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Controllers dont have enough buttons.. More control!!!

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by CaoMengde777, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    LOL heres a topic you guys probably dont talk about much but...

    so, Iam making a PC game .. and I realize plenty of people may prefer to play with a controller..
    how common is this? .. I see a few people on youtube use xbox360 controller for PC for PC games, and plenty of PC games use xbox360 controllers ... I have the means to use that controller with Unity
    iam going to use this: http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/free-custom-input-manager.223321/

    now the thing is, with a keyboard and mouse there is TONS of keys/buttons .. but with a xbox360 controller there is Not Enough ...

    I recently was watching some video about atari jaguar lol... old crappy console.. and the guy says the numberpad on the controller is "weird" .. and I thought.. well.. I wish that was the standard controller they use now... lol..

    but yeah... im just going to have it like... when you hold LB.. most the other buttons change to have different function... like shift+X or alt+X or ctrl+X on a PC

    I wonder what you all have to say on this topic... lol now I think about it, I wonder how other PC games that support controllers do it ( i dont use controller myself, but to support it for my game is something i want)... I guess soo many AAA games now that are cross-platform are dumbed down to be cross-platform (which is lame as hell) ... like, cod2, cod4, codWaW had leaning on PC ... and then they took it out.. (wtf!)

    I guess most people make simpler games than what I intend... mainly.. theres some games where it feels like, when i do something Awesome in a game, i feel awesome like "Iam the greaaatest!!" .. but then that feeling is diminished by ... "well.. really i just pressed a button and the character is awesome, not me" (im talking about like, in path of exile, the skills are just hotkey presses) .. i want to make a game like that, but with like "slash high, slash mid, slash low, stab high, stab left, stab right" ... or something like this.. that, the gameplay is very an individuals skill, not so much just stats and hotkeys


    recently ive been playing red orchestra 2, and in terms of fps it really adds alot the variety of control... there is leaning, sprinting while crouched, fps cover system, hipfire vs iron sight vs focused iron sight, normal grenade throw vs underhand grenade throw .. and sprint vs bonzai charge... for example... it adds alot for me, to have greater control than say.. counterstrike
     
  2. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    You'd like Steel Battalion.
     
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  3. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Are you straddling genres? Successes like LOL have 4 primary abilities plus a few extra. Platformers and action games typically have fewer buttons/actions than PC games, as gameplay focuss on TIMING and AIMING. When in doubt, consider the axiom: "Less is More".

    Gigi
     
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  4. DanSuperGP

    DanSuperGP

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    I'd say controllers have too many buttons.

    They're certainly intimidating for a lot of people who might otherwise play more games.

    For instance, my wife likes to play games, but she doesn't want to learn a ton of crazy button combinations just to get the basic controls of a game.

    Mostly we play Diablo III, or Civ 5.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
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  5. Schneider21

    Schneider21

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    I think current console controllers are about where they need to be as far as number of inputs are concerned. Anything more would make them too unwieldy to actually use, and I think more dangerously, invite developers to make bad decisions. What if there were two jump buttons on the NES controller, where one makes Mario jump high, and the other just a little hop? Does this give the player more control over their character? Sure. But does it do so in the best way? Certainly not.

    If the complexity of a game is from learning the controls, then you're doing it wrong. Unless that's somehow part of the gameplay, I guess...
     
  6. RockoDyne

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    Unless I'm flying a spaceship, I shouldn't need to use more than half of a keyboard.

    As much as PC gamers lament simplification, it's still something they've benefited from. It used to be pretty damn helpful to have the manual nearby so that you could look up what keyboard command the inventory was set to. Hell, just look at old point and click adventures that had ten different ways to interact, and ask yourself if 99% of cases can't be simplified down to a single interact context without losing anything.

    Historically, it was complexity for complexities sake. Leaning for instance, doesn't really have much of a purpose outside of a stealth game where it's quite useful to move the camera without moving your feet. Leaning was a flourish, a trick that adds flare but without serious reason.
     
  7. Schneider21

    Schneider21

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    That's the heart of it, right there. Sure, any game can be simplified down to a button or two. The sweet spot is getting it down so you don't have complexity for complexity's sake, while still feeling like the player's input matters.
     
  8. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    wtf... leaning is REQUIRED in like red orchestra.. .. really,though the way they did it in medal of honor airborne was THE BEST .. and cod without leaning just ruined the game entirely

    decent input though

    here is an example, previous game idea.. (like 50 percent made lol)


    anyway... so its like a twin stick shooter..
    i didnt get around to using the other D pad controls, but theyd probably be like flashlight/night vision .. and i wasnt sure to make Y switch weapon .. or Dpad switch weapon..
    soo.. hotbar .. when holding LB itd make YBXA (and maybe d pad) become "hotbar" which is like 1-8 on the keyboard.. the hotbar holds skills .. which this would be like hotkey skills ..
    also yeah... not so sure how to add leaning was thinking hold Rstick and press LB RB, but not sure about that..., i personally think, for a shooting game leaning is REQUIRED.. never gonna budge on that opinion.. people dont expose their whole body to shoot if they dont have to...

    also.. use and reload should be separate buttons i think... this is basically cod's layout( I figured id stick with a standard)

    lol also.. is it legal to use this image in my game, in a menu? (the button icons are public domain
    http://opengameart.org/content/free-keyboard-and-controllers-prompts-pack .. allows for connect/disconnect controller and it switches from keyboard/mouse to controller during runtime... also, lets you configure inputs InGame.. and i couple other neat things i forget
    , and the controller i edited out logos (and im giving them free advertising))
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  9. Gigiwoo

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    Do you also hate WoW? Forbes reports there are 27 MILLION LOL players, EVERY DAY! It's easy to hate on success - amateurs and teen's do it all the time. Professionals, on the other hand, study success, hoping to learn.

    Gigi
     
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  10. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    i do also hate WoW lol ... as a gameplayer... and as a game designer, i want nothing to do with those games... theyre just waaay too lame to me.. but i know what youre saying... not really about hating success.. its more like ... hating how stupid people seem to be or something like that lol ... oohh and i =HATE= microtransacts and DLC and subscription
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  11. DanSuperGP

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    Sounds like a really serious case of "Only that which I like is good, everything else is stupid."

    Thank god I don't ever have to work with you.
     
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  12. RockoDyne

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    WHY was it needed though. If your answer is immersion, you haven't actually stated a reason, just opinion.
     
  13. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    play red orchestra and youll see... if a enemy can see you, you are dead... you have to lean out of cover, shoot, unlean, bolt action rifle, lean out and shoot, unlean bolt action .. etc.. also, guys are watching doorways like a hawk, if you walked into a doorway youre dead... if you lean into a doorway you at least have half a chance ... but yeah red orchestra is not an arcade fps really, youre shooting like 2 pixels in the distance alot
     
  14. khanstruct

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  15. angrypenguin

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    So what kind of game is it that you're making? As a minimalist designer I don't run out of buttons because that would typically only come as a result of adding a lot of stuff to my game.

    Take Far Cry 4, for instance. It has leaning, but it does not have buttons for leaning. If you aim at the corner of something and you're standing against it then the character leans out around it. Simple controls, intuitive execution (aiming is aiming... that's all there is to it), no extra buttons, doesn't remove anything useful to make it happen, doesn't introduce conflict, doesn't require me to learn anything additional. Also, didn't require instructions.

    Early Assassins Creed also did it well, I think. Four action buttons on the gamepad, and the player can be acting normally, aggressively or submissively. Each of the action buttons uses the same part of the body (legs, left arm, right arm, head) but the action performed depends on the mode - normal, aggressive or submissive. So six buttons did over a dozen things, switching modes and then actions appropriate to those modes. It was a complex system, but with a little practice it became intuitive because the visuals, mechanics and controls blended so well.

    I have nothing against adding complexity to a game. However, I always ask "can I do this in a less complex way?" "Does this complexity improve the game?"
     
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  16. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    I've found LoL and WoW are best played with friends. If you're trying to play solo, you'll find it is easy to hate it. The communities that exist around it are simply too immature in most cases.
     
  17. angrypenguin

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    I find that any online game is best with friends. I love playing Battlefield with a squad, but solo pubbing gets old fast.
     
  18. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    This post makes me think of games like Steel Battalion... which came with its own... "controller".

    :eek: Trust me, less is more.
     
  19. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    Wooah!! :eek:
     
  20. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    yeah that controller looks so awesome, never played that, but it seems so awesome, Lol reminds me of, i was looking up how to make multiple keyboards work (for splitscreen) .. and i seen some people made cockpits for flight sim games, using multiple keyboards.. or actually those gamer peripherals that are like little keypads.. looked real cool

    mainly, i was just talking about... like that other game i posted that xbox controller pic for.. it needs like 6-8 more buttons..
    on a keyboard the controls are just like 2 more buttons than a standard FPS game with leaning. and like 1-8 to switch to certain weapons.. but in my use itd be skills.. like diablo or path of exile, you press certain numbers to use different skills

    LOL that photoshopped "ps4" controller is ridiculous.. but itd be cool the button in the middle, that infinity .. and the 4 diagonals on the dpad and the 2 extra buttons by start and select, looks decent obviously all the extra R&L and sticks is just silly

    but seriously ... okay.. so xbox360 controller has like 12 buttons (including start, back, stick clicks), 4 dpad, and 2 sticks

    PC .. okay.. WSAD = 1 stick , mouse movement = other stick
    Q E, leaning .. say = RB, LB
    (i use) C or Lctrl - crouch, X or Lalt - prone, Space - jump = A, B, Y ... cod has stance up or jump and stance down , instead of the seperate 3 buttons...
    R -reload , F - use = X ( cod) .. would prefer seperate buttons
    L click and R click = RT LT the triggers
    1,2 - switch weapons = upD downD
    G,H - grenade1, specialGrenade = leftD, rightD (cod uses LB RB, but has no lean (LAME!))
    pause/menu - esc = start
    inventory- I or tab = back
    middle mouse, or V - melee = Rstick down
    Lshift - sprint = Lstick down
    no more buttons - standard FPS (cod)

    so now... cant innovate, cant come up with more ideas, more "moves" or whatever .. not with standard 360 controller (
    important for me because i want splitscreen on PC)


    easily on PC, could use middle mouse, middle mouse forward and back, 3,4,5 z maybe, capslock, tab if I is inventory ... and obviously whole rest of keyboard... but these are easily in hands reach from the "home" position of WSAD

    so 7 more buttons and a 2way axis (or 2 buttons)

    -------------------------
    well i was making like a thirdperson , kinda twin stick shooter, i played running with rifles, and im like "i can make that!" but with more ideas thrown in...

    some things that need more buttons - baseball slide, i had doubleTap sprint to sprint or just hold it to "run" , also i was making so you have to bandage.. the player bleeds out slowly , also you control a squad and give squad commands( i was gonna make that a radial menu), also a unique cover system(like mohAirborne, but not really), i was gonna come up with more ideas for skills.. like baseball slide would be a skill .. and like charge with bayonet, and "gangsta style" aim (you get more xp but its kinda suckier.. tradeoff) and even block bullets with a sword

    what bogged me down is that, i had most of these mechanics made, BUT .. level design.. ugh.. idk i just wasnt interested much for the level design, like, itd need to be a city, but its like.. well.. just place down random buildings randomly >< .. yeah... LOL i got my mind in all the mechanics but the actual level layout is like "well, anything is as good as anything else, so.. maybe ill just make it a flat plane, obviously not .. soo what then??"
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  21. angrypenguin

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    I have a feeling that's an "ugh" because you're thinking about designing levels, but you haven't designed your mechanics. You've just got this mixed bag of unrelated ideas you've implemented. Without a mechanical design there's no basis for your level design, and every possibility that whatever random idea you chuck in next will either break your levels or render them boring.

    Ideally your level design, mechanics and controls will all influence each other. They are not isolated. Each is an integral and fundamental part of your players' experience.
     
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  22. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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  23. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    Wow!
    You hit it right on target dude! :D
    Nice!
     
  24. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    LOL you mean atari 2600? ... really its like, 5 inputs.. and the game selector thingy


    anyway... i just wanted to open up the idea... seriously.. no one runs into this problem of not having enough inputs??

    but yeah.. like i could make a new controller and sell the game with a controller... but i dont have money for that lol.. idk its just ideas.

    and yeah button Combos and doubleTaps . or Holds can be used
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  25. ANTMAN0079

    ANTMAN0079

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    LOL, the real "Whoa" was walking into a Gamestop where they stored those controllers overhead and imagining one of them falling off the shelf.
     
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  26. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    I am concerned for your game design if you don't think 12 buttons, 2 joysticks and a d-pad is enough.
     
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  27. angrypenguin

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    Without knowing about the game design, why?
     
  28. khanstruct

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    There really should be no reason to need that many buttons in any given scene. If you do, it's likely because the game and/or controls are overly complicated. And in the wise words of Sid Meier, "Complex is fun, complicated is not."
     
  29. angrypenguin

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    How 'bout a typing game? Try that on a gamepad. :p

    Or, look at many GUI-based games - management sims, RTSs, a hacking game I played recently, etc. They commonly have many more buttons than would be available on a gamepad.
     
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  30. khanstruct

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    Bejeweled is about as GUI-based as you can get. Or X-Com (very GUI heavy). They use a cursor, cuz having a button for every interactive object on the screen would be ridiculous and over-complicated.
     
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  31. Manny Calavera

    Manny Calavera

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    Stephen Hawking's wheelchair computer has only one button as input... and look at what he produced with it.
     
  32. angrypenguin

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    Drawing more buttons (or other interactive elements) on the screen is still having more buttons, though, regardless of whether they're physical buttons or not. And arguably having a physical button (plus some form of selector) to press a virtual button is adding a layer of complexity. Yet plenty of applications, games or otherwise, use way more buttons than are available on a gamepad and yet are still perfectly usable.

    What matters is whether the design is good. Things feel complicated when they can't be grasped intuitively, and while I'm sure there's some relationship between that and the number of buttons I don't believe it's an especially significant factor.
     
  33. imaginaryhuman

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    I think simpler is better. Each to their own, but I find that if I have to learn a lot of individual buttons that makes the game harder. I don't want to have to really remember that L1 and R2 and left stick etc do strange different things specific to this one game. I prefer games with simpler controls so I don't have to THINK. I know you could learn them over time, but it's a hurdle at the beginning. Why do you think mobile became popular with touch screens/less buttons?
     
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  34. khanstruct

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    Yes, but that isn't really what we're discussing here. More buttons and controls on a GUI is fine as long as (as you pointed out) it's well-designed and intuitive. But on the controller? No. Can you imagine if you opened a Word document and you had to access every possible action with a different key on your keyboard?
     
  35. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    what about... mouses that have more than Lclick Rclick , Mclick, wheel up, wheel down.

    some mouses have like .. at least 2 more buttons...

    im thinking of utilizing that in my design... but it seems kind of foolish because its not the standard .. BUT it adds alot to my game..

    (like for people that dont have so many buttons on their mouse, they could use .. i dunno.. like G,H or something)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  36. imaginaryhuman

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    I think what you really want are more INTUITIVE controls. That may or may not mean more controls. The controls are actually supposed to get out of the way, so that there is a natural interface directly between the user and the game, with no sense of an obstacle in the way, or having to think about what to press, or controls that are too complex that you fat-finger them, or are hard to use over the long term, etc. Controllers are supposed to be basically invisible so that you forget they are even involved, if the connection between the user and the game is done really well.
     
  37. imaginaryhuman

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    Thats the same for any kind of navigation actually.... like website navigation.. its a necessary evil but it should get out of the way as much as possible. People don't come to play with navigation, they come to USE it to get to where they want to go.
     
  38. angrypenguin

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    Spot on.

    I've always considered a tendency towards flash over form to be a design flaw. Anything that isn't your focus should do all in its power to not require attention. If you want your audience to pay attention to something then anything else that grabs their attention is detracting from that, and thus directly making your work worse at whatever you want it to do.
     
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  39. imaginaryhuman

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    Its a usability thing. Extra gubbins is just noise. It's all about the fact you have to USE the thing and how easy is it to do that. If you make people have to think, you create a barrier to the free flow of intuition.
     
  40. AndrewGrayGames

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    My day job involves boring business applications. We have to write a reasonable bit of interface code, pretty frequently.

    The thing I've been warned of in my career is that UI is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the user needs UI so that they know what's going on and can tell the application what to do without needing to be a subject matter expert. On the other, UI is a necessary barrier between the user and the information they're trying to work with.

    A good UI defeats the Paradox of Choice @Gigiwoo mentions periodically - instead of allowing the user to do any number of things to any number of data fields, we instead limit the choices to ones that make sense, which reduces the user's cognitive load, which makes their life, and business (I'm including the act of playing a game as business in this case) easier.

    Going back to games, I want to beat up on Steel Battalion a bit. It's got an awful interface, even though the reason the interface is so awful is that it's trying to sell you the experience of driving a giant robot. Most of the buttons are only used during the fictional mecha's boot sequence - that's a red flag, everything in a game should be taught, and required to be used at some point, by the player responding to the feedback loops we're designing. There should never be that many unnecessary buttons on an interface.

    Contrast the original NES controller. Four directional buttons, start/select, B/A. It almost goes the opposite direction of having too few controls, but it's generally hailed as the prototypical game controller. The NES software and hardware limitations takes a bunch of potential options and forces the developer to choose the context under which we present actions to the user.

    Just play the original Final Fantasy; in theory everything you could do could have its own action button if the controller had more buttons. But it doesn't, and that's why the game works; if you walk in front of an NPC, there's no need to wonder if hitting B will make the NPC say something different from hitting A; you just hit A because that's the interact button. It's simplicity itself.

    That's what we should strive for. The first rule of effective communication is something that in forum posts I'm bad at: brevity.
     
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  41. angrypenguin

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    As another point of view, I have always seen those things as one and the same. I've never seen it as "give the user access to the data" and then "help them do the right thing with the data". I've always seen it as "guide to user to perform useful operations on the data".

    It's a point of view that gets me thinking from the user's perspective rather than the data's perspective. I'm not thinking about how to expose the data. I'm thinking about "what does the user want to do?" and "how can I most easily help them do that?"
     
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  42. RockoDyne

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    This is trying to be more of a simulation though. They are looking at the cockpit of a fighter jet to model what piloting a mech should be like. Much of the player's skills end up coming from mastery over the machine. In a nutshell, are Han Solo and Spike Spiegel good pilots, or do they know the right things to kick to make the ships fly right?
     
  43. Gigiwoo

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    OMGROFLCOPTERS! (Is that meme too old?)
    Gigi
     
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  44. AndrewGrayGames

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    Possibly.
     
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  45. Tomnnn

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    Make every single initial input a modifier for every second input. Problem solved :D

    Anyone else pre-order the sixense stem? Now that I'm thinking it over... contextual motion gesture controls sounds like it's going to be the most beautiful, horrible mess ever.
     
  46. longroadhwy

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    This is a very interesting topic. It seems like it is basically comes down to how immersive your game is based on your controllers. I think most people like keyboard and mouse due to the cost. How much is your core audience willing to spend on a PC controller?

    The Atari Jaguar controller was not that bad just one thing you have to get used to. The Atari jaguar game Alien vs Predator (1994) made the best use of the jag controller. In the game you could play the Alien, the marine or Predator and 3 overlays (for the keypad) were included in the game for that purpose. You can see the overlay's here:
    https://atariage.com/overlay_page.html?SystemID=JAGUAR&SoftwareID=2538&ItemTypeID=OVERLAY
    Game overview.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_vs_Predator_(Jaguar_game)

    Even the Atari 2600 had many different controller options. They even had a few different keypad options (star raiders) and one CX50 2600 keyboard controller. See you can see a listing with pictures here of many Atari console controllers at the URL below. Best Electronics still has almost everything Atari ever made and you can still purchase them which is amazing.
    http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/quickguide.htm.

    For the PC there are many options available for controllers. Most people just limit themselves to game pads (e.g. xbox-360 controller) and not joysticks that are available in the flight simulation. You can get a good flight simulation joystick that has 30 inputs (buttons/axis/hats) and then usually a mode button (with 3 different modes) on the stick which gives you 90 input options. I am thinking of CH Fighterstick but there are plenty of other options from other vendors (e.g. Saitek) that will give you enough more than enough inputs and being precise also.

    Currently I have experimenting with CH Fighterstick and ArcadeGuns light gun concurrently using UPFS.

    As for a PC game that handles everything controller wise in a game and with keyboard. I would think that X-plane does a good job for handling most of the exotic flight simulation controllers and keyboard and mouse too. Works on Windows/MAC/Linux. I am not sure how well the Linux support is for controllers but Mac should handle most of the mainstream controllers (CH products and Saitek) without too much of a problem. Just looking on Youtube it is pretty amazing what people have for their personal flight simulation setups.

    Here is one of the better home cockpit Boeing 737 simulators using Prepare3D flight simulation software. I think it is has good amount of input options. Prepare3D is by Lockheed-Martin and it is derived Microsoft FSX source code.



    Since X-plane is also used for FAA certified flight simulators I know it can handle just everything controller wise especially on the PC side of the world.

    Elite Dangerous seems have people spending $150+ for a good flight simulation controllers without too much of a problem. Prices on flight simulation gear have risen a bit since it was released.

    There are also X-arcade TankStick which emulates a keyboard so that should work fine too without too much effort since that can be easily mapped for keyboard keys.

    I know some people think foot controllers (e.g. Stinkyboard) are really great additional input options for FPS too. I have not used a Stinkyboard myself but does seem to have attracted a following. I did see another foot controller announced at the CES (consumer electronics show) called 3D rudder (http://www.3drudder.com/). I have not seen much discussion on the Unity forums on people using foot controllers with the exception of Flight Simulation rudder pedals or racing wheel context like the Logitech G27.

    The high end consumers for racing games (like i-racing) like button boxes which provide additional input options too. http://www.derekspearedesigns.com is one such vendor.

    I am thankful to be working on a Windows PC where we have endless options when it comes to different controller input options.
     
  47. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Posts:
    133
    Right, action games in particular are an area where you want the player thinking as little as possible about how to pull of a move. Just to keep that in mind, though I think the rest of this forum has been people repeating that, so I digress.

    I will say, have you considered button combo-ing/chaining? Say, both triggers at the same time, or A while holding the left stick in a direction, or specific input series on one of the sticks. Controllers are more analogue than a keyboard and it feels much more natural to chain inputs. While not all combos work (A+Y+R3 being one I would smack you over) and you need to be extra careful that your chain commands work smoothly but not too easily, this theoretically gives you more forms of input than you would ever need.

    Also, know that the Triggers and Bumpers should be used by actions that need to be done while aiming and moving, as both thumbs can be on the sticks while the index fingers handle the buttons. Consider whether or not a player needs to be moving when they lean. Wolfenstein: The New Order had a lean button on consoles assigned to down on the D-Pad which also was how the player went prone. Never needed it though, as there was auto lean similar to the Far Cry series.