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A word to the joystick-botherers

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
A word to the joystick-botherers

Verain's Avatar


Verain
07.07.2017 , 02:41 PM | #1
The "friction" and even "class balance" threads have some comments on joysticks recently. These have popped up intermittently over the history of GSF.

By all means, post in that "friction" thread. It's clearly an issue for you, and the devs will see it.


But I want to rain on your parade from outside the thread.


SWTOR is a mouse and keyboard game. To add joysticks would require some technical debt that they would have to forever maintain. Joysticks aren't as uniform as mouse and keyboard (and they CERTAINLY do not "look like a mouse" as one poster claimed), and even in games that natively support joysticks, there's always people complaining about how to make them work. No one is asking how to work the pointer on even the cheapest of dumpster-dived mice.

Joysticks, if added, would be added terribly, badly, or correctly. Here's how each of those turn out (spoiler: all of them create drama for the game, and risk player participation to hook the joystick brothers):


Terrible Joystick Support
In this model, the joystick controls the mouse. You can have this TODAY, in fact! You can simply make your joystick into a type of virtual mouse, such that if you hold your joystick in the upper right position, it is the equivalent of moving your mouse up and to the right (or down and to the right, if you flipped Y axis), until, after some amount of time, it reaches the limit of the screen. I *think* there is another way to do it such that the joystick extents roughly map to the entirety of the screen, but I'm not sure how that could work.

The reason this support is TERRIBLE is that you are just controlling the cursor in a lamer way. The mouse is really good at controlling the cursor- it has acceleration and sensitivity values you can tune to your personal strengths. The weaknesses of the mouse control are basically that you don't control your ship immediately (your ship pitches and yaws to chase your cursor- very slightly if your cursor is mostly centered, much more dramatically if the cursor is far away), and also that your weapon gimbal is by necessity related entirely to your direction of pitch and yaw. You cannot, for instance, be pitching up sharply and shooting straight with no penalties to targets in the middle of your screen- you must be shooting at max deflection, your weapons gimballed up as far as they can go.

These are the same disadvantages everyone playing GSF shares, and you don't get the advantage of precise control over cursor location- the worst of the mouse world AND the joystick world. But if you want, you can have this terrible control scheme today- some have done it for the lulz.


Bad Joystick Support
With Bad Joystick support, the joystick is perceived as a separate religion from the mouse completely. The cursor is locked in the center of the screen, and you must rigidly move your ship correctly. This captures the field of fixed-weapon fighters, but puts the joystick user at a mix of advantages of disadvantages compared to the keyboard and mouse guy. He has lagless control over pitch and yaw with his joystick (roll is digital in this game- you are rolling left, rolling right, or not rolling, and there are no other choices, so roll would still be buttons instead of an axis on your flightstick), but he cannot ever make deflection shots. His capabilities are fundamentally different than those of a keyboard and mouse pilot, and they are generally worse. Given how weapons are balanced in part around their deflection penalties, this pilot must learn to fly differently, and will benefit from entirely different weapons than the keyboard and mouse pilot.

The players who live here already and love joystick games will use the joystick, generally come to the conclusion that it is fun but useless, and move on. But the players who would join just for the joystick would be furious- their world is much harder than it should be. They would pelt the forums with complaints, with suggestions about how to fix the joystick. They would also ask for tech support for why their newest whatever don't work, but whatevs.

So this solution ultimately makes no one happy.


Correct Joystick Support
In this model, the joystick controls pitch and yaw, and targeting is controlled by any of: analog hat, mouse, or some kind of auto-aim. In all cases, the joystick would correctly serve as a superior control solution to the keyboard and mouse, as you would have independent control over gimbal and lagless control over flight, delinking two items linked for keyboard and mouse players. If the "auto-aim" thing is implemented terribly, see the "bad" section. If it is implemented well, then it is the same sort of thing.

Now we have the veterans dusting off their HOTAS solutions, the casual players are getting farmed with keyboard and mouse (and immediately take to the forums claiming that the game is impossible without a HOTAS, maybe correctly, maybe incorrectly), and the "must have joystick" players have finally found a home, where they immediately get burst to death by scouts, sniped from railguns they don't see, and blown up by seismics that have gotta be nerfed now, bro, now.


Every situation doesn't help the game. All require initial cost. All put down permanent technical debt to be ported through every stupid subversion of Microsoft Windows, every Hero Engine modification that they make, every new driver with German documentation Saitek puts out. The joysticks are either crappy or mandatory, and the non-flight sim parts of the game- such as the roll being "left, right, or no" and the throttle being "off, low, some, yes"- stick out oddly in a world where you have a legit throttle and a third axis waiting to make you roll properly.


So while you are free to beg the devs for joysticks, and I would personally love if I could drag out my HOTAS in this game, I feel your odds of doing this are low, and it won't even just be because of the effort required. It would mean huge changes that would by necessity disorient at least some of the playerbase, permanently.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

AlrikFassbauer's Avatar


AlrikFassbauer
07.08.2017 , 05:18 AM | #2
Mouse and keyboard just doesn't feel "natural" for a flight game to me. I must always ask myself : "Are those people in that plane kilometres over my head [in RL] using mouse and keyboard to steer that plane, too ?"

It just doesn't feel "natural" for me, because I've grown up using a joystick for that.

Younger generations, I assume, which have never played any game with a joystick, would not understand how a game would require a joystick. My guess is that they would have the same problems playing GSF with a joystick like those who have problems playing GSF with a mouse.

To this day I refuse to play "Freelance" because of that. (apart from that really bad story).
Complex minds
will create
Complex problems.

Greezt's Avatar


Greezt
07.08.2017 , 06:12 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by AlrikFassbauer View Post
Mouse and keyboard just doesn't feel "natural" for a flight game to me. I must always ask myself : "Are those people in that plane kilometres over my head [in RL] using mouse and keyboard to steer that plane, too ?"

It just doesn't feel "natural" for me, because I've grown up using a joystick for that.

Younger generations, I assume, which have never played any game with a joystick, would not understand how a game would require a joystick. My guess is that they would have the same problems playing GSF with a joystick like those who have problems playing GSF with a mouse.

To this day I refuse to play "Freelance" because of that. (apart from that really bad story).

Mouse and keyboard just doesn't feel "natural" for a walking game to me. I must always ask myself : "Are those people on the ground kilometres around me [in RL] using mouse and keyboard to steer themselves, too ?"

It just doesn't feel "natural" for me, because I've grown up using my feet for that.

Younger generations, I assume, which have never played any game with feet, would not understand how a game would require legs. My guess is that they would have the same problems playing SWTOR with legs like those who have problems playing SWTOR with a mouse.

To this day I refuse to play the ground game because of that. (apart from that really bad story).

DarthVandalism's Avatar


DarthVandalism
07.08.2017 , 11:39 AM | #4
Yeah, I'm about as old as a gamer gets. I remember the old Atari joysticks, the ones with only one button awkwardly positioned in the corner of the square controller with a joystick jutting out of the center and a thick and always too short cord jammed in with a metal connector to the console. Anyone else remember those? The damn things couldn't even do Pac Man right. I have to say, I like the keyboard and mouse controls for PC. GSF was just designed around them.

Verain's Avatar


Verain
07.08.2017 , 11:43 AM | #5
lol @close

That's a pretty good response. I'll go less snark though.


There's nothing "old school" about a joystick. It's the ideal control method for many types of games, and is a great input in general. The inputs available have greatly shaped how games are played: first person shooters reliably give you an almost infinite turning radius, because that is what your mouse naturally has, and as such feel "more natural" to players, not because there is anything realistic about a person revolving at 1000 rpm, but because the in-game avatar responds to their mouse commands immediately.

A game where you are controlling flight surfaces instead of the avatar directly- which GSF sorta counts as- should use a joystick naturally.

This creates a huge issue for the devs of any game- "what do my players have"? If your potential playerbase are all going to have mouse and keyboard, and a small fraction are going to have a flightstick, your priority becomes supporting the mouse and keyboard.

Once THAT decision is made, then the rest of the game is built around it. Because the mouse is so terrible for controlling the flight surfaces, it instead has to control multiple things at once. As long as the players are all stuck with the same limits, it is fair, even if it doesn't feel nearly as much like flying as it could, even if your ship is greatly limited in what it could accomplish if you had a proper control scheme.

Given that the game is fully pvp all the time with no exceptions, homogeneity of input takes precedence over superior control, or even more fun control.

I'm not here to poop on flight sticks, I'm just here to say why adding them to GSF is both unlikely and risky.
"The most despicable person on the GSF forum."

Transcendent's Avatar


Transcendent
07.09.2017 , 01:04 AM | #6
Here's the rub though, if they don't add controller or joystick support, how are you going to entice those players who are willing to play gsf into the game mode without it?

I'd play, but lack of controller support essentially means I really will not bother. It's not something I would play with keyboard or mouse, period. Regardless of whatever "reasoning" you may want to come up with to justify the lack of support for controllers or joysticks that has been requested since the game mode was introduced.

BioWare said they would look at that when feedback was given, but to this date nothing has been said further by them about it. I'd link the thread but it isn't coming up on forum search for what I'm searching under.

TL;DR - No controller and joystick support essentially kills GSF for many players. Nothing else changed is going to make a difference.

Thanks to everyone who has used my Refer a Friend link over the years, may the force be with you.

Icykill_'s Avatar


Icykill_
07.09.2017 , 05:23 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Transcendent View Post
Here's the rub though, if they don't add controller or joystick support, how are you going to entice those players who are willing to play gsf into the game mode without it?

I'd play, but lack of controller support essentially means I really will not bother. It's not something I would play with keyboard or mouse, period. Regardless of whatever "reasoning" you may want to come up with to justify the lack of support for controllers or joysticks that has been requested since the game mode was introduced.

BioWare said they would look at that when feedback was given, but to this date nothing has been said further by them about it. I'd link the thread but it isn't coming up on forum search for what I'm searching under.

TL;DR - No controller and joystick support essentially kills GSF for many players. Nothing else changed is going to make a difference.
That sums it up pretty well for a lot of us.
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Lavaar's Avatar


Lavaar
07.09.2017 , 06:51 AM | #8
Did you two not read Verain's post at all? There is simply no way to implement it correctly. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them, but all I'm seeing is a bunch of head-in-the-dirt naysaying in the face of a well reasoned and thoroughly thought out post by someone with a vast amount of experience in this area.

Joystick/Controller support may get a couple people interested at the start, but they would find it to be a bad time and would litter these forums with a whole new slew of complaints levied against the M+K users. Its zero-sum folks.

Frigidman's Avatar


Frigidman
07.09.2017 , 07:22 AM | #9
Considering SWG implemented it 'correctly' in their mouse and keyboard MMORPG for Jump To Lightspeed about 13 years ago... the entire argument of "it cant be done" is pretty much null and void.

I tried the GSF, and went ... nope, not gonna care. Its no better than SWTOR's original 'space flight on rails' garbage they released with. Just... off the rails, so to speak.

Since this entire game has been pushed towards the solo-play-easy-casual-market... its really no bother. I won't ever be resubbing or paying for anything in this game due to the clear lack of improvements over the last 6 years.
Sad to see after all these years... the same old QoL bugs exist, and nothing has changed for the better.
Way to go AAA developers!

Transcendent's Avatar


Transcendent
07.09.2017 , 09:29 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Lavaar View Post
Did you two not read Verain's post at all? There is simply no way to implement it correctly.
I mean I could ask you the exact same question about reading couldn't I? Doesn't exactly help though does it?

Quote:
Regardless of whatever "reasoning" you may want to come up with to justify the lack of support for controllers or joysticks that has been requested since the game mode was introduced.

Thanks to everyone who has used my Refer a Friend link over the years, may the force be with you.