Console Gamers Want "More Sophisticated" Action

Console Gamers Want "More Sophisticated" Action

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Former Iron Lore lead gameplay designer Arthur Bruno says that console developers are looking for more involved action in their videogames, a point he's keeping in mind as he tries to bring Iron Lore projects back to life as part of Crate Entertainment.

In a recent interview, Bruno said that while "treasure hunting and statistics-based character progression" can be an addictive form of gameplay, console gamers demand more "sophisticated" action than their PC counterparts. The statement struck me as somewhat counter-intuitive, and when I asked him about it he agreed that it was confusing on the surface. "I'd clarify by replacing 'sophisticated' with 'involved' and say that it strictly is directed at 'action' and not 'gameplay'," he said. "This is all subjective of course, but my observation is that the PC audience traditionally has been more demanding of sophisticated gameplay so far as it relates to depth and complexity of gameplay systems. The console audience generally is receptive to more simplified gameplay systems that are easier to learn. However, action-style gameplay is something that generally works better on consoles because of the controls."

"So I wouldn't say that console gamers demand more sophisticated gameplay, but consoles do support better action-combat mechanics with the ability to simultaneous control multiple thumb-sticks and easily access buttons / triggers," he continued. "Console controllers generally allow the player to control more at once without moving their hands when it comes to action-style gameplay."

Following the release of the action-RPG Titan Quest and its expansion Immortal Throne, as well as working with Relic on Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Iron Lore was forced to close its doors in early 2008 after being unable to find funding for its next project. Bruno joined with fellow Iron Lore alumnus Eric Campanella to form Crate Entertainment shortly after the shutdown, and in this new venture the pair are working to revive some of the projects Iron Lore was developing when the plug was pulled and bring them to a new audience of Xbox 360 gamers.

"One of our real goals is to take the solid game play we established in Titan Quest and repackage it to make it sort of grittier and more appealing to the mainstream audience," Bruno told Mass High Tech. Work on the game is taking place via a "cooperative arrangement" with independent developer Demiurge Studios, which has previously assisted on games like BioShock, Mass Effect, Titan Quest and Medal of Honor: Airborne.

"We're trying to evolve the action to something that will bring the RPG to its next level," Bruno said, adding that Black Legion will feature innovations not seen in Titan Quest, including online PvP combat. Crate has also purchased the rights to another Iron Lore project in development, although Bruno wouldn't reveal any details regarding that title, nor did he disclose which publishers had received the Black Legion demo.

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Perhaps if he had included that online PvP combat into Titan Quest the game wouldn't have flopped as hard as it did. I do realise thats not the only reason for it not doing so well, but for myself personally that was the reason I completed it once and shelved it without ever bothering to look into the expansion.

I see what he means because I honestly couldn't see myself playing Mirror's Edge on the PC, it feels so natural and fluid with the controls mapped on the actual controller. On the keyboard...without actually "gripping" that movement taking place on screen, I think it loses something in the translation.

But thats just me.

Mr.Pandah:
I see what he means because I honestly couldn't see myself playing Mirror's Edge on the PC, it feels so natural and fluid with the controls mapped on the actual controller. On the keyboard...without actually "gripping" that movement taking place on screen, I think it loses something in the translation.

But thats just me.

I honestly agree with that, as someone who's getting Mirror's Edge for the PC, this will be one of the few games I'll be bringing out my game pad for.

Yes, on the PC, there are so many ways that a game's action can have more sophistication, simply because you have over 100 buttons, but that's impractical, it would take me both hands, my left foot and my tongue on the keyboard while I direct the mouse with my remaining foot to play something that truly took advantage of that many inputs like that.

A controller (PS3, Xbox360, Wii Classic) presently has the trait of having two analog sticks, and I've seen some genuinely good ideas that just weren't implemented in a way that worked. Too Human had it's whole "Swing the analog stick to swing your weapon" thing, which, yeah, did not work the way I imagined something like that would.

Imagine your character holding a giant hammer, now, if you moved the left analog stick while locked on or strafing your enemy, you move to the left. Now, you slowly move the right analog stick to the left. The slow movement of the right analog stick doesn't indicate a swing, but instead that you are bringing your hammer around you to the left, your strafing to the left is significantly slowed due to the game knowing that you're either attacking, or preparing to attack, you still move, just slower.

Now, you slam both sticks to the right, and your character puts all their weight and strength into swinging the hammer to the right, in some sort of awesome, destructive looking horizontal swing to the right. A combat system for the consoles that can only be done with an input system using two analog sticks that has the potential to hook players to the game just to experience the joy of smashing a stick in a direction. All sorts of awesome combinations could be possible, maybe crouching, having the right analog facing down, jumping, swinging the analog stick up to finally swing it down again, making a leap at an enemy ending in the caving-in of the enemy's head.

Of course, none of that works unless the developer will go through the paces of making sure that actions that involve the giant hammer feel like they take a lot more strength to execute than the same kind of move with a knife. All the actions have to convey that weapon A has very different properties in weight and length than weapon B.

My response to this article is "What?".
Consoles already have character progression in good games, like Devil May Cry 4. It also happens to be where the game is at it's best, since the action is so fast-paced and you need to use all the buttons in the control to pull off good combos. Maybe if the developers started making more games like DMC4 people wouldn't be calling out for RPGs (and this IS all it is, people want good RPGs and they don't have any on consoles).

ArKaiN123:
My response to this article is "What?".
Consoles already have character progression in good games, like Devil May Cry 4. It also happens to be where the game is at it's best, since the action is so fast-paced and you need to use all the buttons in the control to pull off good combos. Maybe if the developers started making more games like DMC4 people wouldn't be calling out for RPGs (and this IS all it is, people want good RPGs and they don't have any on consoles).

Maybe I'm not reading this right but...what do you mean there aren't any good RPG's on consoles? There are plenty out for consoles...sure they are multiplatform but that doesn't mean there aren't on consoles.

As for the person that quoted me, that combat system would be very deep and complex. The thing is with that though, is you have to make it so its not a random mashing of analog sticks from side to side in hopes of an attack that actually does something. It would be a very intricate and time consuming combat system to learn, and the problem for both PC and Console gamers alike, is the fact that mostly, people want to just jump into a game. The problem most developers have is making both a combat system that is deep and innovative AND simple at the same time.

Ralackk:
Perhaps if he had included that online PvP combat into Titan Quest the game wouldn't have flopped as hard as it did. I do realise thats not the only reason for it not doing so well, but for myself personally that was the reason I completed it once and shelved it without ever bothering to look into the expansion.

Interesting choice, since Immortal Throne introduced PvP combat to Titan Quest. I'm playing it now (although not online, I find button-mashing PvP combat horribly tedious) and it's really quite good.

I don't happen to agree with Mr. Bruno's opinions of console controllers being inherently better suited to controlling action games. I think the prevalence of action games on consoles has resulted in a widespread assumption that controllers are more appropriate to the genre, and to a significant majority of gamers who are more comfortable with them, and as such many developers optimize their games for controllers. But aside from a few very specific genres that are designed for very specific devices - and sims are the only ones that immediately leap to mind, using joysticks or wheels - I don't say any iron-clad advantage in one control scheme over the other.

If they want more sophisticated games, then they should get PCs. Look at how FPS games are slowing and getting more dumbed down since consoles decided they wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

Chaos Marine:
If they want more sophisticated games, then they should get PCs. Look at how FPS games are slowing and getting more dumbed down since consoles decided they wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

I completely disagree, I fail to see any dumbed down FPS games on the consoles. There are plenty of intuitive and Forward thinking FPS games that have been on consoles, for example; Oddworld Stranger, Riddick, Mirrors Edge.

How do you define dumbed down anyway? Which sections were dumbed down? Taking Bioshock for example; the gameplay is fast and requires some tactical thinking, the atmosphere is brilliant as is the storyline. The only thing that you could argue had been dumbed down was the RPG factor but we don't know for sure whether that was purposefully done for console players. Oblivion was claimed to also be dumbed down but I disagree, sure the user interface was altered to be more accessible to console player but that doesn't affect the actual game, the same with Fallout 3.

Sure, the consoles don't have some of the FPS RPG's like System Shock 2, Dues Ex, Stalker but those are mostly RPGs from a first person view. A true FPS tends to be more about the action than the the FPS RPGs, just look at the classics Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake, Unreal, UT, Quake III etc. I think the consoles have helped push some fantastic shooters like Halo and the Call of Duty series.

Battlefield Bad Company has innovative gameplay from its destructible environments and that was console only.

If you're going to argue that games like Half-Life were intelligent, just don't. It has a formulaic system of action, pause, puzzle, pause and so on. The storyline is a mess with just about nothing explained. The gameworld isn't fully realised and you never really have any motivation to keep on going other than the game essentially pushing you down a linear path.

Malygris:

Ralackk:
Perhaps if he had included that online PvP combat into Titan Quest the game wouldn't have flopped as hard as it did. I do realise thats not the only reason for it not doing so well, but for myself personally that was the reason I completed it once and shelved it without ever bothering to look into the expansion.

Interesting choice, since Immortal Throne introduced PvP combat to Titan Quest. I'm playing it now (although not online, I find button-mashing PvP combat horribly tedious) and it's really quite good.

Didn't actually know that, I may have to look into it, though I doubt there is much of a community if any at all.

http://www.titanquest.net is a great place to start if you want to see whether the addition of Immortal Throne is worth your time. It's a relatively small but intensely dedicated community, and you should be able to find out both the specifics of the online mechanics and what kind of support it's getting among those who still play.

Along with a new level, the expansion really tweaks the hell out of the game, with a new skill tree, "artifact" items, trading caravans for storing your stuff and trasferring it between characters and much more. It's kind of weird pimping a discontinued game by a defunct studio, but I'm a pretty big fan.

beddo:
*Snip*

Compare the original Deus Ex. It was developed solely for the PC. Now, consider Deus Ex Invisible War. It was an atrocious mess of dumbed down bullshit solely so it would fit on the consoles and not overwhelm console gamers with having to choose what weapons or ammo they want to keep for their guns.

Compare a game like Halo as an other example, to any other PC FPS game at the time, it's like comparing running water to glue on a shallow ramp. It's the same with UT3 on the PS3 being over 30% slower because the PS3 players can't react as fast as a PC gamer with his mouse and keyboard.

Or how about console games usually have the player function as veritable damage sponges? In most PC games, you have perhaps the ability to take one or three rounds and your dead.

CoD was originally a PC shooter that was ported to the consoles after. You try playing them without auto aim and on the most difficult settings on a PS3 or a Xbox/Xbox 360 and tell me the consoles players have the hardest time at it.

Red Faction did that originally with the Geomod engine. Which incidentally, glitch here and there aside, was a far better system to boot.

Or try out the likes of Operation Flash Point or Armed Assault? Games like these wouldn't work on consoles because of the gimped controls and the generally poor patience of console FPS gamers.

And as to HL? Are you kidding? When that game came out, it pretty much gave the FPS genre a kick start towards story, gameplay and realism. Granted, in comparison to games like CoD or CS or later games, it's basic at best. But that's because it's an old game. It's over a decade old at this point. Alas not every game can age gracefully but HL is still a blast to play and I often enjoy it from start to finish including all the expansions, to HL2 and it's episodes.

Oblivion was definitely dumbed down. Just compare the number of staggering options of Morrowind ro Oblivion and tell me it was the opposite? Certainly it's a simple game and much less difficult to get into, but you're comparing a game with so many options that you have Hades only knows how many hundreds of hours in comparison to a game that has about a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty tops.

Article:
"This is all subjective of course, but my observation is that the PC audience traditionally has been more demanding of sophisticated gameplay so far as it relates to depth and complexity of gameplay systems. The console audience generally is receptive to more simplified gameplay systems that are easier to learn."

I'm so tempted to go all "PC elitist" on everyone, purely because of that quote.
But, I won't. Yay.

Ralackk:
Perhaps if he had included that online PvP combat into Titan Quest the game wouldn't have flopped as hard as it did. I do realise thats not the only reason for it not doing so well, but for myself personally that was the reason I completed it once and shelved it without ever bothering to look into the expansion.

Ah man, you missed out. The expansion improved the game so much. It's not even worth playing without it anymore to me.

beddo:

Battlefield Bad Company has innovative gameplay from its destructible environments and that was console only.

I don't really want to get in on this, but Bad Company was no-where near innovative in any way (Please prove me wrong, as I don't like the impression it left on me.) Especially destructible environments. Hell, Company of Heroes had that and it was a strategy game!

The other guy is right, though. The simple fact is that, because they are installed and not ran from the disk, PC games can be bigger. This can mean anything from longer, more content, better graphics from bigger textures, to more side quests or characters on screen.

I mean, take Fable II. That, if anything, is a game that feels like a huge chunk has been cut from it. The characters are stylised to save texture space, there's very few character models, and the whole thing just feels... limited.

Dumbed-down is a derogatory term, yes, but it seems like the best way to describe what consoles have done to the industry as a whole. Due to space limitations on consoles, corners are cut from a nicely complex-but-not-too-complex star to form a simple circle.

That doesn't mean they can't be enjoyed, though, if you like your games simple. There's a huge number of simple flash-based games available on PCs, and most of the console FPSs are ported, too.

Danny Ocean:

beddo:

Battlefield Bad Company has innovative gameplay from its destructible environments and that was console only.

I don't really want to get in on this, but Bad Company was no-where near innovative in any way (Please prove me wrong, as I don't like the impression it left on me.) Especially destructible environments. Hell, Company of Heroes had that and it was a strategy game!

I don't think that an RTS should be compared to an FPS. An RTS by definition, has strategy. The destruction in Battlefield tore up the rule book on multiplayer FPS. If I wanted to get to a gold crate why go through the pre-determined door when I can just blow a hole in the wall!? By having a system which could dynamically affect the level layout to such an extent changed the way people thought and played.

Danny Ocean:

The other guy is right, though. The simple fact is that, because they are installed and not ran from the disk, PC games can be bigger. This can mean anything from longer, more content, better graphics from bigger textures, to more side quests or characters on screen.

That's not exactly how things work and it's also technology dependant. Most PC games do not take up more than the amount of space on a dvd. Installing the game to the hard drive can speed up the access to the assets which are cached in the RAM. The more RAM available the bigger the assets that can be loaded so this really has nothing to do with the HDD unless it is used a a cache, as the original Xbox did.

It really doesn't make a great deal off difference whether this is done from a HDD or disc, a disc will just have longer access times to data but if this is done during loading it doesn't matter. The data can stream from the disc in the same way it can be fetched from the hard drive and can often be done in the background.

So what actually matters in the quality of assets is the capabilities of the CPU, RAM and GPU. Admittedly the Xbox360 and PS3 don't match up to the latest PC hardware but they did at the time of conception. Not to ention the fact that, although they don't match top spec PCs, not many people have Top Spec Pcs.

Even so, it's still ridiculously complex for PCs to handle graphical assets from 4k upwards. I'm pretty sure that Gears and Gears 2 mange textures of around 2k.

You may think I'm console biased here but I'm not. I have a good pc; Quad Core 4gbs [email protected], 9800gtx+ and a 27 inch monitor. I can run Crysis in [email protected]*1200, sure it stutters a bit but that's what Crysis is for!

Danny Ocean:

I mean, take Fable II. That, if anything, is a game that feels like a huge chunk has been cut from it. The characters are stylised to save texture space, there's very few character models, and the whole thing just feels... limited.

I will not disagree with you in any way there. The fact that Fable 2 was not an open world game is a joke. I mean it has to go to a black screen to load you at the top of a ladder. I mean how hard would it have been to put in that simple animation!? That was less than I expected from a PS1 game! The loading times are awful, the graphics are weak and uninspired. The game lacks any real depth, the story is a clichéd mess. The only good thing was Stephen Fry but that's not enough to save a game!

However, that's because of the proprietary engine that Lionhead used. If they had used the Gamebryo engine (Oblivion, Fallout3) it could have been a lot larger and a lot better. Just look at Assassins Creed, crap game but amazing engine.

Danny Ocean:

Dumbed-down is a derogatory term, yes, but it seems like the best way to describe what consoles have done to the industry as a whole. Due to space limitations on consoles, corners are cut from a nicely complex-but-not-too-complex star to form a simple circle.

That doesn't mean they can't be enjoyed, though, if you like your games simple. There's a huge number of simple flash-based games available on PCs, and most of the console FPSs are ported, too.

I don't buy that for a second. Proper gaming has been far more popular in consoles than in PCs since day one. I'm not saying that PC don't have complicated games I'm saying that consoles do. I think a lot of people consider streamlining interfaces for dumbing down. I mean Braid wasn't dumbed down, Portal wasn't dumbed down. The KOTOR series is not dumbed down.

A lot of games have been geared towards an wider audience but that does not necessitate that the games are dumbed down. I'm sure quite a few are; Fable 2 obviously but then Fable wasn't exactly smart, I'd say it was more dumbed down for casual gamers like the latest Prince of Persia. But I think games like Oblivion, Fallout 3, Bioshock and Mass Effect have been created as intended.

Wow, thanks for the long reply. And for staying objective despite me being slightly me-too ish. Anyway...

beddo:

I don't think that an RTS should be compared to an FPS. *shnip*

The point I was making is that CoH still manages to have destructible environments even with such a large number of objects on screen. I think that requires more resources or something, I'm not entirely sure at the moment. (I'm a bit merry.)

That's not exactly how things work and it's also technology dependant. Most PC games do not take up more than the amount of space on a dvd.

Yes, but they can be compressed and spread across multiple disks. I think this can be done with the PS3 (help?) but I'm not sure the 360 can manage it.

You may think I'm console biased here but I'm not. I have a good pc; Quad Core 4gbs [email protected], 9800gtx+ and a 27 inch monitor. I can run Crysis in [email protected]*1200, sure it stutters a bit but that's what Crysis is for!

I didn't even think of it. Someone has to play the 'Devil's' advocate.

The only good thing was Stephen Fry but that's not enough to save a game!

He was awfully good though...

Me:

That doesn't mean they can't be enjoyed, though, if you like your games simple. There's a huge number of simple flash-based games available on PCs, and most of the console FPSs are ported, too.

Wow, I sound so condescending, sorry. O.o

I don't buy that for a second. Proper gaming has been far more popular in consoles than in PCs since day one.

Done by sales of 'stuff', yes (merry, sorry.); however, consider how much of the gaming community as a whole is based on PCs. I want to avoid using the term 'hardcore'. So I'll use 'obsessive'.
Hmm... I think this is a bit too much of a subjective opinion (Yeah yeah, I know.), but it seems to me that consoles are just a tool. Like a Vauxhall Astra. Wheras gaming PCs are a labour of love, like those hideous pimped-out Nissans you hear roaring around town in the dead of night... bastards.

I mean, I enjoy maintaining my sack-of-crap Dell. I don't know why, y'know?

I'm not saying that PC don't have complicated games I'm saying that consoles do. I think a lot of people consider streamlining interfaces for dumbing down. I mean Braid wasn't dumbed down, Portal wasn't dumbed down. The KOTOR series is not dumbed down.

I know, I don't like using the term 'dumbed down'. I'll stick with simplified.
Anyway, the problem comes when these interfaces are kept the same when they come onto PC. Mass effect is a good example, as the interface was the only thing that vexed me when I played it. There are a few things that the M&K interface should really be allowed to do, like ctrl-selecting to select multiple objects in the inventory, or getting rid of that stupid way of viewing your inventory as a list where you can only see a few things at a time.

There are other examples I'm sure, but you get my point. :)

A lot of games have been geared towards an wider audience but that does not necessitate that the games are dumbed down. I'm sure quite a few are; Fable 2 obviously but then Fable wasn't exactly smart, I'd say it was more dumbed down for casual gamers like the latest Prince of Persia. But I think games like Oblivion, Fallout 3, Bioshock and Mass Effect have been created as intended.

Okay, you got me there. Agreed.

The thing that bothers me about the PC is the over abundance of RTS games. I'm more partial to turn based strategy games like Civ. One of my favorite games was the Jane's Fleet Command (I can handle about a fleet). My all time favorite was F-14 Fleet Defender. I really wish someone would do an update of that one.

I'm a bit confused - this guy thinks that the controls on a console are better for action games? Is that in comparison to PC controls or to other genres on console? I agree whole-heartedly with the latter, but the former is complete bullshit.

Arthur Bruno:
"Console controllers generally allow the player to control more at once without moving their hands when it comes to action-style gameplay."

Take the 360 controller:
1) Two thumb sticks give analogue movement and turning, but their very nature makes fine control impossible without compromising speed.
2) Left hand uses two buttons - trigger and shoulder button. D-pad is occasionally used for extra functions, but requires leaving the thumb stick, thus compromising movement/look.
3) Right hand has six buttons, some of which are convenient, but others require moving hand position or awkward finger stretches.

vs the PC:
1) Mouse gives perfect balance between control and speed, and is almost unanimously regarded as a superior tool. Movement is commonly controlled by the w, a, s and d keys, using one or two fingers for most movements, allowing eight digital directions that more than suffices.
2) Left hand has easy access to numbers 1 through 5, tab, shift, ctrl, z, x, c, b, q, e, r, f, g, v, and t, with only a slight stretch to those last three.
3) Right hand is limited to the mouse, with a minimum of two keys, often having a third middle click and mouse wheel. Specialist mice can have up several more, though not all games support them.

So lets see: PC controls are more accurate at aiming, faster, and more versatile with normally at least 26 separate keys at a players' immediate disposal, vs a gamepad's 10 (including thumbstick clicks) plus a digital direction pad, not all of which can be used conveniently without moving your hand. So yeah, PC controls are so inferior...

With regards to consoles 'dumbing down' FPS games, I think that's largely due to the industry's attitude towards gamers as a whole. Evidence of simplification of controls are evident in the absence of manual lean controls and the 'cover mechanic', which seems to have been introduced so a player doesn't have to hold down a thumb stick to stay behind a bit of wall, something PC games have never had a problem with.

Gah, for all that might seem elitist, it's mostly statement of fact. I still enjoy bouts of Halo with mates n all, but there are so many moments where it's a case of "yep, would have got him if I could just turn a little faster" and "damn, sensitivity's too high to snipe. Nothing I can do about that."

Wicky_42:

Take the 360 controller:
1) Two thumb sticks give analogue movement and turning, but their very nature makes fine control impossible without compromising speed.
2) Left hand uses two buttons - trigger and shoulder button. D-pad is occasionally used for extra functions, but requires leaving the thumb stick, thus compromising movement/look.
3) Right hand has six buttons, some of which are convenient, but others require moving hand position or awkward finger stretches.

vs the PC:
1) Mouse gives perfect balance between control and speed, and is almost unanimously regarded as a superior tool. Movement is commonly controlled by the w, a, s and d keys, using one or two fingers for most movements, allowing eight digital directions that more than suffices.
2) Left hand has easy access to numbers 1 through 5, tab, shift, ctrl, z, x, c, b, q, e, r, f, g, v, and t, with only a slight stretch to those last three.
3) Right hand is limited to the mouse, with a minimum of two keys, often having a third middle click and mouse wheel. Specialist mice can have up several more, though not all games support them.

Of course the whole argument becomes retarded when you consider how easy it is to hook up a flight-stick, wheel, or console game pad to a PC... and that modern consoles (since PS2 for certain, USB) are all totally capable of sporting kb&m. The best controller would be something like the left side of a gamepad with a mouse taking over for the right-side controls. My friend insists such a thing exists for PS3.

Personally I think keyboard and mouse sucks, there's only so much the mouse can do, and any "action" controlled through the keyboard is ham-fisted and RSI inducing (damn you Gunroar) at best. Mouse control is instantaneous and extremely precise, which is horrible for controlling a character that's tied down to any sort of realistic physics... inertia, acceleration, momentum, etc.
Shooters developed primarily for PC always feel really floaty compared to those developed for consoles, since the movement controls are shite and aiming is just a question of whipping a crosshair around... since you have to set sensitivity and acceleration right for a stick it's much more like you're actually swinging something with a bit of wieght to it.

NamesAreHardToPick:

Wicky_42:

Of course the whole argument becomes retarded when you consider how easy it is to hook up a flight-stick, wheel, or console game pad to a PC... and that modern consoles (since PS2 for certain, USB) are all totally capable of sporting kb&m. The best controller would be something like the left side of a gamepad with a mouse taking over for the right-side controls. My friend insists such a thing exists for PS3.

Personally I think keyboard and mouse sucks, there's only so much the mouse can do, and any "action" controlled through the keyboard is ham-fisted and RSI inducing (damn you Gunroar) at best. Mouse control is instantaneous and extremely precise, which is horrible for controlling a character that's tied down to any sort of realistic physics... inertia, acceleration, momentum, etc.
Shooters developed primarily for PC always feel really floaty compared to those developed for consoles, since the movement controls are shite and aiming is just a question of whipping a crosshair around... since you have to set sensitivity and acceleration right for a stick it's much more like you're actually swinging something with a bit of wieght to it.

You have a bit of a point with the 'horrible for controlling a character that's tied down to any sort of realistic physics' - there have been a few turret/on rails sections in PC games I've played that have been annoying to control - but playing Mechwarrior: Living Legends, with torso turn rate limited in speed but controlled by the mouse has shown me that it one can very quickly adjust to different environments when the effect is consistent and well portrayed.

I also agree that many PC shooters do feel floaty - but then again, so do many console shooters. Early PC FPS - Half Life n CS for example in particular stand out, but then they were early games. Halo feels floaty, Crysis doesn't. I think it's mostly to do with how acceleration and friction are handled by the game engine, and what effects the dev decided to add to the player's POV - weapon bob, screen bob, motion blur etc. Basically, that's more to do with the game than to do with whether you're commanding the movement with a joystick or four buttons.

I also agree that a lot of this argument is made a bit moot by the ability to use game-pads on the PC and kb/m combos for consoles, but I think you'd find that on a PC the lack of aim assist would make using a game-pad a frustrating experience.

On the flip-side, there's much I disagree with you on.
Firstly, left side of game pad crossed with a mouse would fail hard due to the lack of buttons - you'd have to mount them all on the underside of the gamepad and be very careful about how you gripped it, and even then you'd be limited for space and number.

Secondly, I would argue with this point:

since you have to set sensitivity and acceleration right for a stick it's much more like you're actually swinging something with a bit of wieght to it.

The screen is your POV, your eyes. To look around, normally you wouldn't turn your entire body, it's just that games havn't worked out how to enable you to look around independently of your movement in a way that intuitive. I don't know about you, but in many FPS games I like to be able to glance both ways when coming to a T intersection. On a PC it's natural - just a quick sweep both ways and you've seen everything you need to in half a second. On a console it can take a good 5 seconds on default sensitivity on Halo to turn one way and back the other, which on the cusp of a firefight will end you. Well, it's ended me plenty of times when I started to turn the wrong way and simply couldn't physically turn back before I was dead.

That's not a measure of realism or anything lending itself positively towards gameplay, that's the basic symptom of the limitations of game pad input into an FPS game. Someone mentioned above how UT3 have to be slowed down on the PS3, again because of the slowness of the input system. It's a flaw, and sure, games have evolved to deal with it, but the speed and accuracy, not to mention the intuitive nature of mouse input puts it ahead in most people's regard. (Or at least, that's how it appears to me. Obviously there are exceptions, but I struggle to see it from your point of view - sorry :/ )

Before I get going on this, I gotta say omg it's good to argue with someone who actually knows about video games.

[quote="Wicky_42" post="7.82981.4913659
You have a bit of a point with the 'horrible for controlling a character that's tied down to any sort of realistic physics' - there have been a few turret/on rails sections in PC games I've played that have been annoying to control - but playing Mechwarrior: Living Legends, with torso turn rate limited in speed but controlled by the mouse has shown me that it one can very quickly adjust to different environments when the effect is consistent and well portrayed.[/quote]

That's good to hear - I've had nothing but bad experiences with games that implement physical lag as the character tries to follow the mouse pointer... either I've got to return the mouse to a "center" position to prevent further movement, or I've got to provide constant mouse movement and keep having to re-center the damn thing on the pad. I'm sure a game could figure *something* out to make it work.

I also agree that many PC shooters do feel floaty - but then again, so do many console shooters.
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I also agree that a lot of this argument is made a bit moot by the ability to use game-pads on the PC and kb/m combos for consoles, but I think you'd find that on a PC the lack of aim assist would make using a game-pad a frustrating experience.

I find Unreal-engined games float pretty badly too, but I think it's like Havok physics... it CAN be made to work, it's just that the developers don't necessarily put the time and effort into tuning it properly. The tricks that make your characters seem real like acceleration and momentum go back as far as Super Mario for console games... my guess would be that a control pad is comfortable and responsive enough to accomodate it. WASD to move your character is inconvenient enough, you can't reasonably expect them to also wait for their guy to start moving at top speed and then make fine positional adjustments as they're sliding to a stop or around a corner. I think that's where the "sophisticated action" comes in, console gamers have grown up with games where they're "driving" their character, that feeling is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition among PC titles.

Firstly, left side of game pad crossed with a mouse would fail hard due to the lack of buttons - you'd have to mount them all on the underside of the gamepad and be very careful about how you gripped it, and even then you'd be limited for space and number.
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The screen is your POV, your eyes. To look around, normally you wouldn't turn your entire body, it's just that games havn't worked out how to enable you to look around independently of your movement in a way that intuitive.

That's not a measure of realism or anything lending itself positively towards gameplay, that's the basic symptom of the limitations of game pad input into an FPS game. Someone mentioned above how UT3 have to be slowed down on the PS3, again because of the slowness of the input system. It's a flaw, and sure, games have evolved to deal with it, but the speed and accuracy, not to mention the intuitive nature of mouse input puts it ahead in most people's regard. (Or at least, that's how it appears to me. Obviously there are exceptions, but I struggle to see it from your point of view - sorry :/ )

There's no question that the mouse is a better performer for FPS games, you would have to be a zen master to be able to make precision adjustments with an analog stick if the maximum sensitivity was anywhere near as fast as a mouse. On the other hand, like you said, your POV is also your character's facing. Your character is by necessity capable spinning at 7200 rpm or whatever to keep up with that. In the third person perspective it looks really unreasonable, being a geezer I want my games a little more grounded in physical reality so I can suspend my disbelief about more important things lol.

Metal Gear Solid had a lot of really brilliant touches on the control scheme to compensate for analog stick inputs, context-sensitive support for necessities like automatically looking around corners if you're touching the wall as you approach. Third-person shooters work much better than first-person for console controls since they can support independent character and view facings with some function that quickly pops your view to match the character. I really wish western developers would pick up on this now that they're serious about consoles.

 

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