Author Topic: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?  (Read 2185 times)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2014, 10:15:30 PM »
Quote from: Misery link=topic=14936.msm g165255#msg165255 date=1394584819
More options is never a bad thing!
More options are frequently a bad thing ;)  If there's 4 supported ways to do X, and one of them is totally broken (either in terms of not working, or being horribly unbalanced, etc), then the perception will be for some portion of the players that the game is broken.  So it's better to only add options when the probable payoff obviously outweighs the costs (both upfront in term of implementation and ongoing in terms of support).

That said, I think it's worth exploring alternative control approaches during alpha.  If one stinks, it can be thrown out before release :)
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Offline Kingpin23

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2014, 11:53:53 PM »
Not in the alfa but the combat sounds  a little like this game: Starsector

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=isOy9C590rc

Is it anything like this.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2014, 05:08:14 AM »
Well, in my experience, splitting moving and firing between the two hands is pretty standard and will be the expectation of a lot of players. So I'm not really for straight up removal of WASD.
Also in terms of expectations, every WASD movement for controlling people is cardinal direction, and most WASD movements for controlling machines and ships without turrets is WS thrust and AD either strafe or turn. Earth-bound vehicles depend on main gun.
Since we're piloting a ship in space with big-looking thrusters, I think people would tend to expect AD turning.... without firing arcs there's no need for strafing at all.

To remove WASD, I think you could consider a Starfleet Command / Stellar Impact type control with the mouse handling all targeting information (movement direction + who/where to fire on) and the keyboard handling all actions such as thrust and alpha-strike.  Don't go DOTA-style. DOTA controls are IMO a warcraft 3 engine limitation that people have just adjusted to, in a game where bullets always track targets.

Offline Misery

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2014, 06:51:15 AM »
Well, in my experience, splitting moving and firing between the two hands is pretty standard and will be the expectation of a lot of players. So I'm not really for straight up removal of WASD.
Also in terms of expectations, every WASD movement for controlling people is cardinal direction, and most WASD movements for controlling machines and ships without turrets is WS thrust and AD either strafe or turn. Earth-bound vehicles depend on main gun.
Since we're piloting a ship in space with big-looking thrusters, I think people would tend to expect AD turning.... without firing arcs there's no need for strafing at all.

To remove WASD, I think you could consider a Starfleet Command / Stellar Impact type control with the mouse handling all targeting information (movement direction + who/where to fire on) and the keyboard handling all actions such as thrust and alpha-strike.  Don't go DOTA-style. DOTA controls are IMO a warcraft 3 engine limitation that people have just adjusted to, in a game where bullets always track targets.


Considering the fast pace and total-freaking-chaos that the battles can have, I personally dont think the Asteroids-style thrust-n-turn mechanic would work very well here.  The need to make very, very sudden changes in direction happens far too often for that.  Particularly as the difficulty level goes up.  It'd certainly drive me up the wall anyway. 

Not sure what firing-arcs are.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2014, 07:32:32 AM »
If it's going to be that fast paced (faster than Starscape, which is about as fast as I can comfortably fight with Asteroid physics+controls, and is all keyboard), then I certainly won't have time to both do aimed shots *and* maneouvre my ship with a single mouse - this is getting into the dual-stick controller area where WASD is hard to capture where I want to point myself.

AD-turning can work if we abstracted WS like Chris suggested into stop-go. It's not Newtonian mechanics like Asteroids at all, but it will work like keyboard Drox (so-so in my experience).
Another layout from Drox for fast-paced combat would be just to have the ship turn towards the cursor at all times, but you lose on kiting, fire-and-fade + skillshots, and other nice tactics, etc.

EDIT: I did, in fact, hate the default click-move and click-shoot with the same mouse in Drox.

Firing arcs == guns not being able to fire in any direction, shields don't apply in every direction, etc.

I have to actually play this to get proper grips on pacing...
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 07:40:16 AM by zharmad »

Offline x4000

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2014, 10:20:34 AM »
The pacing is something that you can very much adjust to suit your tastes.  You can play this in agonizing slow-mo if you want, really.

And as Keith said, yes, more options are frequently bad.  I'm going to shelve the turn and thrust idea for now, as I agree with Misery that this is something that I think would be a hindrance to actual ability to play more than anything else, despite what expectations might normally be for a spaceship.  A lot of SHMUPS use this sort of control, anyway.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2014, 10:28:46 AM »
A lot of SHMUPS use this sort of control, anyway.
Which sort of control?  The WASD in the game?  Or the turn/thrust one?

I don't have a very broad base of experience in shmups, but from playing Tyrian, Raptor, etc and seeing videos of Touhou and whatnot the movement is completely without turning, your avatar remains at exactly the same orientation and just moves immediately (with a small period of acceleration in some cases, not in others) in the cardinal direction indicated by the button.  Whereas in TLF currently you have to spend a bit of time turning if you weren't going that way already.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2014, 10:32:58 AM »
Yep, this is true.  I was thinking of some of the very old ones where you turn your ships around from top-down to attack.  There is one whose name I can't remember, and then I may be mistaken but I thought that star control did this.

That said, I think I have a good compromise in mind for this issue.
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Offline madcow

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2014, 11:09:20 AM »
I said it before, but think it's worth repeating that a great balance between slow-paced/tactical combat while still controlling one ship would be movement inspired by the Hyperion level in SC2. Apparently there's even a MOBA mod (Star Battle) that controls the same way.

If the movement style is already set I guess ignore this post - but if its still up for debate (and without really being 100% sure what its like atm), I think that would be an interesting style.

It was basically click to move, though all the ships are fairly slow (esp compared to firing rates) and have big turning radii, so you have to turn well in advance. Then there were additional abilities hot keyed, while the main guns auto-fired, but you could at least pick who to target if desired as well.

Offline Misery

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2014, 11:20:12 AM »
A lot of SHMUPS use this sort of control, anyway.
Which sort of control?  The WASD in the game?  Or the turn/thrust one?

I don't have a very broad base of experience in shmups, but from playing Tyrian, Raptor, etc and seeing videos of Touhou and whatnot the movement is completely without turning, your avatar remains at exactly the same orientation and just moves immediately (with a small period of acceleration in some cases, not in others) in the cardinal direction indicated by the button.  Whereas in TLF currently you have to spend a bit of time turning if you weren't going that way already.


It depends on the type of shmup.  Typically in scrolling types, you dont turn because you dont need to; things come from whatever direction you're scrolling towards.   There are exceptions like Deathsmiles or Gundemonium, but even those arent turning, they're flipping so you face backwards.

If I compare THIS game's combat to any sort of shmup, I'd call it an.... er.... "open space" sort.  Like Asteroids or it's many, many, MANY clones and offshoots.  Where you're free to go in any direction at all, and in many cases the area is large and the screen scrolls with you.  The thrust/fire works entirely because you can only fire forwards, and the pacing is a bit slower (quite a bit slower) to account for this.  Enemies dont fire many shots at you, and there's typically not that many things around at once, though the nature of the movement can make it so that it really seems otherwise.   This game though really requires the ability to fire in seperate directions, and the need for more freedom of movement.   Any restrictions added to it in it's current state will only lead to frustration, as the player takes piles of hits simply because of that fact.

Theoretically you could drop the pacing by quite a bit if you want to change up the style, though I personally would much rather it stayed the way it is now.   Definitely prefer the faster sort.

Offline Greywolf22

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2014, 02:43:39 PM »
While playing, I was trying to sort out why the flight controls felt oddly familiar to me...then I realized it has a very Time Pilot feel to it (for those of you who know that old arcade game).  I personally like how it plays though...granted I am still very very early in my alpha testing, but it felt intuitive to me.

Just my 2 cents.

Offline Aquohn

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Re: Turn and thrust instead of cardinal directions?
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2014, 08:27:16 AM »
I was going to say that we should go for the turn and thrust, since it's the more intuitive scheme, and the current one confused me somewhat when I started playing about an hour ago...but having read through the discussion, yeah, Misery has a point. Turn and thrust would be too slow, and changing the speed doesn't completely solve the problem, because it can be annoying to keep switching the speed. The current speed is a nice balance; there are some stretches in missions which simply take a long time to execute, and there are really frantic, fast-paced parts, but the current speed seems to allow us to do the slow parts without things feeling draggy, and the fast parts without things going over my head.

Perhaps all that is needed is a clarification in the explanation of the controls that they turn in global directions?
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