Use Better Inputs in Your Games
I often play web games in my free time and I noticed something that a lot of games get wrong: the inputs. The way players interact with a game is so important that getting this part wrong might make your game unplayable.
I listed below 3 simple tips that will help make the interactions between the player and the game a lot smoother. However, keep in mind that there are probably some exceptions to what I say below.
The most basic issue when playing a game is not knowing what to do. When that's the case players usually start pressing random keys on their keyboards until something happens. If they are lucky it might work, otherwise they will just leave the game.
That's why it should always be clearly written which keys the user should use:
- On the title screen, how to start the game?
- Then, how to actually play?
- And finally, how to restart the game?
When you are building your own game the controls are obvious to you. But they are a complete mystery to the people who will try your game for the first time later on. So make sure to add instructions to help your players.
Sometimes I stumble across games who seem to hate me. Let me describe you how they usually work:
- To start the game I have to press the "enter" key.
- Then I need to use the arrow keys to move.
- And when I die I have to click with my mouse on the restart button.
Do you see the problem? What's the point of making my hands move all over the place and forcing me to learn new inputs at each step of the game? In this example everything could have been done with just the arrow keys:
- Press the up arrow key to start the game.
- Use the arrow keys to move.
- Press the up arrow key to restart the game.
That's a lot easier to understand, to do, and to remember. So try to use the same keys thorough the whole game for a better experience.
Lastly, a lot of games rely only on the wasd keys to move around. That's great, except for all the people who don't use qwerty keyboards. I, for example, use an azerty keyboard (as everyone in France) and all wasd games are unplayable for me. There are hundreds of millions of other people not using qwerty keyboards, don't forget them.
There are lots of ways to solve this issue, like letting people set their own game controls. But you can also do something a lot simpler: just add support for the arrow keys. This way people can either use wasd keys or the arrow keys.
- Add instructions on which keys to use.
- Be consistent with the inputs.
- If you use wasd, also use the arrow keys.
All these rules are really simple to implement and they will make your games better.