1. willlewis's Avatar
    Hi all, I want to get your opinions about control schemes for 2D platformer games.
    There are a number methods that I know of:

    Virtual buttons:
    Best platformer controls for a mobile game?-buttons.png
    These are easy to implement, but I don't like them. I find them difficult to use as they don't provide the tactile feedback that a real button does. The buttons can also be in awkward positions for some users; so, if using this method, it's best to allow the user to define the position of the buttons in the options menu.

    Virtual joystick:
    Best platformer controls for a mobile game?-joystick.png
    A little trickier to implement than virtual buttons, and suffers from most of the same problems. However we no longer have the problem of button positioning, the "joystick" can be created anywhere on the screen where the user first presses.

    Tilt controls:
    Best platformer controls for a mobile game?-tilt.png
    This method is much more intuitive than virtual buttons & joysticks. Tilting left/right moves the character left/right, and things like jumping and shooting can be handled by touching the screen. However, this method can be fairly inaccurate & doesn't work if the user is lying down. It's good to have this as an option, but users should always have another method to choose if they want.

    Left & right screen-touching controls: (not sure what to call this...)
    Best platformer controls for a mobile game?-touch.png
    Touch the left side of the screen, your character moves left; touch the right side, and you move right. Simple right? I like this method; it feels very natural and precise, but there's the issue of additional functions - like jumping or shooting. For my latest game I used this method as one of the control schemes and added a virtual button in the centre of the screen to allow the user to jump.
    This method only works if you have very limited controls.


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    I'm sure there's many more, but these are the ones I've had experience with.
    What are your favourite control schemes for platformers?
    Which do you like & dislike?
    Are there any better methods?

    Please also give me examples of 2d platformers which have good controls. I'd like to try them out.

    Thanks for reading!
    10-06-2014 06:23 AM
  2. zchira's Avatar
    "Left & right screen-touching controls" - that is the best method for me. Also good approach is "tap to jump style" like flappy bird. I also made similar game (Helium Pig) with tap to jump controls. Bad thing is that you are limited to just 2 commands (or one for "tap to jump" games).

    virtual joysticks and buttons are uncomfortable for me.
    I, also like the how controls are implemented in game called "Vector" (swipe up to jump, swipe down to lay)
    10-06-2014 08:04 AM
  3. willlewis's Avatar
    "Left & right screen-touching controls" - that is the best method for me. Also good approach is "tap to jump style" like flappy bird. I also made similar game (Helium Pig) with tap to jump controls. Bad thing is that you are limited to just 2 commands (or one for "tap to jump" games).

    virtual joysticks and buttons are uncomfortable for me.
    I, also like the how controls are implemented in game called "Vector" (swipe up to jump, swipe down to lay)
    Thanks for the input, zchira.

    You mean using tap-to-jump even while using the "left & right screen-touching controls"?
    I agree Vectors controls are sweet, but the character in that game runs right automatically; I don't think the swipe-to-jump method would work well if the user had to control the character movement as well.

    Will
    10-06-2014 01:29 PM
  4. zchira's Avatar
    Thanks for the input, zchira.

    You mean using tap-to-jump even while using the "left & right screen-touching controls"?
    I agree Vectors controls are sweet, but the character in that game runs right automatically; I don't think the swipe-to-jump method would work well if the user had to control the character movement as well.

    Will
    I thought just tap-to-jump without commands for left-right - just like in flappy bird (or helium pig ).
    But, you are right, that's not really a classic platform game when you do not have the controls of movement.

    I prefer large touching areas so if you need commands for left, right and jump, maybe something like this would be ok:
    - split screen to 4 areas
    - upper half for jump
    - lower half for movement
    jump jump
    left right


    or if you need some special action (for example "use item) you can do something like:

    jump action jump
    left action right

    Note that you have 2 jump buttons, but they have the same function.
    10-06-2014 05:34 PM
  5. zchira's Avatar
    Also, I think that two jump areas will be good for comfortable handling.
    for example, while your character is running to the right side (right thumb on the lower right), you have easily access to the jump button (left thumb on the upper left), and vice-versa (running left, left thumb on the lower left for running, and right thumb on the upper right for jumping).
    10-06-2014 05:37 PM
  6. willlewis's Avatar
    Splitting the screen in to "segments" is a really cool idea. I don't know if other games have tried this before, have you tested that in a game before? I'll try it tomorrow and see how it feels.
    10-07-2014 06:43 PM
  7. zchira's Avatar
    I tried that in some adventure game (something like point&click adventure but with that way of movement).
    I didn't have jump button. Just 3 section | LEFT | ACTION | RIGHT |
    It was very comfortable to play.
    But, I never finished that game. It was one of many prototypes which are buried before they was born
    10-08-2014 02:22 AM
  8. Rampkin's Avatar
    Classic platform games not fit to phones and tablets. To do classic platform game you need at least 4 buttons (left, right, jump, throw). I experiment with acceloremeter but this makes control of your hero diffcult and not fun. I think the best way is simply to add 4 buttons. Better way is to not do classic platform game but modified to fit better to phones tablets. So you can do "runner" game, "fall down" game etc... In such game you need 1 or 2 buttons and it should be presented as left/right side of screen...
    10-09-2014 05:36 AM
  9. Igor Maliukh's Avatar
    Actually all this controls schemes don't fit into smartphone touchscreen logic, because they don't use the idea that user can tap on any area/object on the screen. Look on the greatest (already old ) hits, like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Where Is My Water and so on. All such games actually ask users to manipulate directly with objects/environment. They remove this mediators (like buttons, sticks, tap areas) between the user and the game. And I thinks this is the coolest part in mobile gaming. So why do you want to create additional control system, if you can ask user to directly control the game world?
    10-14-2014 05:54 PM
  10. Vitamin Fun's Avatar
    imo, the control system depends on what game you are making. sometimes we have to choose a complicated one because the simpler ones won't fit.
    personally, i prefer touch to control > virtual joystick > virtual buttons > tilt
    10-22-2014 12:36 AM
  11. Unknown_Games's Avatar
    I think "left-right screen side touch" is the best, used it in my project. Small buttons and joysticks are really uncomfortable on little touchscreens because of no feedback.
    11-04-2014 12:59 PM
  12. NikasN94G's Avatar
    I think virtual buttons are the best.
    11-05-2014 05:31 AM
  13. MunkiPlay's Avatar
    I prefer a combination of stick and buttons. Although like zchira says, left and right controls are simpler.
    I guess it largely depends on the game at hand.

    The dual stick configuration is much to tricky for your casual mobile gamer.
    11-05-2014 02:01 PM
  14. M3nTo0s's Avatar
    I'm agree with Igor Maliukh. The best (for me) is by using the environnement. For example, to kill enemy : the player have to hit ennemies with his finger and your character shoot.
    To jump : a slice on the screen? etc...
    But the virtual button are very uncomfortable.
    (sorry for the mistakes ^^)
    11-05-2014 07:37 PM
  15. fedevarez's Avatar
    I personally prefer virtual joystick or gesture control like those found in Prince of Persia...
    11-05-2014 10:31 PM
  16. htet myat2's Avatar
    clash of clan game gems help me
    11-05-2014 10:48 PM

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