- Apr 2, 2019
With all the emphasis on custom control schemes and keybinds, there is a disappointing lack of attention being paid to PC controllers.
I use a Logitech Dual Action controller for PC gaming; it has two sticks, 12 buttons, and a D-pad which gives it a great deal of versatility. I use it for sidescrollers like Sonic Mania, and 3D games like Minecraft. Even if certain games don't have official controller support, I make it work with a program called JoyToKey. I've created input configurations for over 30 games, so I know a thing or two about setting up intuitive control schemes.
TerraTech has controller support of course, but I feel it could use some improvement.
Most of TerraTech's default controls are serviceable, the control stick configuration is fine for driving and camera control, and the right trigger is an intuitive choice for firing weapons, but you should always give the player the option to change or disable something if they don't like it.
Probably the second worst offender is the default thrust 2 binding. This input corresponds with the left Ctrl key and generally fires boosters. Unfortunately, this function seems to be irrevocably linked to the right bumper on my controller.
Here's why this is a big deal. Prior to the customizable control update, the right bumper on my controller didn't do anything. That's when I had the bright idea to use JoyToKey to assign it to the middle mouse button so I can lock onto enemies. This choice is intuitive since the right bumper is very close to the right trigger which is used to fire weapons. Locking onto an enemy and firing at said enemy is a whip-quick process for me, because I don't have to take my right hand off the controller and fiddle with the mouse. Then this control update came around and a controller input was added for thrusters, -and darned if it wasn't the ONE BUTTON that I was already using for something else! This threw a wrench into my whole custom control scheme because firing boosters when trying to lock onto an enemy is annoying, and assigning lock-on anywhere else isn't intuitive.
Oh, but it gets worse. A controller input was recently added to access the skins menu of all things. This was assigned to the "clicker" on the left control stick (activated by pressing the stick in with your left thumb). As you may have guessed, I was already using this input for something too. This time it's the Pg Up key, very useful for helicopters and hovercraft. This particular change crosses the line from irritating to downright intrusive.
There are a lot of buttons on a standard USB gamepad and we should use them, but the result needs to be intuitive for the user. What works for one person may not work for the next, so customization is key!