Building a Pause Menu - Part 2

That pause menu I’d finished building? I gave it super-powers.


Header Image: Untitled photo from an article about the Living With Elephants Foundation


Previous posts in this series
Building a Pause Menu - Part 1 - The first version


Background

If you’ve been following this blog you would have sensed my relief at the end of the last post when I had finally established a Pause Menu in my Capabilities app. The Pause Menu unlocks my ability to navigate between the various screens without needing to restart. It validates my design choice of laying out screen selection buttons in a grid, which effortlessly allows me to add new screens with navigation already in place.

You would also have read my discontent with Android for not providing a way for apps to shut themselves down. This is a restriction imposed on my design I had not anticipated, and discovering it at the end of Pause Menu development both surprised and frustrated me. You can see my unhappiness expressed in those final paragraphs.

The Elephant in the Room

Following that post I intended to move onto building a new screen for the app, developing more of the features I need for the game design I have planned. I also intended to write shorter posts in a more timely manner, hopefully making them easier to write and less gruelling to read in the process.

That’s what I was hinting at with the last line of the post:

I’ll be back in the new year with more posts about my adventures in Godot development. See you then!

When I wrote those words I was looking forward to shaking it up a little, with a new screen to build and a fresh blogging approach to try.

Life Happens

Here we are an entire year later and clearly things didn’t unfold as expected. Numerous external factors de-railed my plans and periodically swept me further away from where I wanted to be. Throughout the year I was frequently disappointed with my slow progress and inability to blog updates.

I had to keep reminding myself how grateful I am to have no fixed end date for this project; an approach which circumvents the Crunch Culture plaguing the rest of the gaming industry. So while I frequently felt deflated at my lack of apparent progress, at least I wasn’t crushing my mental health into oblivion trying to meet impossible deadlines, or compromising my design by cutting features, or canning my project altogether.

reflection

Even experienced developers have to give themselves time to adapt when adopting new technology. What I’m trying to achieve in Godot without any modern gaming engine training or experience, with a vision that people describe as “overly ambitious”, tells me I need to give myself more space to learn and discover than I’ve done so far on this project.

Baby Steps

While there were times during the year when I was unable to do any work on the project, my resolve to continue held without wavering. I may not have been achieving anywhere near the pace I wanted but I remained passionate about forging ahead.

That’s the secret to getting anything done; no matter what happens just keep moving forward.

"The Robinsons" movie nailed how to succeed at anything new

So What Have I Done This Year?

Needless to say I overcame numerous and occasionally treacherous obstacles. On reflection I’ve improved my Godot skills a long way and have achieved more than a glance at the final outcome provides. I do wish I would learn to be more lenient with myself in the present when I’m stressed about my perceived lack of progress!

It feels fantastic to finally be sharing the progress I made this year. With so much to cover I’ve decided to jump right to the chase and show you the completed outcome of the year’s work.

Here’s a video showing the new and improved Pause Menu I’ve built. There’s still plenty of room for juice but the mechanics are all in place. Have a watch and I’ll explain a few things on the other side.

The final outcome: Pause Menu rewrite 2019!

With touch being the primary input mechanism for the game I’m building, I decided to embrace that fact and invent a selection mechanism I’ve never seen before. This led me on a journey to create a procedural generation system for the UI, allowing me to compensate for different form factors in the various platforms and devices I’m targeting.

I plan to cover the design philosophies, decision making, system development, and problem solving in a series of posts that extend this topic as a series.

But that is for another time.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of what I achieved in 2019. I look forward to posting more soon.



Previous posts in this series
Building a Pause Menu - Part 1 - The first version

Next post in this series
Building a Pause Menu - Part 3 - Designing the new version

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