Can you feel it?

We left it last time with a very basic prototype to see if the game control could be fun, and it I thought it was, so that’s good enough to continue with this.

The previous demo was controlled by using a mouse to click-and-drag in the opposite direction of the way you want your character to move, to replicate that catapult feel of Angry Birds. As this is meant to be a mobile-first game, I expanded upon that control method to also include touch controls.

There are some basic differences between mouse and touch controls. Probably the first one most people would think of is the accuracy difference. A mouse is a precision implement that allows you to carefully control it’s position down to tiny, tiny amounts. A finger, on the other hand (so to speak), is not. After trialling the mouse controls I’d created, I was already having problems with exacting, fine control of speed and angles.

There’s another major difference between the two control methods that was hindering me here, and that was a mouse is an external input system so you can only see a representation of it’s movements onscreen, and these representations tend to be quite small. A finger (or thumb, or whatever other body part you wish to use), however, is significantly larger than the pointer for a mouse and tends to block a large portion of the screen.

I’d added a power bar (seen in the video above) to my test and tweaked the figures so it had a small deadzone near the character, and then would match the power to the fixed-length power bar. The problem with this was that my finger would pretty much obscure the entire power bar, leaving me guessing at what level of power I was putting in.

What this left me with was a play system that felt fun, but was pretty much impossible to use and consistently get the same response from when on it’s target platform. This means I’m going to, for the first time ever (I think), design a game UI - normally I wing it using Unity’s default buttons as I’m adding the UI in the last 2 hours of a game jam.