Circuit Breakers | Tech Blog: The Many Menus of Circuit Breakers Pt. 1
One of my finer achievements in game development is the menus of Circuit Breakers. For whatever reason during the development cycle I took on the challenge of creating something that both looked and worked great. In just a single year Circuit Breakers has progressed quite a bit as far as the interface is concerned. Let’s take a quick look back at the the evolution of menus in Circuit Breakers.
For the first two or so months of development, Circuit Breakers had no menus at all. On startup you were sent directly to the first room of the game. I can’t seem to find the code for this build but if I recall correctly the weapon selection only worked for Player 1. The important thing about this menu was how it allowed us to change the amount of players without compiling an entirely new build.
The first menu that supported controller support (and actually accidentally only supported controllers) was first compiled just 16 days after the previously shown menu. The “QUIT GAME” and “FULLSCREEN” options are pretty self explanatory, “KICKSTARTER” opened up a web browser and took you to the Circuit Breakers Kickstarter. For the most part the Kickstarter option was for us to remind people that Circuit Breakers was on Kickstarter at SGC 2015 and Let’s Play Gaming Expo 2015.
“DEMO MODE” pulled up the character select screen and then took you to the main game which we now call “Arcade” mode. The first character select screen did the job well, but I wasn’t too impressed with it. Functionality was basic, but this was the first build with all 4 characters and was one of the first times the game started to really come together.
The next change to the menu was to add the ability to change the controls. This build allowed you to set whatever player you wanted as a keyboard or xinput controller. You’ll notice that these last few builds have the date 7/18/2016 in the corner because I compiled these builds from old code I have in the Triverske archives. The compile date in the top corner was never as useful as I thought it would be, but if you go back and look I bet you can find a few builds compiled at 3 or 4AM.
By mid-August we had started working on a more refined menu that was a bit more fit for release. The new menu was built for the purpose of having clean aesthetic with the same basic functionality. Possibly the most interesting thing on this menu is the inclusion of an “ADVENTURE” mode. You’ll be sorely disappointed to know that the option didn’t do anything at this point in time. Hitting “EXTRAS” actually quit the game in this build for whatever reason.
For the first time you were able to select cores, and those familiar with how the game looks now will see the similarities between this character select screen and how it looks today. Also worth noting is how dark the colors are in both menus on this build. It must have been my laptop screen or something but things just do not look very good in hindsight. Anything from this build forward was never seen in public because we didn’t go to any more conventions in 2015.
For whatever reason the build date in the corner reappears along with the gears that are still there today. By this time we decided that “ADVENTURE” mode was not going to happen and was replaced with “SCORE ATTACK” mode. Hitting the “EXTRAS” option doesn’t exit the game, but instead tells you that nothing is there.
More cores are in the game by the end of September, in fact all of the regular cores appear to be here. The boxes around the characters have been removed. The green particles at the bottom changed colors based on how many cores were turned on.
Right before release the menu takes on a near final form. I finally got around to finding some decent colors for the main menu. The current main menu as of when this was posted is almost indistinguishable. The “EXTRAS” menu is filled with several options and everything is working as intended.
Cores now will appear locked if you haven’t obtained them yet. I swapped typefaces a few times until I found something that I was pleased with. We ended up removing the particles in exchange for gears that spin faster for every core that’s turned on.
Score Attack finally got its own screen pretty close to release. As far as I’m aware this screen is exactly as it appears today. There’s a fun story about getting the Avatars to correctly display next to the name of the player. That’s a different story for another time.
That about wraps up part 1, in part 2 I’ll talk about the extra screens, and changes made since release.
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