So, user "NotGoodForYou" and I came up with the concept of holding a contest here on TAY to redesign the latest Smash Bros. menu for several reasons. This week, you may have noticed I missed my weekly art related post regarding SeeBonnyDraw as that has been put on hold and moved to next week. It'll be the final episode for 2014 and in particular will feature a certain Caretaker of the Cosmos so stay tuned! In the absence of a SeeBonnyDraw post, I decided to make my art related contribution of the week focus on what I did work on in the past few days, which is a menu concept for the contest and do what I do best in breaking down how I created it and the creative process!
Here's the original menu...
And here's mine! Be sure to enlarge.
My design philosophy was to bring access to all the main facets of the game on start up while evolving Sakurai's visual style towards my artistic direction. I wanted to replace quirky with clarity.
Overall, I wanted to create a menu that presented users with clear labels that were easy to read and follow. Sakurai's other menus often clash with all sorts of button shapes and fonts and images. This time around, I limited the icons to be simple and concise, and kept the fonts uniform and readable.
Also, I killed the godawful flying silhouette background with the gorgeous backdrop of Wii U's battlefield!
So, right off the bat I wanted the menu to be colorful and bold. The black casings of the menu buttons and top and bottom of the screen mirror one another and help contain the gradient spectrum of the button labels split into warm and cool colors. This allows the piece to be neat and helps with the movement of the eye when reading.
Let's go over some features in particular:
A. Ticker Bar
This ticker bar at the top will feature information that rolls in and out as the user navigates through the menu. It greets the player with a "Welcome (name) to Super Smash Bros. for Wii U!" before switching to the title of the of the menu music currently playing. After that if you're still sitting at the main menu (or going through other menus), other notices or updates from Nintendo will roll out or even display various achievements!
B. Version Sticker
In this corner sits a Smash Ball. In this current screen, the Smash ball is lit, which indicates that a new patch is ready to be downloaded and installed. If the game is up to date, the Smash symbol will simply be blackened. Click the swirling and lit emblem to download the new patch or if up to date, click to read patch notes. Yeah, I know, as of now Nintendo doesn't give those out but one can dream. Shout outs to everyone on Smashboards and Smash Sub-Reddit who make it a day job to find out the changes made through patches! XD
Up to date:
New update available:
C. Friends Online
In Smash 3DS, to know if friends were online, you had to either go outside of the game and check the friends app or log on and find out. Now, you can simply be notified if there are friends online with one quick glance. For those of you who are not into playing with strangers, this quick insight can help you save time from logging in and checking to see if your friends are online. Just a small little update that I think would be convenient and something I personally would love to have.
Back to the menu as a whole.
The top row features the two biggest multiplayer modes - offline and online Smash. "Smash" was given the biggest button to show its importance. In this image, the Smash button is highlighted which is indicated by the white lettering while all the others are "powered down" and rest in black font. I imagined that each time the button was hovered over, the wording would animate to be lifted above (as indicated by the black shadow behind the white lettering) and tilted to make way for an iconic character or imagery to appear when highlighted.
Online mode as showcased earlier features a bar that tells the user if friends are on for convenience. It also features the Nintendo Network logo built into font while the button itself features the orange of the Nintendo Network logo that fades to yellow to complete the warm color spectrum.
The bottom features what looks like one long bar that is split into multiple pieces . Above the bar are dimmed out descriptions that light up when selected to tell the user where they're headed if the imagery is not clear right away as such:
Not much to say here, other than the Vault icon has been updated to an actual vault/safe opposed to a treasure chest from the original.
In the middle is the Challenges button. Challenges was represented by a trophy but I went with a Rubik's cube because, well, a Rubik's cube is a challenge everyone understands. The goal of a Rubik's cube is to get every side of the cube complete, which in the case of Challenges in Smash, require gamers to play all sorts of Smash events to get everything complete. Because we had warm colors at the top and cool at the bottom, I decided to have the Challenges button in white to be neutral, as it is a more meta element and its own section/row. Also, a nice pattern emerges as the white bar at the top skips to color in the first row of buttons and then to the white of Challenges and then color again in solo and extra options while returning to the bottom white bar once again. Symmetry!
So there you have it! I think that about covers all of my thoughts behind the creation of a menu. I'm more of an illustrator than a designer, but I think many concepts crossover which helped me out with the end result. I'm sure there can definitely be some changes made to it but I'm done working on this for the foreseeable future. Give me your comments and critiques below if you have any!
This was worked on over the course of several days for an hour or so each day, tinkered with through trial and error. It was definitely a lot of fun to do and worth it for the experience. I hope I made reading about the creation of a menu fun and educational, and remember, you have till tomorrow to submit your idea here:
Have a nice weekend, TAYkin! See you next time!