Flash games' controls

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Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
Hi everyone!

I'd like to know what you think about controls in financially sustainable Flash games. Mouse based controls are the most common but they make for quite a limited gameplay experience, especially considering we can't really use right clicks.

So how do you guys use keyboard controls depending on game genre? Keyboards have so many different layouts these days, with laptops of all size and stuff I'm not sure how much we can guarantee the same gameplay experience to all players.

Also most average browser gamers seem to prefer simple controls such as mouse only or eventually mouse + space bar. Any thoughts or statistics on that?

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Re: Flash games' controls

Alex Liebert
"Financially sustainable" is a very tough nut to crack so you have to be more specific about what that means to you; ad revenue?  Sponsorship (really also ad) revenue distributed through the major flash portals? (which have a mostly young male audience)...contract/promotional games for corporate clients?

If you're looking at a stereotypical 'casual' audience, you are best off sticking to the mouse, and left button only...but for the Kongregate crowd, you can get alot more complex.

If your target platform is a specific site, licensed sites, or Facebook- you can definitely use the right mouse button in Flash, with a transparent DIV overlay and a javascript bridge.  Check out the Facebook version of Zuma to see how this is accomplished.  You won't be able to do this if you're looking for viral/flash portal distribution though.

Alex

On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 1:24 PM, Joe Dohn <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi everyone!

I'd like to know what you think about controls in financially sustainable Flash games. Mouse based controls are the most common but they make for quite a limited gameplay experience, especially considering we can't really use right clicks.

So how do you guys use keyboard controls depending on game genre? Keyboards have so many different layouts these days, with laptops of all size and stuff I'm not sure how much we can guarantee the same gameplay experience to all players.

Also most average browser gamers seem to prefer simple controls such as mouse only or eventually mouse + space bar. Any thoughts or statistics on that?

--
haXe - an open source web programming language
http://haxe.org


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Re: Flash games' controls

bubblebenj
If you are looking for a consistent layout over keyboards :
I most keyboard have arrow keys, space bar, ctrl and shift keys.
However as a player I'd personally rather using wasd keys or zqsd keys (azerty keyboard).

Anyway you can't guarantee the same gameplay over all computers/browsers.
There are to much different settings.

Ben

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Re: Flash games' controls

Baluta Cristian
You could let the user to chose his keyboard layout, or better guess it by the country.

Baluta Cristian

On 25.10.2011, at 22:25, benjamin Dubois <[hidden email]> wrote:

If you are looking for a consistent layout over keyboards :
I most keyboard have arrow keys, space bar, ctrl and shift keys.
However as a player I'd personally rather using wasd keys or zqsd keys (azerty keyboard).

Anyway you can't guarantee the same gameplay over all computers/browsers.
There are to much different settings.

Ben
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Re: Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
In reply to this post by bubblebenj
With mouse and mouse+spacebar, you can reasonably guarantee everyone will enjoy the gameplay as you intended it. Weeeell... except those people using awful laptop pad, but they should be good at using it if they are using it in the first place.

WASD is indeed better because of laptops. I remember that I asked someone to test a game I made based on mouse + keyboard arrows, back when laptops weren't as widespread. I watched him play with his hands crossed as I realised his mouse was a laptop pad. That doesn't happen with WASD keys; but then you're language dependant and possibly the gameplay will be uncomfortable on compacted keyboards.

I guess I really need to dig for statistics on players' opinion about different control schemes.

I'm still up for more advice though!! Also I'd gladly test any Flash game that you deem has unusually great gameplay experience.

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Re: Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
In reply to this post by Alex Liebert
Uh yeah, a line has been skipped somehow before I sent the mail. I'm talking about games pertaining to their own company and running on their own website. Medium scale games with a small crew to keep them running. No Facebook, no Kongregate, no sponsorship; games standing on their own two feet.

The right click trick was unreliable last time I checked, a month ago, I concluded that it was not worth using with games of that scale considering it doesn't work properly accross all browsers. Was I wrong?

I'm looking for statistics or you guys' personal experience.

We need control schemes that are both pleasant to use, easy to learn and reliable across different computers when the keyboard is used. From where I stand I fear that only mouse and mouse+spacebar fit this description. But it's overused and kind of has a passive feeling when playing. Point, click, point, click, read, click, read, point click click.
Did you ever come across a gameplay that you know fits the description while being richer than mouse+spacebar?

You talked about Kongregate, but many Kong games don't handle foreign keyboard layouts. I can't imagine what the play experience would be if a keyboard was not just foreign but also compacted like that of those tiny laptops everyone seem to use. Way to tell your players "just close that tab and go do something else that won't break your fingers" :/
A few games allow to customize controls, but ideally the game should provide the right default control scheme depending on the user's device. One, because the developers have built the game with a precise gameplay in mind and custom controls can sometimes break the intended feeling, and two, because new players would get tired rather quickly if they had to customize controls for every single flash game they find.



(Sorry Alex I sent you this message personally as well so you got it twice)


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Re: Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
In reply to this post by Baluta Cristian
Yes this is good practise. That's not enough though as I tried to point out in my reply to Alex, regarding the (now widespread) smaller laptops that seem to rearrange keys in slightly unusual ways, making gameplay potentially uncomfortable or worse.



From: Baluta Cristian <[hidden email]>
To: The haXe compiler list <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:01 AM
Subject: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

You could let the user to chose his keyboard layout, or better guess it by the country.

Baluta Cristian

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Re: Flash games' controls

bubblebenj
In reply to this post by Joe Dohn
What you call small laptop may be netbook ?

You're forgetting that now you can access flash games with phones and tablets (not iOS ones).

That's why I said you can't guarantee the game experience.
In the end you'll have to set your own standards and stick to it.

Ben

On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:19 AM, Joe Dohn <[hidden email]> wrote:
Uh yeah, a line has been skipped somehow before I sent the mail. I'm talking about games pertaining to their own company and running on their own website. Medium scale games with a small crew to keep them running. No Facebook, no Kongregate, no sponsorship; games standing on their own two feet.

The right click trick was unreliable last time I checked, a month ago, I concluded that it was not worth using with games of that scale considering it doesn't work properly accross all browsers. Was I wrong?

I'm looking for statistics or you guys' personal experience.

We need control schemes that are both pleasant to use, easy to learn and reliable across different computers when the keyboard is used. From where I stand I fear that only mouse and mouse+spacebar fit this description. But it's overused and kind of has a passive feeling when playing. Point, click, point, click, read, click, read, point click click.
Did you ever come across a gameplay that you know fits the description while being richer than mouse+spacebar?

You talked about Kongregate, but many Kong games don't handle foreign keyboard layouts. I can't imagine what the play experience would be if a keyboard was not just foreign but also compacted like that of those tiny laptops everyone seem to use. Way to tell your players "just close that tab and go do something else that won't break your fingers" :/
A few games allow to customize controls, but ideally the game should provide the right default control scheme depending on the user's device. One, because the developers have built the game with a precise gameplay in mind and custom controls can sometimes break the intended feeling, and two, because new players would get tired rather quickly if they had to customize controls for every single flash game they find.



(Sorry Alex I sent you this message personally as well so you got it twice)


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http://haxe.org


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Re: Flash games' controls

Baluta Cristian
In reply to this post by Joe Dohn
I think the keyboard is the last problem, but if you need more than the space, mouse or the arrows, i consider it bad. 

Baluta Cristian

On 25.10.2011, at 23:29, Joe Dohn <[hidden email]> wrote:

Yes this is good practise. That's not enough though as I tried to point out in my reply to Alex, regarding the (now widespread) smaller laptops that seem to rearrange keys in slightly unusual ways, making gameplay potentially uncomfortable or worse.



From: Baluta Cristian <[hidden email]>
To: The haXe compiler list <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:01 AM
Subject: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

You could let the user to chose his keyboard layout, or better guess it by the country.

Baluta Cristian
--
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http://haxe.org

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Re: Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
@Cristian:

Well... Imagine a 2D Zelda game. You need at least WASD plus 2 buttons. Mouse is inappropriate for Zelda... How can Zelda's control scheme be labelled "bad"? :)


@Benjamin:

Yeah I chose to ignore phones and tablets here. Often not powerful enough, not numerous enough and gameplay is too different. It can be worth it to design a different gameplay altogether for them, especially if the accelerometer is interesting to use.

Small laptops meant netbooks but also to a lesser degree, 15' laptops and below. I'm not entirely sure WASD is very comfortable on those.

And yes, setting your own standards is the problem: There are no standards, no controllers, the only really standard thing is the mouse with the space bar.
We're potentially losing a significant portion of our new players if we cannot guarantee or predict how playing our games feels. I discard many flash games myself because their controls suck FOR ME. I'm sure they don't suck on the developer's computers. Maybe that's just me, but it sounds like a major issue to address! :)

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Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Rob Fell
In reply to this post by Joe Dohn
Hi,

Also consider that some simultaneous key combinations don't work on
certain hardware.  This tool was recommended to me as a way of easily
testing:
http://swingpantsflash.com/keyboard_tester/

I avoid localized keyboard layouts and prioritize input design accordingly:

1) Mouse with left click only (can typically be translated to touch
devices with the "click" being a "release")
2) Mouse with left & middle clicks *
3) Cursor keys + space
4) Cursor keys + space & WASD + Q/E
5) Multiplayer on same machine: WASD + Cursors + IJKL + Numpad
6) User configurable madness

Each item on that list has more issues than the one above it ... a 25%
knee-jerk rejection would be my best guess?  So "5" will be considered
cool by 25%, and 75% will think "this is too complicated" whereas 100%
are happy with "1".

I agree re Moue and passiveness so I typically develop richer games
targetting WASD (for players) && Cursors (for Fullscreen) with keyboard
usage and mouse usage simultaneous (i.e. they both / all work).  The
game then listens to what the player is using without assuming or
insisting.  Increasingly I use an "instinct" mode where whatever the
player does in any given scenario teaches the game how to react - e.g.
imagine a FPS where invert aim is determined by how the player moved
their mouse to track a target in the tutorial.

Additionally I use key combos to achieve the equivalent of other keys:
e.g. down + space = secondary fire.  Although be wary of how to explain
that kind of stuff to the player - else it's a good way of killing that
"instinct"!

Best regards, Rob

* Middle click is consistent and reliable across all browsers via AVM1
bridged to AVM2 (all in the same class if you want to show off) - but
not in FullScreen.  In FullScreen only mouse move, left click, cursors
and space are available.  I do not count tab or esc as they have default
functionality.



On 11:59 AM, Joe Dohn wrote:

> Uh yeah, a line has been skipped somehow before I sent the mail. I'm
> talking about games pertaining to their own company and running on
> their own website. Medium scale games with a small crew to keep them
> running. No Facebook, no Kongregate, no sponsorship; games standing on
> their own two feet.
>
> The right click trick was unreliable last time I checked, a month ago,
> I concluded that it was not worth using with games of that scale
> considering it doesn't work properly accross all browsers. Was I wrong?
>
> I'm looking for statistics or you guys' personal experience.
>
> We need control schemes that are both pleasant to use, easy to learn
> and reliable across different computers when the keyboard is used.
> From where I stand I fear that only mouse and mouse+spacebar fit this
> description. But it's overused and kind of has a passive feeling when
> playing. Point, click, point, click, read, click, read, point click click.
> Did you ever come across a gameplay that you know fits the description
> while being richer than mouse+spacebar?
>
> You talked about Kongregate, but many Kong games don't handle foreign
> keyboard layouts. I can't imagine what the play experience would be if
> a keyboard was not just foreign but also compacted like that of those
> tiny laptops everyone seem to use. Way to tell your players "just
> close that tab and go do something else that won't break your fingers" :/
> A few games allow to customize controls, but ideally the game should
> provide the right default control scheme depending on the user's
> device. One, because the developers have built the game with a precise
> gameplay in mind and custom controls can sometimes break the intended
> feeling, and two, because new players would get tired rather quickly
> if they had to customize controls for every single flash game they find.
>
>
>
> (Sorry Alex I sent you this message personally as well so you got it
> twice)
>
>

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Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
"Also consider that some simultaneous key combinations don't work on certain hardware"

Right! Also holding the shift key for too long can spawn some dreaded accessibility window in Windows. And keyboards ignore some keys when several are pressed at the same time. It seems very unreliable from keyboard to keyboard. ( http://swingpantsflash.com/keyboard_woes/ )

- I noticed you don't use Mouse + WASD nor Mouse + Arrow keys. Any reason for that?
- Do you have an idea of the % of people having access to middle clicks, including laptop users? (And what about those with a middle button that's also a wheel)

Either way thanks Rob! You certainly dug that topic a lot and your list will save me from an unhealthy amount of research. I'll be glad to play and spread your games around me if you need a little advertising.

What does "Middle click is consistent and reliable across all browsers via AVM1 bridged to AVM2" translate to, though, concretely? (maybe you have a link if you can't afford a full explanation?)

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Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Yanis Benson
In reply to this post by Rob Fell

Another thing one should bear i'm mind working on keyboard control is that keyboards have technical limitations on simultaneously pressed keys. It comes from matrix key detection schemes and leads to some combinations of keys being undetectable when pressed together. As far as I remember the most problems start at 4 simultaneous keypresses, but there is a chance some problems may arrive at 3 keys already. A far as I know there is no standard regarding this, but some combinations will work on almost any keyboard and some wouldn't on almost any keyboard. Also, I remember some versions of windows had limitation to 4 simultaneously pressed keys.

On 26 Oct 2011 03:15, "Rob Fell" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

Also consider that some simultaneous key combinations don't work on certain hardware.  This tool was recommended to me as a way of easily testing:
http://swingpantsflash.com/keyboard_tester/

I avoid localized keyboard layouts and prioritize input design accordingly:

1) Mouse with left click only (can typically be translated to touch devices with the "click" being a "release")
2) Mouse with left & middle clicks *
3) Cursor keys + space
4) Cursor keys + space & WASD + Q/E
5) Multiplayer on same machine: WASD + Cursors + IJKL + Numpad
6) User configurable madness

Each item on that list has more issues than the one above it ... a 25% knee-jerk rejection would be my best guess?  So "5" will be considered cool by 25%, and 75% will think "this is too complicated" whereas 100% are happy with "1".

I agree re Moue and passiveness so I typically develop richer games targetting WASD (for players) && Cursors (for Fullscreen) with keyboard usage and mouse usage simultaneous (i.e. they both / all work).  The game then listens to what the player is using without assuming or insisting.  Increasingly I use an "instinct" mode where whatever the player does in any given scenario teaches the game how to react - e.g. imagine a FPS where invert aim is determined by how the player moved their mouse to track a target in the tutorial.

Additionally I use key combos to achieve the equivalent of other keys: e.g. down + space = secondary fire.  Although be wary of how to explain that kind of stuff to the player - else it's a good way of killing that "instinct"!

Best regards, Rob

* Middle click is consistent and reliable across all browsers via AVM1 bridged to AVM2 (all in the same class if you want to show off) - but not in FullScreen.  In FullScreen only mouse move, left click, cursors and space are available.  I do not count tab or esc as they have default functionality.



On 11:59 AM, Joe Dohn wrote:
Uh yeah, a line has been skipped somehow before I sent the mail. I'm talking about games pertaining to their own company and running on their own website. Medium scale games with a small crew to keep them running. No Facebook, no Kongregate, no sponsorship; games standing on their own two feet.

The right click trick was unreliable last time I checked, a month ago, I concluded that it was not worth using with games of that scale considering it doesn't work properly accross all browsers. Was I wrong?

I'm looking for statistics or you guys' personal experience.

We need control schemes that are both pleasant to use, easy to learn and reliable across different computers when the keyboard is used. From where I stand I fear that only mouse and mouse+spacebar fit this description. But it's overused and kind of has a passive feeling when playing. Point, click, point, click, read, click, read, point click click.
Did you ever come across a gameplay that you know fits the description while being richer than mouse+spacebar?

You talked about Kongregate, but many Kong games don't handle foreign keyboard layouts. I can't imagine what the play experience would be if a keyboard was not just foreign but also compacted like that of those tiny laptops everyone seem to use. Way to tell your players "just close that tab and go do something else that won't break your fingers" :/
A few games allow to customize controls, but ideally the game should provide the right default control scheme depending on the user's device. One, because the developers have built the game with a precise gameplay in mind and custom controls can sometimes break the intended feeling, and two, because new players would get tired rather quickly if they had to customize controls for every single flash game they find.



(Sorry Alex I sent you this message personally as well so you got it twice)



--
haXe - an open source web programming language
http://haxe.org

--
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http://haxe.org
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Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Joe Dohn
Yeah, I just started digging this, starting from Rob's link. I knew the problem existed but didn't suspect it was that bad... For instance, my (modern) keyboard can't handle me pressing Up + (Left or Right) + Space at the same time. Makes for an unreliable gameplay...

I wonder how playable a game with 2 players on the same keyboard would be.



From: Yanis Benson <[hidden email]>
To: The haXe compiler list <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:06 AM
Subject: Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Another thing one should bear i'm mind working on keyboard control is that keyboards have technical limitations on simultaneously pressed keys. It comes from matrix key detection schemes and leads to some combinations of keys being undetectable when pressed together. As far as I remember the most problems start at 4 simultaneous keypresses, but there is a chance some problems may arrive at 3 keys already. A far as I know there is no standard regarding this, but some combinations will work on almost any keyboard and some wouldn't on almost any keyboard. Also, I remember some versions of windows had limitation to 4 simultaneously pressed keys.

--
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http://haxe.org
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Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Alex Liebert
I may be guilty of not reading the whole thread but :)

What kind of game are you making, and who is your target audience?  These questions should drive your answer, really.


On Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 5:24 PM, Joe Dohn <[hidden email]> wrote:
Yeah, I just started digging this, starting from Rob's link. I knew the problem existed but didn't suspect it was that bad... For instance, my (modern) keyboard can't handle me pressing Up + (Left or Right) + Space at the same time. Makes for an unreliable gameplay...

I wonder how playable a game with 2 players on the same keyboard would be.



From: Yanis Benson <[hidden email]>

To: The haXe compiler list <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:06 AM
Subject: Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Another thing one should bear i'm mind working on keyboard control is that keyboards have technical limitations on simultaneously pressed keys. It comes from matrix key detection schemes and leads to some combinations of keys being undetectable when pressed together. As far as I remember the most problems start at 4 simultaneous keypresses, but there is a chance some problems may arrive at 3 keys already. A far as I know there is no standard regarding this, but some combinations will work on almost any keyboard and some wouldn't on almost any keyboard. Also, I remember some versions of windows had limitation to 4 simultaneously pressed keys.

--
haXe - an open source web programming language
http://haxe.org


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Re: Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Rob Fell
In reply to this post by Joe Dohn
Hey Joe,

On 11:59 AM, Joe Dohn wrote:
> "Also consider that some simultaneous key combinations don't work on
> certain hardware"
>
> Right! Also holding the shift key for too long can spawn some dreaded
> accessibility window in Windows. And keyboards ignore some keys when
> several are pressed at the same time. It seems very unreliable from
> keyboard to keyboard. ( http://swingpantsflash.com/keyboard_woes/ )
>

For me FullScreen is a priority, so that pretty much dictates my key
options.  Fortunately with cursors & space about 90% of the 3 way combos
work on all hardware.

> - I noticed you don't use Mouse + WASD nor Mouse + Arrow keys. Any
> reason for that?

Sorry, by all means consider each new point on my list to be incremental
and include all things above it.
But yes I do generally avoid Mouse "&&" Keys as a requirement (I prefer
"||").

Why?  Only professional racing drivers left foot brake.

Consider how many distinct input signals a mouse and a d-pad with
multiple fires adds up to ... it requires training / i.e. hardcore
gaming commitment.

Most people use the mouse, then use the keyboard, and a few can look at
the screen at the same time - there's a clear silence between picking up
one device and using the next.  Same goes for multiple keys at the same
time.

Naturally that remark will date quicker than a lightpen but it shows why
touchscreen is so appealing for the masses today.

> - Do you have an idea of the % of people having access to middle
> clicks, including laptop users? (And what about those with a middle
> button that's also a wheel)

I don't know numbers - pretty high % would be my guess?  But are they
used to using it in Flash?  Not really.
Therefore if using middle mouse button I would always duplicate it's
action with a key (e.g. "press middle button or hold space").

>
> Either way thanks Rob! You certainly dug that topic a lot and your
> list will save me from an unhealthy amount of research. I'll be glad
> to play and spread your games around me if you need a little advertising.
>
> What does "Middle click is consistent and reliable across all browsers
> via AVM1 bridged to AVM2" translate to, though, concretely? (maybe you
> have a link if you can't afford a full explanation?)
>

Here's some code:
http://code.google.com/p/awe6/source/browse/trunk/app/src/awe6/core/InputMouse.hx
Lines 103,104,117-125
If you need the original source of the serialized AVM1 swf used in the
Loader is here:
http://code.google.com/p/awe6/source/browse/trunk/assetsDeployed/demo/mouseClicks

Best regards, Rob

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Re: Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Tarwin Stroh-Spijer
Flash 11 supports game controllers AFAIK ...


Tarwin Stroh-Spijer
_______________________

Touch My Pixel
http://www.touchmypixel.com/
phone: +61 3 8060 5321
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On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM, Rob Fell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey Joe,


On 11:59 AM, Joe Dohn wrote:
"Also consider that some simultaneous key combinations don't work on certain hardware"

Right! Also holding the shift key for too long can spawn some dreaded accessibility window in Windows. And keyboards ignore some keys when several are pressed at the same time. It seems very unreliable from keyboard to keyboard. ( http://swingpantsflash.com/keyboard_woes/ )


For me FullScreen is a priority, so that pretty much dictates my key options.  Fortunately with cursors & space about 90% of the 3 way combos work on all hardware.


- I noticed you don't use Mouse + WASD nor Mouse + Arrow keys. Any reason for that?

Sorry, by all means consider each new point on my list to be incremental and include all things above it.
But yes I do generally avoid Mouse "&&" Keys as a requirement (I prefer "||").

Why?  Only professional racing drivers left foot brake.

Consider how many distinct input signals a mouse and a d-pad with multiple fires adds up to ... it requires training / i.e. hardcore gaming commitment.

Most people use the mouse, then use the keyboard, and a few can look at the screen at the same time - there's a clear silence between picking up one device and using the next.  Same goes for multiple keys at the same time.

Naturally that remark will date quicker than a lightpen but it shows why touchscreen is so appealing for the masses today.


- Do you have an idea of the % of people having access to middle clicks, including laptop users? (And what about those with a middle button that's also a wheel)

I don't know numbers - pretty high % would be my guess?  But are they used to using it in Flash?  Not really.
Therefore if using middle mouse button I would always duplicate it's action with a key (e.g. "press middle button or hold space").



Either way thanks Rob! You certainly dug that topic a lot and your list will save me from an unhealthy amount of research. I'll be glad to play and spread your games around me if you need a little advertising.

What does "Middle click is consistent and reliable across all browsers via AVM1 bridged to AVM2" translate to, though, concretely? (maybe you have a link if you can't afford a full explanation?)


Here's some code:
http://code.google.com/p/awe6/source/browse/trunk/app/src/awe6/core/InputMouse.hx
Lines 103,104,117-125
If you need the original source of the serialized AVM1 swf used in the Loader is here:
http://code.google.com/p/awe6/source/browse/trunk/assetsDeployed/demo/mouseClicks

Best regards, Rob


--
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http://haxe.org


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Re: Flash games' controls

Pimm Hogeling
In reply to this post by Joe Dohn
Some loser wrote an article about this: http://ilumbo.org/blog/#!/avoid-qwerty-awkwardness-in-your-games.html

2011/10/25 Joe Dohn <[hidden email]>
Hi everyone!

I'd like to know what you think about controls in financially sustainable Flash games. Mouse based controls are the most common but they make for quite a limited gameplay experience, especially considering we can't really use right clicks.

So how do you guys use keyboard controls depending on game genre? Keyboards have so many different layouts these days, with laptops of all size and stuff I'm not sure how much we can guarantee the same gameplay experience to all players.

Also most average browser gamers seem to prefer simple controls such as mouse only or eventually mouse + space bar. Any thoughts or statistics on that?

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Re: Flash games' controls

bubblebenj
Nice article :)

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 12:15 AM, Pimm Hogeling <[hidden email]> wrote:
Some loser wrote an article about this: http://ilumbo.org/blog/#!/avoid-qwerty-awkwardness-in-your-games.html

2011/10/25 Joe Dohn <[hidden email]>
Hi everyone!

I'd like to know what you think about controls in financially sustainable Flash games. Mouse based controls are the most common but they make for quite a limited gameplay experience, especially considering we can't really use right clicks.

So how do you guys use keyboard controls depending on game genre? Keyboards have so many different layouts these days, with laptops of all size and stuff I'm not sure how much we can guarantee the same gameplay experience to all players.

Also most average browser gamers seem to prefer simple controls such as mouse only or eventually mouse + space bar. Any thoughts or statistics on that?

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Re: Re: Re: [haXe] Flash games' controls

Yanis Benson
In reply to this post by Tarwin Stroh-Spijer

And just a personal point of view. As the one who liked to play action games hot-seat few years ago (guess I still like it, but have no time) I can advice you to never hardlock players control to cursor keys in such cases, because this buttons are probably the most conflicting ones. Also, if you need two 6-7 button configs the good starting point is (WASD + tab + Tilda + caps) and (IJKL + h + y + 7/6). Actually, we used to play 3 at one keyboard, with third man on (cursor + ctrl + shift + ?) , buttons were already blocking then but it still was playable. We were mostly playing little fighters 2 and mortal kombat.

On 26 Oct 2011 09:10, "Tarwin Stroh-Spijer" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Flash 11 supports game controllers AFAIK ...


Tarwin Stroh-Spijer
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On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM, Rob Fell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey Joe,


On 11:59 AM, Joe Dohn wrote:
"Also consider that some simultaneous key combinations don't work on certain hardware"

Right! Also holding the shift key for too long can spawn some dreaded accessibility window in Windows. And keyboards ignore some keys when several are pressed at the same time. It seems very unreliable from keyboard to keyboard. ( http://swingpantsflash.com/keyboard_woes/ )


For me FullScreen is a priority, so that pretty much dictates my key options.  Fortunately with cursors & space about 90% of the 3 way combos work on all hardware.


- I noticed you don't use Mouse + WASD nor Mouse + Arrow keys. Any reason for that?

Sorry, by all means consider each new point on my list to be incremental and include all things above it.
But yes I do generally avoid Mouse "&&" Keys as a requirement (I prefer "||").

Why?  Only professional racing drivers left foot brake.

Consider how many distinct input signals a mouse and a d-pad with multiple fires adds up to ... it requires training / i.e. hardcore gaming commitment.

Most people use the mouse, then use the keyboard, and a few can look at the screen at the same time - there's a clear silence between picking up one device and using the next.  Same goes for multiple keys at the same time.

Naturally that remark will date quicker than a lightpen but it shows why touchscreen is so appealing for the masses today.


- Do you have an idea of the % of people having access to middle clicks, including laptop users? (And what about those with a middle button that's also a wheel)

I don't know numbers - pretty high % would be my guess?  But are they used to using it in Flash?  Not really.
Therefore if using middle mouse button I would always duplicate it's action with a key (e.g. "press middle button or hold space").



Either way thanks Rob! You certainly dug that topic a lot and your list will save me from an unhealthy amount of research. I'll be glad to play and spread your games around me if you need a little advertising.

What does "Middle click is consistent and reliable across all browsers via AVM1 bridged to AVM2" translate to, though, concretely? (maybe you have a link if you can't afford a full explanation?)


Here's some code:
http://code.google.com/p/awe6/source/browse/trunk/app/src/awe6/core/InputMouse.hx
Lines 103,104,117-125
If you need the original source of the serialized AVM1 swf used in the Loader is here:
http://code.google.com/p/awe6/source/browse/trunk/assetsDeployed/demo/mouseClicks

Best regards, Rob


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