sure, it looks nice and suits the game real well, but it takes a tad bit too long).

And another thing, don't change the position of the buttons(unless you press a button to go into the options, and your old buttons go to the left of the screen or something), it easily get's confusing.

"Gameplay Uber Alles. And if you can make it psychedelic too, great!" - Jeff Minter
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Post: #9
Virtual Fighter 4... so liquidy
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Posts: 168
Joined: 2004.10
Post: #10
Nothing much related to this topic but, I believe the music and sounds also make a huge impact on people's view of the gui. For instance, when I think of games such as GooBall then I seem to remember how brilliant they were because I loved the little sounds and the music. The menus themselves are only lists and a map when choosing your level, but I seem to rate that game higher mentally than other games with graphics like it.

[EDIT]Forgot to add that I was talking about gui for the last sentence. So here it is: ", gui-wise."
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