Daily Archives: May 25, 2013

Rant #002: Broken Menu’s

Broken menu minecraft

Don’t you just love it? You are playing a game and the menu’s are all glitched up? Like in this screenshot, where the “Done” button is too stubborn to move. This is a curse that many modders have in Minecraft. But in my current playthrough of certain games I have encountered some issues with menu’s for me to talk about in this rant. But before I continue, what problems did you guys have had with menu’s before? Let me know in the comments. Maybe I’ll add them in a follow up article if I ever write one. So let’s dive into the menu’s and my rant about them. 

Standard menu’s?

I often ask myself, why do developers not have some rules about menu’s? I recently tried out Call Of Duty and the options to change the controls are separate. Great, I looked over it since I expected them to be under an option tab.

All the menu’s in the games are different. I have no big issue with that. The might try to fit the style of the game. But, the issue is mainly that all options have a different spot in each game. What really makes me nervous is when developers don’t give you a chance to play a game in a windowed mode or in full screen. Some games stay full screen anyways. Or when you can’t change the screen sizes to the screen size of your monitor.

A big example of bad menu design is Overlord. Yes, for the options there are two menu’s. Awesome! But the most useful options like screen size and the changing of buttons is in the launcher and you can’t access that in game. This made me close and restart the game often to try to really fit the controls to my likeness.

To accept or not to accept?

Why do so many games have menu’s where you need to click on “accept” before the changes happen? For older games, I can forgive that, but in more recent games I have seen so many examples where the game changes the settings as soon as you change the setting. Even a preview button would be sweet.

This extremely confuses me, to the extend where I look in every game for an accept button or I get mad went the changes didn’t happen because I missed the “accept” button.

Another annoying example is how messy the Devil May Cry menu’s are. The buttons to accept options are, well displayed if they would be on a controller. What in the holy name of flying cows? Not everybody has a XBOX guys so, not everybody has a controller to attach to their computer.

This actually gives me the opportunity to do a small additional rant. Who plays with a controller on a computer? For emulators, yes, but for PC games? Oh heck no, this just silly. That shows to me that you rather have the console version. It’s so silly to sit there with a controller when you have a whole array of buttons to press on your keyboard.

Tooltips

Tooltips are a great way of letting the player know what option does what. But oh so many games don’t have this. They just throw the option in your face and you have to guess what it is.

What I really like is how some sound menu’s have a sample that plays when you lower or raise the volume. All that games need to have that, it’s great to just tweak it to your hearts content.

But truth to be told, you have games where the menu’s are so extreme, that it’s a game in itself to navigate them. Most sandbox games like SimCity have this. Where you are actually playing with menu’s most of the time.

RollerCoaster Tycoon, the first game, has a big issue with menu’s as well. Each option is a menu. You can open a menu by almost clicking anywhere in game. It’s extremely difficult to keep track of them all and I find the screen get easily cluttered with menu’s. And there is no real way of closing them all at once.

I can agree that some games are lacking options. But I will mention that in my reviews then. I think I’m going to leave it here for this rant. Actually with my conclusion.

Menu’s can be messy, different and not easy to navigate. There is a lot of improvement in this part of gaming. But once you see some touches in other games, you get annoyed that some games don’t have them. I realize that I haven’t talked about how bad the menu’s can be on Kinect games, and that’s simply because I don’t own one.

So, that’s all for this rant. Happy gaming and NekoJonez signing out!

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