I decided to make a quick & easy little top-down tank game, and to make it a bit different, I've given it proper tank movement - ie. You control the speed of the left and right tracks independently.
Problem is, I can't decide on a good control scheme.
I currently have one hand controlling movement (using up to 2 of 4 keys). This is not particularly intuitive, so it requires a significant amount of coordination.
However, I also need control of the turret's aiming and firing, which also requires decent coordination. I could use the keyboard - 3 keys for rotate left/right plus fire) or I could use the mouse to aim (gradually rotate turret to face cursor). Which would be better?
Either way, I find my left hand (which is totally uncoordinated in my case) having to do a lot. Is this going to be a problem for people. I'm starting to think there's a good reason real tanks have separate people for driving and aiming the gun...
Here's a suggestion... Change your movement keys in the game control preferences to the W,A,S,D controls. I know you're not very coordinated with your left hand, but years of Comp gaming has lead me to good coordination. (Well, BETTER... ) With years of practice you'll get down with it. Trust me, I've been gaming since I was three.
Also, I'd use the mouse to aim. Likewise, it'd be suited best for most gamers out there. Another suggestion. Use the basic arrow keys and use two buttons for rotating the cannon. e.g: Z is button 1. Button 1 makes the cannon rotate left. X is button 2. Button 2 makes the tank explode!!! cannon rotate right. I'd recommend using A and S as rotate, and Z and X for firing purposes or whatever you'd use them for, so that everything is close together and simple enough to use.
If you're better with a Joystick just use that.
Bottum line: Keep the keys fairly close together, and simple enough for your left hand to use.
I definitely want to use the proper tank control - otherwise it's just the same as a million other shootemups. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it, and it's unlikely to be very good, so it may aswell be a little different.
A joystick would be absolutely perfect for this game (especially if it's one of those ones that twists aswell), but of course I don't have one
I've tweaked the movement a bit and even I am starting to get the hang of it now - it's kind of like reversing a car (which I never had trouble with) - the controls are backwards, so to turn right, you have to make the *left* track turn faster.
It sounds like the average gamer might be a fair bit more ambidextrous than me, so it should be ok I think.
It'll probably be worth having a decent training level though, just to get the player used to controlling the tank before they meet anything that can actually shoot back...
Lol This one looks like a space ship. It was rated 1/5 by the buyers on Amazon so I wouldn't recommend getting it. It's cheap and suicidal is what I've heard. This joy stick ran out of joy. Now it's a stick.
OK, OK. THIS joystick is PRIME! 3.5/5 stars and just 5 bucks more than the previous one gets you THIS uber Joystick! As far as Joysticks go this is a BEAUT!
Gyah, look at that chrome and black style! Awesome.
Any thoughts on what the gameplay should involve would be good too.
"A game with proper tank control" is all I got so far. It was going to be just a simple online arena type game (with the movement as the gimmick), but I can't find my wifi adaptor so I have no way of testing it. AI's a bit of a pain in the arse, so I didn't really want to have to make other vehicles/missions etc.
From what I've seen, if you think the controls are tough, chances are that 80% of your players will think that it's much too complicated to even play, and 15% of them will think it's simple and that the 80% are lazy
A simple rule is that it should be easy to handle with a joystick. I'm sure most of us could get the hang of it, but most free games have to get the player sucked in the first 10 minutes.
Here's an idea.. how about you make an 'easy' version, with easy controls, and an 'expert' version for the more advanced controls?
Disclaimer: Any sarcasm in my posts will not be mentioned as that would ruin the purpose. It is assumed that the reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between what is sarcasm and what is not.
Not counting arrow keys / WASD, games should aim for no more than 4 keys for in-game, with preference to 2 or 3. Not including 'pause game' stuff like menu usually. But imagine your game is being played on a gameboy, and all you have is A, B, Start & Select. In generally, one shift and one attack key, and keeping a minimal amount of 'combo' controls, like SHIFT+UP, is a good idea. Four is generally too many, like CTRL,SHIFT,ENTER,SPACE BAR. Just CTRL/SHIFT/ENTER is enough. Simplicity rules.
Customisability (is that even a word?) could be the way to go - let the player set it up how they want.
Having played with it a bit, I don't think it's the *number* of buttons that's the problem exactly. WASD control is very intuitive and everyone's used to it - tank controls less so. At first you have to concentrate quite hard to figure out how to go where you want. This might sound like it makes the game needlessly hard, but it's kind of the point.
One characteristic of popular online games seems to be that experienced players are able to annihilate noobs, but not as a result of having extra knowledge - if you can gain an advantage by learning the map and other secrets and quirks, then it ceases to be a game of skill. Noobs (and everyone starts out as a noob) will be put off because they perceive the veterans as effectively cheating. However, if they can see they were beaten fair and square, they may be more inclined to keep playing in the hope of become better.
What I'm trying to say, is that a game needs to be very simple, but still hard to master. Think Chess - you can learn how the pieces move in 5 minutes, but you can spend your whole life trying to master it.