Find Your Joy

el_bearduno's picture

Joysticks are an integral key to interfacing with so many games. They've been around since the beginning (*cough* I love Robotron) and don't look to be leaving us any time soon.

However, they are certainly not the best tool for all situations. A first person shooter is the most obvious example of a genre with a control scheme that just works better on keyboard and mouse.

While it's important to build games with interface in mind, sometimes using the best interface isn't an option. This is because accessibility is always the number one consideration. Having a hardware barrier between users and your game can be a determining factor to their expectations and overall view of the game. In my opinion, having to put in extra work causes a natural inclination for return on investment. For example, what percentage of mobile game users use any peripherals? I would guess somewhere in the < %1 range. Even when you look at computer gamers who have built their own gaming machines, few probably own specific interface hardware other than a keyboard and mouse. 

So what happens when a game platform does not provide the best hardware interface for a game? 

Well, we just deal with it. Call of Duty has no problem holding top spots year after year with it's main player base on console. If you look at mobile phones we see some similar patterns. If people like X type of game and Y type of platform, then game developers make it work. Of course, there are exceptions and developers try to make games to suit platform abilities but there will always be 2 sides to this coin.

Recently, I've been delving into on-screen joysticks. They are interesting because everyone seems to have at least a little hate for them, yet here they are. The first game we're working on at Tiny Phoenix is a twin stick shooter and we want to target mobile as a secondary platform. When we first looked into the options available on the Unity store we found there were a ton of options. After tooling through everylast one of them we made our decision on what to use but thought we could also help anyone in this same spaghetti.


What we did was create a tool that lets you try out some of the top Unity joystick assets in one place. Here is what it looks like:

Main Screen: Quickly compare all the assets available. 

Demo Screens: Click any asset to open a demo.


We now have a playable and will possibly make similar tools for other asset categories in the future.

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