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Controller Interface Questions

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I'm designing an interface for a game for a class that I'm currently taking and I was hoping I could get some input regarding the usability of the controller interface I'm thinking of. The game is basically a 2D platformer in the Castlevania/Metroid style that would be used with a Xbox 360 type controller.


1.       I want the player to be able to shoot in any direction while running around. What would be the best way to aim? I was initially thinking of a system similar to Mark of the Ninja where you hold a button which pauses the gameplay, aim, then release the button to fire. However, since the player would be shooting often, I decided that it would be better to use the right joystick for aiming and a trigger button to fire. Do you think that this is the best method for doing this?


2.       I want the character to be able to crouch in the game, but also climb down ladders and things like that. Is it best to just use a button for crouching and down on the joystick for climbing down? If I use a button to crouch (I was thinking of the Y-button), it seems this would make it difficult to crouch, aim and shoot at the same time.


3.       Should I have a button for sprinting (like the A-button) or just have the character automatically sprint by pushing all the way right or left on the joystick?


Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated on this. Thank you.


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1. Make movement a toggle. That way the player can set a vector for their character then look around while moving forward (or backwards?), moving the upper body and head. If its gamepad controls you could double tap D-pad controls or press in the joystick button once you've set a forward speed. The character can easily re-orient by looking the direction they want to move and resetting the forward movement toggle.


2. Use one key for both but make it look and context sensitive. If the player looks down and hits (Y like you suggested) button the character ducks, if they're running the character dives forward. If the character looks at a ladder they hit and hold the button to climb. A multi-purpose action key.


3. Since your movement is already toggled I would use variable joystick controlled speed. However some players might get frustrated waiting for the character to get up to speed to set sprint speed. Holding the action (Y) button and toggle forward movement could set a sprint. This only becomes an issue near context sensitive things like ladders or consoles. 


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