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