7.2    Alternative Actions

Offer players alternative ways to perform actions.

Watch Time: 4 Minutes
Gameplay: PEGI 3 - 18
Show Transcript

7.2    Alternative Actions

Offer players alternative ways to perform actions.

There may be actions in your game that require the use of certain inputs or input interactions that some players may find challenging. Providing alternative ways to perform these actions might simplify your game and allow more people to access it.

Games that use cursor interactions, like point and click style games, sometimes require other inputs to perform certain actions, such as requiring buttons or keys to open a menu or inventory. Consider whether some of those actions could potentially be performed when the user selects a graphical element on screen with their cursor instead. This way they might no longer need to have access to some inputs.

When playing GNOG on PC with the Mouse Accessibility mode enabled, actions like rotating the puzzles and opening the menu can now be performed by selecting different elements of the interface, instead of having to use the escape key or right mouse button.

Even in games that don’t use a cursor by default, it might be possible to allow actions to be performed in this way.

When using a gamepad in Nowhere Prophet, it’s possible to switch from a style of play that requires a number of different inputs, to an entirely cursor-based interaction method where all the actions can be performed by moving the cursor and selecting different graphical elements.

Menus can sometimes be difficult for some players to interact with, especially menus that require several inputs in order to fully access them.

If the other inputs required in your menu are used to provide quick access to certain pages, consider providing alternative ways to navigate to those areas with fewer inputs. Perhaps again with selectable targets that take the player to those pages. Though a manual approach may take longer for the player, it reduces the overall number of inputs needed to play.

An option in FIFA makes it possible to navigate certain menus without the need for the bumpers and triggers if using a gamepad. Navigation within these menus can now be performed with just the left stick instead.

You may have an event in your game that requires an analog input to be moved in a series of precise ways. Consider whether it’s possible to simplify the action so that it can perhaps be performed with a digital input instead.

Fishing in Red Dead Redemption 2 would normally require you to spin the right stick to reel a fish in, but turning on Hold to Reel, will let you reel the fish in by holding a digital input instead.

And in a similar way, opening chisel doors in God of War would normally require precise analog movement, but setting Chisel Doors to Single Button, means they can be opened with a single button press instead.

Another way of providing alternative inputs for certain actions is to give control of those actions to one or more other people, either locally or online.

Games like Super Mario Odyssey and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons on Nintendo Switch both allow you to play what would typically be single player experiences with two players, each using a different controller when that mode is enabled.

And in Arise: A Simple Story, while two player mode is on, player one has access to all of the actions that control the character, whereas the second player is able to control the environment. These actions would normally all be performed by a single player.

This means the player has fewer actions they need to perform themselves. This method of play will only be suitable for some games however.

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

Game Credits

  1. Arise: A Simple Story (Piccolo Studio / Techland Publishing) – 03:35
  2. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Starbreeze Studios / 505 Games) – [03:23]
  3. Day of the Tentacle Remastered (Doublefine Productions) – 00:31
  4. FIFA 21 (EA Sports) – 00:52 / [02:13]
  5. Forza Motorsport 7 (Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios) – 01:50
  6. GNOG (KO_OP / Double Fine Presents) – [01:00]
  7. God of War (Santa Monica Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment) – [02:54]
  8. Nowhere Prophet (Sharkbomb Studios / No More Robots) – [01:20]
  9. Outer Wilds (Moebius Digital / Annapurna Interactive) – 01:39
  10. Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games) – 00:15 / [02:27]
  11. Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo) – [03:10]
  12. The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents) – 02:10

[ ] = Referenced by Name

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