Controller Evolution

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5
 

Yahtzee did a whole extra punctuation on the presence of good tutorials, People will favour those over working into increasingly complex controllers. People are shallow minded, those who look past that will realize things like the wii controllers are nothing more than controllers with slight movement, and an acelerometer add on.

An example: I love the game Excite Truck, but using the wii-mote never let me feel like I was driving a car, I only felt like the buttons had been remapped.

A little extra bit, yes bob, how much you can get into the game does measure a game's worth. THAT IS WHY YOU ARE PLAYING THE GAME IN THE FIRST PLACE. There is no reason to buy ANY game if you aren't going to lose yourself in it in some aspect, the gameplay, the story, the characters, if you can't lose yourself in it, you just wasted money.

its silly that console gaming got rid of the older types of games, where on PC flash games get all types of 2D games covered.

This is like a wet dream come true!!! James Porno, Yahtzee and Moviebob! The three guys responsible of me knowing the Escapist at all in the first place...

Just want to say this is easily my new favorite feature on escapist. Please keep these coming.

I much prefer using a 360 controller for Guitar Hero than the guitar. Certain songs are hard or impossible on it sure, but the songs where its a ton of single notes rapidly, is much easier, very fun, and people watching my hands become awed. In GH3 I think, I loved using a controller on expert on Reptilia. That was fun.

I don't understand why Portnow and Chipman are so married to the idea of controllers with fewer buttons. If a game doesn't need those buttons then it doesn't need them, but some games benefit from additional key presses. And not having those options there limits what you can do with a game, as I see it. If a simple game doesn't need the buttons then having those buttons isn't really going to make it a problem. And most games allow you to reassign buttons anyway.

The trick is to not throw all the functions at the player at once. That's why new players get confused and intimidated. So why not simply use tutorials or practice sessions to help new players get a feeling for multi-button control. If you think about it, the standard setups work fairly well and it's matter of getting the player used to the button grouping. And grouping buttons by function is what we smart designers do for games like God or War or Batman: AA.

Just to clarify for those who may not understand me...And keep in mind I'm going by a FPS brawling-type game here. Such as God of War.

This kind of standard uniform control, along with proper step-gradient learning through tutorials and practice is how new players will learn the ropes and figure things out. Experience players can be given the option to skip these if need be.

It's not really a hard concept. I would think you guys could have figured that out without my help.

The modern game controller, like my Logitech F510, is a marvel of technological achievement. It's packed with fairly precise dual analog sticks, two progressive triggers, a bunch of buttons and motors that can vibrate to the point where I can feel the weight of a car shifting in my hands in NFS5.

The problem is that most devs still think of a modern controller as an NES controller, and use it as suck. The day after I got my very nice gamepad I had a ton of ideas of how all it's features could be used, and they all had one thing in common, none of them were implemented in games. Why? Because simply massing the X button when the screen tells you too is easier to implement then, let's say, accurately applying pressure to the progressive triggers.

Here's a concrete example. At the end of Modern Warfare 2, instead of mash X to pull out that knife, how about slowly remove it with the progressive trigger or one of the sticks between heartbeats you could feel in the controller. No force feedback? No problem, use sound.

I had an idea for a section of a game where a character would stumble trough the darkness with only the sound from the game and the force feedback as direction. Why don't I see stuff like this in games? Most controllers are standardized at this point, there shouldn't be problems with implementation across a hardware made by different manufacturers.

speaking of game continuity, now with the advent of Wikia's such as The Vault, UESP and the Mass Effect Wikia, games are now far far easier to learn the past of buy just going on the internet, hell watching lets plays of a previous game before you buy the new one would make sure you know the story. lets say for example you wanted to buy Fallout New Vegas, but wanted to learn the history of the Fallout Universe first so you know who was who, why some people hate others etc. well you could buy the Fallout 1 and 2 and spend several weeks playing them, or you could jump on to the internet and go to The Vault and read up there, or even use one of the links there to download the Fallout Bible and read that. now you know more about the Fallout universe then most developers who work on the games.

This is probably a tired example, but I thought Portal did the best tutorial ever because I didn't know I was playing a tutorial in the traditional sense. Instead I was discovering game mechanics. On the second play through, I was perfecting mechanics already learned, but I am still accomplishing things within the context of the game. Movies have "Show me don't tell me" as a primary rule for all film. Games should have "let me experience don't just let me watch." again, nothing new, just missing from this discussion as far as I could tell.

Hmm, perhaps I missed it, but it seems like the current debate misses the most important point.

Controllers have gotten more complicated in response to better games that require more, and more advanced controls to make function. It's the increasing quality and complexity of games that has caused the industry to explode to the point where more people want to become gamers. Right now we're looking at a situation where consoles are "catching up" to PC games and seeing a lot more decent multi-platform releases because the consoles can now do things that they once couldn't and it's all those buttons and knobs on a controller that makes it possible where having a thumbpad or joystick and a couple of buttons once seriously limited the options. The simplicity of old school controllers was one of the reasons why a lot of people felt that consoles would NEVER be able to catch up with the PCs.

I mean sure, we could go back to the whole "joystick and one button" or "gamepad and two buttons" control scheme, which would be easier on casuals, but then not as many people would be wanting to play those games. Those "casuals" would not be as attracted to gaming anymore.

I will also say that I think motion controls are interesting, but seem to be stuck in a rut. Also the simple fact that motion control games aren't all that relaxing (you have to get up and spaz out) is going to be a barrier. Right now I think there aren't many games that go beyond the basic, gimmicky, casual level that aren't "hardcore". Simply put the industry needs more intermediate game development, games that say help to wean casual gamers into
more advanced fare, and are more focused on the games themselves rather than the gimmick
used to play them.

Another concern that I admit to is that with gaming reaching a bigger audience there is concern over it being all-inclusive. That's a slippery slope if there ever was one. With no offense to those who are physically handicapped, a LOT of things are ruined when they have to be changed or altered signifigantly to be accessible to them. Say designing a roller coaster so it can take a physically disabled person, which mandates it being able to run a specific type of car which can't safely hold that person unless it goes slower and doesn't perform certain manuvers. As a result of that one in a million guy, the hundreds of thousands of other people are left with an inferior experience.

With something like gaming, I have great respect for those who can overcome their disabillities to do something that logically they shouldn't be able to. If some physically disabled person learns to play "Dragon Age" or "Street Fighter" with his nose, good for them, but games should not be adjusted to accomodate such people at the expense of the rest of society and the genere as a whole.

The same basic logic applies to casuals, the problem with the gaming industry is in trying to make EVERY game accessible to the lowest human denominator.

I confess to some concern over games that have done things like include a "one button mode" and turned the whole thing into little more than a timing exercise intergrated into a movie (a giant, constant quicktime event so to speak). Right now it's intended for disabled people, but how long until we start seeing demands that if one game has done it, every game should do it, and games are designed around having to be able to accomodate such things? That's not a good move for gaming as a whole, and the same basic logic applies to casual gamers on a lot of levels.

Such are my thoughts.

Best! Ever!

airrazor7:

Hmmm...what if we had two joysticks used simultaneausly?

But what if we used the two joysticks and put the buttons you need to control a game around the joysticks, but then made the joysticks a bit smaller so you could use them and still access the buttons without tangling your hands...
Wake up people, the joystick isn't dead, it just evolved into the controller stick.
Its evolve or die in a medium as fast moving as the gaming industry.

Also moviebob said that controllers look like symetrical piles of clay with buttons attached... has he not noticed that the controller fits almost naturally in the hand (except for the PS3 one which is too small for me) with little effort, hmm its almost as if its been designed that way?
Theres a reason they all have the same basic shape... because it works.

Also another point against movie bob (when have I EVER been known too make points against movie bob???) but he said there are no "entry levels" of games... just an inch of space away from where he mentioned farmville (and most of that inch was space between paragraphs). Seriously? Is there a more entry level game than farmville, it comes attached too a site millions use, requires very little to get started and then develops into a more complex game when you get more too manage as you prove that you have conquered previous stages...
If games are a flight of stairs that not everyone can climb, then farmville is a gradual ramp...

I think Yahtzee is right, he's just not *completely* right. The current generation of motion controls are cheap gimmicks. That doesn't mean that all motion control are cheap gimmicks.

As I type this, I am using Firefox as my internet browser. I have an add-on called 'FireGestures' (which is one of several such extensions), allowing me to use my mouse as a gestural interface. A quick swipe to the left to go back, a quick swipe to the right to go forward, an L-shape to close a window, and so on. It's quick and easy.

Many people have observed that sweeping gestures and whole-body movements make playing the game more work. And I agree with that assessment. However, the concept of a gestural interface does not require flailing around.

Let's go back a few years, to when the Wii was new. Commercials for Wii Sports show the players swinging the controller like a bat or a golf club. But when I actually played the game, I quickly discovered that you don't need to do that - and in fact, it's not even the most effective way to play. A short, quick flick of the wrist achieves a result that's as good or better than the flailing full-body movements.

And as far as I'm concerned, that's where the potential for motion control lies - the ability to make quick flicks that are no more taxing than pressing a button, and the ability to point the controller at the screen and use it as a 3d mouse. Also, like MovieBob, I think the best part of the Wii control scheme is the ability to have an on-screen pointer (which is actually better, in my opinion, than either a computer mouse or a touchscreen - it moves where you point, without your hand blocking your view.)

The ideal I hope we can work towards is something like a Kinect, but able to track eye and finger movements rather than (or in addition to) the full body movements. If you can move your finger an inch, or even a few inches, and give a command, then that's not a appreciably more work than moving your thumb from one button to another. Point at the screen and have a cursor (or targeting crosshairs) appear where you point. Give commands with simple gestures - for example, to pause the game you hold up your hand, palm outwards, in the universal signal for 'stop', rather than adopting a full-body pose as the Kinect currently requires.

There will always be a place for sticks and buttons, simply because interface elements like 'push forward on the stick to move forward' or 'hold down the button to keep firing' are not as easily replicated by motion control.

(Incidentally, this is why I think the Wii's 'nunchuck' controller is still a vastly superior motion-control device, even years later - it combines a fairly traditional thumbstick, d-pad, face and trigger buttons with a point-and-click interface and simple motion control for both hands. The Move is more heavily focused on the motion control, and the Kinect is entirely reliant on it.)

Anyway, where was I?

Ah, yes. I think that (perhaps barring the sort of Direct Neural Interface which Yahtzee alludes to) there will always be a place for traditional controls; however, if developers are willing to move past the 'standing up and acting out the motions because that is what looks good on the TV advertisements' gimmick, and acknowledge that most of the time you want to enter commands with as few movements as possible, Motion Control can and should have a place right alongside them.

ironlordthemad:

airrazor7:

Hmmm...what if we had two joysticks used simultaneausly?

But what if we used the two joysticks and put the buttons you need to control a game around the joysticks, but then made the joysticks a bit smaller so you could use them and still access the buttons without tangling your hands...
Wake up people, the joystick isn't dead, it just evolved into the controller stick.
Its evolve or die in a medium as fast moving as the gaming industry.

Also moviebob said that controllers look like symetrical piles of clay with buttons attached... has he not noticed that the controller fits almost naturally in the hand (except for the PS3 one which is too small for me) with little effort, hmm its almost as if its been designed that way?
Theres a reason they all have the same basic shape... because it works.

Also another point against movie bob (when have I EVER been known too make points against movie bob???) but he said there are no "entry levels" of games... just an inch of space away from where he mentioned farmville (and most of that inch was space between paragraphs). Seriously? Is there a more entry level game than farmville, it comes attached too a site millions use, requires very little to get started and then develops into a more complex game when you get more too manage as you prove that you have conquered previous stages...
If games are a flight of stairs that not everyone can climb, then farmville is a gradual ramp...

whoa...you um, really ran with that afterthought at the end of my post. I see your point but I think you missed mine. The other person that quoted me, Korne, hit a lot closer to the mark. You're probably right about how the joystick evolved into the analog stick, but an analog stick does not give the same feel of immersion as a joystick for something like a realistic flight simulator since the joystick's appearance and feel resembles that of an actual flight control stick versus and analog stick. Evolution of control in a physical sense of immersion was along the lines of my point which is why Korne's mention of Steel Battalion is a good example. The devs of the game may not have completely achieved their goal with the controller but anyone can tell they were trying to simulate a realistic experience of piloting a mech with their unique controller design.

So, maybe in a sense of simulation, joysticks are kind of dead.
Yes, I know there are flying games for the current gen consoles but one does not fly a real jet with their thumbs.

I also disagree with MovieBob's point about how there are no training wheels for gaming. Wasn't that the whole point of the Nintendo Wii? We mighty veteran hardcore gamers stand proudly on our soap boxes, scoffing and denouncing the wiggle and waggle of the wiimote because it did not grant the experience we demand as hardcore gamers, but isn't that the point? Was it not the purpose of the Wii to introduce gaming to the crowd we dubbed "non-gamers"? MovieBob, I know you may have overlooked it, especially since it sounds like you only have eyes for the XB360, but there are your training wheels, the wiimote and nun-chuck.

deleted

What about a Powerglove Mk. II?
With current technology, it can actually work quite well.

ShannonG:
I think Yahtzee is right, he's just not *completely* right. The current generation of motion controls are cheap gimmicks. That doesn't mean that all motion control are cheap gimmicks.

As I type this, I am using Firefox as my internet browser. I have an add-on called 'FireGestures' (which is one of several such extensions), allowing me to use my mouse as a gestural interface. A quick swipe to the left to go back, a quick swipe to the right to go forward, an L-shape to close a window, and so on. It's quick and easy.

Many people have observed that sweeping gestures and whole-body movements make playing the game more work. And I agree with that assessment. However, the concept of a gestural interface does not require flailing around.

Let's go back a few years, to when the Wii was new. Commercials for Wii Sports show the players swinging the controller like a bat or a golf club. But when I actually played the game, I quickly discovered that you don't need to do that - and in fact, it's not even the most effective way to play. A short, quick flick of the wrist achieves a result that's as good or better than the flailing full-body movements.

And as far as I'm concerned, that's where the potential for motion control lies - the ability to make quick flicks that are no more taxing than pressing a button, and the ability to point the controller at the screen and use it as a 3d mouse. Also, like MovieBob, I think the best part of the Wii control scheme is the ability to have an on-screen pointer (which is actually better, in my opinion, than either a computer mouse or a touchscreen - it moves where you point, without your hand blocking your view.)

The ideal I hope we can work towards is something like a Kinect, but able to track eye and finger movements rather than (or in addition to) the full body movements. If you can move your finger an inch, or even a few inches, and give a command, then that's not a appreciably more work than moving your thumb from one button to another. Point at the screen and have a cursor (or targeting crosshairs) appear where you point. Give commands with simple gestures - for example, to pause the game you hold up your hand, palm outwards, in the universal signal for 'stop', rather than adopting a full-body pose as the Kinect currently requires.

There will always be a place for sticks and buttons, simply because interface elements like 'push forward on the stick to move forward' or 'hold down the button to keep firing' are not as easily replicated by motion control.

(Incidentally, this is why I think the Wii's 'nunchuck' controller is still a vastly superior motion-control device, even years later - it combines a fairly traditional thumbstick, d-pad, face and trigger buttons with a point-and-click interface and simple motion control for both hands. The Move is more heavily focused on the motion control, and the Kinect is entirely reliant on it.)

Anyway, where was I?

Ah, yes. I think that (perhaps barring the sort of Direct Neural Interface which Yahtzee alludes to) there will always be a place for traditional controls; however, if developers are willing to move past the 'standing up and acting out the motions because that is what looks good on the TV advertisements' gimmick, and acknowledge that most of the time you want to enter commands with as few movements as possible, Motion Control can and should have a place right alongside them.

I have to disagree with you here, motion controls are indeed cheap gimmicks. That's not to say they don't have their place. But their place is in establishments like Dave and Buster's or Gameworks where more active fun is a wanted distraction and you're not so much looking to relax as you're looking to have a party with your buddies. Much like going to a place that has a miniature golf course and batting cages.

Motion controls aren't really much if you're just looking to have a more self-gratifying experience. For most games, the motion control simply gets in the way. Metroid Prime 3 was a game I really was disappointed in due to the awkwardness of the motion controls and a lot of the flails that felt utterly unnecessary.

And that's kind of the whole problem. It's a fun little gimmick for gatherings and parties on those rare occasions when families aren't throwing plates at each other and summoning the police. In a party atmosphere, sporty Wiimote games can be a fun distraction. It fits in a party atmosphere which is why most people only play games like Charades at parties. Most of the time, you wouldn't ask your mate for a rousing game of charades while you're watching Star Trek. This is why the Wii generally only gets pulled out on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The majority of games are more intimate experiences and do not benefit from awkward motion control flails. They just get in the way and tire you out, and if you're looking for that kind of active entertainment to fill your life, I'm not quite sure you should be investing heavily in video games. Wouldn't be cheaper to invest in a basketball?

When's the next one coming? :(

Sir John the Net Knight:

ShannonG:
I think Yahtzee is right, he's just not *completely* right. The current generation of motion controls are cheap gimmicks. That doesn't mean that all motion control are cheap gimmicks.

I have to disagree with you here, motion controls are indeed cheap gimmicks.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm having trouble drawing a line between what I said, and what you responded. Are you sure you're not confusing me with someone else?

Help me out, here. You quoted a post in which I discuss (at length) my belief that motion should be moving past flailing, full-body gestures and instead use short, controlled hand movements. In your response... you proceed to talk about how flailing full-body motions are bad.

Um... yes? That was kind of my point - that 'stand up and act out what your character is doing' is not the whole of what motion control offers, or even the most notable aspect.

I assume you use a computer, correct? By any chance, do you like to use a mouse? Why do you think we use that and not, say, a joystick to move the on-screen cursor around? I'll tell you: it's because it gives a more direct mapping of your physical movements to the input. Move hand right, cursor goes right. Move hand left, cursor goes left. That's motion control, in its purest form.

The Wiimote or Move controller are the next generation of mouse; a controller that moves in the same plane as the cursor (so 'up' is 'lift up' rather than 'push forward') and which can (potentially, at least) give you a third dimension of control, for 3d navigation. Once we get to the point where you don't have to hold a controller, it can reliably track small hand movements? I absolutely expect this sort of thing to become the default interface.

An entertaining column, but there's... a walrus at the dinning table.

What is MovieBob even doing in this column? Doesn't he review movies or something? He's the guy who saw it fit to spoil the ending to Inglorious Basterds in his goddamn review. You can tell the other two are either politely ignoring his more inane assertions, or trying not to bash him too much when they do address him. Compared to them, whose arguments are well thought out and clearly stemming from experience, Bob looks more like he's stumbling for an opinion, sculpting his points as he goes while employing less than masterful craftsmanship. This results in something that, when viewed from a very particular angle and if you know what are you looking for, is not entirely unlike a sensible commentary. Also, he yells a lot.

I understand you need someone to have different opinions or points of view or whatever, but honestly, Bob's not up to the task. He's way out his league.

^He has a show called Game-Over Thinker. I think that qualifies him for a spot...

'reads the first paragraph'

Duuuudes. Seriously. It wasn't that controllers are complex and beyond understanding, people still play Mario Kart with the controller turned sideways. People bought the Wii for different reasons. For instance, WiiFit. I know so many people, all females, who want to lose weight so they look like rakes but don't want to exercise. So they stop eating. Great, now they're thin, ill and tired. So they exercise, but their only concept of exercise meaning anything is going to the gym. But then everyone will see them. So they get WiiFit instead and do pushups.

A Wii isn't considered gaming, so it isn't considered nerdy, so it's considered socially acceptable to play it. People that play console games talk about how boring and wholesome the Wii games are. Only they don't say wholesome, grandparents do, so they give their grandkids this console because it's good for them.

Kay? Not controller complexity like so many people say, other reasons. Lots of reasons. Nothing to do with the controller. Well.. Nothing explicitly, fairly tangential relationship. You should know better.

Santa216:
An entertaining column, but there's... a walrus at the dinning table.

What is MovieBob even doing in this column? Doesn't he review movies or something? He's the guy who saw it fit to spoil the ending to Inglorious Basterds in his goddamn review. You can tell the other two are either politely ignoring his more inane assertions, or trying not to bash him too much when they do address him. Compared to them, whose arguments are well thought out and clearly stemming from experience, Bob looks more like he's stumbling for an opinion, sculpting his points as he goes while employing less than masterful craftsmanship. This results in something that, when viewed from a very particular angle and if you know what are you looking for, is not entirely unlike a sensible commentary. Also, he yells a lot.

I understand you need someone to have different opinions or points of view or whatever, but honestly, Bob's not up to the task. He's way out his league.

I would say you are hating on Bob not because of what he has said but because he doesn't necessarily specialise in gaming, though I would argue that he definitely knows his stuff -- he's probably the most knowledgable and culturally/socially aware of the three.

OT:
Where the hell is our next installment guys!!!

It's been two weeks... Where's the new one?

Bob: If everyone put their backcatalog online they'd surely put all the junk in there as well.
And how can a true gaming novice know that the NES Mario's are pure gold and that some obsucre game with a more exciting title is actually crap that turns them off gaming forever?

Plus, you mention GTA1... I loved it back then in, uh 1996 or so, but it has nothing to do with GTA4 gameplay wise. It changed drastically after the last 2D one, so no use in 'learning' gaming from a game that has play no current game still uses, eh?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here