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Member since May 2011 · 2484 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Codifying controller suitabilities
As part of the site I've been thinking about a way to codify the types of motions a controller might be expected to perform.  While one controller might be awesome for Street Fighter, it might completely suck at a game like PacMan. 

TapTap
Like Boulder Dash or Magical Drop or Flip n Flop: rapid tap/release motions require speed, accuracy and a specific amount of movement and release response.

Maze
PacMan or DigDug or Mr. Do: very precise 4-way directional control.  Exceptional precision is required, lest the compass points drift into diagonals and cost you a life.

Fighter
Fighting games.  Lots of accurate quarter- and half-circles.  Generally a lot of movement is required, so sticks or larger pads are beneficial.

Shooter
Shooting games (not the 3D type) like Raiden.  Accuracy and release-response are critical.  I find a large amount of movement helps: sticks are better than pads. 

How about the components:

release response - how fast a controller returns to center
accuracy under pressure - likelihood of undesired input

I welcome your thoughts on the idea.
BLEARGH
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User title: 21st century digital boy
Member since Sep 2007 · 17 posts · Location: Cambridge, UK
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I like it in general, although there are some areas that aren't entirely covered. The issue with dpads "slipping" into diagonals, for example, is lying somewhere in between precision and "accuracy under pressure". This behaviour is particularly bad for fighting games, where it will frequently mess up circle motions. Pads that have an entirely outlying disc shape are especially likely to exhibit this, since there's no good "feel" for each of the directions. I really can't think of a good catchy term to describe it, though.
"Hell is a pretty rotten place. Not only is it damn hot, but its inhabitants also have a rather deranged sense of humour." (R. Karsmakers)
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Member since May 2011 · 2484 posts · Location: Brisbane
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I think the difference between general precision and accuracy-under-pressure is a matter of degrees.  One one end of the scale is the perfect d-pad, where you are always assured of the result you ask for.  The other end of the scale is that wobbly, horrible thing that never quite does what you expect.  Between them are all the bads that work well some or most of the time, or that only fail when you really need it, etc. 

I think the disc-shaped controller isn't really the problem with inaccurate pads, at least not in and of itself.  Rather, it's a problem with the disc's design: a tall cross-shaped impression will make a round d-pad seem completely accurate.  The fulcrum and rubber buttons are more important to determining a pad's success, I think.
BLEARGH
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User title: 21st century digital boy
Member since Sep 2007 · 17 posts · Location: Cambridge, UK
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When people ask me for what a good controller to buy would be, usually the first time I ask back is whether they want to play "retro" games or "modern" games.

This refers to stick placement mostly - a gamepad that has only one analogue stick or both in "secondary" positions (Dualshock styled layout) is less suited to modern games, which frequently have analogue movement and camera controls. On the other hand, such pads generally have the d-pad in a primary position, which makes them better suited to oldschool-styled games and emulation, etc.

Also, the length of the stick path (for joysticks) is probably worth noting - with frantic games, players will usually want a stick that they don't need to move very far to change directions, while I personally think a longer path "feels" better and, particularly on analogue sticks, makes for better precision.
"Hell is a pretty rotten place. Not only is it damn hot, but its inhabitants also have a rather deranged sense of humour." (R. Karsmakers)
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