7.4 Automatic Analog Actions

Allow players to automate certain analog actions in a specific or optimal way.

Watch Time: 5 Minutes
Gameplay: PEGI 3 - 18
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Allow players to automate certain analog actions in a specific or optimal way.

In a similar way to automating digital actions, analog actions can also be automated.

Analog actions however can take any number of values, so you will need to decide how best to automate them given the current actions available in your game. You might decide to let players configure how analog actions are performed in a specific way, or you might have them be performed in an optimal way instead.

For example you might let the player move on a set or predetermined path to reach a particular destination. Once activated the game will adjust the player’s movements to keep them on the path.

In Red Dead Redemption 2 you can set a waypoint on the map and hold a button to have the character automatically follow roads and paths to get there, while in cinematic camera mode.

In Forza Motorsport 7 the highest level of steering assist will guide the driver’s steering to keep them near the optimal driving line. Though it won’t alter the path in response to other vehicles, it can allow for races to be completed without the player having to manually steer.

In a similar way to this you could also have an option to alter the path of the player to avoid obstacles or areas that might slow them down. If the player is going to collide with something, and might not be able to move an analog input quickly enough to avoid it, have the player automatically steer around it.

In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe enabling Smart Steering will mean that when the player nears the edge of the track or an area that will slow them down, the Smart Steering will activate and alter the path of the player to keep them on the track.

Some games, third person games in particular, have an action that automatically recenters the Camera with the press of a button, which usually adjusts it to face the direction the player’s character is facing. This might make handling the camera easier in some situations as the camera can now be partially controlled without the need for an analog input.

But as with digital actions, you could also automate analog actions in response to other actions. So as an alternative to resetting the camera manually, you could include the option to have the camera automatically adjust itself when the character attacks for example, like God of War allows you to do.

Or perhaps you might continuously update the direction of the camera to point in the direction that the character is moving.

Spyro Reignited Trilogy has the option to change the camera from Passive, to Active, which means the camera will continually readjust itself to face the direction Spyro is moving.

Including this option in third person games can be especially beneficial for players who have difficulty using two analog sticks at the same time.

The Last of Us Part II’s Camera Assist option will reorient the camera in the direction of the player’s movement, and also allows you to limit the assistance to a single axis if preferred.

Though less common, you could also automatically move the camera in a first person game. Sea of Thieves for instance has an Auto Center Camera option that automatically returns the camera to the horizon after a specified delay. Minimising the amount that the player needs to manually move the camera.

As with automating digital actions, another benefit of automating analog actions might be to prevent the player from having to perform otherwise complex input interactions.

In Outer Wilds if you enable the Autopilot feature, it can then be used to travel to a planet in an optimal direction and at an optimal speed throughout the journey. The player locks onto the planet they want to travel to, activates the autopilot, and the ship then automatically adjusts various aspects of its motion to arrive at the planet. This replaces what might be a set of complex analog movements with a single press of an input.

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