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

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by arta, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. arta

    arta Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2009
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    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.
     
  2. rpb1975

    rpb1975 Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2009
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    +1 :)
     
  3. Burton

    Burton Well-Known Member

    Feb 11, 2009
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    So you're saying you like iDraculas controls, right? LOL
     
  4. jshmrsn

    jshmrsn Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
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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.
     
  5. arta

    arta Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2009
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    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. :)
     
  6. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    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.
     
  7. spiffyone

    spiffyone Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    I gave an idea to the devs behind The Quest. People are complaining about the menu on the side of the screen, and the control and action buttons being placed on that menu bar, right? So why not take a cue from Dropship and have the movement and action buttons be "floating" menus? Dropship uses it as virtual control sticks, but with The Quest it would instead be implemented in this way: whenever and wherever you place your thumbs onscreen the movement menu buttons would open up for the left side and the action menu buttons for the right side. That way they could get rid of the "always on" movement and action buttons and free up the menu bar for a larger map and health/energy bars.

    But, still...it is a tough thing to wrap one's mind around initially. Sounds "easy", but it must be hell to implement compared to "traditional" control methods.
     
  8. Rocketman919

    Rocketman919 Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2008
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    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)
     
  9. arta

    arta Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2009
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    Yep, that works too.
     
  10. don_k

    don_k Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2008
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    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.
     
  11. Shinto

    Shinto Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2009
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    #11 Shinto, Feb 23, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
    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
     
  12. arta

    arta Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2009
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    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.
     
  13. Oliver

    Oliver Well-Known Member

    And maybe Apple should read this as well and give us a wheel to fast forward audio and video tracks back. Something, all iPods where great in, just sucks on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
     

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