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[22/7/20] Controller deadzones are important. Put them in your games.


So, recently i was playing Shaun White's Skateboarding like any average sane person does and i noticed "hey my character sure is preparing to do a trick a whole lot". I then promptly realised that the right stick of my controller was just a bit too wiggly. As i kept playing, the effects of this now broken controller kept becoming more apparent, the games control seeming degrading as i went through it. Eventually, the game became completley and utterly unplayable as a result of the right stick always being slightly tilted to one direction. I had never noticed this issue previously in any of the higher budget, big games i had played previously. This brings me to the main point of this rant, that the difference between a well designed and a poorly designed game is if said game accounts for hardware imperfections or not. If a game is still perfectly playable on a slightly broken controller, congrats, it's a well designed game! If even the most minute imperfection in one's controller hardware renders the game unplayable, please never make a game again.


I may have exaggurated in that previous sentence but my point still stands. One of the most common points of faliure in a controller ends up being the joysticks. They can only take so much fine movement and large flicks before they start to loosen up. It's inevitable. And because of how difficult repair on joysticks can possibly be along with the cost and/or rarity (depending on what generation talking about) of replacement controllers, it's kind of unreasonable to expect a player to have a 100% flawlessly working brand new controller to play your game with. This is where features such as deadzones and remapable controls come in handy. Being able to remap controls isn't too common in console games and it's honestly a damn shame. Along with making a game more comfortable to play, it also allows for players to map less used actions to a control that doesn't work too well which can be handy on broken hardware. Deadzones are also the MVP for those who aren't sporting a pristine condition controller, as having just a tiny percentage of the joystick not being read can make joystick drift less noticable, if not mitigate it entirely!


If you are an indie dev, I ask of you, please add some kind of joystick deadzone to your games. Please. Pretty please. Depending on what engine you're using, it's not too difficult to implement, either. From personal experience, it's an absolute breeze with godot. From the input mappings, you can just set it there and be done with it. Even if you have to do it by code, there are a few ways to do it. One of the most simple methods is to simply make the game code do things if the input strength is past a certain threshold. Doing it through code also makes it very easy to have deadzone as a setting, which also makes life a lot easier.


this is arguably one of the most pointless rants i've ever put together but i am angy and i must scream, damnit!