Keyboard only control?

Michaël Samyn, May 25, 2012

I’m still working on making the entire game playable through keyboard input only. The keyboard in some ways feels more intimate to me than the mouse. In part because typing is mostly an activity of the finger tips, while using a mouse is something you do with your arm and wrist. So there’s more distance when using the mouse. But also because of the relationship between typing and language. The keys of the keyboard are not just buttons. They represent letters that we can use to form words that we can use to talk to another person.

I worked on the interior scene today, where you pick items to say and drag objects around over the table. The original interface is for the mouse (in part because I’m hoping the release a tablet version of this part of the game at some point). But despite my expectations, playing this scene through the keyboard feels quite well. Dragging objects around by pressing the cursor keys doesn’t feel as natural as doing it with the mouse, but the floating object as I press the key looks strangely magical.

I am always inclined to add as many interfaces as possible. So my instinct is to make the game playable through keyboard, mouse and gamepad. Even all simultaneously. And definitely to include a way to play the game by only using the mouse, without modifier keys: just single hand control.

But I’m not sure if this is the right approach here. Maybe I should choose for one interface and disable the others. To keep the controls clear to the player. For Bientôt l’été, that single interface would have to be the keyboard. But I’m hesitant to throw away the other options.

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