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Thread: Suggestions for proper control layouts?

  1. #1
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    TheHandwovenBox's Avatar
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    Question Suggestions for proper control layouts?

    Hello, I am currently working on two games, one being the focus, and the other has a small fun side project.

    The main game is keyboard only, and I would like feedback on how these controls sound:
    Movement (Left/Right) - Left/Right Arrow Keys
    Attack - X
    Jump - Z
    What I am currently struggling with is deciding how to select items, as there are two item slots, similar to 2D Zelda games, my first idea was to use Shift and Control for the two slots to open a mini menu, where the number keys or number pad could be used to pick an item, but I am not sure if this would be the best system.

    The side game is keyboard and mouse, and feedback on these controls would also be highly appreciated:
    Movement (Left/Right) - A & S
    Fire - Left Mouse
    Aim - Mouse
    Change Weapon - Hold and release Right Mouse
    Missile - R
    Morph Ball - Ctrl or D twice
    Sprint - Shift
    Jump - Space
    Crouch - D
    The idea is to have a Metroid 2D game but with gameplay borrowed from the Prime series, and although these controls sound good to me, I also kept in mind that these controls were intended for a game in 3D space, which is much different than 2D space, so I am not sure if this would be clunky.

    If anyone has ever played games with these types of controls, or has developed games of their own and found their sweet spot for controls, their help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Clicker Fusion 2.5 DeveloperAndroid Export Module
    Janette5's Avatar
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    I gave controls on both sides of the keyboard - so that it would be comfortable for people who are left-handed and also people who are right-handed. The game is written so that you can press any option you prefer and the character will react.

    For selecting objects I gave multiple options - not only the keyboard but also I allowed the player to click on them, in case they forgot what key to press on the keyboard.

    Then there's the factor of international keyboards - the letters / numbers are not on the same place as the English keyboards so if players can't remap the keys, or you don't have multiple options, it's difficult for those players. I don't know how popular the non-qwerty, or non-English keyboards are - I see a comment about them every now and again. But the arrow keys seem to be universally on the same spot.

    I don't think I've ever played a game that required keyboard and mouse movement at the same time - so can't really comment on that.

  3. #3
    Clicker Fusion 2.5 (Steam)Fusion 2.5 Developer (Steam)Fusion 2.5+ DLC (Steam)Android Export Module (Steam)HTML5 Export Module (Steam)iOS Export Module (Steam)Universal Windows Platform Export Module (Steam)
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    If possible, it's definitely best to let users customise the keys, as different users will have different preferences, so unfortunately you'll probably never find a solution that won't annoy someone somewhere.

    But here are my personal views on those schemes.

    Movement (Left/Right) - Left/Right Arrow Keys
    Attack - X
    Jump - Z
    What I am currently struggling with is deciding how to select items, as there are two item slots, similar to 2D Zelda games, my first idea was to use Shift and Control for the two slots to open a mini menu, where the number keys or number pad could be used to pick an item, but I am not sure if this would be the best system.
    I personally really don't like the X and Z. They feel like very small and arbitrary keys for something so fundamental as jump and attack. They also feel too similar or 'symmetrical' - I'd struggle to remember which is which. I'd prefer something like space to jump and ctrl or shift to attack. Not only are they bigger keys that are easier and more satisfying to hit, but one (spacebar) uses the thumb while the others use a finger - this makes them feel very different, making them easier for your muscle-memory to keep apart mentally.

    Arrow keys are fine, but keep in mind that many PC gamers are used to using WASD to move (those keys are in the same general layout as the arrow keys, but can be used more easily by the left hand). So it would probably be good to allow both left/right arrow and A & D to do movement.

    Movement (Left/Right) - A & S
    Fire - Left Mouse
    Aim - Mouse
    Change Weapon - Hold and release Right Mouse
    Missile - R
    Morph Ball - Ctrl or D twice
    Sprint - Shift
    Jump - Space
    Crouch - D
    With that setup, you're requiring your player to move using their ring finger (A) and middle finger (S), since the pinky is required for shift, and the index finger is required for R. Try this with your right hand for a moment, on the arrow keys: move left/right with your middle finger on left and your ring finger on right. It just doesn't feel right, does it? Partly it's because of the distance between the left and right arrows, but partly I think it's also because it feels awkward not having any of your most important fingers (ie. index or thumb) operating something as important as movement. To me, the movement kind of feels clumsy, like it's 'getting lost' somewhere in the middle of my hand.

    I don't like D for crouch, for a couple of reasons. First off, it's so close to the movement keys that it feels like it's a part of them, and yet it doesn't feel like it's in the right position. Look at it visually:

    ← → ↓
    A S D - you've got 3 movement keys, and you hit the left-most button for left, and the right-most button for....crouch, and the middle (ie. neither left nor right) button for....right. It doesn't feel intuitive to me. Whereas this feels more logical and intuitive to me:

    ← ↓ →
    A S D - 3 movement keys - the left one goes left, the right one goes right, the middle one goes neither left nor right, but down.....which is familiar to everyone, because it's exactly how the arrow keys work.

    Overall, your key layout here is quite similar to the standard 1st-person keys that most PC gamers are accustomed to with first-person shooters and first-person RPGs, etc. you've got movement over in the WASD area, you've got shift for sprint, and space for jump, LMB for fire and RMB for aim. Because it's so close to the system that will be familiar (and engrained) to a lot of players, you shouldn't mess with it too much.

    A note on the mouse. A lot of shooter games require the player to hold the right mouse to aim. So I think you'll have a problem here: you're asking the player to click RMB to aim, and a lot of players will hold it out of habit expecting to aim, and will unintentionally find themselves changing their weapon.


    So, I would make it more or less the same as the standard method, which would be:

    Movement (Left/Right) - A & D
    Fire - Left Mouse
    Aim - Mouse
    Change Weapon - scroll wheel up/down or press middle mouse button?
    Missile - R (R is ok, though I would consider Q or E or F, which are a little easier to hit when your hand is in the WASD position)
    Morph Ball - Ctrl twice
    Sprint - Shift
    Jump - Space
    Crouch - ctrl



    This is what most games seem to do. Though personally, I've never liked shift to sprint and ctrl to crouch. I've got long fingers, and it feels awkward for me to have to go all the way down to ctrl. The first thing I always do in most games is change the controls so that capslock is sprint and shift is crouch. This always feels more ergonomic to me, though perhaps I'm in the minority, because shift+ctrl seems to be the standard. Again, customisable controls come to the rescue here.


    Hope my thoughts were of use!

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    Yeah I don't know why I typed A and S as left/right when I meant A and D, so a bit of a typo there. Thanks for the help!

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