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Espion
18th May 2009, 11:48
Hi everyone,

One of my issues with Thief DS was how they gimped the controls. It wasn't massive compared to some of the other issues, but it was still a jarring change to how Thief 1&2 played.

Now obviously the main reason for this was that it was being brought to the Xbox as well as PC. I think it's safe to say that Thief 4 will be coming to the 360 as well so I figured we might like to discuss how the control scheme could work.

I know a lot of you probably don't care about the consoles, but if we ignore this we may end up with a gammy control scheme on PC again.

Ideally, we need to come up with a way to transfer the main controls from the PC version, onto a 360 controller without having to drop anything due to shortage of buttons. Hopefully if the devs take a look, they might listen to our suggestions, and then when Thief comes to PC we'll get an intact control scheme.


Vanilla Control Sceme

I'm gonna list the main controls that I think are vital for the game. I'm gonna list them as though it were a list of commands that you need to bind keys to for playing the game on PC (though I won't actually list keys that they'd be bound to as that's a personal preference). Next to these commands, I'm gonna suggest which button I think should perform the corresponding command on a 360 pad.

This will be a list of vanilla Thief moves. Following that I'll post some suggestions for a "streamlined" control scheme specifically for 360 that should still incorporate all the moves available on PC and maybe some extras (see the movement thread (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=88805) I started :)).

If you think I've left any important commands out then let me know and I'll edit them in.

Move Forwards - Left analogue stick (Partial push in direction)
Move Backwards - Left analogue stick
Strafe Left - Left analogue stick
Strafe Right - Left analogue stick
Sneak - Left analogue stick (Teensy push in direction)
Run - Left analogue stick (Full push in direction)
Look Up - Right analogue stick
Look Down - Right analogue stick
Look Left - Right analogue stick
Look Right - Right analogue stick
Jump (hold to Mantle) - Left bumper (this way whilst moving both thumbs remain on the look/move controls)
Crouch - Left trigger (toggle)
Lean Left - Click and hold Left analogue stick then Left bumper (this way you can still move, look, attack, and activate things whilst leaning)
Lean Right - Click and hold Left analogue stick then Right bumper
Lean Forwards - Click and hold Left analogue stick then Left&Right bumper
Attack (throw if holding an object) - Right trigger
Defend - Right bumper
Cycle weapons* - Left/Right on Direction Pad
Cycle equipment* - Up/Down on Direction Pad
Activate/Pickup - A Button
Drop - B Button
Map/Notes/Objectives/Inventory - Start
Pause Menu - Back

*On PC weapons and equipment can be bound to a specific key each however on 360 this isn't possible so weapons and equipment would have to use the cycle option instead.

Now assuming I haven't missed anything vital besides quick access to people's personal preference of item/weapon (I was gonna have the blackjack as a quick key on X and a Cycle Lockpicks on Y) this actually leaves us with three buttons free on the 360 controller - X Button, Y Button and the Right analogue stick button. If I've missed anything I'll adjust the lists later. Otherwise, let's move onto...


Streamlined Control Scheme

Here's an adjusted set of controls that alters the way things work slightly, purely for the 360 controller since all these suggestions are easily mappable to individual keys, just like it was in the first two games.

Movement/Speed - Left analogue stick
Looking - Right analogue stick
Jump (hold to Mantle) - Left bumper
Crouch - Left trigger (toggle)
Lean Left - Click and hold Left analogue stick then Left bumper
Lean Right - Click and hold Left analogue stick then Right bumper
Lean Forwards - Click and hold Left analogue stick then Left&Right bumper
Attack (throw if holding an object) - Right trigger
Defend - Right bumper
Cycle Arrows/Melee - Left/Right on Direction Pad
Cycle equipment - Up/Down on Direction Pad
Activate/Pickup - A Button
Drop - B Button
Switch Ranged/Melee - X Button (This will switch between the bow and the blackjack/sword. When switching to melee it will default to the weapon you previously had selected. This way, rather than switch through each weapon individually, you can skip a little faster to the specific weapon you want. In the case of the bow, you switch to the box, then use the Direction Pad to cycle through the arrows.)
Switch Equipment Type - Y Button (Equipment will be grouped into categories, like lockpicks, potions, traps, etc. This way rather than cycling through them all you can snap a little faster to the specific item you want.)
Map/Notes/Objectives/Inventory - Start
Pause Menu - Back

As you can see, not much has changed, except for some simple grouping of objects. To my knowledge, this still preserves the main controls of Thief 1&2.


Extras

Lastly, I'd like to give an example of how some proposed extra moves, as well as some vestiges of Thief DS can also be incorporated into a 360 control scheme whilst retaining the original Thief controls.

If you've read my other thread about movement (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=88805) you'll know I'm suggesting that the devs add some new moves to Garretts repetoir.

The following list is a direct continuation of the streamlined list.

Wall Hug - Click Right analogue stick when near a wall
Go Prone (belly-crawling) - Double tap Left trigger (press Left trigger again to stand to crouch position, or double tap it to stand fully up)
Wall Run (horizontal) - Whilst running at an angle towards a wall press and hold Left bumper (jumps onto wall then continues moving along it)
Wall Run (vertical) - Whilst running towards a wall press and hold left bumper (jumps at wall, travels up a few steps, then either catches onto ledge if in reach or - if no other action performed - slides back down wall to ground)
Wall Jump - At any point during a wall run, release and press left bumper (Turns and launches Garrett up and away from the wall at an angle perpendicular to it)
Vault - Run towards an object slightly shorter than Garrett then press Left bumper (Garrett will travel over the obstruction with little effect on his speed)
Clear Jump (If an obstacle is present some distance after a jump, Garrett lifts his legs up beneath him to clear it) - Left bumper, then Left trigger
Slide - Whilst running towards an object with enough clearance, press and hold Left trigger to initiate a slide taking Garrett right under it without slowing him down much)
Roll - Whilst running towards an object with enough clearance, press Left trigger to roll under it (faster than a slide but there needs to be room to do it)
High Jump (leaping from a high vantage to a much lower vantage) - Left trigger to jump as normal but before hitting the ground press left bumper to tuck into a roll, thereby avoiding taking damage

Now, the astute and informed amongst you will notice that most of that is basically the control scheme for Mirror's Edge... The reason I've suggested this is quite simply because it works.

The reason I've listed it all out here is because it shows how all these extra moves can be added without taking away from the control scheme from the original games (the main point here).

Not only that, but these extra moves can even be performed in the PC version without adding extra keys as it's simply a variety of combos and conditions using the jump and crouch keys.

I'd just like to finish by reitterating one of the main points in my writing all this; the original control scheme used in Thief 1&2 does NOT have to be sacrificed in order to make the game work on 360. Please leave the controls intact for Thief 4!

Thanks for reading this far :)

~E

Caranfin
18th May 2009, 14:07
Now, the astute and informed amongst you will notice that most of that is basically the control scheme for Mirror's Edge... The reason I've suggested this is quite simply because it works.
The controls in Mirror's Edge are heavily context sensitive, at least in the console version, which is something I don't like. I want to be able to precisely tell my character what to do in a game. Almost nothing breaks suspension of disbelief as efficiently as trying to climb on something and having your character vault over it instead, just because the game decided that's what you actually wanted to do. Another thing I hated in the game was that the only way to control how far you wanted to jump was to modify your speed. This made short jumps, equivalent to just increasing the length of your stride, impossible while running full speed. I'd absolutely hate to have these in Thief.

Basically, I don't really care about the console controls but so long as the PC controls have at least the same functionality as in the first two games (leaning forward, please!) and the ease of Garrett's movement isn't hindered by a possible 3rd person camera like in Deadly Shadows or some sort of silly application of momentum in jumping, I have no problem with some added stuff like kicks off a wall for extra height or vaulting over a low wall.

Espion
18th May 2009, 16:27
The controls in Mirror's Edge are heavily context sensitive, at least in the console version, which is something I don't like.

I agree that this was a problem, however speed in ME was handled by how far you could run without hitting something (at least on the console version it was.)

In Thief speed is controlled by how fast the player wants to move so to some degree the context would be harder to fluff up. Since a lot of these proposed extra moves would only result from the player running there would hopefully never be a situation where, whilst trying to be stealthy, the player accidentally vaults over a ledge and falls to their doom.

One of the other problems I found in ME was the angle at which you had to approach a wall in order to get a wall run right. Sometimes it seemed completely random. If EM were to impliment any kind of system like this then I'll be just as worried as you over how well it works in game. That said, I'd still very much like to see some kind of evolution of movement. So long as it still feels like Thief 1&2 when doing the basics/core moves though O_O