Playful13: Designing Controllers

George Buckenham – Things that go Squish
George “makes games and things” – often silly (Punch The Custard, A Bastard), often hacking existing things (Proteus Frog mod; Sweareoke Guitar Hero mod) and sometimes just straight up, fiendish games (Hell Is Other People, CUBES). George is going to be talking about videogames and their relationship with the hardware

Makes videogames and other things. Some physical. But you can make more money with videogames.

One thing that goes squish is custard…Punch the Custard. You have to punch your custard more times than the other person! You put one hand on foil and a wire in the custard, then you complete the circuit. And it does not go everywhere, as it goes hard when under pressure, so does not fly out. It’s a fun game..but not a better game than custard you just play with! The game is an excuse to touch custard!

Another game, made controllers for game, boxes with many coloured controllers. When building them, lots of websites that you can buy arcade components. Lots of tech specs to choose from. What response, what kind of dimple do you need on button etc. There is a whole world of choices. And a whole world of people discussing the various specs and the choices to be done.

Controllers have become more standardised, which he feels is shame, (but that’s the market), but there are opportunities to build your own specific ones – but far too expensive! So thinking about it from he controller, the standard. So what works with the existing controllers, what works well ergonomically, what do the controllers represent. Are the 2 triggers on standard controllers like cats paws? What is a game that will feel satisfying with the possible control movements.

A climbing game, where you have to hold down the keyboard keys to ‘grip’ on the climbing wall, So there is physical mapping – tired fingers at the end of it.

He finds it exciting when you can work on a game and decide the controller. You experiment with the form factor. What is the right distance between buttons, how they interact. You can manage the twitchiness, how things react. The connection between control and game adds up to a satisfying experience.

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