On Control Scheme and Range of Movement/Expression


As we slowly eke our way forward towards the more definite player characters, some thoughts towards input schemes and rage of motion, and ‘expression’. The original prototype was geared towards the Xbox One controller because I had a couple of those lying around and they are good. Now, some months later, I can now say with measured certainty that these controllers will also feature in the final product. I have considered other forms of motion, like the Kinect or the keyboard, both of which present several problems not present in the XBONE: mostly those of personal representation. The Kinect, while wonderful for many wholly theoretical reasons, is ultimately about yourself, the meatspace vessel controlling the machine. The point of Exit Pursued By A Bear has been proven to be puppetry, which requires a certain disconect between puppet and puppeteer for it not be acting, and it requires, above all, precision. The XBONE presents this in spades, and is a good Rosetta stone for standard game interaction which cannot be dispensed with if this game is to achieve any of its design goals.

control scheme
Perfectly legible control scheme.

Which brings us to the question of what the controller is actually to control. I have drawn a rough sketch of what should at the very least be possible. The trick, and problem inherent in the design, is that in wishing for the players to have as much control as possible over what they want to portray, means arming them with as vague a range of movement as possible, rather than a shitload of specific interactions (like MMO’s tend to do in their emote animation range). Plus, they have to be mapped properly and intuitively to the interface. For now, the sketch is as follows:

Left Stick – Spatial translation (walking), possibly upgraded to pressure sensitive running/walking

Right Stick – Head rotation, as already implemented, possibly to be augmented with snapback to avoid confusion

A – Jump (platformer staple, can also denote anger or excitement)

X -‘interact’ (push?) Uncertain about this one, is an openly violent gesture/interaction necessary. It would seem to be a bit too much on the nose of regular gaming, but a certain dramatic element can’t be denied.

– An expression or gesture, not sure what

Y – An expression or gesture, not sure what

LB – Raise left arm (for any number of things, waving, denoting presence, etc)

RB – Raise right arm (for any number of things, waving, denoting presence, etc)

LT – Sit down

RT – Lie down

LT + RT – Dead/asleep