by Ron Gilbert
Feb 02, 2016

When you think "point & click", the first thing that pops into your head is "game controller". Am I right? Yeah, I thought so. The "I thought so" part should be read in your best sarcastic voice, because we all know that is not what pops into your head.

Control schemes are always hard and one of the least favorite parts of making a game for me. I know people who live for it - and power to them - but for me, I just want the control scheme to vanish. It's an archaic connection between our bodies and our minds and it's unnatural at best.  Maybe that is why I like a mouse and just pointing and clicking, but I know that is not natural for a non-inconsequential subset of humans, so in the end, there probably isn't a perfect control set up. I'm sure Holodeck designers of the Star Trek future hate UI and control scheme as much as I do, they are just dealing with a different set of impossible constraints.

Thimbleweed Park was always conceived to be a true point & click adventure game. With a mouse. And pointing. And clicking. It's the way god intended adventure game to be played. Look it up.

But there is part of me that enjoys laying on the couch, feet sprawled in unnatural ways across the cushions and playing a good console game with a controller. It's a very different experience than sitting at a desk with a mouse. When I'm playing PC games at a desk, I expect to be thinking and pondering. When I'm playing a console game with a controller, I expect to be more viscerally attached to the game. I expect to be doing something all the time.

That was part of the impetus for The Cave: build an adventure game that was designed from the start to be played with a controller and feel energetic.

But that isn't Thimbleweed Park. Thimbleweed Park was designed to be an adventure game played with a mouse. With pointing. And clicking.

That said, we've always wanted the game to be on consoles. It's a different audience and one we want to reach. I look at it as a challenge. How to make a point & click adventure game that is true to the roots (and to the Kickstarter and our vision), but is playable with a controller. And not just "barely" playable, but fun with a controller. Every bit as fun as it is with a mouse.

I don't think I've ever created a control scheme that didn't go though round after round of tweaks and complete restarts. The point & click scheme for Maniac Mansion didn't come out fully formed. It went though a lot of redesigns until we landed on what we did. Then it went through even more redesign for Last Crusade and even more for Monkey Island. Control schemes need to feel natural and sometimes that takes time. You know there is "something" wrong, but you don't know what.

The deceptive part of building a control scheme is that you can only talk about it so much. You never know until you play it. The most talked through control scheme can fall apart a mere second after trying it. Your brain figures out every hole and contingency, but your fingers just want to do something else.

We have an opportunity to show Thimbleweed Park as part of a presentation with Microsoft in March. I was hoping to punt on the deep controller work until later, but they are requiring the game be shown with a controller, so time to rejigger the schedule and move controller head-banging (in the bad way) up.

Controller support has been in for months, but only very basically where you move the cursor around with the thumbstick. We knew we needed more.

So the first thing I did was think of every game I could on console that might have solved a similar problem and then didn't look at any of them. I very purposely didn't want to see how others had dealt with this thorny issue so I wouldn't be tainted. I am not a console player so I thought maybe I could come at this from a fresh perspective. This isn't born out of arrogance, but more of the "too stupid you don't know it can't be done" line of think. Ignorance can be wonderful sometimes.

I'm intimidated by buttons. I like that a mouse has two buttons. Three button mice freak me out. Controllers have a lot of buttons, but console players don't seem to mind. My personal mission was to use as few buttons as possible and I feel like I failed in this regard. I'm using pretty much every button on the controller. My only saving is that many of them are optional, used only to speed the action up. You can still play the game with one thumbstick and the A button.

The game has two different controller modes you can switch between.  One I call Classic, where you drive the cursor around with the thumbstick, the other is Modern where you drive the character around with the thumbstick. They are basically the same except for what the thumbstick does. All the other buttons function the same.

This is completely untested on real players, so I expect a lot to change once I do that. I like it, but I'm not the "target audience". I'm also sure I forgot something super important. I always do.

Now I'll go look at how other games solved this problem and realize I did it all wrong. Or not.

I've put together a short video of it in use, but it's hard to tell what happening without knowing what buttons I'm pressing on the controller. If I was fancy, I'd have a little controller insert showing you what buttons I'm pressing, but I'm not fancy, nor do I have a building full of people that run around and make slick videos for me, so you're stuck with this.

I'll update as the controller scheme gets refined.

- Ron

Giulio - Feb 02, 2016 at 16:49
Yessss! I was just hanging on the blog waiting for the new entry to come! I felt it was coming! :D

Patrik Spacek - Feb 02, 2016 at 16:53
Adventure game w/o mouse...thats gonna be nightmare :o)

Kevin Lee Drum - Feb 02, 2016 at 16:57
Without actually trying it, this scheme seems pretty snappy and easy to learn.

Matt - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:02
I would love to play a point&click game on my couch via console and controller. I too feel too much in work mode when I'm stuck at my desk facing a computer.

Zuglufttier - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:05
I'm not too fond of joypads but that's because every kind of controller kind of sucks. I'm just used to mouse and keyboard, that's why I prefer them...

Well, but looking at your picture I thought it might work out to use the digital pad for the verbs. Here's my little extra idea I had: If the d-pad is not touched at all, let it focus on "Look at". Only if you push and hold it in one direction, it will highlight another verb. That way, it would snap back to the middle every time you let go of the d-pad. Luckily we have eight directions to push and eight verbs without "Look at" ;-)

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:07
But how do you select inventory?

Zuglufttier - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:24
Good question! I'm not sure...

Maybe you could take away one button from "skip cut-scene" and "skip text/dialog" as those buttons should do the same... Or will there be cut-scenes with dialog to skip? Let's just assume the button B is not assigned.

At first, the highlight is on "Look at", using the d-pad you select your verb, without letting go of the d-pad, you press B and enter the inventory mode. Now you can let go of the d-pad but the verb is still highlighted. In the inventory mode, the d-pad is used again but this time to select the items and go up or down. Pressing A would select item and verb and execute some action.

The same would apply to stuff on the main screen. Select them via the shoulder buttons, then press the d-pad for the desired verb and, without letting go of the d-pad, press A to execute the action.

I know, this is far from perfect... But I remember playing Maniac Mansion with a joystick on a C64, that was really far from perfect!

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:26
When you're in "classic" mode, you can just drive the cursor around with the thumbstick like Maniac Mansion. It works and is my favorite way, combined with the bumpers to quickly jump me to objects.

Zuglufttier - Feb 03, 2016 at 07:15
Actually, it was a pretty bad memory ;-) Using a controller as a substitute for a mouse is problematic. I hope there are no time- and movement-based puzzles in this game. That's one part of Maniac Mansion that used to drive me a bit mad - but by the time of Monkey Island these things were gone. Except for the melting cups...

Thinking about this I was reminded of Grim Fandango, not that its interface is any good... But: You press one button to open the inventory and only see the inventory. Because that's all you need at that moment. It let's you focus on those things and makes the conrols easier.

But again: This will slow mouse users down. I didn't like it back then... Mouse users like to click on something on the screen and while the character walks to that spot, some action involving a verb and/or item can be prepared.

Maybe using a mouse or a controller should lead to different user interfaces in the end. But: Your proposal is already pretty good and way ahead of those poor point+click substitutions I've seen in many games.

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:48
There's the rub. Therefore I think it would suffice, if the cursor just moved to "look at", once you select an object (without currently having selected any verb).

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:54
Selecting an object causes it to do what is on the sentence line, so for most cases, this is walk to. Under your system, selecting the verb would always have to be the final step.  This is why talking through UI is really hard. This is the 3rd scheme I've tried, the first 2 sounded fine until I used them.

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:22
You're absolutely right. I had forgotten about the X button. Sorry! Thanks to this "select default verb" button your system is already even more practical than my suggestion would have been.

Josejulio Martínez - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:09
Maybe is  because I'm right handed, but it would feel more natural if the Select Next Object™ is with the right button and the Select Previous Object™  is with the left button.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:12
That's the way I set it up originally, but I found I was always pressing the wrong bumper, so I changed it. I don't know why that is. Maybe I'll make it an option.

Josejulio Martínez - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:17
Oh! Maybe that would also happen to me (or maybe not). Having an option to setup a custom controller would be good, though not sure if worth the effort .

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:37
I think that allowing a custom control is always worth the effort. To a certain degree it's individual how you prefer the control settings. For instance a lot of players are left-handed.

bxm - Feb 03, 2016 at 11:08
Why not make all the buttons configurable and thumb-sticks/D-pads swappable, with a handful (forgive the pun) of pre-configured lefty/righty optimised layouts?

OT: replying to your comment seems to have exposed a bug in your blog (wrong date/time displayed):

Ron Gilbert - Feb 03, 2016 at 11:16
All the buttons are configurable on the PC (via a config file), but that's a lot harder on console becasue you have to do it through a UI and that ends up being a ton of work (despite is seeming simple). Once you expose something to users, it needs to be hardened. Where as, I don't care if you screw things up by messing with a power-user config file.

Greg - Feb 16, 2016 at 10:10
really agree with that, next item should be on the right button (for right-handed People). That would drive me crazy the other way round! (I'm a PC (Mouse+KB) and Console (Pad) Gamer).

tomimt - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:10
I think that's pretty efficient way to use pad in a game like this. Of course, as I've understood Xbox still has Kinect, you could always make an optional control scheme for that as well. Truest form of point & click if there ever was one.

Grafekovic - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:19
Fully voice controlled graphic adventure! Awesome! And the first "hardcore" game that uses Kinect in a decent way!

tomimt - Feb 03, 2016 at 17:16
Yeah, that would be sweet. Ron You need to do this ASAP! I bet that would amaze those bores at MS.

Lennart - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:11
Looks very intuitive to me.
Having said that: The phonebook is animating in a not properly pixelated way. Will it be like the fireflies where you can switch to the one true Mode 13h and have them pixelated. It seems to me that the animation is so subtle, you won't see anything or it will look awkward...

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:21
Yes, you can turn on "pixel purest" mode, but you'll turn off after 10 minutes. The game feels so much better with it off. It's the future. I love the aesthetics of the "8-bit" art style, but now we choose it for artist reasons, not due to technical limitations. I know that will be controversial with some people, which is why we'll have the option.

Lennart - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:31
It's never the future. :-/ Darn, I wish it was. So excited!!! Then again. 2016 seem like time is flying right now...

Christian - Feb 03, 2016 at 01:50
Why have controversies when can have options? Thanks for adding them! So everyone can be happy

They say one should not add options for good design, and they are wrong: Controversial products like Win8-10 would be so much better with more options to change things back to like they were...

Gaffen - Feb 11, 2016 at 09:13
I definitely respect where you're coming from but personally I don't see it yet - as a pixel purest. I'm interested to see how else you've used this approach though, maybe you'll change my mind!

For me the whole reason to choose pixel are is to gain from working with limitations. But as you rightfully imply, the advantage of living in the future is that we can choose which limitations we want to work with. Being someone who was born the year Maniac Mansion came out I can't really contextualise what it must have been like dealing with them when they were non-negotiable!

Josejulio Martínez - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:15
What you really need is to come up with a Mighty Mouse Controller™!

Grafekovic - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:15
The bumper function is just like a hotspot mode in modern graphic adventures, so maybe you should skip that? On the other hand, maybe there are more unpatiened console players who will thankfully use this function (I don't want to sound like a wise-ass, I will play the game on my Xbox myself. Means I will pay for it a second time!!!!!).

Damian - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:35
I was expecting the verb with an ellipsis ("Look at...") when you navigated the verbs with the d-pad. Maybe it's me. (I see the verb appears only when you click on it).

It looks nice... for a non-mouse interface. :D

Damian - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:39
Oh! I was also expecting the most obvious verb ("Look at...") by default when navigating the inventory. Again, maybe it's just me. :P

Alain - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:49
My suggestion:
As with your control scheme, the two input methods. In classic mode, have one thumbstick move the cursor faster around.
Press a bumper to change input methods.
D-pad left/right to change characters.
D-pad up/down to open/close the inventory.
Hold a trigger to open a verb selection wheel.
A to select.
B for default verb.
Y to look at/skip sentence.
X to skip cutscene/exit room/exit to map screen. Maybe use the other bumper to skip cutscene.
Hold both thumbsticks down to win.
Or you can use the PS4 trackpad and explain to Microsoft that it's much better.

arvenius - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:54
I see you are trying hard not to give too many hotspots away at once and I can see why. Its not just that it would make it too easy to see all "clickable" items, it would also render the need to move manually practically void.
but if you think about it for a while, why is there a need to move manually using a gamepad? I know its more pointy&clicky-like and personally I will love it on my PC with using a mouse but on the console and pad it somehows feels like a "feature" thats just an annoyance in the long run.
I know and love the oldschool adventures and I also know that the idea of a "smart cursor" eliminated a whole lot of fun and thankful moments to provide puns, but then again so did the disappearance of the good old parser...
Im not saying you should put the "press-space-to-highlight-all-the-hotspots" thing most modern adventures have in there (although you could, because if you stretch the game by making people hunt pixels you are a bad game designer!), but would it be so bad to be able to focus on all the objects in the room with the gamepad? It would surely speed up navigating and probably make for a less frustrating controller experience...
just my 2 cents.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 17:57
It's not about not giving away the hotspot, it's more about the time it takes to cycle. On the first pass I did, you could cycle through all the hot spots, but in this case, less is more. As for moving, our screens scroll, so you can't get to all the objects, plus, moving is fun. Without it, the characters would feel very inanimate.

Lennart - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:26
Only cycling through the hotspots around the character is definitely the right approach. From the in game perspective it's what the player can reach, while the cursor is what the player can see. I doubt that I will play the game with a gamepad on my first playthrough, but the system looks right to me.
Will the arcade machines really make a comeback? Maybe one of the games could be "Lust", so the game can contain "lust"...

Derrick Reisdorf - Feb 03, 2016 at 14:31
I would rather see a direct drive option without hotspots.  When you can toggle through objects to interact with, it's like it removes a layer of gameplay where you have to investigate the screen with your eyes...
There is always the slim possibility that a player will simply overlook an object.
By introducing the hotspot mechanism, you kill off pixel hunting of any form.  Again, I'm sure I'm in the slimmest majority of players that actually enjoy pixel-hunting.  If hotspots are implemented it all but kills my idea of a cool Easter egg/achievement where you place a 1-pixel object on the floor that is of a slightly different color.  Maybe it's a button, maybe it's a piece of candy.  In any case, finding that 1-pixel object would not be an integral part of the game- just an achievement if the player finds it.  I was thinking it could be in a random room of the hotel, in a random spot on the floor (and it would be randomized when you begin the game, so it wouldn't be the same for every player/game).
Is each object's hotspot configurable?  I was thinking that for each object, it would have a value of proximity- if your player was within that proximity, it would be added to the cycle-able list of selectable objects.  Then, you could still add the gumdrop/button pixel hunt puzzle/achievement if you set that object's proximity value to a very low one, where you could only be able to select that object if you were standing almost right ontop of it.

Look at gumdrop.
"Ooh!  A gumdrop!  I nearly stepped on that thing."
Pick up gumdrop.
"It's orange.  Or, maybe brown."
Use gumdrop.
"I'm not going to eat that!"
Use gumdrop.
"It does look kind of tasty."
Use gumdrop.
"And, I've got a sweet tooth."
Use gumdrop.
"Down the hatch!"
*chew* *chew* *chew*
*chew* *chew* *chew* *chew*
"Man, that was tasty!"

Derrick Reisdorf - Feb 03, 2016 at 15:55
I said "slimmest majority", but I really mean "slightest minority".

Uli Kusterer - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:12
Having the cursor still be where you last left it feels really weird on a console to me (mostly a PC gamer though), particularly if you don't actually move the cursor. It's in the way. It also covers whatever you just selected. That's OK with the mouse, where you're actually trying to precisely position the middle of the cross on an object, but if it auto-snaps to objects, that's no longer needed. What if it was more a "selection" attached to the selected object? Some sort of cartouche or glow around the object that stays with it maybe?

I also like the way Mass Effect or Grim Fandango did it, where the character looks at the nearest object and it glows, so you select the object by walking up to it. Feels more natural if you don't have a mouse.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:30
Since the game was designed for a mouse, there are just too many objects close to each other for that to work. The cursor remains becasue I want it to continue to feel like a classic point & click. You start removing too much and it feels like something else, and if I was building something else, it would be a completely different UI. It's the challenge.

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:59
To tell the truth, I hated it, because you always had to take care of looking at the correct object. I really missed the mouse cursor, whenever I was playing Grim Fandango or Escape from Monkey Island. With 2D graphics it would be even more complicated.
Point & click has been so much better. So I think that Ron did a much more reasonable job by providing a cursor.

PS: I think Ron's concept is very similar to Telltale Games's Tales of Monkey Island or Back to the Future. I just took a look at the console version of the latter one and they seem to have done it the same way by moving the cursor to objects selected via controller buttons. It might be a good compromise for consoles.

LogicDeLuxe - Feb 04, 2016 at 13:11
I got curious and just tried the Telltale interface. I must admit, it seems surprisingly usable, and seems very similar to what Ron did here indeed. Eventhough, I still prefer the mouse, it is certainly a good thing to have the controller as an option.
Btw., Sam & Max season 3 has the same Telltale interface, too.

Darkstorm - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:39
As someone who once played a P&C game using a gamepad - Maniac Mansion on the NES was actually my happy introduction to the genre - I'd say the thing you most want to look at with the gamepad method is how well it handles finicky timed events.  I remember back when I played the game on the NES, I *ALWAYS* had one kid standing by the postbox for the entire early segment of the game, so when the doorbell rang I could be sure of getting the package before weird ed.  Then there's going down into the pool etc.  Those parts always made me super tense just because of the time taken to complete a command, moving the dpad between verbs and items.  Please keep those kind of events in though, they were the most fun!

Also, if possible please have an option to remap everything on the controller, as there will definitely be people unsatisfied with what you go with, no matter how slick it ends up.  Not me though, I'll be using a mouse this time.

Martin Wendt - Feb 04, 2016 at 07:09
Hehe, I recall on C64 you could move the cursor during pause with SPACEBAR (oh, that lovely snail... ).
I used that i.e. to escape from Edna, saved my the precious time it too to move the pointer from the right side of the screen to the left.

Dominik - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:42
Nice post! Hope the presentation Works out for you!!

One Suggestion (i posted this way back when Controller Support was first discussed): When moving the character with the left thumbstick i would hide the cursor and when the character movement is stopped and the right thumbstick is used the cursor should originate where the character is currently standing.

It makes sense: You walk where you want to do something, so the cursor should Start there too, no?

Ron Gilbert - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:49
When moving the character with the left thumbstick i would hide the cursor and when the character movement is stopped and the right thumbstick is used the cursor should originate where the character is currently standing.

I think this is a good suggestion. It will make it into my next build.

Nathan - Feb 02, 2016 at 23:17
I would want to be able to move the cursor while I'm moving. Right trigger cycles verbs. Left trigger initiates the selected verb on the hovered/selected object.

Nathan - Feb 02, 2016 at 23:22
Maybe right stick click to simulate a mouse click? I wouldn't want to let go of the cursor to have to click.

Gffp - Feb 03, 2016 at 13:20
I agree with Dominik and, I would rather use cross shaped thumbstick (down and left) to move the character, while the round shaped one (down and right) to move the cursor when it will be displayed. The other round thumbstick (up and left) should be used to select verbs/inventory. This because the two central thumbsticks should be used to move character and explore with cursor. The rest should be optional.

Gffp - Feb 03, 2016 at 19:03
I mean for modern mode.  Classic mode is very good already as shown.

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 19:31
When I was playing a point & click game, I often appreciated the possibility to prepare the sentence line while the character was still walking. It saved time, albeit not much. It's a kind of multitasking, which makes the gameplay fell more fluent.

Dominik - Feb 03, 2016 at 10:16
With a mouse I would agree but isn't this different with a thumbstick?
I imagine it would be pretty hard to actively steer the character with your left thumb whilst pusing the right thumb to prepare a sentence.

Big Red Button - Feb 03, 2016 at 13:35
At the beginning it might be hard indeed, but by and by you even begin to do some actions subconsciously. And once you are an "old hand" it can become annoying if the cursor vanishes everytime you walk.

When I played Monkey Island with a mouse for the first time, it was also harder than it has been later.

Mattias Cedervall - Feb 02, 2016 at 18:46
I wish you luck with the evil controller!

Norwegicus - Feb 02, 2016 at 19:03
I think that it's so GREAT that you are making this game. This is the type of game I was hoping for with the "Broken age"-project. I love the old verb/point and click-menu and I hope that you will make more old school adventure games like this. This type of games have been my favourite since I first time played Maniac Mansion back in the late 80's. Thanks for your great work!

Norwegian adventure games fan

Damien Guard - Feb 02, 2016 at 19:13
I've been using my Shield TV to play a lot of games with wife/near kids and it's so frustrating how many games I actually want to play don't support a controller at all.

Really looking forward to playing this even more now!

Quarnz - Feb 02, 2016 at 19:28
Looks awesome, but I do miss the pulsing cursor effect from the old days. :(

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 19:32
Yeah, that would be nice indeed! It would make the cursor more visible.

Big Red Button - Feb 02, 2016 at 21:59
Maybe optional, so that younger players can turn it off, if they are scared by the flickering.

Mattias Cedervall - Feb 03, 2016 at 03:56
I don't want the flickering so it should be optional!

Paulup - Feb 02, 2016 at 20:58
"I'm also sure I forgot something super important. I always do."

You forgot the "shoot" button... how are we gonna shoot all the zombies and aliens in Thimbleweed Park if there's no shoot button????

Franklin - Feb 02, 2016 at 21:18
The jump button?

Paulup - Feb 03, 2016 at 15:22
Yeah, need a jump button for sure... also crouch and strafe...

I'd get up close to that wall in the Post Office, then crouch down, strafe to the right, then jump while crouching to get over the counter and then BOOM, hit the mail guy with one of the assortment of heavy artillery that happens to be lying around Thimbleweed Park.
Job done.

ISD - Feb 03, 2016 at 03:04
"Use gun" perhaps?

Jonny - Feb 02, 2016 at 23:46
Space Age on Apple TV. End boss impossible with that remote. I had to play through the end on the iPhone. Other than that, adventure games on big screens is wonderful.

Joey - Feb 03, 2016 at 00:29
A Game rise and falls with the controllings.

Can't understand that many companies put this as last, if they do, coz if people don't like from the beginning the controllings/keys etc., they place the game aside and never touch it again.

Customizing is the solution. Sad that many games sleep somewhere in the desk or harddrives, who dosn't deserve to take dust. A shame.

The Video and Photo looks fantastic in my opinion. At least you are on the right track.

One of my all time favorite Game Creators. Hey, everyone has their heroes. I have just an unusual one. ;OP

Geoffrey Paulsen - Feb 03, 2016 at 00:32
I agree with you.  I wish the abomination that is point and click + controller would just go away.  I remember playing Mansion with the Joystick thinking that felt clunky.  I have to say that you've at least surpassed THAT benchmark.  Perhaps that's as good as it's going to get.

my two cents would be to use the up/down/left/right pad to select the verb as Zuglufttier suggested (and read elsewhere earlier in the blog), and then instead of cycling through room objects (using location and facing like you've done), have the first 8 potential objects all pop out from a central location increasing the text size until normal size at a distance where the text does not overlap.  So, the room object that moves upward from very small text would be selected (after the verb is input) by pushing up on the move cursor stick.  This would require some fancy code to get the layout all correct on where the object description starts from, and where it moves too, and how well the font scales.

Strangely enough I don't find the scrolling through inventory objects all that annoying.  Somehow conceptually they are already being managed by the character.

Good luck with you unenviable task.

Geoffrey Paulsen - Feb 03, 2016 at 00:33
Sorry, I meant to say instead of cycling, yet STILL using location and facing.

Matthias B - Feb 03, 2016 at 02:03
Just a couple years ago I replayed some of my favorites (Monkey Island, King's Quest V, Space Quest IV) and played Day of the Tentacle for the first time. I played all these games with a 2 analog stick controller after finding a program for Linux to map stick movement to mouse cursor motion. I configured one stick to move the cursor fast and the other stick to move the cursor slowly, so that I could quickly move the cursor around the screen and do the fine aiming with the 2nd stick. Worked perfectly and unless you come up with something better this is how I will be playing Thimbleweed.

Matthias B - Feb 03, 2016 at 02:17
For completeness: The program I used was qjoypad and this is the config file I used for Monkey Island:

# QJoyPad 3.4 Layout File

Joystick 1 {
        Axis 1: gradient, xZone 32767, maxSpeed 6, mouse+h
        Axis 2: gradient, xZone 32767, maxSpeed 4, mouse+v
        Axis 3: gradient, xZone 32767, maxSpeed 2, mouse+h
        Axis 6: gradient, xZone 32767, maxSpeed 1, mouse+v
        Button 1: mouse 3
        Button 2: mouse 1
        Button 10: key 71

If you're doing any kind of mapping from analog stick to mouse cursor, don't forget to make it adjustable (dead zone, accelleration, speed) because there just isn't one setting that fits every person.

And another thing: I WILL NOT use a control stick to move a character around. It's way to tedious. With properly configured cursor movement speeds on 2 analog sticks I can move the mouse cursor to any place on the screen with precision in a fraction of a second (not as fast as the mouse, but fast enough) and click there to have the auto-walk make the character go there.

Hodge - Feb 03, 2016 at 09:41
Cheers for that, I'll give it a go later.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 03, 2016 at 09:45
Classic mode will work exactly like this and will probably be my preferred controller mode. I do have mapping, but the controllers will predominately be used on console and mapping has to happen though a UI, which makes doing complex stuff hard/impossible. Mapping is easy on PC with config files, but I figure most people on PC will play with the mouse, as god intended.

Matthias B - Feb 03, 2016 at 11:15
Your American God maybe. He does weird stuff like tell Ted Cruz to run for President. My God has created my butt for sitting in a comfy armchair.

Charles - Feb 09, 2016 at 09:02
When you say "controllers will predominately be used on console" I REALLY REALLY hope that you leave the controller support in the mobile editions so we can play this on Nexus Player, AndroidTV(nVidia Shield), Apple TV, Fire Stick/TV, etc...

Mike Pikowski - Feb 03, 2016 at 02:56
Hmmm :)

Controller Support seems pretty good so far i think.

I played Monkey Island on my old PC and the adapted Version on the PS3.
Even though i thought it would be terrible to play it with a Controller i really got in to it very quickly.

Graphics looking sooooo nice, cannot wait to have it :)

In the Postoffice Window is a sign with:
Please mail something ?!

Do you need ideas for the sign ? :)

Greetings from Germany :)

Mike Pikowski - Feb 03, 2016 at 02:58
Please mail something ...

Got it :) Needed a few seconds :)

el0j - Feb 03, 2016 at 03:33
Do you actually need separate buttons for skipping dialogue and cutscenes? I'm no expert but I think most players would intuitively try the 'action button' (A) to skip dialogue. Or use B, and replace Y with hold+B to skip cut-scenes.

Game looks good, looking forward to trying it.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Feb 03, 2016 at 03:53
I think my 11-years-old cousin, who plays Xbox since he was 6, used to play to COD, Dante's Inferno, GTA, etc... would find this system comfortable.
The cursor moving directly to the object location is tween-friendly.

For me, old school, I prefer the mouse... even if I played the first adventure games with a joystick and a fire button in the top of the lever.

Guga - Feb 03, 2016 at 04:01
After I read about "Ant simulator" I think the question of the day is: how much of the kickstarter budget is going to be spent on alcohol and strippers? :D

prestodigitator - Feb 03, 2016 at 04:53
I guess it has to be done, but I would add that I don't really like the fact that the items you can interact with 'automatically' become...well...'interacted with' when using the controller. That is to say, one of the things I truly love (and at times truly HATE, especially when you have been into a room a thousand times only to realise that there is a little bottle hiding in the corner behind a bookshelf that you have never, in each of teh thousand times you have visited, randomly rolled your cursor across!) is the fact that you have to, essentially, 'look around' with your mouse to find objects, in mush the same way as you would physically look around in the real world. This, to me, is an essential part of the point and click experience. Otherwise, it just becomes a 'move and scroll' experience to some extent with no searching required for that illusive object or secret door etc.

MrKii - Feb 03, 2016 at 05:03
I don't know if the layout of the Next Next Next Gen consoles (PS4,XOne) allows using the 'old start/select' buttons, but please don't map something like "Skip cutscene" to a 'normal' button on the Pad unless there's no alternative. It is likely to be pressed by accident when trying to perform another action, losing all that part of the story. If those are no longer usable by the game, please add a "disable skipping cutscene" in the options, or confirmation to skip the cutscene. There's few things I hate most than losing a part of the story because I pressed a button I shouldn't have pressed.

Great blog, btw!

Steffen - Feb 03, 2016 at 05:57

I play both, consoles and PC. And honestly "Point & Click" on consoles for most of the time suck. For exactly one reason: you don't have a mouse to point and click :-)

That said: First thing I noticed is, that I like the "modern" scheme. A lot of games have this scheme of "use left thumb to move, use right thumb to look around". From that perspective I feel this would come naturally to me. What immediately struck me: I have to move my right thumb to select. The equivalent of that on PC would be "use mouse to point and then press keypad enter to select".

As a suggestion: Console players are used to change the "meaning" of a control by pressing a (shoulder) button. And they're also used to use combinations of buttons. Just an example in GTA you press a shoulder button (L1 on PS3) and your weapons wheel pops up. The controlstick changes it's meaning from walking to selecting. Let go of L1 and you have selected what was highlighted. Just tapping the button will cycle through.

Say you move and look around. You found what looks interesting. Left shoulder button makes the left stick become "select verb" (just highlight the verb to indicate something can be done now, maybe make the character become gray, or look at the player to intensify the focus switch) -> move left stick to highlight "look at" and let go of left shoulder. Tapping defaults to "look at". Character looks at.

You want to open a door. Use right thumb to move the cursor to the door, left index finger switches to "select verb", use left thumb to select "open", let go of left shoulder -> character moves to door and opens it.

Same goes for inventory but all on the right side. Right shoulder "move highlight to inventory." Example "give foo to bar": Move cursor to bar, left shoulder, select give (still hold!), right shoulder, select bar with right stick, let go of shoulder buttons.

Now that I've written it, it sounds very complicated. But as I sit on my beanbag with a PS3 controller in my hand, imagining it - yes I already play thimbleweedpark in my fantasy - it kind of makes sense to me. That may not be perfect, but the whole "I have to move my thumb away from the stick to the buttons/dpad" feels like breaking some flow.

Leave the D-Pad for changing character (something you would interrupt moving the cahracter for anyways). The buttons for skip cut scene/text seem ok to me. Select dialog line (use left stick to move up and down) could either be done by a pressing A or you again switch the meaning of the shoulders. This time to "select line".

Steffen, Fantasy-Thimbleweedpark-Player

AP - Feb 03, 2016 at 06:21
I am currently trying to play TP in my mind to see if I like the control scheme. Here are my virtual (or maybe schizophrenic... can't decide which fits better) play testing impressions ;-)

- I feel uncomfortable, because I have no idea how about how far my character can see (or interact with things). Maybe pressing next + previous item together could dim the parts of the screen, which is not used for the quick cycle. (I guess that'll look like a bright circle around the character, and the rest dims a little.)
- Every action I perform with the mouse would be one of these:
    -- click on object with default verb
    -- click on verb, then click on object on screen or in inventory
    -- click on verb (GIVE or USE), then click on object on screen or inventory, then click on object on screen or inventory
  So I think there should be one button for default VERB interaction, like in your scheme. And one button for START interaction. When I press START interaction, the cursor jumps to the VERBS, i select one with the d-pad, and then it jumps and I can select the "nearby things on screen" and "inventory items" with the d-pad, and only if i selected GIVE or USE, I can select one more screen or inventory item.

I would be fine with controlling the cursor with one stick, and the other stick would be the "snappy cursor control". So if I used the normal stick and hovered over any clickable item on screen, it becomes available in the "already hovered over list" and I can roughly point in this direction with the snappy stick and it'll jump there.

Also I have to agree with others, it would be so funny if you could move the cursor with your arm and the kinect :) That could then even be an achievement (Actually pointed and clicked throughout the game!) :D

Anyhow, it looks amazing and I am so looking forward to playing the game :)

Big Red Button - Feb 03, 2016 at 07:09
I've noticed that you have to move your thumb away from the right thumbstick whenever you want to select something. A slight disadvantage of the current control scheme. I would recommend to assign the "select" function to the left trigger button, which seems to be unused yet.

Big Red Button - Feb 03, 2016 at 07:41
... or maybe
right trigger - select
left trigger - switch character
... as most players are right-handed and the select function is more frequented.
Furthermore, in this case, you would use your left hand for character control and your right hand for the GUI control.

Kon - Feb 03, 2016 at 07:57
If I got it right, the cursor "jumps" from selectable object to selectable object, when the right button is pressed...doesn't that behaviour make gameplay impossible, as long as you are in a room like the big library you presented before?

Tobias - Feb 03, 2016 at 08:17
Do you think it will be playable fine on a touch screen (e.g. MS Surface) without a mouse?

P.S. Next ask will be for hjkl-keyboard control..

Gabriel - Feb 03, 2016 at 09:16
Are you using SDL's Game Controller stuff for this?

Dominik - Feb 03, 2016 at 10:21
What about a simplisctic second player support (or better: second controller support)?
Not as a real two-player-mode but just a few lines of code that allow P2 to have their own cursor and move around. From the game world and command perspective there would'nt be a distinction and there is no need of a tweaked UI - just a simple way to allow player 2 to point out something or "let me try something" without the need of handing over the controller. I ask because my wife an I really enjoy playing adventure games on the big screen together and a second controller support à la Super Mario Galaxy could be a nice twist.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 03, 2016 at 10:53
"...but just a few lines of code..."

That game me a chuckle. Adding 2 player support, even side-sick support would break so much. We rely on the camera bring in certain places and trigger areas starting interactions so much that having a second person would require a significant amount of work. It's a easy trap to fall into, I've done it twice before (DeathSpank and The Cave). It sounds so simple until it's not.

Derrick Reisdorf - Feb 03, 2016 at 15:52
I think he means that when you're playing the game, you should be able to control the character with any active/plugged in controller.
Basically, the game takes input from any controller.  Not sure if you'd have to add some kind of precedence- like any input from Controller 1 will take precedence over Controller 2 input...

Dominik - Feb 03, 2016 at 17:35
This! ;-)

Ron Gilbert - Feb 03, 2016 at 17:38
Oh, I see. Yeah, that shouldn't be too hard on PC. Console have odd rules and you have to pass "cert" and I can see them flagging something like that, but maybe not.

Nor Treblig - Feb 04, 2016 at 07:10
This! is a great idea, sort of a coop-light mode!

Dominik - Feb 03, 2016 at 10:26

Another idea: A while a go we played "Deponia" and there where hidden items throughout the game world for real pixel hunters. Nothing that was integrated in the story and the objects weren't usable - just collectibles. But it was a nice addition. Also: The hotspots weren't highlighted if you moved the cursor above them so you have to really LOOK for them. I liked it a lot! It also gave you an incentive to stay put for a while and enjoy the game art!

For Thimbleweed Park this could be lost criminal files that are scattered across the game world. You could watch the collected files from the UI and each would give you the portrait, name and short description of the criminal. A lot of potential for jokes and "easter eggs" right there :-)

Marky - Feb 03, 2016 at 11:02
I think it would be nice if the default verb was highlighted when cycling through items. For example, when the phone is selected "Look at" would highlight, but when the door is selected "Open" would highlight. This way using the default verb button would be a more comfortable experience. It might also be a nice feature for the classic mouse interface.

Also the the skip cut-scene and skip text/dialogue button could be combined into one. Basically, when a cut-scene occurs, simply hold the skip text/dialogue for an extra second or so, and then the whole cut-scene skips.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 03, 2016 at 11:13
"I think it would be nice if the default verb was highlighted when cycling through items."

This is how it's supposed to work. Not sure why it broke.

urielz - Feb 03, 2016 at 12:47
I don't plan on user a controller (nor play the game in a console) so I don't have much to say except that seeing the cursor snapping close to objects that the user can interact with it looks weird. The sense of fluidity is lost. I  don't know how to express it better.

Matthias B - Feb 03, 2016 at 13:09
I agree. What could work, though, might be something like gravity. Once the cursor is close enough the object pulls it towards it. The closer, the stronger the pull.

Big Red Button - Feb 03, 2016 at 13:56
I think there are some ways to make the cursor movements look more fluent.
Maybe somebody could write a script that makes the cursor run through randomly curved trajectories, which would make it seem more like how it looks when you are using a mouse.
Furthermore, the speed of the cursor movements could be decreased.

Big Red Button - Feb 03, 2016 at 15:14
These two formulas would allow a curved trajectory from one point (x1, y1) to another point (x2, y2) on the screen, provided that the variable *n* runs *from 0 to 1*:
x = x1 + (x2 - x1) n
y = y1 + (y2 - y1) sqrt{n}

I think it might be the easiest way, if you want to imitate movements of a mouse.

mr. T - Feb 03, 2016 at 13:50
TP is getting more real by the day, woohoo! The controls seemed less evil than I anticipated, which is nice. I have a feeling people are gonna like it. Still will roll with ways of the mouse, because I was raised the old-school way :D

Andi - Feb 03, 2016 at 14:33
Monkey Island HD 1 & 2 were my favourite on 360. Will there be a release for XBOX 360? I still play games on it day in, day out!

Sushi - Feb 03, 2016 at 14:57
Hi Ron!

I'll keep it short. I have two suggestions:
- the pause button (snail) is missing?  And how do you save/load/quit/restart?
- I can see why you want to add the hotspot selection, as it might be cumbersome to place the cursor on every object each time, but it might also give away too much (which does negatively impact the experience if it is too easy to spot objects. Between that and pixel-hunting, there is a sweet spot which is fun !). So my idea is to only allow an object to be quick-selected with the cycle button if this object has been unlocked before by a "classic" interaction. Except perhaps for BIG, boring objects like doors, maybe, but if the rules are arbitrary to not spoil some puzzles, it may get confusing. Another advantage is that it might be easier than having to face the character in the right direction each time to make something selectable (which you also don't need to do in classic P&C mode).

Sushi - Feb 03, 2016 at 15:25
Thinking further on it, when you use things like a gravity field based or line of sight ways to filter out which objects are within reach to be interacted with, you introduce a pixel-hunting mechanic on its own, where the cursor is simply replaced by the character. Which is usually frustrating, even in games where it is an essential part of the logics and laws, like Machinarium. Especially if critical time-based puzzles are involved.
Also I can imagine there is a lot of play testing and thus potential "bug"-fixing involved to check all the cases when the actor moves around after cut-scenes or other short scripted events when interacting with object (usually walk to and face direction XYZ). If then the player has to reposition the character each time in order to interact with something else on the screen... I'm not sure and it should be play-tested off course, but it seems to be a possible pitfall to me.

Sushi - Feb 03, 2016 at 15:54
Oh... One more thing...
The Gigantic Occult Bookstore seems a good stress-test for any controller scheme. Even on the PC it seems to be the one room where I would prefer to use a simple hjkl-type interface to snap to the next book instead of trying to move the mouse around.

Uli Kusterer - Feb 07, 2016 at 20:51
I think the whole point of the bookstore is that it's supposed to be impossible to navigate. It's a maze, where, unless you have the navigator's head/map/Dewey-decimal-number, it's impossible to find the right book.

Carlo Valenti - Feb 03, 2016 at 17:05
I'd like:
1) a "fun" button
2) a "F117"  mode in which if you pull down the cloche the character goes up, and can go stealth with alien technology
2) a "three" button

Franklin - Feb 03, 2016 at 17:10
Reading all the comments telling Ron what he should do with the controller makes me think of this:

Sushi - Feb 04, 2016 at 13:17
FINALLY! So that is an "Edsel"! I never understood that from playing Maniac Mansion. I always thought I had missed some part (or it was cut).

arvenius - Feb 03, 2016 at 19:21
Ok Ron, I now see the problems with reaching every hotspot in the scene and why moving manually is important, so theres that.
But another thing:
Will Gamepad-Control be available on PC as well? I know most people will prefer the mouse but hooking the PC up to the telly and playing from the couch is a thing more and more people get into.
On top of that, did you take a look at the steam controller? I do own one and while I dont really use it that much it comes a LOT closer to using a real mouse than using the thumbsticks on an xbox pad.
Now, I have no idea if you plan to put the game on steam and if thats a requirement to fully support the controller but even in its default "steamless" mode the controller is pretty usable as a mouse replacement. Maybe it works well out of the box and theres no code needed to adjust, but it would still be good if that was tested and approved beforehand :)

Edward Laverick - Feb 04, 2016 at 12:07
What?  No Kinect support?  I shall just have to entertain myself by shouting "Use Chicken with a pulley in the middle on damp clown" at the television to make up for it...

Arto - Feb 04, 2016 at 12:19
I was excited when I saw the headline "Controllers" and thought this was about accounting, regulatory requirements, internal controls to support the financial infrastructure, financial reporting and potential risk areas assesment. But an article about controlling the game is ok too.

I will use Wacom pen with my Mac to play the game. It's often frustrating or even impossible to play some games with pen, but I think for this type of point-and-click game it's probably the best controller. My Wacom pad is also small, so I can lay on my couch and still use it easily with MacBook.

Gffp - Feb 04, 2016 at 12:27
Hi Arto, how many buttons does your wacom pen have,  and where are they?

Arto - Feb 04, 2016 at 16:58
There are two buttons on the side near the tip, and they are programmable. I use lower button as double-click and upper button as right-click. I have also enabled a tap-click. There's also an "eraser" at the other end of the pen, but I never use it.

They look like this:

eMaze - Feb 04, 2016 at 13:24
Slightly off-topic, but studying the pictures I stumbled over the "Skip Cut-scene" button.

Now I wonder if there's a way to repeat a cut scene?! Probably this has already been discussed somewhere else, but I'm too lazy to read through all that stuff again.

Ron Gilbert - Feb 04, 2016 at 13:37
There is no way to repeat a cut-scene, they happen in the flow of the narrative and should not been thought of a separate from the rest of the game.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Feb 04, 2016 at 15:17
Just like in The Greatest Adventure Game Of All Times, to see a cutscene again, you have to restart the game.
And the second time, you pay more attention not to skip it!

eMaze - Feb 04, 2016 at 19:42
Thanks for clarification, Ron. Poor me. Save early, save often should help that a bit, though. This is always a good advice, as one could easily die for sure at any unthoughtful step. :-D

longuist - Feb 05, 2016 at 01:02
But dont skip the death animations!
(What a pity there wont be any...)

Ivan Braidi - Feb 04, 2016 at 20:34
Every TRUE Adventure Player™ NEVER skips any cut-scene!! ;)

Bhenn - Feb 05, 2016 at 04:51
Have you considered utilising the touch pad on the Playstation DS4 controller? Could be an interesting option, though I'm not sure how precise it would be.

captain person - Feb 05, 2016 at 05:14
Since you're experimenting with alternate control schemes, I really wish you'd consider adding an optional simplified "left click for relevant action, right click to examine" most recent adventure games use. I understand that I am not exactly preaching to the choir here, but the verb menu is pretty much the opposite of what I consider a vanishing control scheme. Heck, I watched the last twenty-something minute demo you did and there was not a single point during it where you did anything that couldn't have been replicated by it, with a whole lot less clicking.

Oh well.

Big Red Button - Feb 05, 2016 at 06:11
I fully understand the need of a controller support, as it's the most common control input for consoles. But, will there also be a way to use a mouse at the console?

Farooq - Feb 05, 2016 at 07:37
Now what fun will that be! Sitting on the couch with a mouse pad and mouse.

Big Red Button - Feb 05, 2016 at 09:57
I agree with you to a certain extent. Everyone who buys the console version will probably be aware of it.
But, if it's not too costly, why shouldn't it be supported at least, for anyone who likes it? In the 90s all point & click game developers could make excuses very easily, because consoles didn't support mice at all. However, I'm not a market analyst, but nowadays it's possibly just a "chicken or the egg" dilemma. Why not believing in Say's law, even though the demand for mice, touchpads and trackballs on consoles has always been insignificant up to now?
It's just an idea. I don't know how elaborate it would be, of course.

Farooq - Feb 06, 2016 at 04:25
No don't get me wrong. I actually am in favor of a mouse on console but yeah its a stretch. A third-party can come up with a converter of some sort to make that work. There could already be one in existence.

Farooq - Feb 05, 2016 at 07:14
Excuse me while i go build a time machine, travel 6 months into 2016, check the final scheme, and bring back the game with me.

Arashi - Feb 05, 2016 at 12:33
No mouse, no party. Well, I don't know much about making games but can you eliminate the cursor in game controller version and make that the character have to approach to the object to interact? (like Grim Fandango) I'm playing Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders on PS4 and I have to move the cursor to interact with something and in the same time move the character to walking to somewhere.. It's annoying.

In name of all the fans - Feb 05, 2016 at 16:45
Will there be Friday questions again this month?

DZ-Jay - Feb 05, 2016 at 17:43
Dear Mr. Ron,

The automatic selection of the nearby items by pressing the bumper buttons seems like a great idea.  I wonder if you could implement something similar on PCs with mice -- no, I'm not talking about weird, freaky three-button mice; I'm talking perhaps with a gesture or a key modifier.  I'm on a Mac, and use a trackpad, so gestures and multi-taps are sort of natural to me. :)


Zombocast - Feb 05, 2016 at 20:42
Will there be adult content in the final version? like side boob!

Carlo Valenti - Feb 06, 2016 at 01:21

Carlo Valenti - Feb 06, 2016 at 07:00
no friday questionsssss
so saaaaaad

Cattie - Feb 06, 2016 at 13:39
Looking forward to your posts about the "M" and "V" parts of the MVC design pattern!

Faaf - Feb 07, 2016 at 01:20
So.. you wanna play an adventure like, say Book of Unwritten Tales 2, on a couch and on the BIG screen?..

Here is my solution for this problem:

Works like a charm.. dont need no stinking controller therefor ;)

Great Blog, Great Game, Great Art! Have fun :)

A2Z - Feb 07, 2016 at 12:32
Haven't read all the comments, but from my point of view a good control design for a typical console controller should take into account the fact that people memorizes sequences of buttons while they are playing through the games. And I'll explain myself.

If you have to use the cross buttons to select among different verbs, you should make it an easily automatic procedure. For example, if you want to choose "Look At" verb, you should press always the same combination of buttons to select it, not depending on which verb is selected at the beginning. It would be quite annoying to have the necessity of checking the "starting verb" each single time you want to select another one. Same case for the inventory.

As a possible and surely awful idea:
2 buttons (for example, two of the triggers at the back of the controller): left one to select verbs, right one to select inventory
3 buttons (for example, the left, down and right buttons of the cross): left one to select the left column, right one to select the right column and middle one (down in this case) to select the central column, either in the verbs or in the inventory.
-> And finally, the number of times you press one of these cross buttons makes you able to select the first, second, third... row either of the inventory or the verb matrix.

It may be more confusing when working with the inventory (because the matrix is not fixed, as in the case of the verbs) but it would be systematic enough to not be annoying at least to work with the verbs matrix.

Having said this, I don't really know how does your system work, so this may be just another stupid idea, so... this is the main reason I decided to post it here.

prbalbontin - Feb 07, 2016 at 16:23
How about this?

Left stick: move the cursor through the scene.

Right stick: move through verbs/inventory

Right trigger: activate the selected command.

Right bumper: activate suggested action.

I think that combining the left and the right trigger could save a lot of time moving the cursor around.

Asterisk - Feb 08, 2016 at 04:43
This is a totally unrelated and obnoxiously pedantic nitpick, but the USPS logo used for the post office is anachronistic -- the eagle's-head logo was introduced in 1993; the full eagle was still in use in 1987.  See

Brian Bagnall - Feb 09, 2016 at 14:37
I'm probably committing a cardinal sin by commenting on alpha code that you were going to refine but what the hell. The mail man looks robotic. Random delays between each action he performs will help.

COWCAT - Feb 10, 2016 at 04:24
The funny thing about the "classic" method of playing is that it's very similar to the one I've programmed a week ago for my upcoming adventure game "Demetrios - The BIG cynical adventure" :)

I had never played a P&C game since the ages of Broken Sword and Discworld on the PS1, and the "left stick to move cursor quickly" + "right stick to move slowly" seemed very natural, as well as using the bumper buttons to scroll through the inventory :) I did add the trigger buttons to make the pointer go even faster, though.

I don't really like the "modern" method, I hate having to move the character manually in a P&C. It just doesn't feel right, even with a controller. But I guess it's a matter of choice. (that doesn't apply to my game anyway, because it's first-person) For example Gray Matter on Xbox 360 (the only one I've tried in the last 15 years on consoles) was absolutely awful to play.

Mattias Cedervall - Feb 11, 2016 at 21:18
Ron, maybe you can ask Tim how the controller works in the Xbox version of Day of the tentacle (remastered)?

Franklin - Feb 12, 2016 at 10:46
I don't think Tim and Ron are on speaking terms anymore. I was chatting with Ron during a party at GDC last year and Tim came in with his entourage and Ron gave me this "look" and left. I had a great conversation with Ron about story game design and Tim walked around acting like everyone should be a humbled by his presence. I talked to Tim for 5 minutes and came away thinking he was a pompous ass.

Mattias Cedervall - Feb 13, 2016 at 03:38
I'm very sad to hear that! :-(

Marco - Feb 22, 2016 at 06:53
If you plan for making the game available for consoles like XBOX, wouldn't it be nice to integrate Speech Input using e.g. Kinect?

So the game would be support multi-user interaction!

pablo m - Apr 07, 2016 at 04:21
Button 1: enter
Button 2: Secene // verb-inventory  -switch
Button 3: verb // inventory  -switch

type of interaction [hotspot-verb & hotspot-object ]
-if in the scene you select a hotspot, you automatically jump to verb area, where you can select a verb, or you can switch to inventory area (with Button 3), where you can select an item to use with that HS. If operation not sucessful, return to scene with cursor over hotspot.

type of interaction [object-object]
-in scene, press button 2 to jump to verb menu. Press button 3 to jump to inventory menu. Pick and item and choose enter, then choose the other item and press enter (enter= button 1). If not sucessful, return to inventory, first item choosen.

type of interaction [verb-object]
-In scene, press button 2 to jump to verb menu. Choose verb. Use button 3 to go to inventory menu, choose item. [you can also use button 2 and select a hotspot instead]

Additional notes: I would move the character with the arrows, giving it a more retro feeling (8 bit retro, but still...). Use the more sensible control for hotspots that really need that extra control one faster, the other one slower. Maybe use a lazy feature where you have a bigger trigger for the objects (maybe you can use a function to expand all the triggers of the game acording to their size?), or a magnet button, that if you press will lead to the nearest hotspot... not sure about that.

pablo m - Apr 07, 2016 at 05:15
PS: Forgot to mention: button 2 and 3 can be colapsed into one button, i.e, a button to cycle between scene/verb/inventory:

Button 1: cycle between [scene/verb/inventory] parts of the screen
Button 2: Enter.

I would probably use the index buttons for these, and if you press both at the same time, you can skip dialogs & cut-scenes. The button for changin the character could be Y. Arrows for walking. Analogics for cursor moving. Even if you use this cycle thing, I think I´d still use analogic cursor moving to at least let the player choose the direction in wich the object is.

y5 games - Sep 30, 2016 at 22:26
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Gui Rimoli - Apr 19, 2017 at 19:26
I've been trying to use a PS3 controller connected via USB (already tested and fully functional with other games), but the game doesn't recognize it  : (

Could anyone help me?

Bought my copy at GoG (macOS version).