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Codman

Shoot'em'up controls question

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What do you think about controls where you have to press <FIRE> to launch a bullet instead of holding it pressed? Consider both a keypad controller, a keyboard and a mouse. Thanks for your answers.

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Well your question could use some clarification, but to be honest the clarification would have to be extensive. In the end you would need a near finished game, play test it, and answer that question after doing so.

Let me give you some examples why the question makes no sense.

If I am playing Counter Strike, or WWIIOL, then the weapon I am using will determine that. Since both of these games go for a realism approach (at least as far as weapons go) then a rocket launcher isn't fully automatic. Some rifles are bolt action, some are semi-automatic, and some are fully automatic.

Getting away from realism, the question can get into play balance. How do you design your weapons. More powerful weapon migth be one click, one shoot, with long reload time. Others might be fast fully automatic with no reload.

Do weapons automatically reload or do the players have to press a but to reload them? I dunno, you'd have to know what the goals and design of the game are, and probably play test it as well.

If I'm playing Galaga then I EXPECT to simply hold the button down.

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Basicly you have to have a game to answer the question.

However, unless there is a good reason ie.. simulation/historical accuracy, Play balance, etc.. then there is no reason to torcher the player by making them repeatedly press a button.

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All what you have said is true but here it comes the clarification:

My problem is about the feeling you have/if you become tired or lose the immersion in each presented case. Examples of games using such or such method and your impressions about them would be welcome.

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There are a couple of mechanics that depend upon this decision for their implementation...

1. Charge weapon
Repeatedly tapping the button will fire your main guns - holding the button will charge a bigger weapon of some sort.
Example: 1942

2. Speed and Fire shift
Repeatedly pressing fire will fire a simple weapon as normal. Holding fire will slow the players movement and emit a more powerful weapon (often a smaller spread too).
Example: Esprade, DodonPachi

I like both of the above implementation as it employs a great risk/reward tradeoff and it provides more options for the player without adding extra buttons. My only concern is that I often get sick of repeatedly hammering a button for normal fire, especially on a keyboard set up, even more so on a joypad.

Hope that helps.

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No matter what, you'll want a weapon-specific maximum rate of fire. I don't like games where the most powerful weapon upgrade available is a turbo controller. If the default gun can fire faster than the supermachinegun, what's the point?

Resident Evil 4 fires as long as the trigger's depressed and bullets are available. Rate of fire depends on the gun. WIth the TMP submachinegun, you get a constant brakka-brakka-brakka of fire. A pistol offers a pop---pop---pop sort of experience, while the Springfield 1903 bolt-action gives a nerve-wracking BLAM... shik-chack... BLAM... etc.

It's a good system, and you don't find yourself mashing the fire button to try to squeeze a little more performance out of your gun.

It's easy to click a mouse very quickly, so it might be okay for a robotron-ish game on PC. Keyboards are tougher to use in a huge hurry. Gamepads are tricky. It depends on the button configuration. I can use my finely tuned "Skate or Die High-Jump" abilities to mash the crap out of a button, but I can't do anything else at the same time.

To be honest, I've always wanted a game that replicates trigger pull and sear release. The Gamecube's shoulder buttons, with the analog pull and little click at the bottom, would be ideal for this. Having a smooth or jerky trigger pull effect your shot would be the bomb. You could just slap a dozen rounds out, or you could line up the sights, take a deep breath, and release the sear. Sweet.

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By "shoot'em'up" are you are refering to classic 2D games like R-Type (and the others disscussed by ghosted)? Or are you refering to something else?

If you mean SHMUPs (SHoot'eM'UPs) as in R-Type, Ikaruga, Gradius, etc... then I would suggest researching what other games in the genre are doing, what is the cause/effect of thier particular design choice, etc...

By that I mean Mars Matrix is famous for only useing a single fire button. In this game players can launch upwards of four very different weapons depending on how they tap/press/hold the fire button...there are NO power-ups in the game, instead of challangeing players to collect such things the game asks players to master its fireing mechanic...IMHO this works very well, is a breath of freash air for a genre that is often heavily over dependant on power-ups (actualy post the success of Radient Silvergun, and now Ikaruga...power-ups are becomeing kinda rare in the later generation of SHUMPs).

In the end only you can decide what system to use for fire control. And it will be heavily dependant on gamebalance...allowing the fire rate to be too quick and it reduces the challange, to slow and it can make things much harder for the player, etc...

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