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Control scheme concept: feedback

01-22-2010, 02:14 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 546
Control scheme concept: feedback

I'm tired of all the games with ugly d-pads/analog sticks and am trying to figure out how we can do a better job. I had an idea for a four direction control scheme and wanted some feedback. Arrows lines are illustrative:

The idea is that the left and right edges of the screen control left/right, naturally. To move up, you can slide up to the upper third of screen or slide down to go down. If you prefer right/left hand, you can slide up/down on either side; the function is the same.

Not sure if other games have this, but I'm wondering if it's simple enough for a player to figure out. Ideally, the UI required for this would be very small (maybe some small arrows) or even completely invisible. Is this preferable to a joystick?
01-22-2010, 02:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 330
You really shouldn't disclose ideas like this on a public forum. What if you're right and the next big game is using a control scheme like this because they stole it from you? Nah I'm just messin around, didn't jelly car use somethin like this?

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01-22-2010, 03:36 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Hawthorne,California
Posts: 588
i like it. i can see it being used in a shmup or something, but not for maybe a platform game.

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01-22-2010, 04:51 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: UK / Toronto
Posts: 602
I do agree that at the moment it seems many developers have just tried to port over a virtual analog stick and virtual buttons instead of designing a control method that uses the best advantages of this platform.

I'm working on a title where I'm hoping to change the current paradigm of control schemes on the iPhone. I don't want to give it away though, but I do think some more of you other guys should be looking harder at inventing new control methods. The iPod touch has a 360º accelerometer and a full touchscreen — you have limitless possibilities! Be creative!

At the moment this is a new platform, and we just need to throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks. As other consoles once had to struggle in the early days to find the perfect control configurations for games, we also need to do the same.

Last edited by EssentialParadox; 01-22-2010 at 04:54 AM.
01-22-2010, 08:32 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Formerly Zimbabwe - now England.
Posts: 1,400
Bobby Carrot Forever (a platformer) already has this method as one of the options.
See this post on the TA forums showing this very diagram:

...but the arrows here are simply a tutorial, of course, so they do not appear like that in the game, covering up the screen! When you play the game, the buttons are invisible, and you just tap in the general area that you want to move.

When playing that game however, I much prefer using an alternative control method that they offer which is the "swipe anywhere" method… So all you have to do is press your finger ANYWHERE on the screen, and then swipe it in the direction that you want to go.
It's very easy and intuitive, and it's adaptable as well, in the sense that if you just want to move one space, you press, swipe, and lift your finger in one quick motion.
If you want to CONTINUE moving in a certain direction, then you press, swipe, and hold your finger down on the screen to keep moving. When you want to stop moving, you just lift your finger up.
Furthermore, if you want to change direction while you still walking, you don't lift your finger up off the screen — so while your finger is still pressed down after swiping in one direction, keep your finger down and then swipe in another direction. This way you can move continuously, and even go around corners, or reverse completely.
It allows for quick precise movements.

The benefit of doing it this way is that you don't need to pay attention to where on the screen you are touching, so you won't accidentally go left when you wanted to go up instead, etc. And you don't have visible buttons and fingers obscuring your view, so if your character is on the one side of the screen, you can do all your swiping on the other side of the screen.

I see many advantages to this particular control method. The other difference between this method and the method you originally outlined is that they will require different ways of holding the device.
Your method requires the device be held in two hands, like a PSP, and that the thumbs be the controllers.
The method I outlined would suit the device being held in just one hand with the finger on the other hand doing all the controlling.

In summary, I would say offer your customers a choice of different controls to choose from.
Offer both the method you outlined and the one I mentioned. Also offer a D-Pad for those who prefer that. And maybe the method that Toki Tori & Ice Age use, where you just tap on the screen where you want to go and the character moves there.
Also, if buttons are used, consider offering the player the choice of buttons to be visible, invisible, or semi-transparent.

On a touchscreen, with no physical buttons to press, there will never be ONE control method that suits everyone, so offering different choices for different personal preferences is always a good idea…

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01-22-2010, 12:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 330
You have to realize this control scheme you're presenting prohibits the use of other buttons on the screen. The reason your layout isn't a common one is because the majority of games have one or two action buttons and so movement must be done with one hand; hence, the one handed d pad.

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