Conformity vs. complexity (gamepad/controller layout)

by Neph   Last Updated October 11, 2018 15:16 PM

I'm porting a VR app to non-VR. In VR you can move your head to look around, which you can't in a Windows app of course. This means that I also have to change the controller layout. Users might use both versions of the app or maybe only one of them.

Old layout:

  • Left analog stick: Move
  • Press left analog stick: Toggle run
  • Right analog stick: Fly up/down
  • Left/right buttons: Switch between 3D models (previous one, next one)
  • Left/right triggers: Switch between extra 3D models (displayed additional to the other ones)
  • The D-pad and A, B, X and Y are all used for special functions (like: "Y" resets your position)

New layout:

  • Left analog stick: Move
  • Press left analog stick: Toggle run
  • Right analog stick: Look around

Version 1:

  • Right button/right trigger: Switch to next model
  • Left button/left trigger: Fly up/down
  • Advantage: Less complex, the D-pad and the other buttons keep the same special functions
  • Disadvantages: No way to go back to the previous model, so not conform with the old app; I've never seen anyone use the left button/trigger to jump/crouch/fly, so possibly not as intuitive

Version 2:

  • Left/right button & left/right triggers: Switch between models (previous and next)
  • A and B: Fly up/down
  • Press right analog stick (with indicator on the screen): Switch between movement and special functions (A, B, X and Y are each mapped twice)
  • Advantage: You can go back to the previous model, so it's more conform with the old app; more available buttons; also more conform with commonly used key bindings (A: Jump, B: crouch)
  • Disadvantages: More complex because you have to switch to access all functions

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages for both versions and I'm not sure what to do here: Is it better to go with something that's less complex but also less conform with a previous version or something that's more conform but also more complex?

Driving a car in a game and controlling your character usually use the same controls or at least very similar controls but that's different "modes", so is it common to map buttons twice with some kind of additional "mode switch" button while you're still in the same game "mode"?

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