When designing Save The Kuin there were two design choices that were clear from the beginning. 1)That it was going to be a two-player game. 2)That we had to figure out a way where players could change weapons, cast magic, use items without pausing and interrupting the flow of the game.
You see, a game we loved and was a big inspiration that we were using as a base for the development was Secret of Mana. Secret of Mana is such a great game in its own right, but I believe that what people remember most fondly about it was that you could play it with a friend. For an action-rpg game that was rare and added such a cool element to the genre. Usually in traditional turn based RPGS the combat was single player and almost never two players.
But in Secret of Mana, you could battle and help a friend on their quest in real time. Even in supporting roles like a healer. (Side note: As a kid, my brother only would let me use the girl and only allow me to use healing and supporting magic. :D) Secret of Mana was an awesome game to play with someone else, someone to explore the world of mana with, to figure things out, to battle together in real time nonstop action. Well... mostly nonstop
You see, in the beginning of the game you mostly battle only with a few weapons and items. But as the game progresses one starts getting more weapons, items and magic! To use these, you have to get into a menu therefore pausing the game. It’s a really cool looking “ring” one, but a menu, nonetheless. Since magic is so powerful in the later stages of the game one can find himself using it quite frequently, each time pausing the game and leaving the other player there waiting fiddling their thumbs waiting for the other player to finish. There are many instances where one player must wait in between attacks, again and again, disrupting the flow of play and hindering the two-player experience.
That is why in Save The Kuin we decided to make up a system where two players could play without the need to get into menus and pausing the game. That is how the scroll inventory menu system was born. With this menu system players can equip weapons, use items and magic without ever interrupting the game.
Is it a flawless system? Obviously, no. It can feel a bit unintuitive at first until you get the hang of it. But when we tested it and watched others, it was clear that it was easy to grasp and understand quite quickly. The other problem is that as inventory starts to expand you have more inventory to go through to be able to select the weapon you are looking for.
In the end we are happy how the system turns out in Save The Kuin, but would it be a system we would use again? Well, we don’t really know. Most likely it would get some revisions at least.