How important is a title screen... really?

How necessary is a title screen?

  • Never EVER make a game without one.

    Votes: 14 34.1%
  • It's important enough that most games should have one.

    Votes: 16 39.0%
  • If a game don't require one for functionality, I suppose you could skip it.

    Votes: 6 14.6%
  • Title screens are not as important as most people think.

    Votes: 3 7.3%
  • I like the idea of not having a traditional title screen.

    Votes: 2 4.9%

  • Total voters
    41

Damaris

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So, I'll start by saying that user interface graphics are one of my strongest skills. I have the ability to make a mind-blowing animated title. But after some consideration, I've been thinking about removing the title screen all together - a simple a "Press X to continue/start" on a black screen feels so clean and cuts right to the game intro / loaded game with no distraction. I feel like it gives the game's first impressions a greater impact, and saves the user some time and effort (even if only a negligible amount).


I'll also say that my game incorporates saving, loading and starting a new game as core game-mechanics rather than abstract systems. By retaining specific variables between saves and loads using a plugin, saving and loading will actually be used as a core puzzle solving element that fits in with the story mechanics.


What do you think? Yay or Nay for title screens?
 

Andar

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The titlescreen is like the cover of a book, and it has usually the same purposes.


It is your main advertisement to selling the game if placed outside, but also for identifying and setting the tone of the game.


But as such it can be used in a lot of different ways - if you make a mystery or horror game, a simple black screen can fit perfectly, especially to increase suspense.


If you make a comedy game, it would not.be a good idea.
 

Pierman Walter

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Title screens are important because they are the first thing the player sees of the game. They can be useful in giving an impression of the atmosphere of the game, and also have a menu for easy access to save files and settings. Some games can go without them, such as really short games, or puzzle games, but I think it is better to have one. However, it is better to have no title screen than something like this,


image.jpg


, with horrible art, no indication of what the game is like, and an incomprehensible interface.
 

_Shadow_

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Well... look. It depends. You can have a title screen, or no title screen at all. As long as you introduce the game in a nice way, a title screen might not be needed. Now making a mindblowing Title screen with layered animation, particles, great music and stuff, just to end up on a vanilla game, ummm this will probably have a negative impact. Title screens like that create high expectations. High hopes. It is very possible that many people will get disappointed if they will end up on a vanilla game. If you can make great graphics (pixel art) and your mapping skills are extraordinary, if you feature stunning music and fx, if your gameplay is awesome and the game is engaging, if the story is fantastic, then yes, go on and make an awesome Title Screen.


On the other hand, a simple Title Screen, Clean and neat, can create atmospheric situations. Hey! If save load is part of your puzzles, if that is related with an object, let's say a Box of Time Travel, Intro should show the box and two buttons on it, one for load, one for Start New. Make Title Screen a part of your world. You can do it. Don't make it too fancy but make it beautiful and atmospheric. ;) Just a suggestion.


It will probably work and if you also got alternative endings, well it gives a lot to replayability value.
 

RetroBoy

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I honestly think they are a must.


The title screen serves as more than a pretty picture and a place holder, it sets the tone for the experience and helps establish the player's expectations. I don't think any game should be made without one. Although the simple back screen can be effective, especially for some horror games (if the ambience is done right) you want people to want to press start as quickly as possible to spark up that enthusiasm going in.
 

Tanarex

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The titlescreen is like the cover of a book, and it has usually the same purposes.


It is your main advertisement to selling the game if placed outside, but also for identifying and setting the tone of the game.


But as such it can be used in a lot of different ways - if you make a mystery or horror game, a simple black screen can fit perfectly, especially to increase suspense.


If you make a comedy game, it would not.be a good idea.
But what if it's a "Black" Comedy? Black screen-black comedy. Bad joke of the day brought to you by me.
 

Damaris

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So, I'll address the fact that a large part of me wants to make a title screen. I actually have one mostly made and animated. But every time I open my game I try to understand why I need it and what benefit it really serves - and I somewhat struggle. It identifies the game but sets a tone and atmosphere without context. The first time you see a title screen is the time you'll pay the most attention to it, but it's also the moment when you'll least understand the elements used in its composition - particularly if your setting a tone that's accurate to a unique or diverse game.


I feel as though any element; Characters, places, objects, environments, ect. used from your game could be better introduced with some context or personality. I briefly studied a huge range of title screens from professional rpg's and RPG maker games before making this post, and for many of them I could see a title screen being an acceptably beneficial, but often not a necessity. I feel like a lot of the time - title screens are just there because they're expected. I have a hard time doing it just because "it's what you do".


TLDR:


Simply put; I think there are merits to not having a title screen. And I think that not enough people consider them... In saying that... I'll still probably have a title screen.


@Andar The concept of a title screen being an advertisement seems redundant if you have the ability to make an amazing introduction and run a marketing campaign in any reasonable scope.  In theory it would be better to hook the player with the game itself right? Rather than an arbitrary element that actually possesses a relatively minimal impact on the the experience you're trying to deliver. Indeed you could develop a series of title screens that impact the player differently as they progress through the game- and that was one of my earlier ideas for a title screen. But if they're seeing your title screen then they have the game. The hard part of the marketing is done. They see it for two seconds every time they start the game and in the extremely rare case they're feeling particularly appreciative - they may bask in it for 5-10 seconds. Even the best title screen will be glossed over 95% of the time - This is especially true if your game is engaging and consumers just want to play.


@Pierman Walter 


"Title screens are important because they are the first thing the player sees of the game..."


Title screens are important IF they are the first thing the player sees. Obviously a game with no title screen cannot be judged on its title screen. It can be judged on not having a title screen, but in my mind removing the title screen simple alters the merits that your game is initially judged on. And I don't see that as detrimental - simply a choice that the developer needs to make to suit the strengths of their game.


"However, it is better to have no title screen than something like this,, with horrible art, no indication of what the game is like, and an incomprehensible interface."


What are you talking about... That game is clearly about an epileptic, colorblind 4 year old turtle named... Euer..i...s..omething that is struggling with social anxiety at turtle kindergarten.

@Dreadshadow


I agree with practically every point you made. You are very on-point, my game features time travel as a core element. As much as I like your idea for a title screen, unfortunately I may need to rewrite a couple hundred pages of story and design notes to make it work. The power comes from the main character, and he shifts his consciousness through time... mostly.


__


Afterthought;


A benefit that I'm surprised no one has directly brought up is the psychological benefit. Starting a player in a familiar menu with familiar music every time they start the game set's more than just the tone and atmosphere. It evokes memories of what they've already done in the game. Develops association with the franchise/brand and a style or motif. I honestly think this is one of the biggest influencing factors that makes me rethink (for a fifth time), the importance of a title screen.


My opinions may seem scattered in this post... Half way through writing it I had a conversation with a housemate on the topic. He put my brain in a slightly different perspective. But this was always intended to be a back and forth discussion.
 

Crabs

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So, I'll start by saying that user interface graphics are one of my strongest skills. I have the ability to make a mind-blowing animated title.


I think whenever you get the chance of showing off you skills you should do it; It's a good way to convince the audience that you are a good developer and have a nice gaming experience to offer.


Keep in mind that the game market, specially RM games, is over-saturated. You need to prove, somehow, that your game is "deserved to be played". Why not start doing it on title screen? :)
 
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Pierman Walter

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The modern art level of interpretation in the title screen allows it to be about anything, which generally isn't something you want. It could be about Euriz the mentally ill turtle kindergartner, or even "Eureka! RPG", about a medical researcher high off his own experiments. It goes to show how important it is for a title screen, if it must be there, to be well-designed when the game in my first post is supposed to be about a guy who goes on space adventures. The background is supposed to be a close up of a planet. The red text says "Everyman". I am particularly proud of LOAD misspelled as LOD with the A on the side with an arrow pointing to where it's supposed to be.
 
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Damaris

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I think whenever you get the chance of showing off you skills you should do it; It's a good way to convince the audience that you are a good developer and have a nice gaming experience to offer.


Keep in mind that the game market, specially RM games, is over-saturated. You need to prove, somehow, that your game is "deserved to be played". Why not start doing it on title screen? :)


Logic! I like that. That was absolutely my initial thinking, and in all likelihood I will. But just because I can do something, it doesn't mean I should do it. There are plenty of other opportunities to demonstrate my user-interface design that I've already capitalized on. But the title screen is different...


Whenever I put something in the game, I ask "what does this provide (or take away from) the game, or the player?". If the answers to these questions seem to go against common design aspects - I seek to learn why my answers lead to different designs from what is commonplace. The result is a learning experience that enables me to produce a better product, because I'm not just making it - I'm understanding what it's purpose is and tailoring it to suit its specific purpose.
 

Cunechan

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I'd say it's (most likely) the first impression the player gets of your game after starting it, as well as the music. Choose wisely, I'd say it's important and use music that fits well (the title AND the game itself). Don't ever make NONE, or take one of the rtp since it makes it look like you don't care too much about your game or that it's generic. Make it special, curious, interesting, make the player 'hungry' and wanting to play it.


If you want to make a good game you should show it in every aspect possible ouo Show of your skills and do the best you can do! Hope this helps, good luck.
 

Alex Nearwoods

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The Title screen is very important, it's the first thing that the players will see, but I don't think that all games should have one, it depends of what kind of game you're making.
 

Jiffy

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Title screens are very, VERY, important, they're the first thing the player sees and will be what the player thinks of when they think of your game. If someone sees a default RTP title screen, they will get a bad impression off the start.
 

mogwai

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The classic Dragon Quests didn't have a title graphic at the menu screen. After the intro stuff, the menu was just on a black screen with that oh-familiar title music. I'm not sure if this is still a Dragon Quest thing.

As for my game, I'm getting gross with my title screen after I learned I can use animated GIFs. I should probably look into animating it with HTML5 instead of GIF.
 

mara_vertin

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I think the problem with fancy title screens are the expectations. When the game don't fit the style of the title screen people will probably feel cheated. I had this with comics. Different artists for the cover and the comic itself. Pretty annoying...
Beside that I think a nice title screen will help you to draw attention and this the first important step. :)
 

gub

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Here's a video I personally enjoyed about the art of the title screen
 

TomatoKing

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I know plenty of people will outright close an rpg maker game if they are greeted by the standard "New Game Continue Options" box accompanied with a static image.
 

gstv87

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you have the first half second of image display, and the first note of the music track, to invite the player into your game.
if you nail those two sensory inputs, you pretty much nailed the player's attention for the first scene of your game.
(then, you have to have a good first scene to hook them up for the rest of the narrative, but hey, at least you got them to play.)

the human brain has a reaction time of about 3/4 of a second.
if what the player sees and hears matches up, you have almost 100% chance that they will gauge the game by that measure alone, before actually playing.
not saying that they will like it.... just that they will judge it by that measure.
if your game is sci-fi related, then the first image they see and the first note they hear, they all have to have "SCI-FI THE LIKES YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFOOOOOOORE!" written all over them.
if your game is about horror and suspense,.... then probably silence and stillness is the best choice.
if it's about adventure,.... show a city or an open horizon.... something that invites the player onward.

if the player concludes that what they recieve doesn't match up with what the game is supposed to be about, they're already disliking the game, if they haven't already closed it.
 

_Shadow_

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If you can implement everything on an ingame menu, you can skip title screens entirely.
That way, you can engage in your narrative instantly and even better, make things flow better at some times.
This works of course on rogue-like games or One-save-only games that overwrites itself on checkpoints or stuff.
Otherwise a title screen is actually there most of the time, to polish a save/load feature. Controls and resolution can be set in game too, using a submenu.
Actually having no title screen, makes the game different from cliche's from the first moments you play it. Just saying. :p
BUT do not get me wrong here. It is not easy to exclude something that has proven that it works most of the time.
Just keep in mind that a fancy title screen MUST represent how fancy the whole game is.
If you got custom awesome art and music in a title screen and start a game that will be crappy or not AS FANCY AS THE TITLE SCREEN, people will think that you tried to fool them by a fancy intro. Title screens must be balanced.
 
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