touch interface

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fireside 141 Dec 28, 2011 at 16:51

What are your thoughts on the touch interface of mobile games? It looks extremely limiting to write a game with it to me, but those types of game are becoming quite popular. I don’t have a cell phone myself, but someone showed me angry birds on it and I wasn’t all that impressed. With my big fingers I could hardly see what was going on.

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tyree 102 Dec 28, 2011 at 17:53

pure gimmick. when you remove the keyboard, that forces the user to spend a lot of time trying to get the interface to work. you dont have more screen space without a keyboard either. now your waiting for the keypad to pop up and it takes up a fair amount of space since the keys are usually larger than an actual keypad.

but you can make a fun game for mobile. but it has to be kept simple. which isnt a completely bad thing. but no joysticks really limits what you can do. unless you make a virtual joystick on the screen. now you just have to hope the software can handle doing both your joystick and running the game

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Stainless 151 Dec 28, 2011 at 20:48

Remember you have the accelerometers on some machines as well, though I hate racing games done this way.

Without any feedback, it’s really difficult the get the phone in just the right position.

A touch screen can be good, and a nightmare depending on the size of the screen.

It’s not fun being a mobile developer when you have to support multiple platforms

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geon 101 Dec 28, 2011 at 21:11

I’ve played a fair bit on iOS. The important thing is to write the game for the touch screen, not just make a traditional console game and expect it to work.

There is some official ports of the various Sonic games (Master system, Megadrive), and a port of Rayman 2 (Dreamcast). They play OK. Just OK, not great. Since you can’t feel the buttons on the screen, you don’t know fo sure where they are, which is super-important in most games, especially platformers. You also can’t rest your thumb on the button, since that would registar as a button-press, so you need to hover the thumb over the surface, losing spatial and lateral precision.

Two racers I know were developed for touchscreens are Death Rally and Reckless Racing. They both play GREAT! (With capital letters and exclamation point.) The steering is centered around your finger each time you touch down on the screen, so you just need to swipe by diffrent amounts, not hit some exact spot. Swiping gives you tactile feedback since you can feel the friction. If you just swipe a very short distance, you can even roll the thumb instead of dragging it against the screen, so you know exactly how far you move.

The kind of game where touchscreens shine are the more “casual” type without twitch reaction and pure reflexes. Preferably you should be able to interact with the game screen “directly”, without any controller-buttons. Stuff like Bejeweled, Sim City, and Angry Birds are great examples of this.

Personally I think Angry Birds suck as a game, but I guess that’s a matter of taste.

I’m not much of a fan of FPS:es outside the PC, with a mouse. But the few I’ve tried on touchscreen have worked at least as well as what I’ve played on consoles.

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rouncer 104 Dec 29, 2011 at 05:41

Touch screens really excel for art programs, but im not really a fan of touchscreen games either, unless it was turn based strategy or rpg, then it would just take over where the mouse left off… id say the best fit for touch screen would be rpg or turn based strategy (without all the action going on that your fudgy fingers get in the way of), jmo.