The Controller Topic

Like @Nor_Treblig said, a typical modern gamepad has two analog joysticks. That and the analog triggers make it objectively better for some stuff (like racing), but mostly it’s just a matter of comfort and convenience. Because you (or I) already use a keyboard all day long. Notwithstanding the fact that I have real Cherrys at home, which are better than the el cheapo Outemus I got to use at work.

PS The analog stick is also better for Limbo because you can control whether you go at full speed or slowly. It makes the controls less awkward. However, this is a problem with Limbo, not with the keyboard per se. Admittedly, without a Wooting you can’t have all the precise gradations of control that a controller gives you, but it’d suffice to press Shift to walk like in Tomb Raider, possibly with an Ctrl+Shift or something for snail’s pace. (They do it a little bit based on how long you press the buttons, which seems to work better in Windows than it did in Linux too?)

PPS Force feedback can also add another dimension to games when done well. The Xbox One controller even has trigger rumble.


Is it? He always runs full speed with mine- can’t remember if there was a “walk”/“shift” mode.

Yes. Like 2 joysticks and a Classic console… plus a flight sim joystick with rudder controls. All in one!
I am totally with @Someone here that -unless you play very often- it takes a lot of brain power to process which stick does what and looking at the controller in search of button 7 or triangle or whatever they call it.

I grew up with 1 stick, 1 button.
Then 1 stick, 2 buttons (basically for left-handed people, both buttons did the same thing)
Then D-pad (8-directions), 3 buttons (Sega Megadrive)
At Street Fighter 2, I switched to a 6 button controller- but even there the layout was simple -and better than the SNES with its bumper buttons.

Playing TWP with a controller now:
+ I can sit in the couch and put it on a big screen
- it takes ages to construct a sentence (even using the shortcuts D-pad and bumpers to toggle between verbs and objects) and 50% of the time I mess it up by hitting the default action button. I should get a wireless mouse and a piece of cardboard…

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Yes, Windows+controller removes most of the control-related frustration with the game.

As for the game itself so far it’s a fairly average rage game with an above average atmosphere.

I grew up with one keyboard, one mouse. I think you guys might be forgetting just how involved the control scheme for games like Quake, Tomb Raider, GTA, Interstate '76 etc. actually is.

Heck, even in TWP I was basically still semi-randomly bashing at the QWE/ASD/ZXC until I selected the right verb for 90% of the game. Even so, I much prefer that over dragging my mouse all across the screen a million times.

I play a game like once a month on average, usually on my laptop.

I’ve never played TWP with a controller, but in theory the six verb UI is fairly conducive to directional verb selection akin to QWE/ASD/ZXC. Not unlike how remastered DotT and Full Throttle do it.

The Steam controller has two wireless trackpads btw. You can also get those separately. Or get a wireless trackball. A wireless mouse is the worst option by far. :wink:

I bought a controller mostly to implement and test controller support in my own game, but then I also actually used it when playing AER, Rime and Forgotton Anne. Though as Sushi says,

Especially when you are not used to playing with a controller, the number of times you press the wrong button is staggering.

Or the Witcher 3. When playing the tutorial, my first thought was “you gotta be kidding me!”. But would it have been actually easier with a controller? I somehow doubt it.

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Technically yes, but not the haptic. You have to grab/hold a joystick in a different way in your hands than a controller.

My problem with a controller is the coordination of my fingers: With a joystick I have one finger on the fire button and the whole hand on the stick. With a controller I have to push several (at least two) buttons with my thumbs and the other fingers. My fingers aren’t fast enough to move over to the needed “button” in the d-pad and pushing at the same time the fire button on the other side of the controller.

But I don’t have issues with complex keyboard/mouse combinations. Yes, I know, it’s odd. :slight_smile:

Yes, but I still have these issues. :slight_smile:

A very good description! :slight_smile:

Oh. Obviously I have never played an Xbox One game and I haven’t dismantled this type of controller yet, so this was new to me!

My last/latest joystick is this one:

It has 4 axes and a bunch of buttons (6 + POV hat [acts like a D-pad]). It was like a modern controller in big.

I mostly use controllers for platformers and similar games now (also old ones, e.g. in DOSBox).
I don’t have a problem with a lot of buttons, but I am very picky about which one maps to what.
If I couldn’t customise this it would be a problem for action games. E.g. I want my jump and attack buttons arranged like in the good old NES days.

I mostly use X-Box controllers now. The position of A, B, X and Y are easy to remember. Those PS shapes don’t make any sense to me…

I use controller buttons to cycle through most often used verbs without having to change position of the cursor, it’s nearly like playing with a keyboard + a slow mouse.

Advantages of controllers are that they are much easier to carry around (vs. Josticks or Keyboards + Mice). When playing local multiplayer you just plug in more of those cheap disposable and replaceable (vs. especially laptop keyboards!) things.

I haven’t really played consoles back then, the only one I had was a Game Boy. Maybe this helped getting accustomed to this. It’s basically one very heavy controller.

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I didn’t say it would be easier. My claim is that the difficulty level is essentially the same to a very large extent, even without engine adjustments for a few edge cases here and there.

I haven’t felt it either I don’t think. Rise of the Tomb Raider supports it, except it doesn’t. (Because Microsoft is a bunch of @#$@# so that non-Windows Store games basically can’t support it. Although it occurs to me that RotTR on Linux might now support it.)

It did take me a while to learn how to hold the Xbox One controller correctly, though that really only affects more complex games that use shoulder buttons as well as triggers. I don’t recall having any such issues with the Dual Shock 2, Xbox 1 (not One), and GameCube controllers.

I suppose I learned to use a controller with THPS 3, which was very intuitive because I could already play the game quite well on PC. But the pressure sensitivity on the PS2’s d-pad coupled with its force feedback opened up a whole new dimension of gameplay.

However, I didn’t own a controller until just a few years ago. We bought my wife’s Xbox One controller on… Wed, Sep 16, 2015 (hah!), which is the one I’m currently using. We got my wife’s current v2 on Mar 29, 2017. So for a while there I borrowed hers occasionally and I’ve only really had one for a year and a half.

The arrangement I’m used to on all controllers is A jump, X attack, B something else (wall run, dodge/block, etc.). Which I mean from an Xbox perspective, which on Dual Shock maps to X jump, square attack, circle dodge/block/etc.

That Xbox X is actually the B on Nintendo controllers. All very confusing to talk about.

Yeah, colors and shapes aren’t nearly as clear as simple letters. But letters plus colors does help.

In my mind the GameCube controller was the easiest to get used to, while the Xbox Controller S is the one I liked best overall. The Xbox One controller is a very satisfactory evolution of that one. And I guess the Xbox controller was basically just a Sidewinder.

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For me it’s A attack and B jump, XY for special actions.

It’s “just” XY swapped and AB swapped:

When talking about NES/SNES etc. it’s better to say left AB button and right AB button (and same with XY) :slight_smile:

Colours are useless because I’d have to use my eyes. If I have to look down to the controller to match a colour I could match a letter/shape anyway.

The arrangement of Xbox buttons are quite easy to remember: top row: XY, lower one: AB;
Yes, you have to know it’s from left to right and knowing the order of the alphabet helps.
For LB, LT, RB, RT you need to know where left and right is.

I have no idea though how the PS buttons are arranged. Is there some mnemonic trick? There is a circle, a triangle, a square and an X, that’s all I remember.

Ohh, well, this one had a really strange button layout. It was like a SNES with YX rotated to the right around the A button:

And for reference an Xbox One controller, my current favourite for modern games:

PS 4 controller:

  • I wish they had put the X on the left (i.e. same as Xbox),
  • the square on the bottom (so triangle + square forms a house),
  • and circle stays on the right, like the B which is the most round one of those characters.

Ah, interesting. That’s not the layout it had on the GameCube or the N64. There the “left AB button” was in the same location as the X button on the Xbox controller.

Yes, but it’s much faster than either one or the other. The letters help to remember. The colors help to look and simultaneously imprint the letters better. With just letters you have to look. Like with the ridiculous no-color icons in Windows 8+.

On the contrary, it’s bloody confusing. Knowing the alphabet means A/B and X/Y should be swapped so it’s actually intuitive.

At least on the Super Famicon/Nintendo it makes sense because Y/X were probably an expansion on the already incorrectly placed B/A buttons. On the Xbox controller it’s just stupid.

I won’t. I’ve always disliked the Nintendo and Super Nintendo controllers compared to the Mega Drive. But when all is said and done the Dual Shock 2 is the first properly usable controller I’ve held in my hands. (Of course that’s just the same as the Dual Shock.)

When I have to look down to find buttons it’s just ridiculous.

But I guess it’s just because I don’t play PlayStation games.
On PC it wouldn’t matter on the other hand: I’d bind whatever I want to the buttons or games recognise them as Xbox controllers anyway and show AB/XY in their UI (and I know where to find those).

I always preferred simpler shapes and no unnecessary round corners etc., and icons without a lot of different colours
Of course they had to over do everything… :roll_eyes: (like removing colours from Visual Studio icons, tsts)

I wonder when colourful, transparent UIs with all kind of special effects are in again… :face_vomiting:

AB (or BA) buttons are the main ones to use. They have added additional ones above them (farther away from the thumb).
I don’t have a problem with that, it’s not hard to remember.

But the placement of shapes seem completely arbitrary to me, the same for colours.

They could have named them ABCD or 1234 or used strange symbols/shapes.
Instead they went with an already common naming scheme, similar to what Nintendo and SEGA used.
I don’ think it’s stupid.

In the end the naming is completely irrelevant anyway.
I want jump on the right button and attack on left because of my muscle memory.

For reference here are images of Sega Mega Drive / Genesis controllers:

6-button controller:

Neither do I. These are issues with very specific games (e.g., Prince of Persia 2008) that are unclear about their controls, at least in the way I process them.

I guess if you grew up with them. I pretty much just remember them as actions.

The reason it usually works out just fine is because the game tells you about new controls organically so you look for the button once and that’s that.

Then some games do stupid QTE stuff and you’re like “WHAT THE FREAKING F*CK IS THAT BLUE THING.”

I learned it because of PoP 2008. Those stupid QTEish fights were the only downside to that otherwise excellent platformer.

NB I’m not talking about something technical like the d-pad or something stupid like the button names. I don’t recall and for all I know the Nintendo d-pad was much better. I’m talking about the shape of the controller not hurting your hands after holding it for a little while.

In those days, I was squarely in camp keyboard.

No, it’s not :wink:

Here’s my collection

Notice how non-ergonomic that Nintendo controller is. 4-D pad vs Sega’s 8-D pad.
The flat vs the arched mold for better grip.

And yes: wireless controllers in ‘94! (Admittedly using infrared, but still)

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Not necessarily from the picture, no. It superficially looks the same as on the Xbox One controller in front of me, as well as on the Wiimote, and those feel plenty 8-directional to me, though I do seem to recall it potentially being slightly easier to use that way on this Gravis Gamepad I had/have.

Yep, if a game has clearly defined controls it wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Problematic are QTEs, telling you on-screen which buttons to press to make (quick) decisions.

In those days I saw no choice.
I never had a controller (like Gravis GamePad) for PC. I played with keyboard and joysticks, later including mouse, depending on the game.
Mega Drive games needed to be played with Mega Drive controllers, SNES with SNES controllers etc.
I have never played Game Boy with this thing: Booster Boy :slight_smile:

I have played Mega Drive back then at a friend’s home. I don’t remember problems with the D-pad back then but I know now that I really don’t like the one from Xbox 360 controller vs. Nintendo and Xbox One.

Especially for old school games when one accidental movement in one direction kills you I sometimes trigger the D-pad diagonally on a 360 controller by accident. I was happy when One was released!

I meant the other way around. The one on the Sega are softer and easier to do diagonals with, because you can push the part in between. Whereas on the Nintendo, it is quite hard plastic and you really need to push both directions at the same time to get a diagonal. Pulling of special moves in Street Fighter on the SNES hurts my left thumb very quickly. Plus the frustration of not being able to pull them off because the diagonals usually don’t register.

How compares the Xbox One to those in your opinion? Have you played with Xbox 360 D-pad before?

So, small update on that Xbox One trigger rumble feature. Rise of the Tomb Raider didn’t have it on Steam, but Shadow of the Tomb Raider does!

It’s… interesting in small quantities.

I flit between keyboard and controller depending on the type of game and which platform I’m playing on.

If I’m playing Sega/Nintendo games on the retro pi I’ll obviously use a controller, though a PS one rather than classic Mega Drive (which would be my preference - I wonder if there’s a way to hook that up :thinking:).

If I’m on the PC playing adventure games I’m definitely on the keyboard, and same with most puzzle/non-platform games. Even those that combine the two (like Limbo or Little Nightmares) I’ll mostly use keyboard unless there are any tricky moves.

If I’m playing games on the PC that require speed or multitasking (like Portal) I’ll begrudgingly use the Xbox 360 controller. Sure, it’s more comfortable on the hands, but modern controllers have too many buttons! :older_woman: I think I’m used to lots of keyboard combinations from old DOS games and such.

I had a joystick with my first PC but couldn’t get on with it. That’s probably Space Ace’s fault more than anything else, though.

The thought of using a controller with a mobile always seemed weird and a bit pointless until I did it to beta test TWP. It was actually quite practical and felt surprisingly natural. But it probably wouldn’t come up much as an option unless I start carrying a controller around with me :laughing:

(I know you didn’t ask for a history but I read ‘The Controller Topic’ and just ran with it.)