Simple Vs Complicated

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, lcarlson, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed

User avatar
Freestyler
Posts: 4150
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:15 pm

Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Freestyler » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:53 am

ZX Spectrum+ (with funky Kempston Interface) Joystick. 1 Fire Button.
Xbox 360 (with funky Wireless controller) 1 Joypad, 2 Analogue joysticks, 12 Fire Buttons.

Shouldn't games just need one button for shoot and another (possibly) for jump?

Discuss.
Freestyler: A customer that's too hard to please, complains all the time and wants everything for next to nothing.

User avatar
jdanddiet
Posts: 9016
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:03 am
Location: Essex
Contact:

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by jdanddiet » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:56 am

Sure - if you gonna play Jet Set Willy on your Xbox.
For retro news, full articles, retrospectives and a gallery of my work check out http://wizwords.net/
Wizwords on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Wizwords
and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wizwords

User avatar
Crunchy
Posts: 2123
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:43 am
Location: Claymorgue Castle

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Crunchy » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:00 am

A lot of truly great games would have been utterly FUBARed if they were limited to a directional controller and one fire button.

User avatar
merman
Posts: 6464
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:14 pm
Location: Skegness, UK
Contact:

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by merman » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:06 am

Crunchy wrote:A lot of truly great games would have been utterly FUBARed if they were limited to a directional controller and one fire button.
A good point, but good design will get you past the limitations.

In another thread we are discussing Hammerfist and that had problems with only the one button - there's one move you have to press fire three times to activate!

And from an old interview I did for RG, the control method for the first Dan Dare game was all based around that one joystick, mixing in a bit of Way of the Exploding Fist for the beat 'em up section.

So it is possible to have a wide variety of moves on one button. I personally don't mind multiple buttons, but there are games that overcomplicate things with too many. The game I'm currently playing - de Blob 2 - is pretty good in that respect.
merman1974 on Steam, Xbox Live, Twitter and YouTube

User avatar
snowkatt
Posts: 6655
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:18 am

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by snowkatt » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:11 am

but even thats making things needlessly complicated
and easier to over shoot what ever button combination and move you were trying to make

and some games need more then one button raiders of the lost ark on the vcs needed 2 controllers to play the game
hey wait ! i got a new complaint !

User avatar
Crunchy
Posts: 2123
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:43 am
Location: Claymorgue Castle

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Crunchy » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:22 am

merman wrote:
Crunchy wrote:A lot of truly great games would have been utterly FUBARed if they were limited to a directional controller and one fire button.
A good point, but good design will get you past the limitations.

In another thread we are discussing Hammerfist and that had problems with only the one button - there's one move you have to press fire three times to activate!

And from an old interview I did for RG, the control method for the first Dan Dare game was all based around that one joystick, mixing in a bit of Way of the Exploding Fist for the beat 'em up section.

So it is possible to have a wide variety of moves on one button. I personally don't mind multiple buttons, but there are games that overcomplicate things with too many. The game I'm currently playing - de Blob 2 - is pretty good in that respect.
Design can only get you so far before you hit genuine clunkiness that interferes with the gameplay you're trying to achieve. We still see that cropping up in games today. As you say, there are always going to be games that overcomplicate things, just as there will always be games that could do with an extra button. But some games just demand control complexity because what they're offering is complex. Modern games genrally offer more in-game actions and responses than older games. The controls are going to reflect that. If developers can downsize the controls and keep the game's aims intact they do it, it's part of the design process. Sometimes it's just unavoidable.
The move towards motion control is directrly linked to this I think

User avatar
lanky316
Posts: 1418
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:32 am

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by lanky316 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:26 am

Depends on the game again doesn't it? Even in your Speccy example it wasn't that simple, feck knows how frustrating a text adventure would've been without the keyboard and it's many more buttons than the XBox pad! Some games do over elaborate matters just because they can but sometimes it needs these extra buttons to do things. A game like Assassins Creed would be slated for being not only more repetetive but frustrating with one button how does the computer understand the difference between me wanting to pickpocket someone or assassinate them? This is ignoring X amount of variable situations that arise as and when as you play through.

I do think sometimes companies feel the need to use buttons because they're there - not always, SEGA Superstars Tennis had you playing four types of shot using only two buttons when it'd be easier to have them mapped to unused buttons than quick combo presses - but in a lot of cases those extra buttons are justifiably used, I'd rather know pressing a button does exactly what I want then hoping it is understanding the context of the press!
Image

User avatar
The Laird
Posts: 8496
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:01 am
Location: Luton
Contact:

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by The Laird » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:55 am

Personally speaking one of the reasons I hate modern games is because of the over complicted controls and controllers. I get confused with the controls on alot of Saturn games!

Just look at the amount of arcade games they managed to convert really well to the home computers with 1 fire button.

User avatar
ShadowNeku
Posts: 2135
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:10 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by ShadowNeku » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:05 am

Freestyler wrote:
Shouldn't games just need one button for shoot and another (possibly) for jump?

Discuss.
No, because modern games offer you such a range of actions your character can perform it wouldnt be practical to only have one super button that does everything.
For example im playing Thief: Deadly shadows on xbox at the moment. I could be in the position where im next to a wall, a door, near a torch and behind a guard at the same time. With one button, how is the game supposed to know what I want to do? It would have to make the decision for me. I may have wanted to knock out the guard and instead the game made me open the door, giving away my position and getting me killed.

The only other option is to remove the range of choice in a situation to ensure you only do one thing, or simply not giving your character many actions to perform. For developers to limit themselves like that is just going backwards.
I asked for orange. It gave me lemon lime!

User avatar
Vir_Lucis
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:48 am

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Vir_Lucis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:53 am

I think at the one-stick, one-button stage that a lot of nostalgia is taking over compared to actually perfected gameplay mechanics...unless it's anything other than a basic game (or a non-twitch game, like a Bard's Tale type RPG). Consider even the first Super Mario Bros. - that game was made infinitely more playable by the addition of being able to hold down a second button to run...so you would at least need two buttons, as you mention.

That's not to even start talking about true 3D gaming at all, which requires two-sticks to even be useable.

Personally, I think the current controllers have perfected the amount of complexity needed. There's very little gameplay wise you can't do with the current set up, and after a few days of practice it becomes second nature.
Future Conscience: What do we want to be? - A futurist blog exploring technology, society and ethics @FutureCon

User avatar
che_don_john
Posts: 1231
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:51 am

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by che_don_john » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:19 am

I think there is a lot to be said for more simple controller layouts. I imagine there are a lot of people of the older generation who'd be interested in playing games were it not for the complicated controls. It's easy for those of use who started on two-button d-pads and have wrked our way up, but it must be terrifying to an adult who doesn't have gaming experience and sees a 12-button controller for the first time!

My Dad has always expressed interest in playing football games, for example, but just finds the control a pain in the arse. I also read an interview with the guy who made Bioshock (can't remember his name), in which he said how his mum is really keen to play his games because the story interests her, yet she'd struggle to physically play them. I guess that's why Heavy Rain is so popular.
CheDonJohn's Sale/Trade/Wanted/Giveaway thread

PSN ID, XBL Gamertag and Steam: CheDonJohn
Playfire profile

Image

User avatar
Vir_Lucis
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:48 am

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Vir_Lucis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:29 am

che_don_john wrote:it must be terrifying to an adult who doesn't have gaming experience and sees a 12-button controller for the first time!
I think it's more an issue of stubborness than anything. Yes, it's going to be easier for people who grew up with these things - but give it a day or two practice and pretty much anybody can get used to the current controllers. Not saying that all games should use all of the buttons, but if you can't figure out two sticks and four buttons (the majority of what you need for modern gaming) then I wouldn't trust you to drive a manual car either ;)
Future Conscience: What do we want to be? - A futurist blog exploring technology, society and ethics @FutureCon

User avatar
Liamh1982
Posts: 8297
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:11 am
Location: Wrexham
Contact:

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Liamh1982 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:56 am

More buttons of course will allow more different actions but don't try and make excuses for using every possible input on a controller, I hate when two buttons basically do the same thing. It's just a question of getting used to more complicated controls I suppose, I felt like an idiot the first time I tried to use the N64 analogue stick for example - I was so used to a D-pad (in fact, if an N64 game has the option to use the D-pad I will).

User avatar
Freestyler
Posts: 4150
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:15 pm

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by Freestyler » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:02 pm

Anybody played Mirror's Edge? There's a controller setup that's needlessly complex. You're not doing anything no other game asks (certainly no more than a regular platforming FPS) yet it's mapped to a horrendous layout. Restricting the Devs to 4 buttons would have made a world of difference.

I can see even the Wii struggling with trying to add more button functions, despite Nintendo's belief that you should use either the 1 and 2 buttons or A and B. Not all of them including the Plus, Minus and C as well as Z and the D-Pad. It's just overly complex. Buttons don;t have to be context-sensitive, but maybe... just maybe.. if your game has you doing so many different things in it you're maybe just doing too many different things.

Lower the scope. Reduce the controls. Make it pure. And make it fun!
Freestyler: A customer that's too hard to please, complains all the time and wants everything for next to nothing.

User avatar
jdanddiet
Posts: 9016
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:03 am
Location: Essex
Contact:

Re: Simple Vs Complicated

Post by jdanddiet » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:09 pm

Fun? Are we supposed to be having fun?
For retro news, full articles, retrospectives and a gallery of my work check out http://wizwords.net/
Wizwords on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Wizwords
and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wizwords

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests