General request for fps mce layout
This is some brief thoughts on how mce for fps could be layed out i general, based on my experience of the particular ergonomy of the hydra controllers. Its meant as a request to try out my suggestions, but also maybe to spark a little discussion on the forum about layout options and user experience.
I am used to play games on a very powerful htpc with a big tv-style monitor. Based on a couch I am most used to play with a 360 controller, not with mouse and keyboard.
The hydra now lets me get much more precision, and also makes games not designed for 360 controller (many of the really good games) be easily accessible to me.
Before i got my hydra, when i only had looked at pictures of it, i thought that it was sad that it didnt really look as a 360 split in two, but instead the controller for each hand had five buttons straight under the analog stick. I thought that positioning the analog sticks and the set of buttons at a angle would be ergonomically more pleasing, because its more natural to move the thumbs in an angle than to fold them invards or move them backwards.
Now when I have tried it out myself I found out that this was not a problem, but the difference in design gives some different ergonomical effects from the 360, and I think these should be discussed and taking into consideration when making layout of mce.
I have fiddled around with some different configurations in fps games and developed some of my own preferences that i would like to share.
When thinking about which configuration is the optimal, i guess that these variables is the relevant ones i found:
Ease of access to the button or movement relative to
1. How important and often used function
2. Position in relation to other buttons and movements;
A Possibility to trigger by misstake and how severe consequenses that would have in game
B how far one have to stray from other buttons that needs ease of access at all times
3 Thematic division of functions (buttons in one area for movement, in another for toggling inventory) that gives cognitive ease
4 with movement control there is a kind of system of “poetic correspondance” to in game movement (i didnt find a better expression, but what i mean is that in some way it “makes sense” to fling a controller upwards in order to jump in game)
The main particularities of the hydra design that motivates what became my preferences is that:
1 when using motion control it is possible to move by misstake, especially the left hand that is not often the main focus, and that affects which fuctions that are fit for left hand motion control.
2 when pressing the down the analog sticks (button 6) the risk of involuntary movement grows. This is most disastrous for the right hand but affects left also if the left controller has movements mapped. This affects wich functions to map to the analog stick buttons.
3 Button 5 (the button under button 1-4) is in fact extremely accessible, a notch more than button 1-4, if the thumb is not occupied with a analog stick. On the left hand the thumb is always occupied with the analog stick for movement, but on the right hand, because of the motion control aiming the thumb is free. This makes button 5 on the right controller be a good candidate to be an important actionbutton instead of a pause/menu button.
Saying that, I will now present my preferences. This is just regarding some basic movements in fps games. I start of with the least suprising:
Left and right triggers and bumpers has the most important actions and togglers.
Left analog stick is for movement.
Left Button 1-4 has actions like “quick save“ “heal” “bandage” “medkit” “drop item”, “energydrink”. Actions that you really dont wanna confuse with eachother and because of that dont fit on right analog.
Left button 5 has pause-menu
Right analog stick has different togglers that dont matter to much if you confuse by misstake, like powers and abilities, suit modes, weapons, binoculars, night vision, digital overlays and small quick menus.
Right button 1 for ratchet as usual
Right button 3 for interaction (talking, opening door, pushing button, picking up object)
Now we come to the odd part of my preferences.
These involve mainly button 2,4,5 on the right controller and movements on the left controller.
Because jumping is an important action in many games, but it also can have bad consequenses, I dont want to do this by misstake. Thats why I dont want it as movement on the left controller.
Ive jumped up from behind cover by misstake to many times already.
Instead as movements on the left controller I want:
Left movement up (tilt backward): Change fire mode/ammotype
Left tilt cw/ccw: reload, change firemode/ammotype or weapon extension
Because I think pressing button 6, the analog stick button, for too long affects to what degree I can master the left controller, I dont want to press this to run or crounch, and I dont want to use left movement down as crounch because this could easily happen by misstake and stop my sprinting. But what i noticed was that leaning left controller forwards to sprint is optimal.
Its a nice intiuitive feel to press left analog forward to move and then lean the controller forward to sprint. Some kind of “poetic correspondance”
Left movement tilt forward: run
This means I had to move “jump” and “crounch” over to the right controller, and find a use for button 6 on the left controller. The reason that “jump” and “crounch” ended up where they finally did is partly explained by how easily accessible I found button 5 on the right controller to be. First I wanted this for “jump” or for important quick menus where I choose with mouse movement (like suit mode menu in crysis), but I soon found it to be optimal for “aim mode”. I found the experience of using a button centered on the back of the controller that I at the same time are using for mouselook, for going into aim mode, to have a natural feel or poetic sense.
Right button 5: aim mode
This clears left trigger, which optionally could be used for “crounch” or “jump“, even if I happened to not end up there. The reason might be that I wanted to keep them close to eachother, as a thematic group. For some reason (might be the poetic correspondance again) I wanted to have “crounch” below “jump”, so; crounch: right button 2, jump: right button 4. But… “crounch” and “prone” is a even more strong group thematically. And “crounch” is most often something you do while the button is pressed, but “prone” is something you toggle. “Crounch” should always be a bit more easily accessible than “prone”, specially cause you in some shooters perform an attack by pressing “crounch” while running.
I was left at a crossroad. But I solved it by looking into to what degree functions needed to be easily accessed. “Jump” would do good on a left trigger, with the strong thematic group of “prone:button4” and “crounch:button2” on the right controller, but “prone” does not need to be easily accessed, in the way like for example “meele” needs. I ended up putting “prone” on the analog stick button on the left controller, wich leaves it still thematically connected with movement, and not disturbing anything if pressed.
Left button 6 (analog stick button): prone
“Meele” as an attack feels natural to have mapped to a trigger, which means I dont have to break the group of “jump” and “crounch”.
Right button 2: Crounch
Right button 4: Jump
This would make the fronts of the controllers be mapped like:
Right trigger: fire
Left trigger: Melee
And the bumbers for something like
Right and Left bumper: Next and prev. Weapon…
… or explosives, shield or some special thing. I dont have a strong opinion about the bumpers.
Left is button 6 on the right controller, which is perfect for bringing out grenades or a rocket launcher. It doesnt matter that pressing it might affect your aiming, cause bringing out grenades means switching to another aiming strategy at the same time, and bringing out a rocket launcher usually tilts your aiming for a second in game to animate that its a heavy weapon.
Right button 6 (analog stick button): grenades
Oh, wait! I also have a imaginary favourite. A mapping I havent tried, so I dont know if it will interfere with aiming precision, but I think it will be really cool:
Right movement tilt cw/ccw: lean right/lean left
What do you, other forum-users, think?
Have you tried something like this configuration?
PS when feeling the controllers I thought about the position of buttons, and if other buttons would be included, where they could be positioned in an ergonomical way. I found it believable that an easily accessible action button could be placed next to button 1 and 3 on the right controller, forming an perfect triangle pointing towards the left controller, and in a mirrored way a button could be placed in a perfect triangle with 2 and 4 on the left controller.
I also believe that 2 less accessible menu buttons could be placed on the “inwards” side on both controllers (wich would free up button 5 on the left controller according to my preferential schema), but very low down. Behind the thumb and kind of in front of the fingertips of the three fingers you use to support the controller in your hand. These two buttons on each controller would be reached by moving the thumb back, and would be fit for things you want to do or reach when you are not in the heat of a firefight. I imagined these menu buttons as a bit bigger that the 1-4 buttons, positioned side by side and shaped as a rectangle
Last edited by axelbernadotte; 04-28-2012 at 06:34 AM.
Reason: spelling errors
These preferences was developed for akimbo or hybrid style of playing, but I found out that there is another type of akimbo than the one that just lets the freelook on the left controller move horizontally. This I encountered with the two hand mce for crysis 2, and it lets the left hand freelook move in all directions. I feel this is superior to normal akimbo. But this style also messes up my preferences, because I have actions mapped to movements on the left controller.
Solution for this is that I use left controller tilt ccw/cw for reload/change firemode, but "sprint", that used to be tilting left controller forward now becomes left trigger. Melee becomes right bumper.
Superior akimbo with full freeaim on left controller:
Left trigger: Sprint
Right bumper: melee
I also found out that for the playing style that often ratches, or at least always wants the possibility to do, its not good to have "crounch" on right button 2. Instead in this case its preferable to make right 2:jump, right 4: prone, and then place "sprint" and "crounch" on someone of 1. left tilt forward (if not in superior akimbo) 2. Left trigger 3. Left button 6 (analog stick button)
I would in this case choose to put crounch on Left 6 analog stick, and sprint on left tilt forward in normal akimbo, and on left trigger in superior akimbo.
I prefer crounch before sprint on left 6 because accidentaly moving the analog stick makes lesser difference in crounch than in sprint.
Last edited by axelbernadotte; 04-29-2012 at 02:00 AM.
Trying out my configurations i have to conclude that lean left and right does not suit as a tilt movement on left or right controller. Its intefering to much with movement. It might work on left controller if one is not playing akimbo where freelook is open to all directions, as i prefer. Instead the right joystick left and right is suited for lean left and right, but only some fps games has the life-or-death urgency to make this keymapping relevant. For example: it is not so much of a deal to have it or not have it in crysis, where u can easily take a punch, but in s.t.a.l.k.e.r. leaning is an often used tactical option.
What i keep from my suggestions above is that options that is prefable to switch quickly in firefights fits on the right controller, cause left thumb is busy for movement, and options that you deal with when you have a moment not under attack, like screenshot or customization menus, fits on the left.
Prone is great on the left joystick button, aim is great on the right start button.
I suggested to have sprint as a tilt down movement on the left controller. This does work in normal akimbo, but not in one with freeaim in all directions. Instead sprint fits as left trigger, but would preferably be activated by pushing the analog stick on left controller to the edge.
Nobody up to discuss preferences?
I will try to upload some of my mce short while, after i tested them a bit more.