Thoughts on control scheme

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Kiloo_Jeppe, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Kiloo_Jeppe

    Kiloo_Jeppe Well-Known Member


    We here at Kiloo Games are planning a new unannounced game, featuring at times a throwing motion gameplay from left to right - no we are not making an Angry Birds clone :D

    However, we are looking at multiple ways to do the interaction, and would like some input from the user community. What games have you played where you feel like this is implemented in a great way, what style do you prefer?

    Our current implementation features a click and draw towards the right side of the screen to increase power and control the angle. However, your finger will often obstruct the gameplay and since this game is also about precision, it further complicates the issue.

    I noticed that Peggle iPhone uses a special off-screen gear to control the action, however I find this slow, very indirect and counterintuitive.

    Any feedback is most appreciated!

    Best, Jeppe at Kiloo
  2. headcaseGames

    headcaseGames Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Mobile Game Developer
    Hollywood, CA
    might want to illustrate this a bit more, somehow, as I am having trouble picturing it in my head.

    I feel like they did a great job with the Peggle control, I hate games where your finger obscures the action but since that game waits until you shoot, it's not a problem for me. The gear is good for modifying the precision of the selection. It could always be better (the gear does feel a little funky) but I got used to it quickly and it didn't bother me much.

    I don't know if this is relevant or not, but I did really like the control options in bust-a-move (aim and shoot)

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  3. Kiloo_Jeppe

    Kiloo_Jeppe Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you're right, it was kind of confusing. Thanks for the input however.

    Basically, it's your basic: 'Aim and Fire' game. Currently, you drag towards your target increasing power the more you drag it, releasing will result in a shot. It's a 2d perspective, and most often you will fire from left to right. The way they got past the whole, "obstructing finger" in Angry Birds was by using a slingshot and since you drag this backwards to fire, you never obscure your aim.

    However, in my opinion this only makes sense, since it's a slingshot. Normally, you would want to drag towards the goal you are targeting. However, we feel like precise decision making is complicated by this approach.

    You are right that Peggle effectively solves this problem, however I really feel like the player looses the direct connection with the game, since you are no longer interacting directly with the game objects. Having a shooting cannon like bust-a-move, would also help, but I guess you would still need to have some buttons to control the action.
  4. flod

    flod Active Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    Maybe it depends a bit on the type of game and the other interface elements (HUDs, etc.), but popping a crosshair a few pixels above the finger (on touch begin), moving it along with your finger, then completing the action and hiding it when the finger is lifted could work.
  5. EssentialParadox

    EssentialParadox Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    UK / Toronto
    Just an idea, but have you tried using the Accelerometer? I can imagine a velocity curve on screen that changes according to the degree of tilt, then a simple tap anywhere on screen to fire.

    I know a lot of devs seem to shy away from the accelerometer but it can actually be very accurate and, in this case, may actually be more precise than using a finger. I suppose it all depends on prototyping it and whether it fits the game appropriately, but worth thinking about anyway.
  6. antony.thai

    antony.thai Well-Known Member

    A accelerometer will also need the sensitive adjustment option I think.
  7. Kiloo_Jeppe

    Kiloo_Jeppe Well-Known Member

    Great guys, thanks for the input!

    @flod - A crosshair could work, you are right. It would most definitely have to be positioned a few pixels above the finger, I think we'll try it out to see how it performs - I guess it's a little weird that you don't fire excactly where your finger is, but as long as it's well communicated it probably won't be a problem.

    @Essential - Oh yeah, the accelerometer - boy, we've had a lot of heated discussions regarding this. I'm not a big fan of the accelerometer, especially not to handle precise decisionmaking - In my opinion it's a gimmick more than a serious interaction tool. However, it's definitely unique in this kind of game.

    Anybody played a game, in which they thought it really worked?
  8. Phi6

    Phi6 Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    Alternative to the crosshair method, is that you could draw a trajectory line from the point of origin (the gun) to the target and extending beyond

    That way you could control the angle from anywhere on the screen, without the problem of the crosshair "aiming above your finger" or obscuring the screen with your finger.
  9. EssentialParadox

    EssentialParadox Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2009
    UK / Toronto
    I believe Tilt To Live (free download if you don't have it already) is an incredible example of accelerometer accuracy. The level of precision needed in that game is ridiculous, yet it works. And when I think about trying to control Tilt To Live using line drawing, a virtual thumb pad, or other on-screen control methods, I can't see how it could be remotely as accurate as the accelerometer. But, from looking at other failed attempts at using the accelerometer, it IS clear that you do need to get the sensitivity nailed, and i'm not even sure if the raw iPhone accelerometer data is enough to be simply attached to the control schemeĀ—it may need to go through an algorithm to smooth the input. It'll take effort, and if you don't believe in accelerometer controls, might be worth avoiding. But check out Tilt To Live and see if it changes your mind.
  10. Kiloo_Jeppe

    Kiloo_Jeppe Well-Known Member

    @Essential Paradox: Yeah, I've had a lot of fun with Tilt to Live, great little game and the steering is very precise. But still the premise of the game is so much different, from what we are planning. It's definitely a game about precision, but occasionally it's okay even if the precision fails, I'm not sure that would work in a "shooting" game like ours.

    @Phi6: Basically, that's the control style that we have right now. You can press whereever you would like on the screen and drag the route of the ball and how much power you would like to add. However, it just doesn't feel right. It's like you loose connection to the physical nature of the ball, when you are not dragging it. Kind of hard to explain, when I don't have anything to show you - but I greatly appreciate the input!

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