Too Many Buttons

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Too Many Buttons

Too many buttons on controllers makes games inaccessible, and John Scott Tynes offers a solution with Far Cry 2600.

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I don't like this idea. Playing with a bunch of buttons makes me feel awesome skilled.

Hmm. Not to be offensive but that control scheme would put me off gaming altogether. I don't see where you are coming from either. I have never felt that there were too many buttons and in fact, I would prefer more.

However it was a good attempt. Congrats on thinking it out.

I really don't like the idea of two buttons. I feel that the games today are way too complex for that. I do love me some retro gaming though, and it's comforting when I boot up an NES game or a Genesis game on my computer, using my PS3 controller, and only being able to use a third of it at most. Simpler times were fun too

I'd say that, no, we couldn't cope. All games would be slow as a retarded person with no legs (Get it? He's Slow AND he can't move fast!). Lets take Halo 3's multiplayer (the faster pasted games) Now make everyone only be able to move/fire. Slow as a sloth. If anything, we need MORE buttons.

Far Cry 2 was bad. This would make it better for some (few) people, but worse for most.

There was this game design competition that required a 4 button joystick input (A, B, Start, and Sellect). It was pretty challanging figuring out how to map all user actions to the Dpad and two primary buttons. Ultimatly features were cut, but I think it led to a cleaner feeling game. FYI the contest was Speedhack: http://speedhack.allegro.cc/

Woudln't taking away buttons imply that the player is too stupid to know how to use them?

The mere thought of it makes me feel insulted, imagine how the people this is supposedly being done for would feel.

Yeah, and then we can put video games on the radio for blind people!

I think we could do with some more buttons, but definitely not less. As games get more complex, with more functions, the need for more buttons arises.

Plus gaming would be slower in general, you couldn't have so much immersion as you do in some of today's games, and multi-player would be especially bland, with none of the head shots or carefully thrown grenades.

I honestly prefer the multi-button layout because it gives the player more control over what's happening. One of my biggest frustrations with gaming is when something "automatic" is supposed to happen and it doesn't (or worse, it's not supposed to happen and it does)... it completely breaks the flow of the game and generally gets me killed and sets me swearing up a storm.

a non-lethal example'd be like final fantasy 7 and below, any time you walked into a town, you automatically entered the town, you went through the loading sequence and bam! you're in town. every so often, when I enter the world map, I just press forward because I "know where I'm going" and lo and behold, to my ever-jubilant surprise: my camera was facing back towards town... gogo loading sequence. ff8 (or 9, it's been too damn long) solved this by making it so you had to confirm that you wanted to enter the town by pressing x or something, I don't honestly remember, but the point is it saved me about 20 minutes of swearing and frustration.

Here's a better idea: if your wife has a problem with too many buttons try

image

Which has 10 controls counting every direction and the superfluous pause option. If there's a problem with Far Cry 2 it's not the controls.

And personally, I think your radial menu idea is more baffling than the four extra buttons.

You can't have multiplayer with radial controls. You would have to not put anything except shooting and grenade throwing in multiplayer matches. Boring.

Too complicated less skill and strategy. We didn't move on from Doom for a reason. Th real reason the Wii is popular is because it chose a different market to us. Doom wouldn't help

I've never felt that I had too many buttons. The keyboard attached to the computer that you're reading this on has a lot of buttons, and pretty much everyone uses one just fine.

(also, mac wheel! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0Gzq-QEt0s)

I think the point wasn't to make every game only have one button and one analogue stick, but to demonstrate that you could use two inputs in a more complex game than pacman (if you played the one where you can jump that is).

I sometimes think that developers add in pointless extra features just because the controller has some buttons that they haven't mapped into their control scheme yet. And I think the idea of only being able to heal/switch weapons etc. out of combat or behind cover is pretty good.

But I do like having more buttons than the absolute minimum, in more frantically paced action games it's always more comforting to know that your favourite gun/special power/pointy stick is one button click away.

Alright, here's my perfect controller. Start with a SNES controller. Replace the D-Pad with a clickable analog stick. Add 2 more buttons on the back.

And that's it. 10 buttons and a clickable analog stick, in just the arrangement that fits me best.

Arbitrary Cidin:
Yeah, and then we can put video games on the radio for blind people!

A blind guy actually beat Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for the NES just by listening to the sound effects.

And a few games do have the ability to be specially modded for blind people. The same guy plays some FPSs that are modded to do something akin to the echolocation that bats use. (I don't know if he does multiplayer or not.)

I can see the appeal of a simplistic controller, after all it has been done before (every console pre-n64 with a few exceptions), but really this generation seems to have hit a happy median. You will notice that the PS3 and Xbox 360 have almost identical layouts, because most people prefer this and it is a pretty damn good setup. Another thing, this could be a problem related to the developers believing console games need to use every button, but I beat Far Cry 2 and plenty of other games on the PC and you use maybe six buttons realistically. With movement mapped to a stick, a button for reload/actions, and a change weapon button, as well as the buttons to fire them, thats about it. Just don't really see the problem here.

AdmiralMemo:

Arbitrary Cidin:
Yeah, and then we can put video games on the radio for blind people!

A blind guy actually beat Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for the NES just by listening to the sound effects.

And a few games do have the ability to be specially modded for blind people. The same guy plays some FPSs that are modded to do something akin to the echolocation that bats use. (I don't know if he does multiplayer or not.)

There is a person youtube called genuinecorruption, he is blind and did a complete play through of Ocarina of Time, he had some help in a guide people helped right, but he played the entire thing. He even kicked Phantom Ganon's ass better then I did my first run throughs. This was unmodded, using just a set of stereo headphones.

Ironically the edited version sounds even more complicated than the regular version. I know that it takes a while to learn all the controls, but every game is relatively the same. There are slightly different buttons for different actions so you just have to memorize one basic set of controls and then remember what game you're playing to remember whether they use the Y or A button to jump.

I guess I'll see how it works out, if it's good, then great! But I have to say, I have my doubts as to people adjusting to it nice and smoothly. Though the idea does seem interesting, and it appeals to me.

As long as the buttons are easy to reach, add as many as they want. You can even have some do nothing in games that don't require them. As long as I can keep my hands in one position and not have to reposition them to reach a button, I'm fine.

No, it's a bad idea. It's a really bad idea. You may have less buttons, but that doesn't help. You have to get rid of actions to simplify it. What's the difference between a game-boy without a 'B' button? All you have to do is press 'A' twice, but you still have to learn to do that. Changing it would only force developers and gamers to adapt.

As a thought experiment I think the premise is intreguing. Not that I'd neccisarily accept a game with this control scheme but it's certainly food for thought.

Thoreau often said, "Simplify, simplify"

WafflesToo:
As a thought experiment I think the premise is intreguing. Not that I'd neccisarily accept a game with this control scheme but it's certainly food for thought.

Thoreau often said, "Simplify, simplify"

Henry David Thoreau (I'm guessing that's the one you're talking about) was also probably the only person to ever perfect a cure for insomnia while at the same time being a retard, I'm looking at you, Walden.

I think it is a brilliant idea, but normal "hard core" games should be made aswell, I'm sure that a console with the power of a PS3 or Xbox 360 would manage to handle 2 seperate controllers that can be used one instead of the other, so simple games can be made like the one in the article, for me to teach my dad with. While also having the hardcore set up for me to murder my little brother with

sorry but you want auto aim for Movement above or below you.

You don't want to be able to walk round corners instead you want to only be able to sprint into the open like a pissed off horse asking please shoot me?.

You don't want be able to Jump at anytime so you can jump onto rooftops or other higher points to get a better position against the enemy?.

You want to be unable to crouch when the game doesn't want you to so you cant crouch while you're on low health behind a small mound while bullets hit the ground around you like you're in some war film. It sounds like you want a lot less strategy in your fps.

The article is ridiculous. Modes are much, much worse for learnability than a straight control-action mapping with more buttons. This is recognized in all basic UI design literature. Norman's "Design of Everyday Things" mentions, among other things, how a normal automobile dashboard has well over hundred controls and yet is usable to most people with little to no training.

I play a whole lot of modern games with a low amount of buttons. They are arcade games. Try some of them instead of asking for a complex FPS with a shitty UI.

There is a huge fallacy here. You have eliminated "buttons" but not "inputs". In fact, you've made it worse. In the standard controller, the "fire" button is always "fire". That never changes. Now all the sudden your fire button is "radial menu" or "jump" or "open" depending on context. And it does different things depending whether you tap it or hold it, you know what? Each of those is another input. You have nearly the same number of inputs, but now they are cryptic, sometimes unintuitive, and confusing as hell because they are all on one button.

I can hear my wife now...

Wife: "How do I throw grenades again?"
Me: "Oh, well you have to go find some cover and stand behind it for a second, then you hit the button for the menu and select grenades. Try that."
Wife: "Hey, he's climbing on the cover!"
Me: "I guess that wasn't cover, must have been a climbable thing. Try something else."
Wife: "Ok, this looks like cover. But the button is still firing the gun!"
Me: "Because you faced the cover for more than 1 second, you are now in 'combat while in cover mode'."
Wife: "How do I stop that?"
Me: "I don't know, walk out and back in?"
Wife: "Now I am dead! We took too long. Fuck this game, who designed this shit?"
Me: "Let's play something else."

Nutcase:
The article is ridiculous. Modes are much, much worse for learnability than a straight control-action mapping with more buttons. This is recognized in all basic UI design literature. Norman's "Design of Everyday Things" mentions, among other things, how a normal automobile dashboard has well over hundred controls and yet is usable to most people with little to no training.

I play a whole lot of modern games with a low amount of buttons. They are arcade games. Try some of them instead of asking for a complex FPS with a shitty UI.

I was hoping a human factors student would chime in! I agree, 100%.

twcblaze:

WafflesToo:
As a thought experiment I think the premise is intreguing. Not that I'd neccisarily accept a game with this control scheme but it's certainly food for thought.

Thoreau often said, "Simplify, simplify"

Henry David Thoreau (I'm guessing that's the one you're talking about) was also probably the only person to ever perfect a cure for insomnia while at the same time being a retard, I'm looking at you, Walden.

Yes, that is why I come to the forums, the intellectual stimulation. The example given is very extreme and like most extreme examples isn't really usable but is more along the lines of lateral thinking.

Think farther outside the box about some of this, context-sensitivity with not one but two radial menues under your thumbs coupled with the tactical requirement of getting to a place of relative safety before accessing certain functions... could take inventory management to a whole new level if nothing else.

Wow. For an interesting excersise in game theory, this article seems to have garnered some serious hate from our Escapist community. I thought it was an interesting idea, and I'm intrigued as to how it might actually play out. My only concern would be clicking the wrong thing at the wrong time, or ending up in a different 'mode' by accident. But for the most part I support this idea of simplification and the spirit of the article. A lot of the posters so far seem afraid that someone's going to come into their house at night and pry the buttons off of their controllers now. It's kind of a shame to see just how many people have missed the point entirely.

I think it would be more experimental than to improve the experience for me, but I do really like the idea of simplifying a game's control scheme. I think 2600 might be a bit too simple to make Far Cry work very well, maybe something more like a NES with a joystick could work, but I'm really intrigued by this idea and how it would affect my play. [/ramble]

WafflesToo:

Think farther outside the box about some of this, context-sensitivity with not one but two radial menues under your thumbs coupled with the tactical requirement of getting to a place of relative safety before accessing certain functions... could take inventory management to a whole new level if nothing else.

As a game mechanic, that is a good idea, but not a new one. Basically any game with an inventory screen that doesn't pause the action already does this. I do love the radial menu, which is slowly becoming more and more of a standard feature.

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