(I really hope this doesn't sound whiny; I don't want to tell anyone what they should or should not do; I'm just trying to make sure people are aware of something they may never have thought of!)
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If you use "up" as the jump button for a platformer, it makes it basically impossible to play your game using a controller/gamepad.
Please be kind to those of us who like to use a joystick or d-pad as our directional input!
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(besides, aren't we supposed to pretend that the non-devkit version of PICO-8 only has a d-pad and two buttons, with no keyboard?)
While I prefer having a dedicated button to jump, 8bit and 16bit computers (anything from before Spectrum up to Amiga) used UP to jump on a daily basis. For a whole generations of people (mostly in Europe in the 80s thru mid 90s) this was the only way to play, so there's that...
But I do agree with you, using a dedicated button for jump is the way to go. If you need another button for another, less used action, up and down are always an option.
Right, with a keyboard, it is totally acceptable to use "up" as jump (although I still disprefer it, but that's just my opinion).
My whole point is that PICO-8 is not a keyboard-centric fantasy console. The keyboard is only supposed to be emulating a gamepad :)
Ohhh I see; sorry, I misunderstood you. That's an interesting point. Those were handheld joysticks, though, right? (i.e. not thumb joysticks?)
But like you said, that may have been the standard at one point, but ever since Super Mario Bros on NES it's been pretty widely accepted that jumping with a thumb-controlled interface is waaay more feasible with a dedicated button.
I don't want to claim to have all the answers or anything though. It's just tricky; standardization in PICO-8 is inherently challenging by its very nature of not having spec hardware. The KEYCONFIG utility shows a D-pad and not a joystick, but the default Xbox 360 controller mapping uses the joystick and disallows the D-pad...
Perhaps what we need is for our benevolent dictator zep to benevolently dictate some more things about what the target input hardware is :)
I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be a keyboard though, and that was my main point. I don't want to make anyone upset though; it's all just fun and games after all :D
Yeah, this is what I am talking about:
Even if it has two physical buttons, both corresponded to a single input [fire]. Now imagine playing Mortal Kombat with it... It was an experience ;)
Yeah, since Nintendo introduced NES, I think pretty much anyone will agree that their control scheme is vastly superior to the single action button controls, which were leftover from Atari consoles. Honestly, once I got my famiclone in the 90s, my eyes were opened, and once I got my Pentium PC, one of the first things I bought for it was a game pad...although it was pretty shit, so I eventually switched to keyboard as my main input.
Anyway, I digress. I just wanted to share how things were on my side of the pond. Just like you, I agree that using a dedicated button for jump is just better game design. I will gladly sign my name under this PSA.
@eevee sure, if one was motivated enough to go through the trouble of setting up a custom SDL2 mapping ahead of time (something you don't already have to do for common controllers that SDL2 knows about), that would work for a controller with enough buttons.
But sometimes I and others like to use an NES controller, since it is very similar to the theoretical PICO-8 controller, and it doesn't have any spare buttons to map permanently to jump, unless you are suggesting switching the mapping out between each game in order to customize it for that specific game. Not only does that sound like a huge inconvenience when casually sploring carts, but remember, in this fantasy scenario we literally have no way to change the mapping on the fly. We just have a PICO-8 controller in our hands; it ruins the immersion!! ;)
This is interesting because I have yet to play any Pico8 game with a gamepad or joystick. Plus I'm guessing most people play the games in the browser, I'm wondering if most of them even have gamepads hooked up...?
I agree, the gamepad is the best experience but I wish we could track it some how because my money would be on most are non-gamepad players. Just about who your audience is or who you want to cater to the most, I guess.
I play a lot at work during lunch or quick breaks, and I don't have a gamepad at work, that's for sure. And when I show people Pico8 and how cool it is, they're experiencing it in the browser with a keyboard too. We don't have PocketCHIPs yet to be able to hand it to someone and say, "here, check this out." But even then that will be a minority.
I've also been wondering about labeling in games. We always say "Hit Z" or whatever, but Z only exists on a keyboard. If we're worried about gamepads and stuff, then Z means nothing.
Even if a minority uses a gamepad, using z or x for jumping would still be better in my opinion. This way its possible to play the game comfortably with pretty much all controll methods, with no need to rebind.
Unless theres some weird controll method i cant think of.
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