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In defence of games supporting only one input method

09-30-2010, 06:29 AM
#1
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 731
In defence of games supporting only one input method

Straw man bashing below:
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"Accelerometer control sucks"
"Please ad a accelerometer control mode as well"

I see comments like the ones above made quite often in regards to iOS-games, latest in the Carmack-thread. Personally I find these requests rather odd. Cleary most games are tailored around their central mechanics, meaning that changing a game from gyro to touch control would transform the experience completely. It would this mean that developers should/would have to re-tailor the difficulty levels/design to fit another input method. I also believe that developers focus on playability risk being diluted.

Now there might be games where including two different control-methods makes sense. In general though I think the two are too different to be comfortably used for the same game. In many respects this is true to my personal belief that more choices does not make a better game. Like in all creative design I find that games are often best when the developer has a clear vision of what kind of game he/she wants to design. This does not mean that developers should avoid input from other parties, far from it, just that following the wishes from everyone might easily lead to a convoluted mess that's no fun for anyone.

...or perhaps I'm just stark raving mad(?)
09-30-2010, 06:56 AM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
More choices might not necessarily make a better game, but it'll sure round up all the freaks who want accelerometer control.

  /l、
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10-01-2010, 02:46 AM
#3
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 731
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidianGTX View Post
More choices might not necessarily make a better game, but it'll sure round up all the freaks who want accelerometer control.
Actually I don't think the accelerometer is to be blamed per se. I think the problem is mainly that as the iPhone/iPod lacks physical input buttons, joysticks etc. and people seem to crave traditional playing experiences. it is very hard to make a control scheme that really works for a lot of traditional games.

When a game is designed with the iPhone in mind from scratch the accelerometer can be used to great effect. Doodle Jump is of course the most obvious example and in my mind it shows not only that accelerometer controls can be effective, they can actually make the game.
10-01-2010, 02:56 AM
#4
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 10,505
Ya, but I dont really like Doodle Jump. Mostly coz I dont really love accelerometer controls in any game but driving ones (where they are actually better than even physical buttons and joysticks IMO).

But I think it will change much for me even if they have DJ with some onscreen controls. Still for games which I like, I'd really prefer if there are as many control options as possible. More choice is always good IMO.
10-01-2010, 07:23 AM
#5
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 731
While "more choices" immediately sounds a lot like "better value" I think it is a poor design-choice under most circumstances. It might mean more work but I still think it's lazy, at least from a design point of view.

Any good design should be the result of a clear and strong idea of what the creator wants to achieve. As the control-scheme is such a defining characteristic of an iPhone game it seems odd not to have a clear idea about this from the beginning. Of course this is probably less true with more complex games, as it might be impossible to conjure a truly great control-scheme all together due to the physical limitations of the platform.
10-01-2010, 07:42 AM
#6
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Italy
Posts: 1,452
I agree with you - while some games may adapt well to different control schemes, this is not always the case. If a developer comes out with the PERFECT control scheme for its own game after an accurate phase of design, testing and refining, it's unlikely that the player will ever feel the need for anything else.

I also don't understand people bashing tilt controls as a whole - there are great games out there which rely on tilt only or a touch and tilt mix and wouldn't work so well with just touch - I'm thinking of tilt to live, homerun battle 3d, doom resurrection and many others.
10-01-2010, 07:56 AM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickFalk View Post
While "more choices" immediately sounds a lot like "better value" I think it is a poor design-choice under most circumstances. It might mean more work but I still think it's lazy, at least from a design point of view.

Any good design should be the result of a clear and strong idea of what the creator wants to achieve. As the control-scheme is such a defining characteristic of an iPhone game it seems odd not to have a clear idea about this from the beginning. Of course this is probably less true with more complex games, as it might be impossible to conjure a truly great control-scheme all together due to the physical limitations of the platform.
I generally agree, with some caveats. It's the nature of touch gaming to have input flexibility: unlike consoles, which are stuck with exactly the same set controls whatever the game, touch screens allow developers to customize their UI to fit a particular title. Giving players the ability to further customize to fit their needs (folks with larger hands may want buttons set farther apart, for example) is generally a good idea. iOS gaming shares a lot with PC gaming, where you almost have always been able to remap keys to your heart's content. But the demand for developers to provide more than one conceptually different control scheme (and test it, balance the game for it, etc) has always struck me as pretty unreasonable.

I don't envy John Carmack having to plow through that thread for any coherent advice about iOS gaming (I envy him for other reasons, of course ). Most of the posts seemed to be about pet peeves, personal preferences, and silly arguments about what games "belong" on the platform. I guess he thinks he can make sense of it somehow.
10-01-2010, 07:57 AM
#8
Double post

Last edited by squarezero; 10-01-2010 at 09:38 AM.
10-01-2010, 08:13 AM
#9
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 731
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarezero View Post
I don't envy John Carmack having to plow through that thread for any coherent advice about iOS gaming...
Agreed! Just a couple of pages into that thread I gave up as apparently everything is vastly better and vastly worse than everything else.
10-01-2010, 08:16 AM
#10
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
I don't see more choice as being a bad thing. So you throw in an alternate control scheme, and maybe it doesn't feel right to you because you developed the game with another scheme in mind, but out there somewhere is someone who thinks it feels totally natural. Everyone else can happily ignore it's existence.

  /l、
゙(゚、 。 7 ノ
 l、゙ ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ