Control Schemes for the Control Freak: My once-over on the various ways to control games

Hey Guys! Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. I have been busy with school and all that jazz. (I’m writing this at school, on my lunch, and I can’t upload pics, but I’ll add them ASAP)

Throughout my various ventures playing through games, I have laid hands on various controllers, and Personally, There are some control setups that I prefer over others. In this post, I’m going to take a quick look at the various controllers we, as gamers, see often for games, and compare their strong and weak points.

The classic – Console Gamepad

Since the beginning of the 3rd Generation, with the NES and Master System, control pads were, and still are, the quintessential item in any gamer’s collection. Most controllers today are modeled similar to the Dualshock controller for the Playstation; the first example of a modern controller. Ergonomic handles allows for a more comfortable grasp, and it’s very natural to press whatever button you need to,  ensuring that any input you make is done in an accurate and precise manner. That being said, there are certain times where more precise movement isn’t possible, particularly in FPS games when you have to aim (though that’s probably just me, since I like to flick the stick, not tilt it). Also, the Gamepad is not really designed for  what I call passive games (Such as Real-Time Strategy games, and games like Rollercoaster Tycoon and Simcity) where you have a cursor and have to gradually move it to the objects you want to control. Nevertheless, the controller is the simplest way to play a video game.

All work and all play – PC mouse & Keyboard

Many people who are avid PC gamers will argue that the PC is the only way to play modern games. Those who agree would have almost certainly played with a mouse and a keyboard. These controls are very customizable to a player’s play style, particularly if they are left-handed. The accuracy is spot on, what else did you expect from a PC running Word? Jokes aside, the satisfying feel of when you pull off a tricky move is ever-present with the keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, the mouse, being an absolute analog and not traditional relative, has to be re-centered (moved back to the center of the mousepad) when you must do a 360 degree view of your surroundings. Adding on to this, I found out that if played for an extended period your wrists get very tired, as opposed to the comfortable grip other devices give you. Unlike other schemes, however, these downsides can be minimized by increasing mouse sensitivity, getting ergonomic accessories, and practicing good posture. For those who like it, the Keyboard and mouse really is a veritable swiss army knife of control schemes.

“Touchy, feely” – Touch Screen

Anyone who has ever had a modern-day smart phone or tablet has played at least one game on it. Many popular games on these devices include Angry birds, Flappy bird, and that other mobile game that you really, really like. (look at me, recycling lines) I’ve played a couple of games on tablets and phones, and I found it best suited for games that need simple taps or swipes, such as puzzle games. When we get into more involved genres, the best games for touch screens are the previously mentioned passive games where those tedious button presses become simple taps, swipes and holds. The natural friction between screens and fingers, however, now make more action based games unsuitable. The friction can cause input errors that could cause some aggravation for some players. Some may try to fix this by using gyroscopic functions, like in Need for speed undercover, but some may find this control awkward. If you need an action gaming fix on the go, It’s probably best to get A Nintendo 3DS or, heck even a gaming laptop. For casual games however, your phone and/or tablet will do just fine.

Reach out and grab it – Motion controllers

Recently, there has been an uptake on the number of games that include motion sensing technology. While some may contend that it’s dying out, I still believe it may not be the fad we may all think it is. The motion controller, while limited on buttons, allows for a more immersive experience with a simpler control scheme. You might be thinking that its aiming is inaccurate, but in reality, the remote is as accurate as your hand, so sharpshooters will enjoy this scheme for a change. These simple changes from the regular gamepad really gets the player into the world more than just sitting there. For those who are too used to the regular controls, these may be a little challenging, and, dare I say, abstract for some. Also, the main major flaw highlighted by many Wii games is that the motion controls must be done right (Not too sensitive, not too slow, just right). The perfect comparison is between Metroid Prime Trilogy and Call of Duty on the system. While Nintendo knew what they were working with, thus being able to craft an amazing experience, Infinity ward didn’t, and is oh so clear by the sensitivity option, and what people had said about the port. If you’re feeling ambitious, or are just looking to add another level of depth to your games, definitely get a motion controller. You won’t regret it.

TL;DR? Here’s the gist of it. Everyone has their own little preferred setup. For me, It would be a tie between the Gamepad and motion controls. What are your favorites? Have I missed something? Let me hear it in the comments!

 

-E

2 Player Challenge – Driver (PS1)

Hey Guys! I decided to back off my decision on making a Review series, and instead, build on my 2 player challenge video I made a while back. This time, my twin brother and I are taking the wheel, as we race around town in Driver!

P.S. My relatives are staying with my family for a while, so this is going to be the last post I make for some time. I hope that you guys have a great day, and I’ll see you soon!

The anger of the Imperfect video

If you’re a regular when it comes to video editing, you’ll share my pain. The pain of imperfect videos that take hours to render, only to scrap it and start again. This actually happened to me three times in the past three days! Let’s start from day one.

 

I was recording a 2 player challenge with my twin brother, and pieced the videos together. I hit render, and the first try took only three hours (Trust me, It was gruesome to sit through all that). When I went to check out the result, It looked fine, but the sound quality was piss poor. I got angry, stomped around, and scrapped that first iteration. I had to stop for the day, but had a clear mindset to try again the next.

 

Day 2: I tried it again, this time making sure that the audio quality was not 8Khz 8-bit mono, but rather 44.1Khz 16-bit stereo. I hit save, and it took three more hours. When I came back, the Audio was fine, but now, the overlays were too small! Damn! So, I had to stop again, and try again the next day (That’s today!). Little did I know that the next day’s excuse for an incomplete file was something I couldn’t control.

 

I checked everything, The overlays’ size, the filters, the audio, everything before I dared hit export. I had to go swimming, so I launched the saving process and let it ride for an hour before I left. As soon as I came back, I was hoping to be greeted by the File complete message. Guess what? I was met with the logon screen, taunting me. To me, that only meant one of two things: It crashed, or, what actually happened, It restarted on its own to update! What The _____! The one time everything was perfect, and Windows decided, “Screw you! You leave me alone, I do what I want!” Making me have to wait another day just to try rendering once again, you’re a ____________, Mr.Windows 7.

 

I just had to get that off my chest. Phew, I feel a lot better, now.

Trying things out: A Review Pilot Underway and a MIDI remapping.

Hey guys! Well, exams are finally over, which means I have some free time for the next few days. Over this little period I am setting up a two-part pilot of a show with my twin brother.  It will be on reviewing random games, but from two separate standpoints, rather than one unified view. I just got started, but look out for it sometime soon!

As for the MIDI remapping, you might be thinking: Great, MORE terrible music. But I actually have experimented with some Nintendo DS Music files (Which happen to be sequences [Makeshift MIDIs]) and swapping out their original programmed soundfonts with higher quality soundfonts (not the Default, childish setup in Windows, I’m talking about the Arachno Soundfont, Available here), Using a Midi Editor (LMMS, Available here). I made some pretty sweet sounds, but the one I’m most satisfied with is the first world of Mario VS Donkey Kong 2 – March of the minis.

To show you what I’m talking about, Listen to the original tune here, and the Remake, Here.

Quite a difference, Isn’t it? Well, It’s just a few days until the next semester, but this is going to be a breeze! I mean, Drama, Comm tech? I can ace those courses easily!

G11 Course

English… Oh, Crap.

The “Gamer” Stereotype: A cliché of Gargantuan proportions.

Many people enjoy video games. In fact, I play at least one game almost, if not, every day. While that Classifies me as a Gamer, That does not mean I like everything the stereotype says Gamers like. In fact, I go against everything in that label. Today, I’m going to be talking about an odd subject: How I’m NOT a Gamer, and the labels that are placed on me.

 

First off, let’s talk about the elephant in my head: Not every single gamer likes Shooting games.  am one of them. The violence that is exuded from any game that uses some form of lethal weapons is just something that I am not against, but also not a fan of. Think about it. Doom was highly talked about for, among other things, the graphic content in the game. Today, however, things like those shown in game is considered tame. We have moved on to far more gruesome imagery; but I digress. Back to Shooting games. The genre is ay oversaturated. When I was 7, 8 years old, I saw commercials for almost every single type of games: Platform, puzzle, racing, and the occasional shooter. What do I see when I turn on the TV today? GTA 5 (My one exception to this argument), Call of Duty, Killzone, Battlefield, and that other M-rated game that you assume Gamers really, really like. These kinds of games offer me very little entertainment value for them to warrant ownership by me. Game genres like these, especially the FPS genre, are becoming way over-saturated, and generic (Again, GTA 5 is my one exception), and with the multiplayer being all the focus, I feel like that they are forgetting the main focus of the game, The story and the single-player experience. Speaking of which, let’s talk about that now.

 

If you’re like me, you don’t spend a lot of time playing online, and when you do, it’s usually for short bursts. I prefer the local multiplayer, because it feels so much more fun when you buddies are in the room. When I don’t want to play in multiplayer, I stick to the one player modes. This is where FPS games fall apart for me. I recently got Sonic Lost world for my Wii U, A heavily criticized game on a console many ignored, and I absolutely loved it! The game gives me a challenge unlike any other Sonic Game before it, even though a couple of levels go overboard on the difficulty. The controls, while quasi-awkward at first, are pretty responsive, and I can see why they slowed down Sonic for this one, unlike Sonic the 2006 edition. And the story and characters: OH, MY GOD! It is amazing and provides comic relief at just the right time. As for Call of Duty: Ghosts a highly acclaimed game on all of the next gen consoles, screwing Nintendo, I watched the promotional videos for it… and found nothing. No interesting story, no eye-popping scenes, nothing. What those advertisements said to me were “Hey, Do you remember Call of Duty? This game is exactly the same, just with prettier graphics and different maps!” *Yawn* I’m going back to play Meteos. Let me know when the gaming market isn’t over-saturated anymore with shooters.

 

Now it’s time for the one stereotype about gamers that really strike a sour note for me: Gamers are not lazy bums that are consistently angry, and we do not just sit around playing games all day. I am a high school student. I must learn to balance the works of Don Aker and William Shakespeare with the joys of Mario Kart, Metroid Prime, and littleBIGplanet. I can’t just sit still for 5 seconds either, as I constantly move my legs when I am sitting down. And as for the anger issues, did I swear once during this entire article (except for maybe “screwing”)?  No, I kept my calm, and explained my stance on the situation of “Gamers”. We are not all anger-inducing. We are not all gun-crazed. And most of all, not all Gamers are men! I sincerely hope that I have made my point clear.

 

Given the low views of this blog, not many people will ever read this post. But If you’re still here, I would like to ask that you help spread the word. Maybe people will finally listen, maybe they won’t, but they should realize that not all Gamers are Gamers, If you understand what I mean.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

-E