In this post I’ll write about why consistency, should be a key principle when designing in-game experiences. It applies to both interferers and controls. Although it seems the easiest to implement, even the biggest productions don’t have bugs in this plane.
Consistency – the essence of positive UX
The faster a player masters a game’s interface, the faster they will immerse themselves in it. The inconsistency of the controls creates annoyance. Which every time you get out of the game negatively affects the experience.
“Many people (…) regard cognitive effort as at least unpleasant and try to avoid it if possible.” D. Kahneman
Learning an interface is more or less a cognitive effort. Ideally, the interface should be learned at an intuitive level.
We should also remember that onboarding in the game and the first contact with the interface and controls is crucial here. More about onboarding in a separate post
The role of controls in the player experience
Interface and controls themselves serve a task-oriented role. Nobody buys a game to assimilate the controls in it. It’s just an intermediary. It’s one of the secondary characters. It is that element of Jobs To Be Done methodology in the industry.
As emotion providers, we should aim to make the player think “Now I should crouch” instead of “Now I have to press “X” to make my character crouch”. Note that this isn’t just about taking the controls to an intuitive level.
For some games (rpg, narrative, etc.) it would be optimal if the player could identify with their character. To make this possible it is important to leave the controls at an intuitive level. Allowing the player to get involved in what really matters.
Control paterns in games
There have been developed certain standards, patterns, which are worth adhering to. In consols f.e. the most commonly used action in the game should be under the “X” (PS) or “A” (Xbox). Don’t reinvent the wheel. Nobody expects you to do that. Quite the opposite.
Your game is another world of entertainment for players. They expect the controls in it to work the way they are used to. Ideally, you should allow players to customize it. Then the first immersion will surely be much more enjoyable and it will translate to the whole.
Your game is another world of entertainment for players. They expect the controls in it to work the way they are used to. Ideally, you should allow players to customize it. Then the first immersion will surely be much more enjoyable and it will affect to the whole.
Game Controls – Summary
Maintain consistency and follow design patterns. Its simple If on top of that you allow players to customize, you really make it easy for players to focus on what’s really important. Mastering the controls should be as intuitive as possible. Don’t throw players in at the deep end. And most importantly, test it.