Left mouse button/rotation

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Phil Steinmeyer, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. Phil Steinmeyer

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    OK, one of the assorted concepts I'm playing with is sort of like Dr. Mario.

    You've got a block that you're positioning that's 2 squares big, lets say one side is red and the other green.

    In most games like this (including Dr. Mario, Tetris, sorta, and others), you need to be able to:
    1) Position the active blockset
    2) Rotate the active blockset
    3) Force the active blockset to fall into place quickly (else the game is slow and boring for veterans early on, when the pace is slow for newbies).

    For reasons somewhat unique to the twist I'm putting on this design, 3 is fairly important here - moreso even than in a normal game of this type.

    The problem is that I had planned to allow the mouse to control positioning (#1), the left mouse to force a fall (#3) and the right mouse to rotate (#2).

    But rotation is key to these kinds of game - without it, you play the game MUCH worse.

    But of course, one mantra of casual game design is to avoid assigning critical gameplay functionality to the right mouse button.

    So I can:
    1) Leave it as it is - players must learn to use the RMB as well as the LMB
    2) Switch functionality, so that LMB rotates and RMB drops. Doable, but players who don't discover this would be faced with a slow and somewhat odd experience, especially early game.
    3) Eliminate rotation altogether - player can only position new block, not rotate it. There are various difficulty adjustments I can make to offset this (i.e. less variety of colors on the board leading to easier matches. Match-3 in any configuration rather than 3-in-a-row).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. StGabriel

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    #2 sounds pretty viable. It seems that those who want to drop and play as quickly as possible would correlate well with those who can adjust to using the right mouse button. It certainly seems better than leaving the buttons as they are (in fact, left to rotate makes sense to me as rotation seems to be the more primary activity going on). This certainly seems to be at least as easy as the corresponding keyboard configuration (which is going to be at least 3/4 keys versus mouse movement and 1/2 keys). Your target audience is presumably people who like games like Tetris and so they should be able to play this.

    #3 depends a lot on the game. This seems to be a rather large change in the overall gameplay. I'd say build them both and try them out, ideally on a group of other people. If #3 is roughly as fun as #2 then go with that. If there's a significant loss of addictiveness/fun then I think #2 is viable.
     
  3. Shaz

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    If the gameplay is similar to those others mentioned and they use the RMB to rotate objects then your audience (if familiar with those types of games) should be used to the RMB. Super Rumble Cube is another - I play lots of these types of games and just expect to use the RMB.
     
  4. impossible

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    We're dealing with this exact problem right now and don't really know how to solve it. From feedback we've got LMB for drop and RMB for rotation feels more natural to the majority of players. We experimented with LMB rotation and RMB drop, but most people really disliked it.

    Option 3 really changes the nature of the game, which should be ok if you design the game around it. Eliminating rotation really changed the feel of the game. Normally I make matches in the game, but without rotation I had to look for matches. From comments people gave about wanting more time to look for matches in the game, I suspect that a lot of people play the game without rotation, or without fulling utilizing rotation anyway. Some of this might be due to the weirdness of Boxen's system. You can drop pieces from anywhere but they fall like normal dr. mario pieces.

    A 4th possibility is to eliminate drop, but that can definitely get annoying and slow. Maybe there is some way to keep the player occupied while waiting for a drop?

    This may not apply to your game concept, but its what I've experienced with Boxen. If possible I would look into 3, or try to find an intuitive alternative to a 2 button control scheme. We played with somethings, like rotating in the direction of mouse movement, but nothing really worked for rotation.
     
  5. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    technically, I think rotation would be an advanced feature, so it'd be alright to map it to the rmb.

    a player can play the game without rotating the piece
     
  6. Phil Steinmeyer

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    Using rotation makes the game roughly twice as easy. So, if balanced under the assumption that players will use rotation, then players who don't discover it will find the game very hard.

    Right now, the game's just at the concept stage, so it's easy enough to go either way. I do have prototypes both ways, with the difficulty geared with and without rotation. I'll probably go the latter if I stay with this concept.

    I know that plenty of console/handheld puzzle games use rotation (including of course, Tetris, plus Lumines and many others), but there, the player has d-pad on the left, and at least 2 buttons on the right, so relying on a drop button and a rotate button is fine.

    But are there any PC casual games, that are mouse driven, where both rotation and drop are critical and are mapped onto the left and right mouse buttons?
     
  7. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    Word Slinger - left to place a word, right to rotate it
    Fiber Twig, Inlay Series, Runic One etc - left to play a tile, right to rotate it
    Puzzle Express - left to place a tetroid, right to rotate it

    I can't think of any drop games but place and drop are pretty much the same thing.
     
  8. impossible

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    Feel free to try out Boxen (link in my sig.) Unless you mean "are there any commercially successful PC casual games, that are mouse driven, where both rotation and drop are critical and are mapped onto the left and right mouse buttons." In that case, none that I know of (Boxen isn't for sale yet.)
     
  9. Phil Steinmeyer

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    Impossible - I note that you use LMB to rotate, RMB to drop - which seems to run counter to the other examples cited. Just your feel for it, or the result of user testing, or what?
     
  10. impossible

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    Actually, it should be the other way around. Looks like something in the current build is wrong. There is an option to switch buttons.

    User testing has shown that people don't like LMB rotate, RMB drop. The original reasoning behind using LMB for rotate and RMB for drop is because we decided that rotate is more important than drop. I assumed many people would not use the right mouse button at all, and therefore never rotate. It is ok if people do not drop, but the game would be much more difficult without rotation. This didn't work out and just frustrates people. It could be the design of the game, but many people do not rotate regardless of what button rotate is mapped to.
     
  11. James C. Smith

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    I like option 3 the most. In my mind, the real goal of the “no Right Mouse Button” advice is to simplify the game and limit yourself to a single way to interact with each object.

    But if you do end up allowing rotation, I would encourage you to not only allow the mouse wheel to be used for rotation, but also treat that as the primary way for rotating. Of course you would need to support a key or the RMB as a backup, but the tutorial should list the wheel first and the RMB as a backup.

    The great things about the wheel are that is allow rotation in 2 directions and is more "intuitive" and harder to confuse with other action. In other words, if you were going to make one button drop and one button rotate it would be debatable as to which button should do which. But if you were going to make one action be tied to the LMB and one action be tied to the wheel it is a very straightforward choice as to which should go on the wheel. The point is, if the player remembers they are supposed to use the wheel and a button, it will be easy for them to keep straight which does what. But if they remember two use two buttons, it will be harder to keep straight which does what.

    I personally can’t stand playing “Inlay” type games that don’t let me use the wheel to rotate. The only time it is okay to force me (personally) to use a mouse button to rotate is if the other mouse button is going to rotate in the opposite direction. Otherwise you better let me rotate with the wheel.
     
    #11 James C. Smith, Feb 21, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  12. tentons

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    Just get creative with the constraints of 1 button. Why not use mouse gestures instead of another button? Click and drag left to rotate clockwise, click and drag right for counter-clockwise. Click and drag down to "drop". One button, and seems it would be pretty intuitive. So that EEEEEVIL right button could be happily ignored. :rolleyes:
     
  13. impossible

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    Great idea James, I can't believe I never even thought of it. Although it seems like it will work well, it also seems like people are less likely to intuitively try the mouse wheel in a casual game than they are likely to try the right mouse button.
     
  14. RohoMech

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    Incadia does something sort of similiar, lmb drops the pieces and rmb "rotates" them, but its really cycling them around. But the game didn't get too high ratings, and I'm not sure if it was a hit or not....

    But I think that's another example of this.
     
  15. RohoMech

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    Phil, we'd changed to lmb drop a while ago, had you tried our initial posting of the demo? A few things have changed since that posting, so we'd be much obliged if you tried the new build.
     
  16. Phil Steinmeyer

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    I've posted up my game prototypes publicly. See the post on this forum.

    The rotate/no-rotate concepts are GameR and GameO, respectively. Feel free to check them (and the other concepts) out and give me feedback.
     

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