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The Game Controllers That Shaped the Way We Play

timothy posted about a year ago | from the fond-memories-of-atari-paddle-controllers dept.

Input Devices 103

An anonymous reader writes "Neal Stephenson's ambitious sword fighting Kickstarter Clang has run into financial troubles, and part of the reason is down to new controller that was required — the extra investment reportedly scared away investors. Sometimes though, games can help usher in a whole new type of controller, and create new ways to play. From Pong's easy dials, which helped bring the video game into the home, to Ape Escape's twin thumbsticks and Doodle's Jump savvy use of the accelerometer on the iPhone, some games have hit the critical mass necessary to establish a new input as a way to play. So what's next?"

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I remember ... (4, Funny)

itsme1234 (199680) | about a year ago | (#45108311)

when a friend was playing some adventure game and at some point he got stuck because he was looking for a "mouse" and for a "stick of joy". That is because one of the F-keys allowed him to select mouse for example and then it said "mouse not found".

Hold on hold on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108317)

Apparently we have 3D printers that let us make anything at all at the merest whim. Why would a new controller scare away anyone?

Re:Hold on hold on. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45108371)

Apparently we have 3D printers that let us make anything at all at the merest whim. Why would a new controller scare away anyone?

because it's a swordplay game. to have a controller with feedback that's cheap you would need what amounts currently to "magic".

the only good way I can think of to make it would be to have a mannequin controlled by rather expensive servos(which you can't 3d print and the mannequin would take many kilos of filament to print too, but compared to the complexity of the model and price of beefy enough servos that part wouldn't have been the problem..).

maybe they should have made an arcade game, with kickstarters getting 80 bucks worth of credits or something..

their real problem was that they kickstarted money to do something they didn't know how to do. with a literature author as figurehead - on a game type where plot is of insignificant part of the game! sounds almost like a scam, rite?

Re:Hold on hold on. (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year ago | (#45108621)

because it's a swordplay game. to have a controller with feedback that's cheap you would need what amounts currently to "magic".

Or, you know, a friend, two PVC pipes and some foam.

Re:Hold on hold on. (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#45108813)

Or, someone who's not such a close friend, and save money on the foam.

Sort vs long term (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#45108319)

Short term, I think Valve is next. http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/10/12/0013251/valve-shows-how-steam-controller-works-in-real-life [slashdot.org] Innovative, versatile, cheap and open.

Long term, I think we will go controller-less before too much longer. Between touch and "connect-like" systems, they will go away.

Re:Sort vs long term (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45109311)

"Long term, I think we will go controller-less before too much longer. Between touch and "connect-like" systems, they will go away."

Maybe so. But the controller market illustrates that fad (and money) can win out... not necessarily the best controller. Much like the old VHS vs Beta market.

The greatest game controller yet invented was the Logitech Cyberman 2 [maximumpc.com] . It let you easily do with one hand what other controllers do with 2 separate joysticks, leaving the other hand free to push buttons. And it was very intuitive... no big learning curve like there is with the X-Box style controllers. (Many people insist that there is no big learning curve with those controllers, but that's simply false. They just grew up with that style so they're used to it. Take any young adult who hasn't used one before, and see just how big the learning curve is.)

In any case, the Cyberman II was accurate, simple, intuitive, easy to control, and well-built. It was used on the Space Shuttle for example (really). You won't find an X-Box-style controller there.

The difference was one of the only two controllers on the market that had a true 6 degrees of freedom. And it was much more usable than the other one which had a "ball" controller and a trigger. You had to hold it in both hands all the time. Cyberman 2 sat on the table or in your lap, and had a much more logical and usable button arrangement.

But it was too "different". Companies were writing games for X-Box style controllers and there just wasn't market support for it. So it faded out of existence, again much like the Betamax.

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45109357)

Clarification: 6 degrees of freedom means it could move on 6 different axes. A joystick has only 2 axes. So with one control you could do all that you can with 2 joysticks and still have 2 axes left over.

So you could use the one control for both looking and moving around in a FPS, for example, as well as jump and crouch. (Which worked very well, by the way. It was my go-to controller for the Quake series.) Then you still had 8 buttons for other functions such as shoot, inventory, etc.

Re:Sort vs long term (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#45110275)

A joystick has only 2 axes.

3 axes.

Main joystick, +twist, +thumbstick

5 axes if you include the: hat (thumbstick at the top of the joystick)

In practice the hat was usually implemented usually as 4 buttons (that usually supported 8 directions N/W/S/E + NW/NE/SW/SE) instead of actual true axes but that was more a limitation of what the old game port could take than anything else.

In any case the old jet fighter games did allow for pitch, yaw, roll while they were often setup to use the hat as a way of looking left/right/forward/back all from one stick. (or more realistically for controlling aileron or rudder trim).

Then the thrust axis was a slider at the base along with additional buttons for the 2nd hard. Or was separated out onto a 2ndary controller.

But the base controls aside, a good flightstick could be considered to have 5 axes, main trigger, secondary fire, and at least another couple buttons all operable from a single hand.

And they still exist, except as the flight sim and space shooter genre collapsed, they are relatively niche.

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45111671)

Although I have seen a few joysticks with twist, I was referring to the more typical "joysticks" found on mainstream game controllers. But it's true that some joysticks were quite nice.

The hat doesn't count as "more axes". It was merely one "joystick" mounted on another. Just like an XBox controller, you still just have 2 x 2-axis sticks (or buttons). Again granted, some joysticks had a little more but buttons don't count.

Thrust axis is a separate control that may be analog but it doesn't add an "axis" to the stick. That's what I was talking about. Remember that the Cyberman 2 has 8 buttons in addition to its 6 degrees of freedom.

To give an example: in a FPS (not flight sim), you could do all horizontal movement with 3 degrees (Fwd, Back, Sideways Left, Sideways Right, and turn), plus one degree for up and down, leaving 2 degrees left over for looking around. (You only need 2 axes because you are already using one for Turn.)

In a flight sim, you basically have Roll, Pitch, and Yaw, leaving 3 degrees for other things. Like aiming guns or missiles for example. The controller came with a copy of Descent, if you remember that, which had direct 3D movement (unlike an airplane) and used all 6 degrees.

"But the base controls aside, a good flightstick could be considered to have 5 axes."

A good one. As I recall the genuinely good ones also cost upward of $100. But again, really the hat should count as a secondary stick. The only difference is where it was mounted; it still adds up to the same number of "axes".

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45111717)

I retract what I wrote earlier: a separate slider could be considered an "axis", but it is a very limited one. It requires a separate hand to operate it and it is usually meant to be set somewhere and left there.

In RC systems, a slider or 3-position switch is often afforded the distinction "channel", while "on-off" switches are often called "half channels", because of the amount of control they give. This is independent of the actual number of channels the radio has. So a transmitter with 2 normal sticks (4 channels), plus 1 slider (1 channel), plus 2 on-off switches is considered by many to be a 6-channel transmitter, even if it is a 7-channel radio.

So by those rules, a Cyberman 2 would be a 10-channel controller. (6 full controls + 8 on-off switches).

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#45112685)

The hat doesn't count as "more axes". It was merely one "joystick" mounted on another. Just like an XBox controller, you still just have 2 x 2-axis sticks (or buttons). Again granted, some joysticks had a little more but buttons don't count.

The key difference to an xbox controller, and the reason it relates to your original post is that all 5 axes (hand joystick x/y/twist + thumb joystick x/y could all be controlled with a single hand.

As I recall the genuinely good ones also cost upward of $100

Supply and demand. I'm confident the $100 sticks would easily have been in the xbox controller price range had they been ubiquitously sold with a major console like that, in those kinds of numbers.

The controller came with a copy of Descent, if you remember that, which had direct 3D movement (unlike an airplane) and used all 6 degrees.

I recall the old microsoft sidewinder was a pretty decent controller for that game as well. find this on google...

http://www.descent2.com/patty/controls/side.html [descent2.com]

You can see they juse the pitch/yaw axes as you'd expect, with twist for banking left/right and the hat for slide "strafe left right / move up / down)" all with one hand.

The second hand controlled the thottle slider, and buttons on the base for changing weapons, afterburner, and flares.

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45114671)

"The key difference to an xbox controller, and the reason it relates to your original post is that all 5 axes (hand joystick x/y/twist + thumb joystick x/y could all be controlled with a single hand."

Yes, that's true.

"Supply and demand. I'm confident the $100 sticks would easily have been in the xbox controller price range had they been ubiquitously sold with a major console like that, in those kinds of numbers."

Also probably true. I wasn't criticizing, just making an observation. I used to drool over some of those nice joysticks, but it wasn't a budget priority at the time.

"I recall the old microsoft sidewinder was a pretty decent controller for that game as well. find this on google..."

It wasn't bad, but IMO it was overly complicated to use. My objection to the X-Box style was overcomplication, too. Too much coordinated effort needed from both hands.

I'm not saying there aren't other good controllers. But I stick by my assertion that Cyberman 2 was still the best overall controller out there.

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#45111403)

But in VHS v. BETA the better format did win out...

Re:Sort vs long term (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45111775)

"But in VHS v. BETA the better format did win out..."

It's a matter of opinion. Beta had a lot of advantages. Even in the beginning, you could pause a Beta with a clear picture; you could not do that with VHS. You could speed up or slow down the video; you could not with VHS. The tapes were smaller, and many people (it depended on who you talked to) claimed it had a better picture.

True, those features did come along on VHS players... but quite a while later.

Re:Sort vs long term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45117157)

I'm guessing you've never actually used a Cyberman or Cyberman 2. I had both, they were complete shit. Difficult to control, imprecise and slow compared to a mouse.

Re:Sort vs long term (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45117125)

Doesn't have enough buttons. It will fail.

Gamepad vs Joystick (5, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | about a year ago | (#45108353)

As somebody who grew up in the early to mid 80's I was raised on the joystick. When the industry moved to gamepads I simply could not play as effectively anymore (and rarely play consoles as a result).

Wrist coordination and speed is fundamentally different from thumb coordination. I suppose many people are better at fine finger coordination then wrist, but for me the switch from wrist to thumb controllers ruined consoles for me.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (2)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#45108447)

Agreed. I had it even worse, growing up on pinball. However, one revolutionary input device not listed in the summary was quite to my liking -- the trackball. Centipede was responsible for an arcade revolution in no small part because of its baby trackball. Missile command also required and showcased it.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45111979)

That's because the author was too busy fellating nintendo to mention noteworthy examples like the trackball.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (1)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#45108523)

I agree the physical joystick has gotten the shaft lately (sorry). The binary stick, the analog stick and analog with feedback are all among the best devices ever invented for direct control. Ask any pilot of a current airplane or drone, and see if they'd not rather use a touchscreen or joypad.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year ago | (#45108649)

For flight sims, sure. But ask any SWAT officer, and see if they'd not rather use a Dual Shock controller.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108727)

We played EVERYTHING with joysticks on c64, and not just flight sims. It just worked fine. Before that, on zx spectrum, rubber keys.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (1)

PrimalChrome (186162) | about a year ago | (#45108693)

Point....but your APM (actions per minute) are abysmal with a full size joystick. You have to move your entire arm instead of a flick of your fingers. Imagine trying to type your term paper with a set of joysticks rather than keyboard. The only games that benefit from a joystick over a Dpad or tiny analog thumbsticks are going to be flight and driving sims....and only those because it gives more natural and granular control to the operation of your virtual vehicle.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#45111117)

There is something smaller than a flight sim joystick but bigger than a thumbstick: an arcade-style joystick. In things like Street Fighter series, are quarter circle motions (Hadoken) and Z motions (Shoryuken) easier on a D-pad or analog thumbstick than on an arcade style joystick?

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45109701)

And as somebody who grew up in the 80's, but didn't play video games until the NES came along, I have to say the opposite. I can't play with an old, unresponsive Atari joystick for crap. A flat directional pad is far preferable.

I long for the day when I can plug in a Nintendo controller instead of using a steering wheel and pedals in my car. And it'll totally confuse anyone that wants to steal my car, too! Alas, the DOT doesn't like the idea because they're a bunch of luddite twatbags.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45112035)

You didn't have to play with a long-throw spongy joystick like the Atari 2600's. You could play with a very accurate short-throw stick, like the near-perfect Slik Stik. Blows the doors off all those inferior, cut-rate controllers known as "d-pads".

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45117199)

I recall how immensely popular the NES Advantage was when it came out. It seems many people didn't want to use a gamepad, even on the NES.

Re:Gamepad vs Joystick (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year ago | (#45112169)

Ditto. Especially when it had one or two buttons! I can't use those fancy joysticks and gamepads. I am OK with clicky big keyboards and mice. I just don't like holding controllers due to my disabilities. :(

Wii or a Kinect? (4, Interesting)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45108377)

What is wrong with Wii as a controller? Or a kinect and youse a real sword (wooden sword)?

As someone who has kenjutsu experience I really wonder how a sword fighting 'game' should work at all.

E.g. without something that has the weight and feel of a sword in your hands, and nothing to actuall block your blow etc.

To have a sword fighting game you would need a robot, at least with a sword arm and a torso to hit at.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45108491)

The issue of holding nothing seems like the biggest issue here. If you're holding enough to have a memorable experience, you can't really play in your living room.

Seems like another one of those ideas ahead of its time. Until overlay glasses become common and inexpensive, it doesn't make sense. If you had a smartphone with stereo video HDMI out (possible on the micro connector? no idea) to some decent glasses with a gyro in them then you could reasonably play a game like this.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45108663)

You still had trouble to model this situation:
I aim with a strike for the head of my opponent, perhaps he wears a helmet, when I hit my sword stops there.
Is he moving away, my sword goes through him and is now elsewhere.
My next possible action depends uppon where my sword is.
(Still raisednin head hight, or already pointing down to the ground)

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | about a year ago | (#45108937)

Depends on if you want 1 on 1 tracking, or 1 on 1 movement.
1 on 1 tracking means you have a problem if you have a sword game, and you hit something: You either need for the character to get a cooldown why moving the object to the correct position, or find a clever solution.
1 on 1 movement is more simple. Slashing or stabbing in all directions just works.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45109215)

I guess you mean, regardless where your virtual sword "should be" you can attack any position of the opponent.
But how should he then be able to deflect/block your sword if it just comes out of nowhere?

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | about a year ago | (#45110837)

Why would the character model not have any sort of swing delay, animation model, or anything?
I don't think you understand game design.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45110937)

What has swing delay etc. to do with the question where my sword is? We don't talk about "a game" but about a "simulation" that implies it somehow accurately "simulates" handling and fighting with a sword.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about a year ago | (#45108725)

Nah, there are several issues of equal importance. You'll never be able to jam your opponent or be jammed yourself, since your movements will always be unrestricted. You can't simply try to overpower defenses since the computer won't be able to gauge strength applied. Reacting to a small opponent on a TV is way harder than to a full sized one. Also, evading or getting out of striking distance is, even if perfectly emulated, unintuitive due to lack of spatial references.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year ago | (#45108505)

Safety is a major concern. You have all kinds of kids and even adults who get so engrossed in the game that all kinds of bad things could happen. Even a casual and aware gamer might have an occasional accident.

Imagine if you were using a real sword, 70cm long or even larger. The potential for damaging your surroundings, or poking another person in the eye is very high.

Perhaps it is something that could work in an arcade or arena where there is dedicated staff to ensure a safe environment, but definitely not for home console use.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

Loïc Lacombe (3391125) | about a year ago | (#45108575)

You know, most games have already only meaningless feedback. Sure it does not feel at all like the real thing, but did Guitar Hero need to feel realistic to be good? Does an arcade car racing game need a $300 Logitech force feedback wheel to be playable? Do I need to feel pain to play an FPS?
Sure, it feels awkward the first time you play the second Zelda on Wii and you move your vibrating wiimote around, but the game experience is not really affected. No feedback is not such an issue as you can think. You know, most martial artist do not strike anything, most time they practice. Having practiced Krav Maga for a while, the actual striking adjustments are an infinitesimal part of the training. Sword stuff, may be an exception, but still a video game does not need feedback to feel good.

No, the main issue with controllers, is that they need to be versatile enough to be used for several games or they end as a niche. That's why Clang rebuttal by investors totally make sense. Guitar Hero is quite the exception, and a rather short lived one. Even the Eye Toy and the Kinect are niche peripheral, while their makers tried to support and push them to game editors.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108687)

" You know, most martial artist do not strike anything, most time they practice."

They still have force feedback though. Whether its the weight of the weapon & the feel it has as they swing it... or even just the limitations of their own body. When you throw a punch at empty air, you may not feel anything on your knuckles, but you still feel the snap of your elbow & wrist.

Without that tactile feedback, not only would your practice be a lot less productive, but you could probably injure yourself.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45108731)

The problem with the controller and sword fighting is, that depending how the opponent reacts my sword ends in a certain position. And my next move has to happen from that position.
I was not really talking about 'force feed back'. But that is an aspect.
I strike four your head:
a) I hit (your helmet?): my hands are relatively hight, in front of me, the sword tip is at the hight of my head (where the opponents head is)
b) the opponent moves away and I cut through the space where his head was: my hands are down on hip level, the sword tip is close to the ground (certainly below hip level)
c) the opponent is deflecting my sword, like in b) my hands are on hip level and the sword points down to the ground, but this time to the other side of his body (in comparision to b) )

My next allowed/possible action depends on where my sword is, and the game needs to give me some feedback about where my sword is. Only visual might be plossible, but I doubt it works.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | about a year ago | (#45110843)

I guess it depends on game design. Force stance to stance, where there is.... 5-6 stances, and each can go into each, and the attack varies depending on which transition it is.
Or other more clever solutions.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108617)

The problem with the wii controller is that you dont know when you've hit the stops.

With a thumb-stick or a d-pad, i absolutely know in an instant whether im at the stops or if im just short of it.

The wii/kinect doesnt give you this sort of tactile feedback. You hold the thing at a 90 degree angle, but are you really steering full left? You dont know. And as your car slides off the curve, you twist it even more... over to 120 degrees... which of course does nothing, but you dont know that.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#45111421)

That could be solved with visual indication in the game itself, though.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108781)

Yeah!

And in Guitar Hero your fingers should bleed!
And in Fallout 3 you should be exposed to actual radiation!
And in Call of Duty there should be recoil and you should be able to slice your thumbs open on the moving parts of your weapons! ... ...

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45109291)

You sir are assuming a kenjutsu or medieval simulation, where the opponent is armored and the swords are wooden or at least purposefully dull. Had you read Snow Crash you'd know we're talking katana here.

A sharp sword doesn't have too much trouble cutting into or through your average meat sack. Slicing off a limb certainly doesn't slow down a blow a lot as you can gather from video footage showing bamboo "practice limbs" getting sliced: http://youtu.be/fxYvwEnKRjA#t=32 [youtu.be]
A good bit of "rumble" style force feedback should feel accurate enough for a game.

If we're talking special sword game controller, you could probably add a motorized counter weight at the tip to provide a more realistic kinetic response to hitting the bone.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45110007)

You are absolutely right, and although it may be hard to achieve, I'm sure some smart person will come up with something sooner or later. A Wii is fine as a controller for a light saber, but as a controller for a metal sword or tennis racket, it needs weight, balance and feedback. (As an aside, why does one light saber stop another??)

Game controllers tend to change over time, radically or subtly, but I can tell you one controller that is never going to change anymore: the steering wheel + pedals. It is perfect because it does exactly what the tried and proven 'controller' in the real world does. For most activities, the ideal controller has been invented and perfected long before computer games were, and the computer game variants will stop changing fundamentally once they resemble the perfected real world controllers.

Of course the problem with consoles is that they want to give you one controller to play all games. If you're at all serious about specialized controllers, you play your games on an open platform where controllers can be made in a competitive market, rather than only being provided by the console builder.

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

Dabido (802599) | about a year ago | (#45120821)

What is wrong with Wii as a controller? Or a kinect and youse a real sword (wooden sword)?

I was thinking they could use something like a bamboo blade with the ribbon sensors from an Otomotone on each bamboo section. Then, if something gets hit, like a robot or other person, it will register the hit without registering the hit on the other bamboo blade. A sensor to ensure the hit isn't too low would also eliminate a false hit from the blade hitting the floor. It's just a matter of making it robust enough that the ribbon sensors don't get ripped apart easily. Then, simply a matter of gearing up in the kendo armour and playtime!

Re:Wii or a Kinect? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45122143)

Sure, if two fight each other that system would work.
But I guess they either want one to fight against an computer opponent or two to fight each other via the internet.
So the problem is to get your "real" sword into interaction with a virtual sword/enemy.

Best controller ever (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#45108423)

NES Max

Re:Best controller ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108489)

best controller for a specific genre of games.....

atari 2600 + paddle + breakout/super breakout

you can't effectively play those types of games with a mouse, keyboard, game pad, touch screen or anything else other than a good ol' turn-the-knob paddle controller.

Re:Best controller ever (2)

xstonedogx (814876) | about a year ago | (#45108791)

I love the Power Glove. It's so bad.

Re:Best controller ever (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#45108849)

Mod funny if you get the reference. Mod informative if you want to be funny.

Re:Best controller ever (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about a year ago | (#45109857)

i loved the max and hated the advantage.

Re:Best controller ever (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#45112081)

The NES Advantage was better because of the rapid fire being adjustable. In some games you were only allowed to have a certain number of projectiles on screen at once or the maximum fire rate was lower than the highest rate the controller supported, so you could use the dial to slow the rapid-fire rate to what was best for the game.

I actually used the slow-mo mode a few times (muted the TV audio so I would be hearing the pause chime continuously sound).

Re:Best controller ever (1)

oKtosiTe (793555) | about a year ago | (#45115883)

This is what I started reading the comment section for. Now I can go back to what I was doing. Thank you.

Shitty article (1)

_merlin (160982) | about a year ago | (#45108463)

The article is bullshit. Ape Escape was nothing new. SM64 had camera control with right thumb (C buttons) and movement with left thumb (analog stick). Ape Escape just used a stick for the cameras. Doodle Jump? Seriously? What a load of fluff.

Re:Shitty post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108509)

Ape Escape just used a stick for the cameras

Wrong. The shoulder buttons controlled the camera, and the right analog stick was used to control gadgets; this was pretty damn innovative at the time.

Re:Shitty post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108805)

Nintendo was already doing this environment with the directional buttons and the thumb sticks. Play golden eye on the N64

Re:Shitty post (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#45108819)

That's funny...

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - released 1998.

Camera is controlled using a shoulder button (or Z, which is more or less equivalent to L on the N64 controller), while the 4 C-buttons (somewhat equivalent to a right analog stick) were assigned to items (plus the first person look mode).

Ape Escape: Released 1999.

Camera is controlled using shoulder buttons, while the right analog stick controlled items.

Innovative, you say?

Re:Shitty post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45109013)

Yes, innovative, unless you're thick enough to claim there's no difference between an analog stick and digital buttons. The C-buttons are not equivalent to an analog stick; try playing GoldenEye or Perfect Dark after getting used to dual-stick FPSes (TimeSplitters 2 seems apt), using the C-buttons for aiming (no dual-controllers or setting the C-buttons to movement/strafing)
Ape Escape would be better compared to Skyward Sword's item system, where there were several different ways that items would utilize the motion controller/analog stick. OoT's item system was essentially an updated version that appeared in the first LoZ, and was used in most of the main-series games.

Re:Shitty post (1)

Sean clark (3395483) | about a year ago | (#45109151)

There is a clear difference between the C-buttons and a thumb stick no one is disputing that. The point is the 3D environment was already created and the dual shock just made it better. The article makes the reader believe the dual shocked created the environment rather than enhancing it.

Re:Shitty post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108971)

So the article didn't get it right, either.

Re:Shitty article (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#45108801)

It sure is. Super Mario 64 wrote the book on 3D platforming. Sony then rushed to retrofit control sticks into their controllers (and did a terrible job that was only fixed for the PS4). They just added an extra one because they couldn't find a place to fit a single one and took the opportunity to try to outdo Nintendo.

Claiming that Ape Escape (and by extension the dual analog) was more innovative than Super Mario 64 (and by extension the N64 controller) is simply absurd.

Re:Shitty article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108875)

Amen brother!!

Re:Shitty article (1)

drsquare (530038) | about a year ago | (#45109971)

Mario 64 was a terrible 3D platformer. The camera was an utter joke.

The only 3D platforming that is remolely competent is in the FPS genre, because you have a first-person perspective, eliminating camera concerns, as well as good air control.

Re:Shitty article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45111257)

You're wrong about everything you said (well, the camera was bad in Mario 64, though an "utter joke" it was not).

Re:Shitty article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45117279)

Super Mario 64 was extremely difficult to control, which is the reason I never seriously tried to play it. Annoyingly sluggish movement and bad camera angles.

Re:Shitty article (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about a year ago | (#45113395)

You have no idea what you're talking about. Ape escape used the right stick to control the items, and the left stick for movement. It worked like the twin stick "asteroids" style games out now.

Twin stick control was an entirely new concept for console players at the time. Forget about 4 way buttons -- this took getting used to. After a few years, game developers then seemed to hit upon the idea of using the stick for the camera.

By now, we're all accustomed to this convention. But in 1998-1999, using a stick for a camera was a largely unheard of concept. Camera control was via shoulder buttons on 4 way buttons, and was a genuine nightmare. Third person 3D games never really became smoothly playable until the genuine innovation of the camera control stick.

And no, neither Ape escape nor Mario 64 did not employed this convention.

Anal stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108493)

In the future, we'll all be playing with anal sticks...! The vibration will make it a real pleasure!

Metaverse (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year ago | (#45108551)

Neal Stephenson is just working his way up to building the metaverse. Soon.

Re: Metaverse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108641)

I thought that he had at least an idea of what controller to use though, given all he's written on virtual swordfighting

Voice? (1)

martyb (196687) | about a year ago | (#45108561)

In a word: Voice.

1.) Playing sudoku on my pc, it would be nice (and faster) if I could just SAY "one" or "seven", instead of trying to select it from a menu or scroll my trackwheel until that number is selected.

2.) One step further, though, instead of just "words" use custom sounds. Make the initial sound of saying the letter "T". Each time that sound is "heard" fire the (currently selected) gun.

3) I'm sure that even a small vocabulary of sounds could provide rapid access to select and use different armaments. "Boom", "Bam", "Pow", "Pop", "Pip" could, for example, select andor fire decreasingly destructive arms. Use your imagination.

Cues campy 70's Batman and Robin TV fight scenes and munches popcorn.. ;^)

Re: Voice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108619)

This concept was showcased in the Neal Stephenson novel snow crash

Re:Voice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108653)

zzzzzzZZZZZZAP!

Re:Voice? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45108717)

voice control has inherent lag.

btw if you wanted you could without too much trouble configure your pc to press shoot button on saying pew pew. but you'd get your avatars head shot off.

Re:Voice? (1)

martyb (196687) | about a year ago | (#45108941)

voice control has inherent lag.

That's a good point and I agree there is lag. There is, say, intrinsic lag, in the need to receive enough sound to reliably distinguish one "command" from another. Then there is the lag required by the computer to make that discernment.

The summary asked "what's next?" and I would think current processing limitations, the discernment part, could be mitigated by advancements in processing power and algorithms. We may not be there, yet, but I could foresee a time when we would.

As for the intrinsic lag (and to some extent the processing lag) one could "lead" one's shots. Nothing says I have to wait until the target is already under the cross hairs before I *start* saying my command. Much like a quarterback leads his receiver, only sonically.

NOTE: I am NOT suggesting this would replace existing controls, but rather could act as a *supplement* to those already provided.

Besides, every input has a delay between the time I conceive of what I want to do and the time where I've commanded the computer to do it. Trackballs, joysticks, mice, and keyboards all have some delay. I'm thinking that there are at least *some* cases where one can use an audio input to achieve one's goal faster than using only the currently available manual controls.

btw if you wanted you could without too much trouble configure your pc to press shoot button on saying pew pew. but you'd get your avatars head shot off.

With *current* hardware, yes. Again, I was thinking of the future where processing overhead delay could be lessened to the point where this would be practicable, and with "leading" the shot, vocally.

Further, this need not be limited to only firing a weapon. That was just a sample use case for the sake of discussion. See my other example of saying "one" or "seven" while playing Sudoku on my computer instead of having to find and select it from a menu. I'm sure there are others and I'd love to see the /. community comes up with as possibilities and applications.

Obviously, there are cases where this would not help. Fine, don't use it. But I would think there ARE cases where this could augment/enhance existing controls. Maybe not right now, but in the foreseeable future, yes. Especially when both hands are busy trying to do other things, already.

Re:Voice? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45109251)

There is no lag in voice commands if you us Kiai.
You are only limited in actions as you have to restrict yourself to a limited set of Kiai.

Bring back force feedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108667)

and im not talking about the lame "force feedback" where it shakes a little when you hit the curb.

Im talking about REAL force feedback that pulls back against you.

Like the MS sidewinders had.

Why did that go away?!?

Re:Bring back force feedback (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#45113381)

That annoyed me about the article too. Nintendo didn't invent force-feedback, PC stick makers did. The "rumble pak" isn't even force feedback, just rumble. Rubbishy article.

The redbull article was not accurate (3, Interesting)

sclark73 (1969844) | about a year ago | (#45108707)

1) The Nintendo N64 controller was the first to introduce the analog joystick. This was a huge stage of controller evolution. This should have had its own section before PlayStations dual shock. And this goes into my second point.

2) The environment that was mentioned for Ape Escape was already introduced in the super Mario world for the N64. The dual shock control did raise the bar for thumb sticks by having two, but the N64 controller already was doing the environment the dual shock was allowing. Nintendo did this with the combination of the thumb sticks and the four directional butons. Play golden eye for N64 and you will see Nintendo forced PlayStations hand in creating the dual-shock controller

IMO
When it comes to controller ergonomics the dual shock was a step backwards in controller design. The thumb sticks do not sit in a place where you thumbs would natural rest. Making the thumb sticks awkward to use. The 2nd generation Xbox controllers perfected the dual thumb stick controller.

my 2 cents

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108795)

Yeah, no. I was playing MechWarrior on a very high quality 4-axis 16-button analog joystick when you were still crapping your pants over the N64 controller.

Nice try, though.

BONUS: my capcha was veteran. Veteran of the Inner Sphere!

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108853)

Ahh you were the start of the ignorance. Its that is all you knew than you had an excuse. Its like learning to drive with an automatic

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#45108837)

Playstation controllers from the Dual Analog to the DualShock 3 are an ergonomic disaster. It's a good thing the PS4 controller has been improved.

By the way, what kind of genious thought that it was a great idea to have analog face butons? Most useless "feature" ever.

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45108845)

1) The Nintendo N64 controller was the first to introduce the analog joystick.

Nope, not even close. Controllers with analog sticks were available before the Famicom was even released, and the PSX had a controller with analog joysticks (called the Analog Joystick, of course) before the N64. And as an aside, let me say that the N64 had an awful analog stick; its contact point physically injured some, and it was prone to wear due to its design.

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (1)

Sean clark (3395483) | about a year ago | (#45109053)

You are correct. I have played plenty of games on Coleco. I should have said thumb sticks which is what I was referring to. And if you held the N64 controller correctly it was very good. With that said my point is still accurate as Nintendo was the first thumb stick

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45112015)

"And if you held the N64 controller correctly it was very good."

An Apply fanboy as well, I take it?

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (1)

Sean clark (3395483) | about a year ago | (#45116781)

Apply? You mean apple? No I don't like apple.. I am just a long time gamer

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45117287)

The Vectrex had an analog thumbstick more than a decade before the N64. The Sega Master System had thumbsticks that could screw into the d-pad, though obviously the control remained digital.

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45109881)

The n64 controller was an uncomfortable abomination, especially when games started to force you to use the stick (and hold the middle instead of the left side) instead of the d-pad, most times unnecessarily.

Re:The redbull article was not accurate (2)

Agripa (139780) | about a year ago | (#45110057)

They skipped the game controllers used by personal computers as well. The Apple II predated the N64 by almost 20 years and used analog joysticks. Console controllers took a long time to even catch up to that.

The First (and More Interesting) TFA... (2)

Traiano (1044954) | about a year ago | (#45108775)

Re:The First (and More Interesting) TFA... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#45113425)

It's messy and artibitrary. Why the WuTang controller and no CharacteriSticks [segaretro.org] ? Both are novelty shapes that did nothing to advance the state of the art. Why no mention of the Konix SpeedKing [retrogamer.net] , the first home computer stick that I'm aware of to face the reality of living room gaming, and get rid of the sit-on-computer-desk design (although the later Cheetah bug was much better)? And then there's huge gaps in the heredity, implying the joystick was invented independently several times.

Another ad for the Steam controller? (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | about a year ago | (#45109313)

Is someone getting paid to post ads for Steam disguised as articles????

Clang attracted, not scared away, investors (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45109609)

Kickstarter investors are just as much investors as anyone else. There's no way Clang would have reached the goal they did without proposing the custom hardware.

I've written off Clang as a loss, which is fine - the more ambitious a project is, the more that is possible. But in the future I'm not sure I'd back a game project with custom hardware asking for less than a million or so, or with a very clear plan on how they are delivering on the hardware.

ASR 33 all the way!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45109751)

What is this with joysticks, touch pads, etc.

You want to control the action the way the military does, with a teletype machine.
After punching down on those beefy electromechanical systems for a few hours a day, you'll have finger strength like superman. And the chunka,chunka,chunka sound as the new map prints out is as close as you're going to get.

PS3 Move (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | about a year ago | (#45110539)

The PS3 already has the move controller - basically a microphone shaped device with several sensors in it that does a pretty good job of imitating a sword pommel. Gaffer tape a stick to the end of one of those and you have a sword made with tape, legacy controllers and a fucking stick! :p Seriously, it's do-able.

The Negcon for PS1 was great for racing games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45112499)

The Negcon for PS1 was great for racing games

gaming!!! (1)

sumitjadhav137 (3012081) | about a year ago | (#45120195)

eagerly waiting for it...
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