Probably the biggest change in X-Orbtek II compared to the original is that it now plays a lot more like a twin stick shooter. This has a huge impact on controls.
In the original game I built it with the intention of being played with a controller and provided keyboard controls for those who prefer that sort of thing. In hindsight I should have given more love to keyboard as people will play with weaker controls and then come away with a negative opinion. I like that Super Meat Boy is quite blunt that you’re better using a controller and I’m likely to do the same on the PC version of X-Orbtek II.
That said, not everyone has an Xbox controller on hand and I don’t want to make the same mistake of having a game get reviewed by someone on rubbishy keyboard controls. I plan to do a lot more work here to refine how you play the game. One change is that WASD/arrow keys will move the player up/left/down/right. There’s no turning. Direction will be based on where you are aiming, which will be controlled with the mouse.
This provides precise aiming and negates the issue of the turn circle that affected the original so heavily. However it does still have one of the same issues. Keyboard controls are on or off. This means there’s no moving slowly and much more importantly you have limited angles of movement. Movement is limited to 8 directions and is very rigid. With a controller you will be weaving smoothly between enemies (unless you’re rubbish at the game) but it be more challenging for keyboard users.
Unfortunately there’s not a lot that can be done. My only other option would be controller only but that cuts the player base and there’s no guarantee that those reviewing the game for online stores (eg IndieCity) will have access to a controller.
On the Xbox players may have a range of controllers, however I don’t imagine playing X-Orbtek II with a guitar or steering wheel will be much fun. To avoid people judging the game when played with devices that aren’t up to the job I’ve deliberately limited what you can use. This means if you plug in your guitar it will show up as unavailable. Originally I never showed this information but this led to two issues. Firstly people might be confused as to why only 2 of their 3 signed in profiles are showing up. Secondly, which unfortunately led to a failed review, it caused a bug. The bug itself was fixed to but it was clear that we want to convey this information.
Well that wraps up how I’ll be handling controllers in X-Orbtek II. I don’t believe it applies to all games but I feel that for a game designed for twin stick controls you need to ensure that your end users have the capability to play.