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Thread: [Help/Disc] Keyboard controlled menus or Mouse controlled

  1. #1
    I tried... dbarbarian's Avatar
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    [Help/Disc] Keyboard controlled menus or Mouse controlled

    Hello everyone.

    I am in the process of making a Dragonforce series, and I was just wondering what your opinions are on this (this being the title of this post).

    The game will be keyboard controlled, so I was thinking a keyboard controlled menu. However, that will take a lot of work, including making arrays, new mcs instead of buttons, etc. (unless there is a better way). I just don't want to spend a lot of time on something and have it not help much (or maybe making it more tedious for the player) and creating more possibilities for bugs and such.
    I am not trying to be lazy, but i was trying to figure out the "cost vs. benefits" of this type of control.
    The first dragonforce had regular buttons with the game being keyboard controlled and nobody seemed to mind, or at least not enough to say something about it. Also, you would have to cycle through all the "buttons" when it is keyboard controlled, which would be quite tedious, especially when there are many buttons (such as the "controls" screen where you change all the controls).
    A mouse controlled menu will give you the freedom to chose a button without cycling through all the inbetween buttons, but you would have to alternate between keyboard/mouse during the game.
    Maybe a combination of both? (but once again that would open a lot more room to bugs considering the size and complexity of the different screens to navigate from and to).

    This question does pertain to this game specifically, but I am sure if there is enough feedback, designers can use this information and apply it to future games, at least I know i will.

    Thank you for your help =)

    DBarbarian

  2. #2
    Say hello to Bob Kakihara's Avatar
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    If you wanted keyboard controlled just have a mc that holds info on keypresses, say for instance an if statement that sayd if s is pressed then start game, if o is pressed then goto options screen etc... no arrays and no hassel for you or for the user having to cycle through buttons, just highlight the relevant letter so that the user knows what key to press to do something. It also means you just need graphics that look like buttons as opposed to actual buttons.

    Hope i helped some.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member lowestformofwit's Avatar
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    Im not familiar with the game series and I'm not sure if its fast paced or not, but my advice would be to try and think what the user would want from the control system. It might be necessary to have the option of using both mouse and keyboard controls in certain areas.

    Of course, it would mean more work but your game will ultimately be more usable.

  4. #4
    I tried... dbarbarian's Avatar
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    Kakihara: That sounds like a good idea, but with that kind of control, it would be difficult to control the buttons in all the screens. If i had P key for "play", I for "Instructions, and so on in the title page, then have M for "menu", W for "weapon key", UP ARROW for up key, and so on for the controls page, it would get really confusing. Plus, I have some sweet rollovers for the buttons that plays when you either rollover the button (mouse control), or scroll to that button (keyboard control). That would be a good system if there were fewer buttons.

    lowestformofwit: you aren't familiar with it because i havent finished the first episode yet, =). It will be almost identical to the original Dragonforce, a sideview scolling space shooter. I think i need to clarify that when i say "mouse controlled", i don't mean during gameplay. Mouse control refers to having regular buttons in the title screen, options screen, instrctions screen, etc. So you would need to use your mouse to click "play" to start the game. Then in the game, you can pause the game, but you will need to use the mouse again to select the options in the pause menu. I didn't know how much people disliked changing from keyboard to mouse inbetween games.
    Here is the link to Dragonforce, which is mouse controlled, to give a better idea.
    Dragonforce

    Here is Ironclaw's Kung-Fu remix (great game) which demonstrates keyboard control.
    http://www.pnflashgames.com/mod-pnFl...y-id-233.phtml

  5. #5
    Senior Member lowestformofwit's Avatar
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    ah, got you now.

    I did do a search for dragonforce at the time, but I was thinking you meant an RPG for some reason.

    anyway,

    You are completely right, having a mouse-driven menu for a keyboard controlled game is not very usable but...

    You have to be careful and consider what the user would expect. I remember trying to use the mouse to start Kung Fu Remix the first time I played it. (truly an excellent game).

    So I think perhaps we need to start re-thinking the way we do menus for keyboard controlled games but it might be better to provide both control methods until we get more used to it.

    Or you could make menu navigation a "feature" by coming up with something innovative. I was thinking about control systems used in console games and thought of the conversations in Shenmue. If you've not played it, the menu has 4 choices max, arranged in a N,S,E,W type of way. To select the North answer you push UP on the joypad. etc.

    You could provide something similar. Push UP to start game, DOWN to get help, RIGHT to go to options page etc.

    Hope that helps you a bit.

  6. #6
    I tried... dbarbarian's Avatar
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    The direction arrows idea would be great for games with few buttons, allowing them to access different pages with one button. But as with Kakihara's suggestions, it would not work on a screen with more buttons.

    My main concern is when I do start work on the presentation of the game and the menus, I don't know if spending so much time into a keyboard controlled (up/down arrows move, space select) will be worth the usablity gained (if any).

  7. #7
    Razor
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    This is really just a decision that has to be made by you. Personally when I play flash games that require only the keyboard I prefer the menus with keyboard control so that I can easily restart or change options. And if you think about it, it wouldn't really take that long make a movieclip for each button give it an instance name thats a number i.e. '0' and then have a variable that increases or decreases depending on if the up key is pressed or if the down key is pressed, and then when enter is hit check what value the variable has.

  8. #8
    I tried... dbarbarian's Avatar
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    After asking around some more and through everyone's comments, I have decided to go with the keyboard control.
    Thanks for everyone's imput =)

    Maybe i can get some screenshots and gameplay vids up in a few months...

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