J of K

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Splish Splosh Splash

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jbadams

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I'm sure you're all familiar with splash screens in games by now. I mean the full-screen animated things that display company logos. I don't believe splash screen isn't really the correct term for these, but it seems to be what they're commonly known as these days and I'm sure you're all aware of what I'm talking about. For anyone still confused, and for purposes of illustration a few examples are in order. The following are screenshots taken from the splashscreens of Activision, Westwood Studios and EA respectively (thankfully for me I don't seem to own any games new enough to get a capture of the now infamous "challenge everything"):
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

...and the following are three seperate frames captured from the splash screen of Raven:
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Now, personally I think that the Raven splash screen (captured from my copy of Quake 4 btw) is actually pretty cool, and I'll admit I've let it play a few times. How many times have you put in your favorite game and simply pressed escape, or space, or whatever key happens to skip one of these splash screens though? How many times have you actually watched one of these splash screens? I think you'll find that apart from perhaps the first time you rarely watch the splash screens; you want to get to the action (never mind the fact that you'll still have to navigate a menu before you can get to the gameplay!) and the splash screens - sometimes in groups of up to 3 or 4 - are slowing you down, wasting your time.

Worse still are games where you can't skip the splash, and are sometimes also subjected to an intro movie (it was cool the first time...). I'm sure every avid gamer has some amount of hatred for the EA games' "create everything" splash, and keeping gamers from getting to the gameplay isn't really a great idea. There is however a method to the madness of these big studios and publishers; they're building brand loyalty. You'll remember most of the annoying splash screens, and that might help generate sales in future; in theory you'll remember the excellent games you've played before and be more inclined to purchase (or at least consider) future titles by the same companies.

"So, what's your point?"

I'm glad you asked. My point is that your indie or hobbiest game need not inflict players with this same annoyance. I see a lot of people including a splash screen just because it's what all thier favorite games do; you don't need to. If you do include any sort of cinematic, make it skippable. You aren't a big studio, you don't need to stoop to these marketting tactics.

Still want to display a logo somewhere and build some brand loyalty? Here's a not-so-secret: The player will look at the menu screen every time they load up your game. Put a logo on there somewhere if you must, and earn points from your players by not stopping them from getting to the action.


Anyways, just a little rant, hope someone finds it interesting. [wink]



By the way, check out Primal Damage, by mcguile25. The website isn't very impressive yet, but it looks like it'll be a cool game - he's been posting about it in his journal, and now he's also looking for help (2d/3d artists, web design).

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I like id software's beating heart (Q3:TA/D3).
Unless I'm thinking of something different, EA's "challenge everything" is only annoying because it's loud - at least it's very short.

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I found myself letting the Unreal Tournament 2004 runs it's splash (in conjunction with Nvidia's) everytime it started just to see which character would pop through!

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Need For Speed Underground had an immensely annoying set of intro sequences. Been a while since I played it - but I do remember hammering the keyboard until they'd go away; even then it took a good 5-10 seconds to get through them all [rolleyes]

The Ion Storm/Deus Ex one was pretty good... if you hit escape (i think) then the menu would pop-up but the logo's would keep on going in the background.

Jack

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I usually watch those only the first time I start a new game. Before playing again I usually try to remove or replace these files to shorten start up time.

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Quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
You aren't a big studio, you don't need to stoop to these marketting tactics.
There's no logic to that statement.

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Is this a result of the rant in my journal? [smile]

I don't mind splash screens if they are short, unobtrusive and skippable. However, I guess that's just because they aren't annoying; it's not as if I like them.

And for others; the ones that are long, loud and unskippable, I usually end up deleting or editing the video files to speed up the load times (and I've discovered some nasty bugs in a few games when I've done this [smile]).

But superpig does have a point; marketing is more important for the little guys, because they don't have nearly as much exposure. However, like you've suggested, you might as well put the logo on the menu screen. Or you could have some sort of theme to link your games together, like always including a squirrel in your games.



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You are of course correct, and that little rant was quite poorly written and thought out really. Damned lack of sleep.

I suppose I more meant that indie developers don't really need to use that particular marketting tactic; there are plenty of viable alternatives that are less obtrusive.

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I quite like the Lionhead one (I only own The Movies, so this might not be in all of their games), which unlike others is rendered on the fly. If you play with the arrow keys when its running you can move the box while the black and white squares are falling into it and spill them around the place. Fun times...

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