In today’s games the controller acts as the bridge between our brains and the virtual landscape. However, not much has changed in it’s design since the super NES. Our question is, how can the controller be made in a way that it gives users more control without sacrificing the comfort and intuitive feel that it has today? We’ve put together an article that discusses this topic in detail covering everything from mechanics all the way to compatibility.
Let’s first start with connectivity. Most handsets today are equipped with some sort of blue tooth capability that allows it to connect at a considerable distance from the gaming device with minimal input lag. Needless to say our ideal device will have this technology because of the flexibility it provides between consoles. Connectivity also includes I/O. Our controller will need to follow standards and avoid propriety connections. Because of this we have chosen to use a mini usb 2.0 connection for both charging and hard wired connections and a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack for audio.
The design for our controller will borrow a lot from the xbox one elite controller. It will be similarly shaped and weighted so that it will feel as natural as possible resting in the user’s hands. Offsetting the left and right thumbsticks has proven to offer a slight advantage in certain games. Sticking to this principle we will also incorporate the built in speakers that sony uses in the PS4 handset. This vastly underused feature cuppled with the built in microphone will enable developers to create deeply immersive games. Imagine listening to the npc’s radio chatter through your handset and then prompting them to issue an attack via voice command. This is the gameplay that can be accomplished with our ideal handset. These features are not limited to just in game content. This will also have the ability to be used for party chat as well. By no means will this controller be a replacement for a proper headset but the flexibility to do so is there none the less.
Another key design feature our perfect handset will adopt is to come stock with a removable/replaceable battery. Having this alleviates the need to constantly buy disposable batteries while at the same time allowing users to replace the battery once it reaches the end of its lifespan. This alone will greatly increase the longevity of the controller.
Lastly we will borrow from the PS4 controller again by adding a touch pad to our handset. Having this touch pad not only improves navigation outside of gameplay, but it also opens the door for user defined presets and real-time menu navigation. A right swipe can either prompt a new load out or a complex button combination. The touch pad utility is only limited to the imaginations of both the developers and end users.
One of the greatest features of our ideal handset will be the mechanics itself. This controller will minimize inputs by replacing the traditional bumpers with additional triggers. Pressure sensitive buttons will also be used to allow for half motions in game play. Ideally games that support these features will benefit greatly from the added degree of input. Players will be given a greater span of control without the need of additional buttons or paddles.
The concept of this handset is enticing and it is very easy to get excited about the thought of a controller that has all of these capabilities. With all of this in mind we have to still consider the fact that these consumer friendly features will cap some of the profit to be made by manufactures. We also have to take into account that these handsets will have to reach some sort of critical mass before developers will even take the time to create games that use it’s features. Although the idea of the perfect controller seems hopeful at best, we are positive that some of its aspects will make its way into handsets sometime in the future. With a greater sense of scale in games we need a greater sense of presence. And what better way to create this presence than to give users more ways to interact with the environments that were so carefully created?