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Control Schemes In Gaming


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I didn't give this topic much thought until I realized how big a part of gaming controlling really is. And I'm not referring just how good or tight controls are but rather how buttons are mapped for example.

 

Take a look at a NES controller. Does it strike anybody as bizarre that B is mapped first and A mapped second? And on top of that, most platformers have A marked as a jump button and B as a shoot/run button. I didn't notice this until I played the Mega Man Collection on Game Cube. It was a pain in the ass to play Mega Man with the buttons "switched".

 

And if you've ever played a FPS game on consoles (or any game with a first person/third person perspective), then you know the big decision to make: inverted vs. normal. It doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but then you realize how startling it is when you play the opposite of what you're used to. Honestly, I think you don't notice until you play mulitplayer at a friend's house. The selection itself strikes me as strange. I use inverted because that's what I'm used to having learned on first person gaming from flight simulators like X-Wing and Tie Fighter. One of the worst things I didn't like in Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction was the lack of inverted controls during the flight sequences. That was a pain in the ass. But oddly enough, the idea of inversion doesn't exist for me when I play FPS on computers. If I want the targeting reticle up, it goes up.

 

A personal quirk of mine, but I have to play Rock Band/Guitar Hero standing up.

 

So what other controlling schemes or quirks do you have or notice?

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For a while, my biggest quirk was that I had to play console FPS games with the "southpaw" configuration. In other words, I walked with the right thumb stick and aimed with the left one.

 

The reason I had to do this was simple: It's how I learned how to play these games on the N64. I grew accustomed to the "Turok" control scheme that mapped the C buttons to movement and the analog stick to aiming. By the time I was ready to play Halo on the Xbox, my brain and firmly established each thumb with its specific job and any deviation from that made a first-person shooter impossible to play.

 

The catalyst for me learning to play these games the "normal" way was Metal Arms. It was a game that I was greatly excited about when I first picked it up. However, I quickly discovered that it lacked the southpaw option. My desire to play through the game pushed me to relearn how I control a first-person shooter, even though it proved to be very difficult at first.

 

Once I made it through the game, I started using the default controls of first-person shooters since I figured it would be easier for me to play more games this way. Now, if I want to go back and play some old N64 titles, I have a hard time dealing with the fact that the controls to suit me anymore. Seriously, as much as I loved Goldeneye back in the day, I don't know if I'd be able to play it anymore.

 

One other gripe I have is when the left button on the bottom row of a controller is not used for jumping. I had to remap that function on Shadow of the Colossus in order to play the game at all. I still don't understand why they didn't make the triangle button the one that calls the horse.

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I'm inverted in FPS games but not inverted in flying games. My brain simply doesn't adjust. That said, I have seen gamers who can play either way with minimal time needed to get used to it. I find that amazing and liken it to ambidextrous writing -or patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.

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Take a look at a NES controller. Does it strike anybody as bizarre that B is mapped first and A mapped second?

 

The NES was designed and launched in Japan first, remember. Nintendo simply didn't switch the lettering around to suit our Western brains.

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Famicom. :D

 

What's interesting is that in Japan, the PS/PSP buttons, O is OK/Confirm and X is Cancel. This makes perfect sense. However, in NA, the X is OK/Confirm and O is to cancel.

 

One of the greatest controller innovation was Sega's introduction of the Analog triggers on the Saturn. I'm definitely happy that MS took that same design and brought it to the Xbox and the Xbox 360. Being able to precisely control the brake and accel in racing games is a must. It also gives a better feeling when dual wielding guns in an FPS and shooting them independently.

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I was southpaw because of GoldenEye, but Halo forced me to switch (so I could run and jump, reload while moving, etc). It was hard to switch, but co-op made it fun.

 

Something that confused me recently... I've always used inverted for everything, but since I started to play shooters on LIVE years ago I've barely touched PC FPS games, and now when I have first person control in a PC game I tend to want non-inverted. But then when some action happens and my reflexes kick in, they assume inverted! :) When I do actually play a PC shooter now, inverted feels a little awkward for 30 minutes or so, but then I'm right back into it. After a week or so off, though, it feels odd again.

 

But then just a few days ago I realized I was playing Silent Hunter IV non-inverted and I hadn't even noticed (after 40+ hours). That was a bit of a shock, since I've never actually played anything non-inverted before! I guess it's simply because you don't aim in that game, you just look around. So there's never any action to trigger my reflexes to remind me "You're reflexes like inverted!"

 

I bet next time I play a PC FPS I'll feel even more confused :/

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Covak, is now a good time to bring up the fact that you and I have never had our Halo 3 1-on-1? :D

 

Carlos.

 

Any time :P I edited the last line of my post to be more clear, though. The temporary inverted/non-inverted confusion only happens with a mouse. The last time I played a little Call of Duty 4 I was actually surprised by how good my aim still was after such a long break :)

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I have the inverted/non-inverted thing on a pad, though - I'm NEVER inverted on a mouse, because it's just clicking on stuff. I used to be an inverted lefty thanks to GoldenEye (and being left-handed) like the rest of you. I'm now playing through Halo 3 righty and non-inverted, and I'm not quite sure why or where I made the switch. I remember the righty thing was due to some game that wouldn't let me be lefty, but the non-inverted thing I've no idea about.

 

Oddly, I'm also getting on better with Guitar Hero III in righty mode than I ever did trying it lefty as well. I started lefty on it, because that's how I played a real guitar when I was attempting to learn. But the strumming is so much simpler on the computer game controller that all the real complexity is now on my left hand as a 'righty'. That, and the whammy bar doesn't keep getting in the way.

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I need inverted both on a mouse and an analog stick, for FPS and flying games.

 

I vastly prefer the SNES-style setup for Mario type platformers - with both A and X set to jump, and B/Y set to run/fireball. I prefer to use my thumb to press X and the joint of my thumb for A...it's harder to do on most control pads now, although for some reason it's a little easier on an original NES pad.

 

This guy has an interesting analysis of the inverted / noninverted thing.

 

http://gamepeople.wordpress.com/2006/11/07/down-is-up/

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The part of trying to figure out the personality of the person based on their preferred method might be nonsense, but the first part is not. The Inverted/Non-Inverted preference seems to come down to how people are perceiving the game.

 

Most people that play non-inverted claim it makes sense because, when they want the cursor to go up, the push up (regardless of it being a mouse or joystick), it they want it to go down, they go down.

 

Those that prefer inverted usually tend to claim that they are moving the head, or the camera. If you're the person operating camera, you push (or pull) that back of it down to make it point up. Same if you were to put a stick in the back of someone's head.

 

It all depends on how you perceive the world. I have no knowledge on what type of person might perceive things in which way, but there probably are traits that might have a hand in dictating that. To discount a theory without any real knowledge on the subject or any facts.... well I guess it's just as bad as putting out a theory without the same.

 

Everyone can claim that they simple grew comfortable with a certain way, but you must have chosen that way, or became comfortable with it for some reason at the start.

 

For some they might not have realized they even had a choice (or they might not have had any due to the game) and just got used to a certain way because they were "forced" to play that way. Your brains can be trained to do many many things that don't feel right at first.

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Those that prefer inverted usually tend to claim that they are moving the head, or the camera. If you're the person operating camera, you push (or pull) that back of it down to make it point up. Same if you were to put a stick in the back of someone's head.

 

Except that, in that metaphor, you also push the back of the camera right to make it look left. Now I'm all confused.

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