What Not to Do When You Make a Main Menu

yogert96 #39 20 289

This is something that has been a problem for me for a long time. Building a great Main Menu is essential to making a great game. It is the first thing people see when they play your game. I am definitely not an expert in the field of video-game design, but I have made a few projects with main menu's. In this post, I will show you 3 main menu's that I made for my games, and what went wrong with each of them. I will also show you an example of what you can do instead for each of them. Be sure to check out my post on A Programmers Attempt at Art (Part 3) Main Menu Design, and see how I have improved.

Pinwheel (My First Game). Problem: Too Simple

Black Text, a system font, and a beige background tell you nothing about a game. I am almost embarrassed to show this, but I believe
it shows how simple people can make a main menu. Simple Main Menus can be good like this one:

This tells you all you need to know on one page, has a nice font, and is layer out nicely with different text sizes, and imaging.

Green Labyrinth (My Second Game). Problem: Not Consistent

I tried to make a similar menu to the one pictured above, but as you can probably see, some things just didn't
work out. My player, pickup, and turrets are squares in the game, but here they look like rectangles The color of the
text at the bottom is a different color than the rest of the text. I also believe that my instructions needed a separate page, and
could have been written better. There were more problems with this game then the main menu, but it definitely contributed to
the overall failure of this game.

Green Labyrinth Classic (Alpha of Green Labyrinth). Problem That Will Be Addressed: Text Placement

There are a lot of problems with this main menu that have already been addressed, so they will not be mentioned.
But, there is something wrong with the main menu that needs to be addressed. Text placement. The title of the game
at an angle was a good idea, but there is too much space between the text and the spacing is inconsistent.

If you read anything, read this!

When you build a main menu for your game, please do not do the following:

      1. Make it too simple

      2. Put one page worth of text on three pages

      3. Put three pages worth of text on one page

      4. Make your game assets different sizes on your main menu (be consistent).

      5. Poorly align your text

And lastly, if it looks bad, don't do it. Please read A Programmers Attempt at Art (Part 3) Main Menu Design, and see how I have improved.

Thank you.

andyman404 #55 33 216

What if you used a different font for the Green Labyrinth screenshots? Gives more character. The existing font is so generic and may seem "lazy".

I think the first menu screen, Pinwheel, would look alright if it had a nice background image rather than the beige.

yogert96 #39 20 289

Thank you for the reply!

I totally agree with the idea to change the font, but the in-game graphics that I added were poor as well.

Pinwheel might have been better with a background, but I didn't show the other pages which contained
little material, and could have been put on one page nicely.

There were some good things with these menu's, but my goal was to explain what went wrong with them,
so I didn't cover anything good about them.


Personally I like my menus animated . It just adds a certain flair to them.. I try to stay away from menus that are too static.. Heres a couple short videos of some of the menus I have done. Suuey & Kollectiv are live and available for the xbox 360, windows phone and windows 8 store.. The others not yet.. But Im rather proud of these.. =D

Peons - Work in progress
Coastal Glide

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