5.2 Action Information

Give players information about available actions and required inputs during gameplay.

Watch Time: 4 Minutes
Gameplay: PEGI 3 - 18
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Give players information about available actions and required inputs during gameplay.

Informing players on the actions they can perform in the game, both generally and for specific contexts, can be useful for the player if they want to know which inputs are required to play.

While a controls screen that shows which action each input corresponds to can be useful, they can be less flexible when trying to show controls for different contexts and for different input interactions.

Input prompts and reminders that show the required inputs and interactions needed to perform actions while actively playing, can be a more understandable way to present controls.

If possible, have prompts change depending on the input setup the player is currently using. You could for example change prompts depending on which inputs and input interactions the player has bound to each action.

In God of War changing the grab action from Click L3 to Hold Circle will mean the input prompt that appears when you are able to perform a grab action will now display Hold Circle to match the current mapping and interaction.

As well as having input prompts for specific actions, it might also be useful to remind the player of the set actions they can perform at any given moment and which inputs they’re mapped to.

For example in Monster Hunter World you have the option to enable a Button Guide that will constantly display a number of actions that you as the player can perform. The list of actions will also change when the context you are in and therefore the available set of actions changes.

If you do use input prompts in your game you should also try to account for different input methods such as touch and motion if an action is controlled in that way.

And try to support prompts for as many of the devices your game supports as you can. So on PC you might have Keyboard key prompts, as well as Xbox and PlayStation button prompts, depending on the device the player is using, either by detection, or by letting the player manually decide.

Rain World on PC allows you to choose between Keyboard, Xbox, and PlayStation when first launching the game. The game will display different controls for each input device to match the specific inputs available to each device.

It may also be useful to show the player what effect those actions might have. This could be done through any number of ways, such as having images and descriptions that detail those actions, or in-game videos that showcase the actions and inform the player of what to expect when performing them.

Telegraphing analog actions can help the player to position analog inputs, so you might for instance have an option to show where a projectile will land if suitable for your game.

Enabling this setting in the Last of Us Part II will mean that when priming a projectile to be thrown, the expected trajectory of the projectile will be displayed making it easier to position with an analog input as you now know where it will land.

Depending on the nature of your game, you might include tutorials that teach the player how and when to perform each action. Usually by having the player perform those actions in a purpose built environment, so that they can then apply that knowledge throughout the game.

This module is a part of Information. Discover other modules in this topic on the SpecialEffect DevKit website at specialeffectdevkit.info.