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Reconfigurable buttons


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One of the things that I've found in console games that been pissing me off for years is the fact that you can't usually reconfigure the buttons for a game. Sometimes, you're offered a few alternates, but it's prety rare (I'd say 25% or maybe 30% of the time) that you can define a fully customized control set. What I can't understand though is why this isn't just a no brainer? It's not really that hard to change the control mapping on the fly, is it? You know you want to perform action X, so you perform a lookup to see which button corresponds to it instead of hard coding the value-is that so tough? PC games have been doing this for ages.


The only reasons I can think of are simplicity and hardware incompataiblity. In the first case, developers are talking down to console gamers, thinking that we might not be able to understand how to play a game if the controls are changed (or at least that's what I think). I know for my part though, every time my friends and I loaded SF2 on the SNES, the first thing we did was redefine the controls (why the strongest attacks were on the shoulders I'll never know). In the second case, there could be restrictions on valid button combinations for certain controllers, sort of like the "ghosting" problem you'll see on keyboards if you've ever tried to build a MAME controller.


I can understand that a lot of developers spend a lot of time on interface design, but it's impossible to please everyone all the time. No matter how well tested and thought out your layout is, someone isn't going to like it, so why not let them reconfigure it exactly the way they like. I think gamers everywhere will appreciate it.

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What I can't understand though is why this isn't just a no brainer?


The code to do it is a simple abstraction layer. The reason why many developers don't do it is that not having it simplifies your front end & usability testing for Sony/Microsoft QA. It's essentially laziness.

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