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Standardized Title Screen


GreenLion
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One of sources of user enjoyment is consistency.  Being able to predict what something will do or look like, and then having it actually turn out that way, is very satisfying. 

By contrast, one of the pain points of user experience is surprises.  When an action or command that has previously done one thing but now results in another, the result is unpleasantly jarring, after which the user can feel resentful at being "tricked" and at the hassle of having to learn or look for something that is unnecessarily different and inconsistent.

We all remember being annoyed when a software update changes the look and feel of an app or OS.  Or when different apps have different conventions on where to find various things.

This principle applies to many categories of things.  Right now, though, I'm bringing it up in just one specific context: the title screen of video games.  One of the things I most liked about the original Nintendo Entertainment System user experience, at least in its early years, was how the title screens had such a consistent look and feel.  I made the world of the NES feel reassuringly well-organized, well-thought-out, and friendly.

I'm not saying every NES title screen had the same layout - there certainly was variety, especially in the later years.  And that variety isn't purely bad.  But I really think that X16 apps (OK, games) having a standard layout much like the NES had, with high scores on top, a colorful title (probably with a distinctive font or logo, perhaps with some graphics), one or two player being displayed options, and then some copyright info -- and all with a same font, with the same background color, etc., would really help tie it all together and make this project feel like something polished.  Look here at several different publishers basically stuck to the same layout.

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I suggest doing something like this, maybe even having a standard template to work from.

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On 9/13/2022 at 12:22 PM, desertfish said:

I know a great amount of games I had on the C64 had a standardized start screen! 

Here it is!

[CSDb] - Fairlight Intro (the Legendary one) by Fairlight (1987)

 

😂

Don't get me started on how much I hate intros and cracktros. What's worse is the new trend of "cracking" and adding intros to free and unprotected games. What's the point of that

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The best way to have consistency is to start a company and pay people to follow a template. I think the greatest thing about the X16 is the flexibility it provides homebrew developers while still having the immediacy of a simple 8-bit system. Giving them an arbitrary box to sit in is not going to work. It's like trying to get a picture of your cat in a box. He'll just hop out and wander away, and then come back and sleep in the thing all night when the camera isn't there.

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On 9/14/2022 at 2:28 AM, svenvandevelde said:

The effort these crackers put in making intros or demos should be better spent on making good games. 

I'm fine with demos, sometimes they evolve into games etc. But I fully agree on cracktros... I hated them.

As for standardised title screens: Not sure about that. I think I'd prefer to keep my individual and artistic freedoms to do whatever I think is suitable for each game or software. Maybe I would settle to a certain standard of my own over time.

For Bixx for example the title screen and options/instructions are one screen. For Invaderz I opted for a separate title screen and another screen for instructions/options because there wasn't enough space for both on one - and I wanted to show off the graphics I created (and what the X16 can do).

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On 9/14/2022 at 4:44 AM, Yazwho said:

If you don't like cracktros, you can of course buy the game.

 

Unfortunately, that's no longer an option for old games published by defunct companies! Now I have no choice but to sit through cracktros to play many old home computer games.

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Having installed some stuff I found on CSDB (if I remember the right acronym), I don't mind the cracktros themselves so much as I mind the fact that most stuff on there also pulls up a trainer menu before starting the game. I really really really don't like cheat codes like this - and having it drop into a menu first before even bringing up the main screen is annoying.

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On 9/15/2022 at 6:52 AM, SlithyMatt said:

Unfortunately, that's no longer an option for old games published by defunct companies! Now I have no choice but to sit through cracktros to play many old home computer games.

Well, you could rewrite them yourself....

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An idea is to have some official quality mark that can be given to software that meet certain demands. Those games/programs that are acknowledged can then have a certain title screen or badge in common. Compare for example how all Apple Arcade games start with a very short animated logotype intro. After that they all look very different. This could also be very motivating for developers in our community to make finished and stable products. 🙂

Edited by Johan Kårlin
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On 9/16/2022 at 4:23 AM, Johan Kårlin said:

An idea is to have some official quality mark that can be given to software that meet certain demands. Those games/programs that are acknowledged can then have a certain title screen or badge in common. Compare for example how all Apple Arcade games start with a very short animated logotype intro. After that they all look very different. This could also be very motivating for developers in our community to make finished and stable products. 🙂

Not completely unlike how Commodore used to do it...

 

1844694153_ScreenShot2022-09-16at12_17_37PM.png.f65e06e2d0c266e9f43ab82358615db4.png

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On 9/16/2022 at 6:39 PM, BruceMcF said:

How much space would it take to have a 16x16 sprite animated butterfly flying around a splash screen? If that can fit into a single HighRAM 8K bank, it can be loaded up and used as a throwaway routine.

A16x16 sprite with 16 colors requires 128 bytes. Let say it is animated with 8 frames, that is just 1 KB. Code for displaying it and move it around will be less than 1 KB even if you include maybe a sine table for help when trying to imitate how a butterfly flies. In other words this can fit easily in a RAM bank and also in golden RAM (4 KB).

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