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controls suggestions

04-15-2010, 04:24 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
controls suggestions

OK so there's lots of threads and ideas for good controls, I think this should be put out there though:

it's often frustrating to hit virtual buttons. I think it's a lot easier for a user if the size of screen they can actually hit is BIGGER than the picture of the button. it can help them have a smaller target with a margin of error. someone please try it out? I have this very strong feeling that simply shrinking your icon size will have a good effect...

Remember also that on a controller when you press multiple buttons, you simply cover them with your finger. you don't get a size feedback on the ipod, so users have to readjust to moving BETWEEN buttons instead of covering them. keep this in mind.

also remember to please try to leave one-handed touch play in what you can...blue attack had it and its a space shooter, I hold world #2 and #3 scores with one-handed touch play...

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?
04-15-2010, 04:34 PM
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by writingsama View Post
OK so there's lots of threads and ideas for good controls, I think this should be put out there though:

it's often frustrating to hit virtual buttons. I think it's a lot easier for a user if the size of screen they can actually hit is BIGGER than the picture of the button. it can help them have a smaller target with a margin of error. someone please try it out? I have this very strong feeling that simply shrinking your icon size will have a good effect...

Remember also that on a controller when you press multiple buttons, you simply cover them with your finger. you don't get a size feedback on the ipod, so users have to readjust to moving BETWEEN buttons instead of covering them. keep this in mind.

also remember to please try to leave one-handed touch play in what you can...blue attack had it and its a space shooter, I hold world #2 and #3 scores with one-handed touch play...
This doesn't fix nor address the real problem. The problem is that developers continue to use control schemes that absolutely suck, and people keep buying into it. The iPhone hardware is unique, the crappy controls are not unique.

Among the best types of games that are perfectly suited for iPhone are match 3, tower defense and line drawers. Why? because they lack onscreen controls. It is possible to create other game types (platformers) with better controls, but very few developers try- instead they opt for a crappy onscreen button scheme.

What sells is the familiar, not necessarily the best solution. So we are stuck in an endless cycle.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

04-15-2010, 05:13 PM
#3
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: London, England
Posts: 397
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
This doesn't fix nor address the real problem. The problem is that developers continue to use control schemes that absolutely suck, and people keep buying into it. The iPhone hardware is unique, the crappy controls are not unique.

Among the best types of games that are perfectly suited for iPhone are match 3, tower defense and line drawers. Why? because they lack onscreen controls. It is possible to create other game types (platformers) with better controls, but very few developers try- instead they opt for a crappy onscreen button scheme.

What sells is the familiar, not necessarily the best solution. So we are stuck in an endless cycle.
I agree entirely. There are so many interesting ways to use the touch screen and/or accelerometer, it's sad to see so many developers opting to use onscreen joypads. Personally, I've yet to play a game with onscreen controls that doesn't annoy me, at best I can just about tolerate it.
04-15-2010, 05:52 PM
#4
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by amroc View Post
I agree entirely. There are so many interesting ways to use the touch screen and/or accelerometer, it's sad to see so many developers opting to use onscreen joypads. Personally, I've yet to play a game with onscreen controls that doesn't annoy me, at best I can just about tolerate it.
to be fair, the accelerometer is basically useless. it is so noisy that the lowpass filtering required leaves it too unresponsive. remember that the MOST IMPORTANT PART of any game is how it is controlled. this comes before story, graphics, art, mechanics, etc.

the only time an accelerometer has seemed useful (other than racing games and monkey ball) is the Cod:WaW:Z accelerometer look scheme. it's very intuitive (but ultimately not what I use, personally).

I agree though. Here's the thing about onscreen conrols: there's nothing wrong with them. It's that people expect to use them the same as they use a gamepad. developers expect it too. that's not how it works! its different!

really though I am here just positing how to improve one single aspect, that is all. not iphone controls in general. but to put in my .02, I don't know why nobody ever played mario64 for the DS. in it, wherever you put your thumb was the center of your joypad. why can't that be an option for the movement stick? I'm talking 3d platformers and FPS here. take Nova. the looking is pretty good - but the moving is still meh. why not use the left half of the whole screen as I just said?

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?
04-15-2010, 06:20 PM
#5
The accelerometer is complete crap in regard to typical controls, it should never be used as such. In some games, like marble madness clones or labyrinth type games, this control is acceptable. The accelerometer is basically designed for that type of control. For use in controlling a vehicle, not so much.

I think your approach to the problem is reasonable. The whole left and right side of the screen SHOULD be the controls, with no visible markers or buttons. There isn't a viable reason why this shouldn't be the standard in platformers and FPSes.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
04-15-2010, 06:46 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
The accelerometer is complete crap in regard to typical controls, it should never be used as such. In some games, like marble madness clones or labyrinth type games, this control is acceptable. The accelerometer is basically designed for that type of control. For use in controlling a vehicle, not so much.

I think your approach to the problem is reasonable. The whole left and right side of the screen SHOULD be the controls, with no visible markers or buttons. There isn't a viable reason why this shouldn't be the standard in platformers and FPSes.
actually there is...it doesn't have a name but I call it devs-are-good-at-the-game-they-make syndrome.

As a dev it's hard to properly tune a game...as you make it, you are growing in skill at playing it. By the time it's finished you've probably played it 100 more times than your average player. It's very difficult to judge how much difficulty they can handle. You need testers for that, but even then, they need to be staged, because early beta testers suffer the same issues. Often you end up with super easy or super hard games, which need hacks to bring them to a reasonable level.

It seems logical the same thing might happen with controls, no?

EDIT: I remember hearing the compass in the 3GS helped the accelerometer a lot. Is it true?

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?

Last edited by writingsama; 04-15-2010 at 06:56 PM.
04-16-2010, 05:45 AM
#7
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: London, England
Posts: 397
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
The accelerometer is complete crap in regard to typical controls, it should never be used as such. In some games, like marble madness clones or labyrinth type games, this control is acceptable. The accelerometer is basically designed for that type of control. For use in controlling a vehicle, not so much.
The accel isn't my favourite control either, and I'm unlikely to make an iPhone game that uses it. However, I thought it's worth mentioning as it can be used well when used with care, and after all one of the most popular iphone games ever uses it!

On one of my previous projects I was fortunate enough to get to develop an accelerometer controlled version of locoroco for certain sony ericsson handsets. It's a very obscure version of the game unfortunately (as it's built into only a few handsets). However I thought the control turned out very well and it fits the gameplay perfectly.

(not my video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6kWn2xRyh8
04-18-2010, 06:56 PM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by amroc View Post
The accel isn't my favourite control either, and I'm unlikely to make an iPhone game that uses it. However, I thought it's worth mentioning as it can be used well when used with care, and after all one of the most popular iphone games ever uses it!

On one of my previous projects I was fortunate enough to get to develop an accelerometer controlled version of locoroco for certain sony ericsson handsets. It's a very obscure version of the game unfortunately (as it's built into only a few handsets). However I thought the control turned out very well and it fits the gameplay perfectly.

(not my video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6kWn2xRyh8
OK, add rolando and locoroco. I'm so glad the accelerometer control bubble finally burst. I can't use accelerometer games except driving (disability...) and found it very frustrating.

plus, I mean add the accelerometer delay to the already bad for realtime gaming API, the latency just goes through the roof...

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?
04-18-2010, 07:07 PM
#9
Yes, Loco Roco type games are suitable for accelerometer. Almost any game that doesn't require significant precision and/or death could use accelerometer.

"Charmed" by MindJuice Media also uses the accelerometer in an acceptable way, making the match 3 game respond to gravity.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
04-18-2010, 07:08 PM
#10
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
Tilt to Live and Dark Nebula have amazing accelerometer controls. I generally can't stand it, FPS = no, racing = no, anything requiring shaking the device = NO. Those two games are awesome exceptions.

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