My approach is more akin to modern gaming, where a '+' symbol is sometimes used. I decided to use an upward "arrow" to let the player know that a character is ready to increase their level and head to the Training Hall. It looks like this:
|The green arrows indicate that all four of these characters should head to the Training Hall.|
But, how will a player who hasn't read this blog know what those green arrows are for? Good question...which brings me to my next topic: tooltips.
Despite this game taking on many of the trappings of an old school CRPG, I made the decision to include some modern advancements as well. Since there won't be any sort of documentation with this game (I'm not planning on writing a user's manual...it should be straightforward for most CRPG fans anyway), I decided to include tooltips instead. They will give a lot of information about things in the game and what buttons do.
So, when the green arrow comes up, a player will know that it's time to level just by reading the tooltip that pops up when they hover over the arrow.
To give an idea of what the tooltips look like in the game, here's an example of one that explains what the Damage Bonus is for:
|The mouse is pointing at the Damage Bonus tag, but the screenshot removes the mouse...so just assume it is there.|
In this way, I feel I will be able to communicate information to the player without needing to provide any outside documentation. It's something that could have been really handy in the olden days of computer gaming, but they just didn't have the option. I do...so I've decided to put it to use. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that.
As always, any feedback is good feedback. If you have an opinion about it either way, be sure to let me know.