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iPhone: iDracula's control wheels made me realise what's wrong with controls in iPhone games.

02-22-2009, 10:07 PM
#1
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iDracula's control wheels made me realise what's wrong with controls in iPhone games.

or rather the sliding control in those wheels. Specifically platformer/ action games. The problem is having virtual buttons that you have to take your finger off one button and lay it down on the next.

Everytime you take your finger off, it takes a small spot of concentration to place them down in the right location so that you don't go off the buttons. I always thought the problem should be rectified by having larger buttons or hotspots, . Now I realize the real problem is that you shouldn't have to take your finger off the pad. On regular controllers (like the PS3 Dual Shock of 360 controller), you do take your fingers off to move to another button, but when the gameplay gets really intense you tend to slide them over. It works out cause after a while you remember where they are.

On a virtual screen obviously this is harder The thing about iDracula though is that in using the wheel, you slide to the direction you want to go: what keeps you oriented is your character's actions. So instead of you checking that your fingers are in the right spot, all you have to do is make sure you don't move off the controller area, which is a lot easier and doesn't require you to take attention off what you are doing.

So in a platformer, while pressing right to go forward, you simply slide up to make your character go up a ladder, instead of taking your finger off "Right" and pressing "Up".

Most games require you to take your finger off one button before you activate another. I suggest devs implement this slide idea to make these games easier.
02-22-2009, 10:09 PM
#2
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arta View Post
I suggest devs implement this slide idea to make these games easier.
+1

02-22-2009, 10:11 PM
#3
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Canada
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So you're saying you like iDraculas controls, right? LOL
02-22-2009, 10:15 PM
#4
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Agoura Hills, CA
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Yeah I agree, it's difficult to use the screen as a joystick without any tactile response.
In SciFly, I only used the screen for buttons. To make them easier to press, I didn't just make them big, but used the actual 4 quadrants of the screen as invisible tap targets.
This works out very well, but limits the game to only 4 buttons which can make the game design tricky. For movement controls, I just used the accelerometer.

All in all, it's actually surprising how many control options there are for the iPhone, we went through all sorts of other configurations before arriving at this.

Josh Rosen
Developed Above & Beyond Air Combat (Now Available!)
Developed: SciFly
Twitter: @jshmrsn
02-22-2009, 10:24 PM
#5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burton View Post
So you're saying you like iDraculas controls, right? LOL
Well I do like them a lot, but I didn't realize why I did. I never lost control of my character and I didn't know why. One reason of course is that the character and enemies are just the right size that you can see everything and still have detail. Then I thought of the Geometry Wars style of controlling, thinking that it was bringing dual joystick controls to a different genre made he difference. Then I realized that it's the sliding action of the wheel, not the joystick, that made the difference.

Imagine controlling a Mario or Zelda type platformer this way: hold forward to walk forward, then slide up to climb a ladder without losing stride.

I don't think this sliding idea is fool proof in every case though: it's a great idea for controlling direction, whether it's the direction you're moving in or the direction you're pointing/ paying attention to. But action buttons? Well you can't be holding down a "punch", "activate", or "shoot" button all the time in every game. Devs will find their own ways of implementing other actions.

But otherwise I think it will work.
02-22-2009, 11:15 PM
#6
Joined: Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arta View Post
But action buttons? Well you can't be holding down a "punch", "activate", or "shoot" button all the time in every game. Devs will find their own ways of implementing other actions.

But otherwise I think it will work.
Thats exactly what i was thinking. Using your example (mario) this wouldnt work, you would have to move your thumb to jump. (unless you flick it like Rolando)
02-22-2009, 11:55 PM
#7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiffyone View Post
iDracula's control wheels are one way of doing it. I still prefer the method employed in Dropship, which is basically the same (you don't have to take your thumbs away, just slide them within the circles) except that in Dropship the control wheels are "floating". That is, the control wheels in Dropship aren't placed in one particularly area onscreen, but rather appear wherever one places their thumbs. So, say you are interrupted or just need a better view of things you can move your thumbs to the desired position, and when placing them onscreen the control wheels appear under them, ready to be used.
Yep, that works too.
02-23-2009, 01:39 AM
#8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arta View Post
So in a platformer, while pressing right to go forward, you simply slide up to make your character go up a ladder, instead of taking your finger off "Right" and pressing "Up".

Most games require you to take your finger off one button before you activate another. I suggest devs implement this slide idea to make these games easier.
I did create a thread suggesting something similar a few months back. I even made a quick diagram for comparison between different control options. It got a few replies but no devs ever really seem to care, maybe it was too general and not directed at anyone.

In that thread, I also invite people to give suggestions for iPhone games in general, eg: Tilt calibration, screen flip, listen to our own music, online scoreboard, etc. I think the thread is something like 'suggestion for developers' or something like that.
02-23-2009, 02:17 AM
#9
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Spain
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I like a lot too the controls of iDracula is one of the things that makes the game that awesome. First time I played I forget about the controls and thought only on the intense action and after gameover I saw how much perfect the control was for that game.

Maybe its a good idea to have some general things like Donkei says implemented in all future games like good controls, ipod music and fx sound, online scores and devs starting games with that things

Last edited by Shinto; 02-23-2009 at 02:21 AM.
02-23-2009, 02:26 AM
#10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donkei View Post
I did create a thread suggesting something similar a few months back. I even made a quick diagram for comparison between different control options. It got a few replies but no devs ever really seem to care, maybe it was too general and not directed at anyone.

In that thread, I also invite people to give suggestions for iPhone games in general, eg: Tilt calibration, screen flip, listen to our own music, online scoreboard, etc. I think the thread is something like 'suggestion for developers' or something like that.
We should revisit that thread: maybe the timing is better now. Devs who lurk here and know about the success of iDracula might take a look at that thread.