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Taiyou

The Mouse as a game controller

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I''d like to hear some opinions on games that use mouse input vs. games that use keyboard/gamepad input. Most games that come out on pc use the mouse as input, and I guess it is kind of an obvious decision for the game developers, since all pcs have a mouse. However, in a lot of games I find that the mouse can make games feel like the player has little control over what actually happens in the game. The best example I can think of right now is Dungeon Siege, in which all you need to do is click to move and heal your party. Even the battles are automatic! Some may enjoy this, but I find this pace to be rather slow since I get to actually do few of the parts of the game that I find fun when using a gamepad as controller. An example of a game that uses a gamepad to contrast with dungeon siege is Secret of Mana. I found the fighting to be really fun in this game! I do find the mouse much better for certain other types of games, mainly strategy. In strategy games a gamepad is usually not accurate enough or less efficient than a mouse. But for RPGs, action games, fps, puzzle games, racing/sports, etc. I prefer gamepad. Please post your thoughts/opinions. Thanks!

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stretegy: mouse
fps: mouse and keyboard, targeting with gamepad is too slow!
rpg: isnt needed but with great tables of numbers and for searchingfor an item on the screen->mouse
action games: mouse optional, mechwarrior is a good example of this! you use it for fast targeting and zooming
puzzle games???? : 3
racing sports: defnitly not, but football(soccer) in diablo style, dribble: left mouse button, shoot, right mousebutton sound interesting
in the space shooter i create, mouse is used to look around and to target...

[edited by - MadKeithV on August 20, 2002 5:01:15 AM]

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The mouse should be used with the keyboard. That way you get better targeting control with the mouse and more steady movement with the keyboard.
Even Diablo 2 made good use of both, playing without hotkeys would''ve been hell (no pun intended ).

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Actually I found a joystick easier to use in mechwarrior than mouse and keyboard, but I agree the mouse made some fps games easier to play. I still don''t mind the gamepad in goldeneye on n64 though.

What do you think of final fantasy style menus? I can see the mouse working well in them, but I didn''t find a gamepad too slow in them.

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quote:
Original post by Taiyou
The best example I can think of right now is Dungeon Siege, in which all you need to do is click to move and heal your party. Even the battles are automatic! Some may enjoy this, but I find this pace to be rather slow since I get to actually do few of the parts of the game that I find fun when using a gamepad as controller.

Isn''t this more about the game than the control method though? I mean, is it really more fun to hold down a directional-button for 2 seconds than it is to click once and wait for 2 seconds? I don''t think it makes a difference, personally.

quote:
An example of a game that uses a gamepad to contrast with dungeon siege is Secret of Mana. I found the fighting to be really fun in this game!

How was the gamepad used in this game, for those of us that haven''t played it?

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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Secret of Mana was a top down action rpg. You used the game pad to maneuver around the map/outmaneuver foes. Too me, there was finer control with a gamepad than with a mouse (easier to dodge if an enemy lunged at you). Also used for inventory, magic, talking, etc.

I think it would have suffered somewhat without directional movement (point and click movement just wouldn''t have had the same feel) - but that could have been accomplished as a keyboard/mouse combo.

The best thing about the game was multiplayer - gamepads are a must in that situation. It wouldn''t have had the same feel as a networked game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
i generally prefer a combination of mouse and keyboard, ie, quake style movement with the wsad keys and the mouse for l/r/up/down aiming.
however, in some games, its fun to use solely keyboard, but i would not suggest it.
more people will have access to a mouse and keyboard than a joystick or gamepad, so i would tend to stick with these, at least until other options are more common.
of course, you can always allow both, and let the user choose.

-geo

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Kylotan
I mean, is it really more fun to hold down a directional-button for 2 seconds than it is to click once and wait for 2 seconds? I don''t think it makes a difference, personally.


A directional button gives you direct control over a character''s actions. Clicking on a go-to spot with the mouse is more like giving orders to your character.

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The difference in mouse and contol pad are often psychological.

Mouse is usually less personal. Clicking to target, clicking to move. It is studdering... even the keyboard is rigid, both in shape and in in response. ASWD for movement is accurate but really limits motion to 8 directions. The keys offer a lot of possibilities, but this adds to a harder learning curve. Is strategy games, the A.I. plays an intermediary. These elements make no sense for games like racing, where smooth movement is needed for every element, steering, braking, gas... The rigidity of mouse/keyboard is the antithisis of what is desired.

Analog control pads are continuous in imput. You are contolling every moment of the character. IT FLOWS. This smoothness is great for a more viceral feel for what the character is doing/feeling.

It is always up to the game designers to make good use of these properties from either control format. Anything that requires browsing deep menus or selecting units for games that allow players to control more than one character at a time, then a mouse is much easier. For a simulation, only a keyboard offers enough raw possibilities to simulate operating complicated systems or events. That is, unless, the sim is to simulate the FEEL of doing something (driving) rather than the results (war sims). FPS games can go either way... You control only one character at a time, and while movent via the keyboard is mildly rigid, the mouse is unmatched in its versitility of precise or very fast motion. Alalog control pads close the gap well. If the FPS is limited in the necessary control elements, a pad is great. Halo is the prime example of simple beauty in a game.

And of coarse, any game that necessitates coversations through text... you have no options but a keayboard.

There are some games that try to break the rules, which is always good to see. The deceased Crackdotcom had made Abuse. This side-scrolling platformer game used the keyboard to control moventent and the mouse cursor to direct the player's direction of fire(and very quickly!). Like Contra, but with true 360 degree rotation rather than 8 directions It had a lot of strategic elements rather than Contras total run-and-gun style.

Don't break rules just to break them. When an established control system does the job just fine, USE IT! No need to confuse the players for no benefits.

CDV

[edited by - Warsong02 on August 17, 2002 3:30:12 AM]

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
A directional button gives you direct control over a character''s actions. Clicking on a go-to spot with the mouse is more like giving orders to your character.

You don''t have to click... you could drag the mouse over the path you wish to take, or have it so that holding the mouse button down moves the player towards the mouse cursor (much like Diablo 2 and Ultima 7, to an extent).



[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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