In this quick, 2 part series on implementing controls, I’ll be guiding you through the process of adding the right controls mechanism to your game, then making sure that players understand how to use them.  In part 1 we’ll be discussing the initial decisions that must go into your control scheme to ensure a fun experience for the player.

Give the player options

Players should get some input as to how they want the controls to be for the game. By no means am I saying you need to let them choose each and every button themselves, but let them choose between arrow keys or WASD for character movement. Or maybe let them decide whether to use the number keys or Q and E to switch weapons in a shooting game. The point is that when there is more than one option for controls, why not give them both and let them decide.

Don’t overdue it

Airplane Controls

How your game controls should NOT look!

There’s a reason most flash games have simple controls. With so many flash games to choose from on the web, why should a player bother to learn your game’s unique control scheme? You only get one chance to impress the player, and you certainly aren’t going to do that by making your game so hard to understand that only people who read the hour long directions movie will play it. So stick with the commonly used control schemes and your players will thank you.

Use at least some form of mouse control


Unless you plan on earning $0 from your game, you must use the mouse. Even if your game was designed to be an old school style game with arrow key menu controls to really give it that retro feel, you should still implement mouse control.

People are used to using their mouse for navigation of their computers. By taking that away from them, they could become confused and annoyed with your game. Even worse, by forcing the player to use the keyboard for navigation, you pretty much take away all chances of them visiting you or your sponsor’s site. Say goodbye to game revenue. Sponsor’s know that people are used to clicking on ads. If your game doesn’t let players click, the chances of them visiting the sponsors site are slim. It’s an easy feature to add mouse controls, so make sure your games never go without it.

Keep following these tips, and you should have players praising your controls in no time, or at least not insulting them.

Related posts:

  1. Game Controls
  2. Implementing Controls: Teach the Player
  3. 10 Things to Consider when Planning a Game