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iPhone: StarSmasher Controls

08-01-2008, 12:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 28
StarSmasher Controls

Ok guys. There is a lot of talk about the controls of StarSmasher so I wanted to lay out my reasons for designing the controls the way they are and then start a discussion on how to improve them. A 1.0.2 update has been shipped to Apple this morning that increases the sensitivity of the controls by 50%. For part of the 1.1 update I want to allow for a slider that lets you select your own sensitivity. I'm not sure that everyone will be happy even with this solution, however, for reasons I will detail below.

Okay, so in reality a spaceship would experience no friction. In order to change direction it would have to apply acceleration in the opposite direction of its velocity. To do so quickly requires A LOT of acceleration. A car, on the other hand, doesn't really have this problem. The tires allow you to change direction easily (I think, but my physics are rusty, this is because of the friction between the tires and the road). A spaceship then is akin to a car that is hydroplaning.

Now, I didn't think that a full space sim was the purpose of SS so I added friction, but I did want to give the sort of "feel" that you might have flying a spaceship. Because of this tilting, your iTouch changes the acceleration of the player ship rather than changing the velocity as I imagine a car or motorcycle sim would. This was a conscious decision and it felt like the right thing to do.

So, I have vamped up the acceleration by 50%. This should make a lot of people happy (crossed fingers) but some people, I think, are really expecting the controls to be responsive in the way that a car sim would be. In other words, they want the velocity to be directly tied to the position of the iPhone. I think this is undesirable because it makes the game nothing more than a car sim with an added height direction, however, I wanted to see what you guys think.

Should I continue with my reasoning for acceleration based controls, or should I switch to velocity based controls? Or other options? Also keep in mind that the 1.0.2 update probably won't be available until mid-week next week so you might want to wait to respond until you've had a chance to get to know them.
08-01-2008, 02:01 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,438
I thought the controls were appropriate in that it did feel like a spaceship more. A little tighter might be nice, but it certianly shouldn't turn on a dime.

I don't like the idea of adjustable controls though, since there should be a certain skill involved specific to the game. Also, it's hard to compare high scores if the controls are adjustable.

my 2 cents

08-01-2008, 05:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: pittsburgh
Posts: 16
Send a message via AIM to mikeadams
i played it some more and i like it more and more each time i play. maybe an option to invert the controls instead of having one or the other?
i like that i can just place my finger in the corner and hold it there for a "rapid fire" instead of tapping alot.
08-01-2008, 05:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Plant City, FL
Posts: 88
One of the most difficult job of a game developer is to find that balance between realistic and fun. The controls makes the game "feel" sluggish, even though Newtonian physics is the holy grail of PC space sims, I don't think it should be the case with portable gaming.

I managed to get used to the controls. Eventually as you flesh out the game more, I can see it being more fun, and the fact that you're involved the with the community helps a lot.


Last edited by MattB; 08-01-2008 at 05:30 PM.