I don’t like menu screens. I don’t like how they break immersion, and I don’t like how long they take to make. Unfortunately in any game where you perform abstract actions you need an abstract means of representing them, and Captain Jameson has exactly this problem. When I started considering an exploration based episode I realized I’d need a map screen, screens for communicating with other characters, quest screens, inventory screens, options screens and more. You’d spend all your time clicking through laboriously hand crafted panels, it would feel utterly artificial, and it would destroy the game’s retro technology aesthetic. I had to find an alternative.
I brainstormed common alternatives for abstract game control, and two words wedged themselves firmly in my mind. Text. Adventure. I considered creating a new episode where all control was handled by text console, with the player entering commands to toggle individual thrusters and fire weapons. I might still go back and make that some day, but after Captain Impostor I figured I was due to make something a little meatier and less experimental. I still liked the text command idea though, and started to think about how it might fit into the fiction of the game. Eventually I realized that a faux terminal window (or DOS box, or commandline prompt, or whatever you prefer to call it) would let me do all these things and perfectly suit the game’s fiction and character.
In answer to Vaconcovat’s question, the terminal window does all the things you would expect to find in in-game menus.
Crunch Status update:
Am I behind schedule: Sort of