2.8    Reducing the Total Number of Inputs

Help players by reducing the number of inputs required to play your game.

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

2.8    Reducing the Total Number of Inputs

Help players by reducing the number of inputs required to play your game.

Remapping allows players to use the inputs they prefer and have greater access to. Remapping can also help players by reducing the total number of inputs needed to play a game.

Simply adding the ability to remap controls could help players reduce the number of inputs they use, as some players might remap inputs mid-game to perform some of the less commonly required actions, though this may not be ideal.

A better way to let players do this is through contextual remapping. Allow players to use the same input for different actions, if the actions they are bound to are mutually exclusive and you could never perform them at the same time.

When rowing a boat in Sea of Thieves you aren’t able to jump or reload, so you could remap A and X to the left and right oar stroke, so that you no longer need to use the triggers.

In general, the more contexts there are the greater the chance that the player can reduce the total number of controls.

Any instance where the set of actions available to the player changes should be considered a different context, even if the contexts only differ by a single action. Even something like looking at or being near an interactable object, such as a door, or your character being in mid-air could be considered a different context.

Let the player remap the same input to more than one action, if those actions could be performed at the same time without affecting the core of the game. And if the core of the game might be affected, let players decide for themselves where to make compromises.

Battlefield V allows you to do this, so you might map both move forward and Vault, to Up on the left stick, so both actions will be performed at the same time when pushing up on the left stick, meaning you no longer need an additional button to vault.

While allowing players to configure this themselves can be useful, options or defaults that reduce the total number of inputs required can show players different ways they could play.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has the option to jump using Up on the left stick so you no longer need a button to jump.

NHL offers an NHL ’94 scheme which uses a reduced number of inputs to play.

Some games have added options that make it possible to play with a single stick where normally two would be required. Often one for movement and one for the camera or aiming.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has a single stick mode, which is made possible by considering aiming as a different context. While aiming, control of the analog stick will change from movement to controlling the camera, so a second stick is no longer required for this.

GEARS 5 also has the option of single stick aiming, but extends this by having a single stick mode as a separate choice that allows you to move around and control the camera with a single stick even when not aiming.

When evaluating the controls that players will use, consider how your game could include a way to play with access to fewer inputs. You might have options that go beyond changing the way input is handled and actually alter the gameplay as well, assisting the player and reducing the total number of inputs.

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

Game Credits

  1. Battlefield V (EA DICE / Electronic Arts) – 01:29 / [02:02]
  2. Farm Together (Milkstone Studios) – 00:35
  3. FIFA 20 (EA Sports) – 02:32
  4. FIFA 21 (EA Sports) – 03:42
  5. Fortnite (Epic Games) – 01:34
  6. Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Microsoft Studios) – 01:17
  7. Gears 5 (The Coalition / Xbox Game Studios) – [03:23]
  8. NHL 20 (EA Sports) – [02:48]
  9. Sea of Thieves (Rare / Microsoft Studios) – [00:47] / 02:56
  10. Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Eidos-Montréal / Square Enix) – [03:07]
  11. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Bandai Namco Studios + Sora Ltd. / Nintendo) – [02:37]
  12. The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment) – 01:41

[ ] = Referenced by Name

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