What Could be More Exciting than Menus?

So, something a bit different this week. I've been doing a lot of work on the menus lately, so I'd like to show you (and hopefully get feedback on) the upgrade and skirmish menus, as they are in their current W.I.P state.

The upgrade menu is displayed after each level in the campaign. Here the player can upgrade the stats of their Scotsmen and towers. Since there's more stuff than in the original game, I've organised it into tabs for each item. Clicking the tab of the item you want to view available upgrades for brings that tab to the front, as you would expect.

One of the things people mentioned about the upgrade screen in the original game was that it would be nice to see the actual values of the stats, rather than just an indicator of what level they're at, which is why I've decided to display those stats over the upgrade bar, as well as an indicator of how much the next upgrade level will improve the stats next to the upgrade button.

The blue part of the upgrade bars indicates what level the stat was at already from previous upgrades. The green part represents upgrades purchased in the current session. Any upgrades purchased in the current session can be removed by right clicking the upgrade button, or all of them can be reset by clicking the reset button in the top left hand corner. However, upgrades that have previously been purchased (the blue bars) cannot be reset, so think hard about which upgrades you'd like to purchase before clicking the “Next” button.

On the right is a list of towers that can be unlocked. Some are not available until a certain point in the game, so have their icons hidden by a lock icon. Others are available for purchase, and have the cost displayed next to them. Clicking the padlock button unlocks them. The blue open padlocks indicate towers that have been unlocked previously, and green open padlocks represent tower that have been unlocked in the current session. You can change your mind about any towers you've unlocked in the current session by right clicking the green padlock, or clicking the reset button.

Instead of upgrade points, this time I'm using money for the upgrade menu. All money earned (whether it was spent or not) in the previous level is added to the money available for purchasing upgrades. Any money left over will be rolled over until the next time the player visits the upgrade screen. Using money instead of upgrade points enables me to make more powerful upgrades more expensive, and make it cost more for each successive upgrade on a single stat, which will encourage balanced upgrading rather than maxing out certain stats while leaving others on level one. Oh and another thing, the money indicator in the top right corner is just temporary. Haven't made a graphic for that yet.

The options down the left side of the skirmish menu are much the same as those in the first game. The only addition there is the “Game Type” option. This will give the option of a standard game, or the new “Last Stand” mode where the player begins with a heap of Scotsmen, porridge and money, and a few minutes at the start to get their defences set up. However, they will be unable to recruit additional Scotsmen, so they will have to hold out with what they've got and try to outlast the enemy.

On the right is a picture of the currently selected map, and a short description, to make it easier for the player to decide which map to play on.

The bottom panel is where the player can choose which towers, heroes and enemies should be available in the match. Clicking on any of the icons toggles between it being enabled, or disabled (indicated by turning red). The towers are organized into tabs for Scottish towers, and Foreign towers. The enemies are organized into six tabs, one for each country. As well as the regular enemies, the player can enable bosses as well.

For both screens I'm going to put an overlay of spilt whisky and porridge stains on the tab panels, since they look un-Scottishly clean at the moment. I'm still tossing up whether to use different background images for each menu or not. My current intention is to have an animation where all the current menu stuff scrolls off the top of the screen while the next menu is loading, and then have that scroll into place from the bottom of the screen. This would hide the scene loading and make it more seamless, but I'm not sure if people might think its a bit cheap using the same background for all the menus. Opinions on this and anything else are very welcome.