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[Mobile] Controls for 2D space combat?

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Hi,

 

I'm wondering what kind of touch controls would work good for a topdown 2D space shooter? I want to have several space ships with different amounts of weapons the player can activate maybe up to 5 or 6 weapons/modules accessible through a hotbar. Some ships should rotate and accelerate faster then others. I kind of want to keep it as arcade as possible but I am open to all suggestions. I am not aiming for realism but for a fun game experience.

 

Controls?

  • I need to control speed and rotation of the player. The first thing I was thinking about was having a speed bar the player could interact with to control it's speed. And the direction could be determined by touching the map or by some sort of on screen controller.
     
  • Another thing could be to have a single virtual "stick" controller that controls direction and speed.
 

Combat?

  • I was first thinking of some automated system when weapons are activated when an enemy is locked by pressing it, I could have different types of weapons that have different rotation speed to follow the locked target. But this is not very arcade like and takes away a huge skill factor except when dodging and getting near an enemy are the main mechanics.
     
  • I could make the player shoot certain types of weapons only in forward direction. And activating something like a missile by dragging and dropping.

 

Like I said, I am open to all suggestions. I tried looking into proven concepts but could not find that much. One thing I need to watch out for is screen space, I prefer to show a decent amount of information on screen so using those huge virtual controllers is kind of a waste.

 

Thanks in advance,

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Hmm... What about something like this:

  • The ship is placed near the bottom of the screen, and only moves on the horizontal axis, from one side of the screen to the other.
    • The player moves the ship by dragging with a finger.
  • Below the ship is a row of icons, one for each weapon. Pressing one of these fires that weapon.
    • Some weapons might fire continuously as long as the icon is pressed; others might fire once per tap; still others might charge, firing either on release or when the charge has reached its maximum.

This way the player is asked to juggle movement and firing, (hopefully) without the controls becoming overly complicated or awkward, or a finger obscuring much of the play area,

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Sorry, forgot to mention the maps where free to roam. It's not going to be 100% linear so I have to implement rotation and speed.

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Hmm... That's more difficult then, I feel.

 

I'm not really an expert in this field, so I may bow out of the thread at some stage.

 

However, for now: are you targeting 'phones or tablets? I ask because this affects the amount of screen-space available for touch-controls, and perhaps how the user is likely to be holding the device and thus what controls are likely to be comfortable.

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Hmm... That's more difficult then, I feel.

 

I'm not really an expert in this field, so I may bow out of the thread at some stage.

 

However, for now: are you targeting 'phones or tablets? I ask because this affects the amount of screen-space available for touch-controls, and perhaps how the user is likely to be holding the device and thus what controls are likely to be comfortable.

 

Well, i'd like to target pretty much all mobile touch devices but I probably have to go with the larger phones and up since yeah, screen space. The orientation of the device will be based on what is practical, with some kind of virtual analog stick the most practical seems to be landscape orientated.

 

Currently I'm experimenting with basic click movement, locking on a target and fire weapons. This is practical but not really how i'd like the gameplay to be and if I want to have somekind of turning mechanism then the play cannot really control these turns.

 

It pretty much appears this is to much to ask from a mobile device but I'm still open for suggestions.

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The controls in Gemini Strike feel good. The ship simply follows your finger, staying a bit above your finger so you can still see the ship. This gives the game very responsive controls, allowing for easy dodging. The basic guns in Gemini Strike fire whenever you're touching the screen, and you can hold one power up at a time, which you use by double tapping the screen. It feels better than I imagined it would, so I recommend trying it out.

 

 

A free roam map would be pretty different though. Maybe the ship stays more or less in the center, goes faster when you're touching farther away from it and always points in the direction of your finger?  Make sure it doesn't go faster along the corners than the sides, or faster along the longer axis, cause that would feel odd having a higher top speed in some directions than others. haha.

 

I definitely prefer controls that feel like the interface of a touch screen was considered, instead of just an attempt at reproducing an analog stick. Part of what feels good with a real analog stick is that you can actually feel it. You can feel when it has moved to it's limit, and you can feel it pulling back to center. This just isn't there on a touch screen.

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