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Proposal: Add digital vs analogue movement control details to Input template


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I enjoy playing different types of games using controllers dedicated to different purposes, such as using an arcade stick to play fighting games, or a gamepad with gyro to play first-person shooters. I would like to be able to look at a PCGW page and see which type of controller would be appropriate for a given game. Sometimes this is obvious — Street Fighter V certainly would be perfect on an arcade stick — but sometimes it's not. A key factor in this is what kind of directional controls a game uses.

Most traditional fighting games, for example, do not require analogue movement controls, such as what a thumb stick would offer; they are designed instead to use digital movement controls, such as an arcade joystick, D-pad, or WASD. You can definitely play a fighting game competently using an analogue directional input if you want, but it's not necessary.

On the other hand, most racing games (at least the ones that are even slightly realistic) absolutely do require analogue movement controls. Anyone who has attempted to play a racing game on keyboard understands this: You have no gradual control over steering, which results in very jerky and hard-to-control movement. It's possible to play such a racing game using digital movement controls, but you are severely hampering yourself by choosing to do so.


I would like to add a field to the Input template that somehow expresses what kind of directional controls a game uses.

I want to know what is optimal vs what is playable vs what is impossible. Playing Street Fighter V without access to analogue movement is optimal; you lose nothing by not having analogue inputs. Playing Hades without access to analogue movement is playable; you can certainly play and enjoy the whole game this way, but technically, your movement becomes a bit less nuanced because you are restricted to 8 cardinal directions, which can hamper you somewhat in intense combat sections. I don't know a specific example off the top of my head, but I imagine some racing games, flight sims, etc would be impossible to play without analogue movement.

Maybe "impossible" is too strong a word; "unplayable" is perhaps better.

The field might be called something like "Analogue movement control required", with possible values "no", "somewhat", and "yes". (Please feel free to suggest better terminology here; I'm finding it hard to come up with the right wording.)

I think the appropriate place to add this is under "Additional information", near "Simultaneous controller+KB/M", partly because it's relevant to games that support SKBM (using analogue movement with a mouse allows for optimal movement & aim in some games).

What is explicitly not covered by this proposal

Directional inputs such as those used to move or steer a character, cursor, vehicle, etc are certainly not the only kinds of inputs that can be produced as either digital or analogue. Many gamepads for example have analogue triggers, whereas Switch controllers have digital triggers. But in order to keep the scope of this initial attempt under control, I intend to limit this to what we usually consider "movement" controls — i.e. the role that is typically assigned to the D-pad, left thumb stick, arcade joystick, or WASD keys. Thus, "right hand" controls (mouse, right thumb stick) and triggers are out, as are gyro, pressure-sensitive buttons, and any other such oddities. A future development might entail adding this kind of detail.

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There are, which is the entire reason I want this!

A few examples:

All of these can be purchased right now and are supported on PC.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I'm experimenting in my user sandbox with implementing this change. It seems that most of our tabular fields generally have the association of "true" values being good and "false" values being bad. So to keep with that semantic, I would rephrase my proposal as something more like "digital movement supported", and have the meanings of the values be more like "true" meaning "you can get away with not having analogue movement controls", and "false" meaning "you can't actually play the game effectively without analogue movement controls". I'd also then further reduce the scope of this initial stage of the project to simply be a straightforward boolean question: Can you at all play the game meaningfully using digital movement? A later refinement can add a "kind of, it depends" in-between option, but for now simply having it be true or false would already be helpful to fans of arcade sticks and the like.

Please find here my sandbox experiments.

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