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Session Name:

Controls You Can Feel: Putting Tactility Back Into Touch Controls


For those of us used to developing games for standard console controllers, touch screens can be difficult and daunting. The stakes are high: while great controls can bring players into the game more seamlessly than ever before, poorly designed ones can leave players feeling uncomfortable and frustrated.

In this talk, critically acclaimed artist and game developer Zach Gage addresses what it takes to develop successful controls (and therefor successful games), for touch screen devices. Although innovating controls might seem like a new challenge for game developers, it's actually a pretty old one. When the game industry was young, all the controllers and buttons we now take for granted had to be invented and designed, (often in tandem with the games they were meant for). Through examining classically successful console games, we will develop a language for discussing and dissecting the quality of specific control paradigms. Attendees will be taught how to use this language to find (or invent) the right paradigm for their touch game. Further, we will use this language to assess the triumphs and failures of specific control schemes across a multitude of touch games. Although this session is specifically about touch devices, the lessons learned can be applied when designing for any new console medium, Wii U, PS Vita, PS Move, Kinect, etc.

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  • GDC 2012
  • Zach Gage
  • STFJ
  • free content
  • Smartphone and Tablet Games Summit
  • Smartphone / Tablet Games