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Is the joystick still a valid controller?

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I'm trying to write a space sim, and I've come unstuck with trying to steer the ship using the mouse. Sure, I have a virtual joystick ala Star Wars: Galaxies, and it works reasonably well, but I had to stop and think. I made the virtual joystick because it's a pain to switch between joystick and keyboard / mouse, something I discovered while playing Battlefield (insert version here). I have also noticed over the years that joysticks are seemingly harder to find in stores, and Microsoft stopped making the Sidewinder, and any other form of joystick they make, not to mention the exclusion of the Joystick as a valid controller in XNA. So, do joysticks still exist in reasonable quantities and more importantly, is it still reasonable to target the joystick as the primary controller with a mouse backup? I hope that made sense.

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If your game is better suited to being played with a joystick, then I would most certainly offer that as a control option. However unless your game is aiming specifically for a niche group of gamers who would be expected to own a joystick (like hardcore flight sim buffs), then I'd make sure to make the game playable with a keyboard and/or mouse.

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I'd hope so or my Saitek joysticks would be a total waste.
I use them for all my space and air combat games, cauze 90% of them don't have good mouse support. The only one that worked reasonably well with a mouse that i've played is wing commander prophecy.

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I will definitely have keyboard / mouse support, as sometimes I don't have room on my desk or don't feel like unpacking the joystick to use it.

I defintely feel though that controller a space ship with keyboard / mouse just isn't as nice as using a joystick, but it feels like support for them is going away, especially if you use XNA like I do. I will probably have a keyboard only flight option as well for those purists :)

I liked Freelancers mouse control, but unfortunately that is a 3rd person space sim, and while I have 3rd person cameras, control is primarily from 1st person.

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Why not support gamepads? They're readily available, are trivial to support in XNA, and they can pretty much do everything a joystick can do and more.

Sure, a waggling gamepad analogue stick might not feel quite so much like wrestling with the controls of an intergalactic space fighter, but it's probably going to be better than keyboard and mouse.

Also, I'd imagine that any joystick like devices for XBox would probably just mimic a gamepad's controls anyway. Main stick would map to one of the analogue sticks, hat maps to the D pad, and various buttons mapped to equivalents on the gamepad. Which might be why it wasn't deemed necessary to add specific joystick support to XNA.

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The most effective piece of gaming hardware I ever bought for myself was a trackball. It served as a mouse for regular application use and behaved very like a joystick when I needed something like that for a game - all without switching hardware.

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Supporting other devices like the game pad isn't something I actually thought of, given I don't have a 360 or its controller. Nevertheless it is a good idea to support it as another type of input device.

The recommendation from microsoft is to use the managed directinput component, though I thought they had stopped shipping managed directx now, so that might not be practical.

I definitely want to support it, but XNA might not make that an easy process.

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I have a joystick, and honestly I don't know anyone that likes any kind of space/aircraft game that doesn't own a joystick. They're kind of a given if you actually like that kind of game, and as far as I know, Saitek is still going strong with their joysticks.

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Less and less. Joysticks are niche at best, especially with the PC games market in such a sad state at the moment.

Which is sad... I still remember how much fun Tie Fighter was.

But to make a point, I haven't used a joystick in almost 10 years... so if your game doesn't support keyboard/mouse/controller, I'd guess that very, very few people will play it.

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Quote:
Original post by QuantifyFun
Less and less. Joysticks are niche at best, especially with the PC games market in such a sad state at the moment.

Which is sad... I still remember how much fun Tie Fighter was.

But to make a point, I haven't used a joystick in almost 10 years... so if your game doesn't support keyboard/mouse/controller, I'd guess that very, very few people will play it.


How many flight sim games do you play? Anyone that actually enjoys a game like he seems to be talking about is going to either already own a joystick, or will go out and buy one sooner or later. They're not something that is super rare, you can walk into any decent store that sells mice and keyboards and they'll have at least a small selection of joy sticks.

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Quote:
Original post by TalrothAnyone that actually enjoys a game like he seems to be talking about is going to either already own a joystick, or will go out and buy one sooner or later. They're not something that is super rare...


The group of people you're talking about is very small. That's not especially arguable, all you have to do is look at the sales data associated with PC flight sims or joysticks. It's a niche market at best.

The point I made was that unless he wants to limit his audience to those people (which seems odd), than he should support other input devices.

Why would you argue with that? :-)

It directly answers his question. No, don't make your game for people with joysticks - you won't reach a lot of people.

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