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Old 07-10-2010, 09:51 PM   #723
Lupin The Third
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Originally Posted by Sidrath View Post

I can't tell you much but it's not like the one in W&G, thanks God. Actually that one was my "how not to do it" reference during the project... But I clearly wouldn't say that it's idiotically designed neither as it works for some gamers.

One thing is for sure the philosophy for designing the control scheme for Gray Matter on the Xbox360 was never "console gamers are stupid so let's give them a BS control scheme", and I think that no one in the industry thinks like that. It's just that what Halo did for the FPS genre on console (among other things the clever and now standard "dead zone autolock"), no game has done it for the P&C genre yet.

But back to our case, the idea was more that PC gamers tend to "direct" their avatars in games, while console gamers are more used to "control" them. It's of course not a general rule, no need to bring up exceptions. So we went for direct control which is not only way more intuitive for console gamers, but also more immersive in my humble opinion. I'm not saying that a cursor couldn't have done it: it was a choice, not a necessity.

We took some console AG with direct control trying to identify the shortcomings. The main game used as reference was Syberia 2 for the Xbox with it's simple relative control (as opposed to the absolute one in Grim Fandango or Alone in the Dark) and "press A to interact".

The Radial interface that we came up with is a proposal for solving the problem of the selection of one of two very close-by hotspots to interact with, which often made necessary to make your character dance the tango in order to have him select the door instead of the light switch!

There was also the issue of far objects like the sky or a roof (some hotspots were missing in the console version of Syberia because of this IIRC).

I'm not saying that we came up with the perfect solution, especially because, as has been mentionned by Jannik above, the bulk of the game wasn't designed for anything but mouse and keyboard in the begining, and production had already been started without consoles in mind by the former company. The scheme needed to adapt to the already existing engine, gameplay, interfaces and other mechanics, which is to be expected considering the game's (long) history.

But at least I'm pretty confident that people will like it better than the one in Wallace and Gromit, which isn't a big achievement...

Sorry, this message is not super informative, and I can't answer your question about the presence of a pointer control scheme for the console version.

Whish I could tell more but I hope it at least reasured you that console gamers weren't dissed or anything during the production of Gray Matter... I for starters have mainly been a console gamer in the recent years anyway, so it would be a bit like

Excuse my french, and I hope you'll love playing Gray Matter as much as we did love working on the thing.


Actually this was quite helpful. All the previews I've seen have only mentioned the 360 version in passing (not too surprising given the PC-centric nature of the genre/game) but I thought it had been demoed on at least one occasion on the 360. Given that no one's talked about the 360 controls however had gotten me worried. It's nice to see that you guys have an appreciation for those of us who want to play this beautiful game on our 57 inches of HD glory.

I do agree with your point about PC gamers directing their characters and console gamers controlling their of the reasons that adventure games and RTS work well on PCs while games like Ninja Gaiden or God of War tend to work better on consoles. It's nice to see you addressing the issue of hotspot proximity with your radial system. It's thinking like that which will help adventure games do well on consoles, and maybe even draw in new fans who might be curious but would be off-put by the way these games normally turn out on consoles (usually ported without a thought about how to make them work properly). Just like with Halo and the FPS genre, and recently with the RTS genre, all it takes is a dev who actually cares to put in the effort to make an "alien" genre work on a console comparably to how it does on PC. Maybe Grey Matter will be that game that pulls a "Halo" and shows that it can be done really, really well on a console also.

Given what you've said here I'm actually not so worried anymore. Thanks for taking the time to share what you could. Though I still wouldn't mind a classic point and click control scheme being selectable in the options menu....but regardless of that, I have faith now that you guys are giving the 360 version it's due. Best wishes that the game is a great success on both platform and that there's more to come.

Now about that US release date.....
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