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2 button challenge

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I was bored, and I thought that maybe I could propose a challenge to you. The deal is as follows: you're going to develop a game for a new handheld console. This console has a particularity though: it only has two buttons, L and R, one at each side of the screen. There is nothing else your game can use: no D-pad, no Start button, nothing. Those two buttons are the only ones your game can use, and your job is to figure out some good controls for it. Here are the rules: * Like I said, there are only two buttons you can use: L and R. Deal with it! * Don't bother implementing pause or anything like that. * You don't need to go with a specific game (you can if you want, though), you can go with a genre, or maybe even something like a specific game screen. * Don't go simplistic. Proposing a pin-ball game where L is the left flipper, R is the right flipper and nothing else doesn't count =P Try to think in something that wouldn't fit two buttons usually. Now for some examples: 2D platforms game Hold L: run left Hold R: run right Press L+R: jump vertically Hold L then press R: jump left Hold R then press L: jump right Fighting game These controls assume that we're facing right Hold L: move forwards Hold R: move backwards Hold R then press L: punch Hold L then press R: kick Press R twice: jump forwards Press L twice: jump backwards Press L while jumping: air punch Press R while jumping: air kick Racing game Car accelerates automatically Hold L: steer left Hold R: steer right Hold L+R: brake Hold L then hold R: brake while steering left Hold R then hold L: brake while steering right Generic menu Press L: move onto next option Press R: select current option Now go!

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How about a Tempest / bobsled theme in a twisting, enclosed tube? Your goal is to avoid or kill enemies, pickup powerups and navigate the twisting track. You gain speed as you play. L/R rotate left and right around the tube, allowing you to evade enemies and take certain signposted exits or make jumps or whatever. Hold L/R to slow down. Double-tap L/R to use powerups, only one of which can be active at any one time. If your speed is fast enough you can hit some enemies and kill them, however others cause instant death at high speed. To make things really fun the tube wraps around a planet and is clear, there are other racers, and if you go too slow you hit pits or (if on the ceiling) fall and take damage.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
How about a Tempest / bobsled theme in a twisting, enclosed tube? Your goal is to avoid or kill enemies, pickup powerups and navigate the twisting track. You gain speed as you play. L/R rotate left and right around the tube, allowing you to evade enemies and take certain signposted exits or make jumps or whatever. Hold L/R to slow down. Double-tap L/R to use powerups, only one of which can be active at any one time. If your speed is fast enough you can hit some enemies and kill them, however others cause instant death at high speed. To make things really fun the tube wraps around a planet and is clear, there are other racers, and if you go too slow you hit pits or (if on the ceiling) fall and take damage.


Reminds me of the Sonic 2 special stage - this is something which could easily be implemented with just two buttons (tap both at once to jump).

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I'm working on a game on and off (mostly off) in my spare time which only uses one button. It's called JUMP. It is a platformer wherw the only thing the player can do is jump. The player character always moves forward. When colliding with a wall the pc turns around. The player can double jump, power dive and jump off walls. The idea is that the complexity will come from the environment, with different surfaces and enemies reacting differently to the way you collide with them.

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Two button games reminds me a lot of these cheap little LCD games you can get from dollar stores or happy meals/kids meals. :)



You can do mostly any type of those "catch the falling object" games, or even a breakout type game. You can do the automatic car/player moving forwards while you steer to avoid obstacles type game.

You could make tetris with 2 buttons as well. Just L to move left, R to move right, and press both to rotate the block.

Could also do space invaders the same way. L+R = shoot.

You could make a really complex game using just two buttons, though it might not be that much fun to play. You could set it up so that one button is used to cycle through options while the other is used to select. So you could essentially have a game where the player could cycle through options to move up/left/right/down and then press the other key to select which way to move. Then when the player approaches an object and presses the select key, they would be given more options as to what to do with that item.

You could probably make a decent birds-eye view RPG like that. It would depend more on the in-game menus than the buttons.

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How about a 1st-person maze crawler where holding a button turns your character 90 degrees and tapping either button allows boxing-style melee. Holding both buttons blocks.

Quote:
Original post by Tim Ingham-Dempster
I'm working on a game on and off (mostly off) in my spare time which only uses one button. It's called JUMP. It is a platformer wherw the only thing the player can do is jump. The player character always moves forward. When colliding with a wall the pc turns around. The player can double jump, power dive and jump off walls. The idea is that the complexity will come from the environment, with different surfaces and enemies reacting differently to the way you collide with them.


At first this reminded me of those Flash and iPhone games of similar theme, but the addition of changing directions at walls sounds like it could definitely add a lot of depth and potential for creating a rich game rather than a mildly addictive distraction.

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My first thought was a top-down shooter where you fire automatically and just use L/R to move left and right. It might get boring after a while...

There are some pretty good games that go with the one-button theme:

Canabalt
Saut (my favourite)
Scribland

They all use only one button, but they all implement it slightly differently, which is cool...

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It is so odd this would come up now. We just put out a demo of a game we're working on which just so happens to be a two-button game. We obviously use things like the mouse and such for menus, but if we were actually constrained we could do it all with just 2 buttons. The gameplay is purely 2 buttons.

Install the system for your platform here. Then run the game itself which is: http://luster3d.com/l3ds/Blocks.l3d. With the system installed l3d files should automatically run using our engine.

Related to game design stuff. How I came up with this. A while ago I was testing to make sure my bullet integration was working properly so I had a block falling onto another block and I could apply forces to one side or the other. This made a little platform and it was kind of fun just trying to keep the thing afloat without toppling. From that, the concept of Blocks was born.

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