The challenge menu for DragCore is basically the level select screen. It's where you pick a level, check how many crystals you have, see what rewards await you, and what each level will have you face. The image above is a screenshot of the challenge menu I'm currently testing. It's very close to final, but the real version will look move lively with moving enemies on the upper half of the screen and a few changes to the buttons on the bottom half.
I'll explain what everything does after the jump.
The Earth in the middle is what you want to keep enemies away from. This menu shows enemies flying into it and making it's hp meter go down. It let's players know that enemies touching the planet is bad. It also demonstrates how enemies behave on different difficulties. If the game is at it's hardest, enemies are fast and their numbers are vast. It visually demonstrates what you're in for. You can see how many enemies it takes to bring hp to zero in however many seconds.
The hp bar refills itself every set amount of time though in order to demonstrate again. In gameplay the number on the Earth changes with the bar, but the number here is meant to show how much you will start with.The bar floating above it to the right is the progress bar.
The goal of each game is to fill the progress bar and complete the challenge. Filling the bar ends the game and earns you the reward. For testing purposes I set the reward for all levels to the same thing temporarily. It's my girlfriends name. I had to think of something temporary until I figured out what each challenge would be like. I used a word that was meant something worth fighting for and it fit in the box. (I know, I'm sappy.)
Later on prizes will be things like options for the custom mode and crystals. Which brings up another aspect of the game. Crystals are used to unlock things in custom mode, where players pick match settings and play how they want. It gives a sense of purpose and progression having to unlock the things you want most in any order you want. I think of it like saving studs to unlock characters for Free Play mode in Lego Star Wars.
You earn crystals by filling up the meter you see below the counter. Crystal points fill the crystal meter at the end of each game in challenge mode, but only if you win. Each time you fill the bar, you earn one crystal. It takes more points to fill the bar each time, so crystals become harder to get over time. Harder challenges reward you more points. The select challenges that give custom options as rewards give out points instead once the original prize is won.
There is a set amount of crystals matching the number of things to unlock. Once you have every crystal, the bar stays full and new points don't add to it. I'm still playing around with ways to use crystals that would make the game infinite, but right now a game that could be 100% beaten holds stronger ground. The point of the crystals is to make players play the challenge mode with limited rules in order to unlock things that lets them play their way.
The little Earth buttons are used to select challenges. Just press one to select that numbered challenge. The icon in the center represents the selected stage and the demo resets itself to show what the level's settings are. Black icons are locked stages, orange/red ones are unlocked, and blue/green ones are beaten. The arrows with numbers skip to challenge numbers that far ahead or behind. When you select a locked stage the Play button disappears but the demo still changes so you can see what the level will be like and what prize you can earn. You can only see up to two levels ahead of a stage you unlocked. It encourages players to peek into the future and want to continue unlocking things.
The icons next to the difficulty box shows which of the four enemy types you will see. The diamonds along the bottom show which colors will be in play. Everything on screen fits all resolutions and leaves room for advertisement banners. Every scene except the gameplay scene has an ad banner displayed the whole time. That way I can make money without charging players.
But players can choose to pay me by buying crystal points in the crystal shop from the min menu. players can spend $1-$3 to buy many crystals directly. I'm still undecided on if players should buy crystals outright, or buy points to fill the meter. I plan to finalize that once I test how long it takes to earn crystals over a long span of time.
So that's everything on this menu. There are still some game progression and longevity things I need to work on that depend on how gameplay feels. How long each match takes, what settings are noticeable, whether hard is too easy or easy is too hard, etc.
For now, I need to get back to work to have gameplay working properly. I want this game done soon.