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direct control vs. point and click

posted by Emily on - last edited - Viewed by 688 users

Some discussion about a direct control interface vs. point and click sprouted up in this thread and it made me wonder which direct control adventure games you guys have played, and what your experience was with them.

The first one I remember playing was Gabriel Knight 3 (well, not counting the old King's Quest games where you walked around using the arrow keys :D), and I had a terrible time with it because I don't have a very good sense of direction and had a hard time figuring out where the camera was pointing and which way to walk to make Gabe go where I wanted him to go. In that game you can actually set the cameras to behave in different ways and I finally figured out some settings that worked a lot better for me.

It's funny though, because right around the same time I played Final Fantasy 8 on PC -- which had a very complicated keyboard system -- and it wasn't so bad. It may have helped that you could remap the keys. I don't remember if GK3 allowed this. Shadow of Destiny is another one where I got the hang of the controls pretty quickly, although I do remember the cameras behaved differently when you were inside than when you were outside, which was confusing.

A few years ago I got a gamepad and I was amazed at how much more fun it made direct control games for me. It also seems like people who are more comfortable with action games have an easier time than people who aren't. I usually play adventures with the occasional RPG thrown in, so I think that's why it took me a while to get the hang of direct control.

Anyway - that's my (longer than originally intended) story. I'm curious to hear some other opinions...?

41 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I know my way around WASD+Mouse (and similar variations) setups quite comfortably, but when it comes to adventure games, I like to sit back with the mouse in one hand and the other holding food or drink. I've always seen adventures as a genre where all of your attention should be on the screen, with minimal focus on the control interface. They are the movies of games.

    Of course, if you guys did move on to direct control, I wouldn't be any less devoted a fan. (Outside of some kvetching on the forums :p) What really matters is the quality itself.

    So, to sum it up: Pointy Clickery = Win. Direct Control = Begrudging Acceptance. Mind Control = I'll Bow Before Thee.

  • Adventure games should definitely be point and click. There's really no reason not to use this system, they don't contain action or anything requiring very precise controls.

    And it's much more relaxing to sit back and play using the mouse.

  • I played Monkey Island 4 for the PC and the controls plain felt awkward... I could even say it played like Squaresoft's PSX Final Fantasy titles, minus the fighting and useless items. I say keep the control to point & click for adventure games (except for the action scenes, like S&M's car chases).

    If you ARE going to make a direct control adventure game, make sure that it doesn't involve too much walking around finding things that you might be able to use/get. That just feels messy because it's the equivalent to pointing and clicking just anywhere because there wouldn't be an indication of what's interactable (though I guess you could add indications).

    Finally, I think that it'd be nice to see a more old-style/sophisticated point and click adventure game, like in Full throttle: don't just "use" item 1 on item 2, but become able to "use", "get", "look at" things. Just a few key phrases to keep it simple enough, of course. But I digress.

  • Depends on what game.

    Obviously, Point and click works for adventure games, like Maniac Mansion. (NO, NOT RUNESCAPE!!!)

    Direct control works for games like FPSs and Platformers. So, that is my very generic opinion on controls.

  • Now I'm imagining someone playing a platformer by pointing and clicking.

    "!@#$% can't jump over to the next platform!!"

  • [quote]Adventure games should definitely be point and click. There's really no reason not to use this system, they don't contain action or anything requiring very precise controls.[/quote]

    Okay, for the sake of discussion, let's say the capable team over here came up with some good reasons that a particular game had to be direct control. :D What is it you're afraid would be lost? Or put another way, what is it about point & click that makes it the "right" way for an adventure game to be played? (Or have you just been burned by poorly implemented direct control in the past? Which games?)

    Also, for those who don't like it - have you ever tried using a gamepad for an adventure game? Did you find that this changed the experience, or did you still not like it?

  • I found Grim Fandango's controls to be terrible, and were only slightly improved when I used a 360 controller. As ShaggE said, the point-and-click interface of adventure games is a welcome break from the modern gameplay styles, and allows me to relax and just solely use the mouse. It's great that one click gets the character where you want, or what you want them to do, rather than having to manually control them over to it. This obviously doesn't account in other genres with titles where working your way across the world is part of the actual gameplay.

    I'm not going to dislike Wallace & Gromit anymore because of the new control scheme (I hope...), it's just a shame it isn't retaining the clicking and the pointing. Although, I'm not sure how I'd feel with Sam & Max moving into a different control scheme.

  • @Emily said: Okay, for the sake of discussion, let's say the capable team over here came up with some good reasons that a particular game had to be direct control. :D What is it you're afraid would be lost? Or put another way, what is it about point & click that makes it the "right" way for an adventure game to be played? (Or have you just been burned by poorly implemented direct control in the past? Which games?)

    Also, for those who don't like it - have you ever tried using a gamepad for an adventure game? Did you find that this changed the experience, or did you still not like it?


    I'm biased, I have this neurological damage in my hands and my fingers get tired extremely quickly. That's why I mainly play adventure games (the mouse controls). Or well, adventure games was always my favourite genre, so I was lucky in that way.

    But putting that aside, I still think it's much more relaxing for most people to sit back and navigate with the mouse, rather than having to press (and hold) keys to move around, etc.

  • Just my own opinion...

    I think people immediately assume Grim Fandango (or MI4) when people say 'direct control' in the context of adventure games, which I think is probably a mistake. I don't think the scheme those games used was completely (or in some cases at all) successful, but it's certainly not the only way. I've played some adventures that were direct control that I think worked pretty nicely. I actually thought Broken Sword controlled pretty well in 3D for example, with the exception of forcing me to watch an 'ouch' animation whenever a character ran into a wall :)

  • i played both dreamfall and BS3 on the original xbox both of which controlled really well on a controller. psychonauts also played decently. i also liked the combination of both in hotel dusk and another code

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