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ProfL

Entertaining loading "screen"

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I hope this is the right place to ask. I'm not one of those creative guys, so I really rely on your help ;)


I'd like to ask you for ideas for something entertaining to watch and maybe even interact while loading up a game or level. Primary for consoles. It shouldn't be "massive", as the loading should not slow down due to it, but it can use simple drawing, images (tho, not too much as it would be silly to have a loading for the loading screen :D ).

Some games already do this, like the hologram that Killzone 2, that can be slightly move with your sixaxis. I'd like to offer something eye candy, maybe something related to the level that is loaded. maybe some completely unrelated but cool to watch effects (but they shouldn't be annoying to those that just want the loading to be done).

I guess you get a picture of my idea.

if you have questions or any random idea or suggest, don't hesitate to post it.

Thanks in advance.

ProfL

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Perhaps give them something to do while it is loading? Some sort of mini game kind of thing could work, relating to the content of your game. Maybe even integrating it as an important part of your game?

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Something that just popped in my head:

In God Of War, Devil May Cry, Fable, and other similar games, you get experience orbs that fall out of defeated enemies. What if you could do something similar on the loading screens that would earn you some orbs? Like maybe Simon Says with the face buttons? :)

Just anything quick that can be done in ~5 seconds. Maybe in a game like DMC you could do Tarot Card video poker. You just quickly pick which cards to keep and which to redraw, and if you get a good hand, you get more orbs.

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Phantasy Star Online had a little glowy thing that you could move around with the directional controls, with a "time vortex" style animation in the background. It made a sort of twinkling sound when you moved it, and left a trail of sparkles behind it that quickly faded, sort of like a comet - the equivalent of one of those cursor gimmicks that some websites use. It's entertaining enough that I still twiddle around with it when I'm waiting for an area to load. It's kind of like doodling - some idle action to occupy your fidgeting fingers while something boring happens.

I suppose the choice depends quite significantly on how long the loading takes. If it's around five seconds or less, there isn't much time for significant interactivity and something minimal like the above is probably best. If it's going to take at least several times that long, you've probably got enough time for some sort of minigame. If you're having creative difficulties, just make a clone of one of the classic simple games out there - it could be a button-mashing task, a Chopper clone, or even a puzzle game like Tetris or Bejeweled.

What if the loading time, or time taken to complete the activity, is variable? Remember that you don't have to forcibly switch to the next level of the game as soon as it's loaded. In fact, you don't have to force the switch at all; give the player something they'll enjoy messing around on for a minute or two, and let them stop when they've had enough - by which time, the level will already have loaded.

You might decide to let the score contribute to the overall game, but it doesn't have to: the main goal is to pass the time in a fun way during a gap in the game. Of course, the meta-goal of the game itself is to pass the time in a fun way during a gap in other real-life activities - and scores in games rarely affect how you do in those activities.

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In meny games player wishes to see world map every now and then.
Help player by showing the map!

Show world map of your game, and show how enemy & friends are located.
(can be pre-scripted to show faction borders based on current story point).

Just make sure that there is always some changes in map.
(Cheat: move enemy/friend borders icons on map semi-randomly)

/Tyrian

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Personally I think your loading screens should be as short as possible - if your player has time for a mini-game the loading screen is too long (exception may be at the start of the game)

Anyway, to answer the actual question, a mini-stats screen would be nice and keep the player occupied for 5-10 seconds. It should show random facts that might make the player go "oh wow - really?". Depends on what your game is but off the top of my head:
*Time Spent doing [some random/strange activity e.g. in shops, flirting, fighting]
*Number of kills
*Most talked to NPC
etc etc etc

If the above doesn't tickle your fancy - perhaps some Chinese Proverbs or Philosophical Quotes which are relevant to your game

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One thing I have to say for if you include any useful/helpful/interesting info on a loading screen, then Give the player the option to see it again as they choose, or don't have the info go away until the player says so.

I can't stand it when I play an older game with helpful info on loading screens, and have barely two seconds to read the whole thing.

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You could do similar to when Final Fantasy XIII is loading from a save game, it provides a summary of the current point in the story.

Another option would be to do something similar to what Heavy Rain did while it was installing, it gave instructions on how to fold up the oragami piece which came with the game. For a loading screen you could present one instruction per loading screen (the screens would need to be in sequence, remain until the player is ready to continue and be viewable later)

A final suggestion is to display "historical" information about the world the game is occur in (eg. "The first snugglebunny was reportedly found by Sir Hoppy in 245 FK")

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Thanks for all the replies so far!, I try to respond to all questions/issues that came up.

Quote:
Original post by mich4elp
Perhaps give them something to do while it is loading? Some sort of mini game kind of thing could work, relating to the content of your game. Maybe even integrating it as an important part of your game?

Thats a good idea, tho, the question is 'what?'. The game is an AAA game and whatever will be put in shouldn't be lowering the quality perception. That's the tricky part.


@Daaark
gambling sounds not bad in first place, but something makes me feel like that's not appropriate. I cannot express why :/

Quote:
Robin S
I suppose the choice depends quite significantly on how long the loading takes.
usual loading times, I think the goal is <30s, but I wouldn't be surprised if it gets up to 45s.

Quote:

You might decide to let the score contribute to the overall game, but it doesn't have to: the main goal is to pass the time in a fun way during a gap in the game. Of course, the meta-goal of the game itself is to pass the time in a fun way during a gap in other real-life activities - and scores in games rarely affect how you do in those activities.

That's true, it should be something that isn't the usual boring loading screen with some rotating icon saying "please wait". wanting to make a game that is superior in any way (who doesn't want to? :D), should include some loading screen that is not boring. of course, having no loading screen like GodOfWar, with continues gameplay or at least movie playback would be perfect, but that's a big efford for those maybe 10min that you'll experience loading screens (hopefully :) ).

@TyrianFin
parts of the level that will be loaded sounds like a good idea. maybe a capture (like screenshot) that is in some way interactive. hmmm

Quote:
GesterX
Personally I think your loading screens should be as short as possible

Personally I think there should be no loading screens at all :D
Quote:
if your player has time for a mini-game the loading screen is too long
fact is, nearly all games have loading screens and it's not on purpose. Nobody really wants to have one and I also don't restrict this thread to game ideas. Something eyecandy only, some neat informations, something... whatever it is that makes you not count the seconds till the next level is visible, is very welcome. (so I like your "mini-stats screen" idea :) )
regarding quotes: I think MW2 had those, that wasn't bad, indeed.

@Talroth
I put that to my notes, you're right, some instructions screens that have important informations but dont give enought time to memorize are annoying.

@Dragoncar
that instructions for the figure are quite a nice idea, I'm hunting for something like that (although i'm not sure this extra could be added), but it's exactly something special like that I'm seeking.
Not having to put something extra to the package would be important, tho. :/


My plan is to "virally" check in something in I'd do in my spare time, either everybody would get amazed or I'll get my arse kicked. anyway, I want to make even the loading screen better than other games :) (I know I sound like an MMO wannabe developer with way more motivation than view of reality, but I just love my job and want to make constumers think the same :) ).
Idea's I had so far:
- some "aquarium" with simulated water where you could rotate it (like those snow-fall-balls or like those thin "aquariums" with two different colored fluids that dont really mix, but you can rotate them and they show some nice effect. maybe that could be even extended to show some gameplay.
- fluid dynamics simulations, like a water drop in all details and slowmo falling into a sea, a cup etc.
- galaxy 2 level zoomin, combined with the progress of loading. you'd zoom into the galaxy, the sol system, the earth orbit, passing clouds, down to the map place. not sure if that's not just a boring movie, tho.
- customizing some weapons or weapon vs shield vs speed things or something like that for the next map ?
- showing some detailed rendering of some object of the game. like the zbrush models that were used for player chars etc. maybe with some stylized rendering? :/

I'm open for more suggest. what would you guys love to see in the loading screen of your fav game? something that would maybe not fit to any other game, something that wouldn't annoy you if you would load the game every day for the next years (in THEORY :D).

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The best loading screen I've seen in a game so far has been in Bayonetta.

The loading screen basically just gives you an empty area where you can practice the games different combos, of which there are many. You can choose to display the move list or not, and scroll through it if it's up. And if you want to keep practicing you can press the select button, and the next level wont begin until you decide to start it.

This wouldn't work for every type of game, but it works perfectly here as there are so many different combos to practice, and the combat is fun.

You can see an example of it here
">
(all of the shown game play is in the loading screen).

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