Control system

So, at this point we have a fun working prototype. But we had one big problem to fix before going forward. There are not many good platform games for mobiles, and that’s for a pretty good reason: Touch screens are really really challenging.

So here is the control system we used for our first prototype:

xbox-controller

That of course is pretty basic and working perfectly fine with a game controller, but translating this to a touch screen would be something like this:

touch-first

On paper, that might not seem so bad. It’s basically the same as with the game controller, but with one big difference: You have no haptic feedback. Haptic feedback is the sensation of your finger actually touching a button, but as you know – on your phone all you can feel is a smooth glass surface. So the seemingly simple task of pressing a button on a phone screen makes for a really bad user experience.

Then there is the case of the so-called “virtual joystick”. A virtual joystick works like the analogue stick on your game controller, but as with the buttons, you can’t feel where it is. So if you’re using the virtual stick to walk to the right, your finger will inevitably slide more and more towards the right of the screen, and at some point you’ll have to adjust it back. I hate virtual joysticks. A lot.

So, how can we make a mobile game that needs input of 8 directions in addition to jump and puke buttons. Our conclusion: We can’t. So we needed to go back to the drawing board and find a control system that is really simple, but still offers the accuracy and complexity you need from an action platform game. This is the system we ended up with:

touch-last

Basically we cut everything except one action: Puke. In order to make this work we needed a few critical changes to the concept, and our game designer Kristoffer put together this quick controller prototype. Just click within the purple window below, and use left+right arrows to control:

So this is the control system we went forward with, and hopefully you will enjoy it in the finished game!

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