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While you cant consider it a true isometric rpg, sacred 2 has the best controller layout for an action rpg. I understand this game uses turn based combat, however, sacred 2's layout may still prove useful. If you havent seen it this is how it works. In total you can have 12 skills including your weapon and/or shield. Each skill is manually mapped to each of the four face buttons. To open up the other "tabs" you hold either the left or right trigger and again manually assign skills to each of the four face buttons. This allows you to organize skills such as buffs into one tab, close combat or more frequently used skills in another and your utility or situation specific skills in a third. It also allows for macros freeing up even further space to equip skills. One press of a button and you pick up all loot within a certain radius around you. Left stick dictates your skill's casted direction since you must remain still while you use skills. Even without the option to move or dodge in real time, simply having 12 readily available skills allows for a lot of options. Sacred 2 overall is a bit rough, though one of my all time favorites, but it has the best controller layout maximizing efficiency for picking up (ninjaing) loot and space available to allow you to use your full arsenal.


I'd like to add as a side note that sacred 2 also has one of the best set ups for building a pure necromancer.

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I'm glad this game has no controller support. Else we'll end up with 10 spells instead of 100.. Scrolling inventory instead of grid-based. Enough is enough. Console gaming has caused more destruction to gaming than ever seriously!.

I'm also glad this game has no spoon-feeding or hand-holding. Otherwise it would be an insult to my intelligence.

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Originally Posted by ForkTong
With Steam announcing their SteamBox, and other cloud-gaming platforms on the horizon, we were wondering if we should support controller input. Anyone have some good examples of top down RPGs with controller support?

Of course the challenge is to NOT change anything about gameplay and design, and interactivity, and to still cater for keyboard/mouse fans. We are well aware of that and do not want to make compromises.

Also, quoting Lar: "...if we put in controller support, there's no reason left why we shouldn't support the game on consoles. But, since putting in controller support is a lot of work, we're trying to figure out if there's a demand. And no, this is not an official announcement that the game will appear on consoles."

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I don't know, it seems fairly simple to port it to a controller based setup.
One analogue stick controls a cursor, the other controls the camera, left trigger is left click, right trigger is right click.

You don't need to reword the interface or anything at all, there's no reason for it to be like Dragon Age Origins for example, where they made a specific console UI and stuff. Just port the controls, make the text bigger and that's it, done.

The only issue would be making the text a bit larger (something that the PC version would benefit from a lot, the text is too damn small Larian).

Last edited by Kriss; 10/07/14 10:06 AM.
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Originally Posted by Raze
Of course there is much less need in a turn based isometric game, but having the option isn't a bad thing as long as resources are not taken away from other features and it doesn't restrict any design choices. World interaction and inventory management would be easier with a mouse, but can still be done with a controller.


Originally Posted by twopounder
I don't think it's possible to make a deep, isometric RPG for game pad use without redesigning a lot of core functionality. A great example is Skyrim. Great RPG and game in general, but the interface is absolutely terrible and the whole game feels "dumbed down." It's the same with Oblivion and Fallout 3. I'm pretty sure this is why Bethesda moved fallout away from an isometric game and made it a first person shooter. Action RPG's can get away with controller support because they have minimal environmental interaction.


That's basically it. I wouldn't use it, but I don't mind it as long, as it doesn't harm my PC experience, as Skyrim did.


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Not sure if you want this sort of feedback; but I never use a controller. I do have an xbox controller and tried it once of twice but found it very klunky. What bugs the heck out of me is that most games with controller support have lousy kb/mouse support.

Witcher 2 (not top down); is probably the best game with combined kb/m and controller support but even with this game you can tell that interface with kb/m would have been a *lot* better if they hadn't mucked it up for controller support.
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I can't really answer your question for demand but in practice I think a game requires to completely different interfaces not a single interface with two streams of input. How you present things for the kb/m crowd can fundamentally be different than for those with a controller (witcher 2 demonstrates this problem in how they manage inventory; the design is around a controller - and as I noted it is one of the best combined interfaces I've seen it is also clear they had to handicap kb/m to support it; I think what they shoudl have done (and you) is build two completely different interfaces (including graphics around presentation of things like inventory) and then feed the output of the interface into the game. This might be more work than you wish to undertake or the structure of the code might not support it (I've not seen a game do this yet; but perhaps there is an example somewhere).

Btw darksoul sucks not because I dislike the game but the control/interface is everely handicapped on the pc.

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Originally Posted by meme

Witcher 2 (not top down); is probably the best game with combined kb/m and controller support but even with this game you can tell that interface with kb/m would have been a *lot* better if they hadn't mucked it up for controller support.


I guess I'm going to have to break down & try using a gamepad with this game. This sucks for me because my gaming sessions are cut much shorter with a gamepad due to pain & cramping. I don't have this issue with "normal" PC controls. I've tried starting The Witcher 2 twice since I bought it & combat is absolute rubbish with a mouse & keyboard. I've never made it past the 1st fight without rage-quitting in frustration. This could be because I'm getting older & worse at "twich" gaming, but I had 0 issues with (& loved) The Witcher.

I do know one thing, I won't be buying The Wild Hunt until I know it's fully playable with a mouse & keyboard.

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If the controls are already set for pc why is there still some comcern that it will be dumbed down if translated to consoles? This thread is to offer potential options for controller layouts. To find examples of other rpgs that have attempted the transition from pc based controls to gamepad. Why are we complaining about a problem that doesnt exist? The pc already has its controls. Theyre set. Theres no need to continue slamming a gamepad for what it cant do. Use those brains and help figure out what they can do. If any devs are reading this i highly recommend looking at sacred 2. It translates the potential complexity of an rpg of this type from a primarily pc based control scheme to a gamepad.

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Originally Posted by Ommojob
If the controls are already set for pc why is there still some comcern that it will be dumbed down if translated to consoles? This thread is to offer potential options for controller layouts. To find examples of other rpgs that have attempted the transition from pc based controls to gamepad. Why are we complaining about a problem that doesnt exist? The pc already has its controls. Theyre set. Theres no need to continue slamming a gamepad for what it cant do. Use those brains and help figure out what they can do. If any devs are reading this i highly recommend looking at sacred 2. It translates the potential complexity of an rpg of this type from a primarily pc based control scheme to a gamepad.


There are no examples, and there are none for a good reason.

Btw, I recently grabbed Sacred 2 and didn't play it for very long partly due to the controls (playing with mouse/kb). Not to mention that the entire game feels and plays more like Diablo 3 than something as complex as D:OS (or any of the IE games).

I honestly don't see how anyone can argue that something designed for an input system with 101 keys (+mouse) can be properly translated to a device that has like 12 buttons. It just does not compute. That's not even taking into account the inaccuracy of thumbsticks when compared to a mouse.

Unless you want to redesign your game around a controller there is simply no way to properly port a complex isometric RPG to a controller. That's also why it was never done successfully (need I remind that Dragon Age: Origins, which afaik is the closest contender, got some major surgery in the tactical department to make it work on consoles, they even had to make the game easier to make up for that. Pretty much no-one except the die-hardest console zealots would argue that the console port isn't worse than the PC version)

Doing it the other way around (eg. designing the UI for consoles and then releasing for PC is much easier, however this tends to lead to pretty crappy UIs and generally simplified combat (since thumbsticks lack the precision of a proper mouse), The Witcher 2 and Skyrim are both good examples, and they're not even isometric RPGs (so they should be easier to fit a controller control scheme, but developers pretty much never do so, because good enough is good enough and suckers will buy it anyway, at least you can mod the crappy UI away in Skyrim)

Is it so hard to accept that certain games are just *better* with certain input methods? No-one would argue that playing beat-em-ups with a keyboard is generally subpar to doing so with a controller. Nor would anyone argue that playing a proper flight sim without a joystick is masochistic. So *why* does everyone want to force a controller interface on genres (like isometric tactical RPGs and RTS games) that are clearly not served by them?

EDIT: btw, Torchlight is also playable with a controller (though, imho, the experience is still much worse than with a kb+mouse), because torchlight is a very simple game when it comes to controls, just like Sacred 2 and just like Diablo.

Last edited by theBlackDragon; 10/07/14 07:12 PM.

* as usual this is imho (unless stated otherwise); feel free to disagree, ignore or try to change my mind. Agreeing with me is ofc also allowed, but makes for much worse flamewarsarguments.

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Best example for turn-based tactical party combat on console should imo be XCOM Enemy Unknown.

That's of course not an RPG but it could at least be an example how to transfer the combat to controller. But it would need a whole new GUI (everything ring or list based) of course.


And of course there is Diablo III which as well offers a completely distinct UI (and even experience) on console.


Edit: Wow, this thrad is OLD. Sry, haven't seen that. Doesn't seem much relevant anymore. Don't mind.

Last edited by LordCrash; 10/07/14 07:53 PM.

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Originally Posted by LordCrash
Best example for turn-based tactical party combat on console should imo be XCOM Enemy Unknown.

That's of course not an RPG but it could at least be an example how to transfer the combat to controller. But it would need a whole new GUI (everything ring or list based) of course.


And of course there is Diablo III which as well offers a completely distinct UI (and even experience) on console.

I still think there's no need for this, when you can just port the controls over.
It's a turn based game, so selecting stuff with a cursor being slower does not affect the gameplay at all.

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The game this most reminds me of is Arc the lad Twilight of the spirits (for ps2, so naturally with controller support :P), with the turn based rpg combat system , it might work to use a control scheme like that but then skills would have to be mapped to something else like a menu accessible by a button, or a key modifier like holding a bumper + regular button.

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Originally Posted by Kriss
Originally Posted by LordCrash
Best example for turn-based tactical party combat on console should imo be XCOM Enemy Unknown.

That's of course not an RPG but it could at least be an example how to transfer the combat to controller. But it would need a whole new GUI (everything ring or list based) of course.


And of course there is Diablo III which as well offers a completely distinct UI (and even experience) on console.

I still think there's no need for this, when you can just port the controls over.
It's a turn based game, so selecting stuff with a cursor being slower does not affect the gameplay at all.


That's true for the combat, but not for the inventory for example. That doesn't really work without sliders and mousewheel. wink

Last edited by LordCrash; 10/07/14 08:08 PM.

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Originally Posted by LordCrash

That's true for the combat, but not for the inventory for example. That doesn't really work without sliders and mousewheel. wink


Just make it into pages, simple.

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Originally Posted by Kriss
Originally Posted by LordCrash
Best example for turn-based tactical party combat on console should imo be XCOM Enemy Unknown.

That's of course not an RPG but it could at least be an example how to transfer the combat to controller. But it would need a whole new GUI (everything ring or list based) of course.


And of course there is Diablo III which as well offers a completely distinct UI (and even experience) on console.

I still think there's no need for this, when you can just port the controls over.
It's a turn based game, so selecting stuff with a cursor being slower does not affect the gameplay at all.


Not just slower: less precise. I suggest you try it, there are utilities like Xpadder that let you remap games that don't have controller support to support controllers. For games like D:OS and Baldur's Gate the user experience is just beyond horrible (you end up zooming in and out all the time in D:OS alternating between being able to see what is going on and being able to comfortably select something on the battlefield, trust me, it's tedious at best).

And as LC mentioned, designing a proper inventory UI for the kind hugge inventories you tend to end up with (certified packrat here) seems beyond most (certainly CDPR and Bethesda failed pretty majorly in that regard)

PS: also didn't notice this was an old thread, just noticed someone it was on the first page with a recent reply. Whoops.


* as usual this is imho (unless stated otherwise); feel free to disagree, ignore or try to change my mind. Agreeing with me is ofc also allowed, but makes for much worse flamewarsarguments.

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Originally Posted by ForkTong

Of course the challenge is to NOT change anything about gameplay and design, and interactivity, and to still cater for keyboard/mouse fans. We are well aware of that and do not want to make compromises.



I am believer that anything can be done, but I really don't see good coming from this. You can have all the good intentions in the world, but you know the saying... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Eventually you are going to have to change gameplay and design focus to attend to the controller. It will end up having an effect on many systems ranging from inventory design, menu functionality, movement and selection, UI systems, and ultimately game complexity (ie the more skills, abilities and functional aspects of the game you have, the more of a nightmare it is for a controller).

Not to be useless to this discussion, but I just don't see any good coming from this. Sorry.

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I was thinking and actually I think where things are headed are tablets not consoles. BG I/II was recently released on tablet as well as XCOM. Obsidian is also release an interesting RPG on the tablet.
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Now what we need are 'touch' controllers that have sensors like a tablet to use with the big screen smile

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Dunno if it has been said but, it's possible to create a working Divinity OS with the controller, don't see why not. The game is payed in turns, so, you have plenty of time to do exactly what you want, and while you're wandering in the field, you can press a button to call for an arrow and click on objects OR when you're close to intractable objects, you can cycle through them, and main objects (like chests and boxes) can be opened with a click...

Honestly, this game isn't that hard to port to a controller, just complex. If you port to PS4 you have the small pad that can function as an arrow, and with WiiU gamepad, you can simply touch the screen.

Loving the game with mouse and keyboard, but, many people can't play this masterpiece because they don't have a PC, you should really port it to consoles.

Quick edit - games that I played on consoles that were isometric:
- Champions of Norrath
- Champions of Norrath Return to Arms
- Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance
- Baldurs Gate Dark ALliance 2
- Sacred 2

All of them were awesome (except for Sacred 2 because the port was badly done, and had to buy it for PC... and it's one of my favorite nowadays).
Champions Return to Arms is IMO the best console Isometric RPG game, I ficnihed the game (and the 1st one) more than 5 times each one... co-op and solo.

Last edited by BioDio; 11/07/14 12:32 PM.

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I think this game reminds me of the first Dragon Age. Though it was RTwP, DA had the same strategic feel about it in combat as D:OS and it had similar approach to skills. It was made on consoles as well, but from what I hear, it was much worse than pc version when it came to controls. It is very difficult to implement party member switching, command issuing and strategic spell placement with precision and ease on a controller. I don't even know what they'd do if there was so much pixel hunting in DA as it is in D;OS. Bioware even removed the strategic mode from the Dragon Age 2 because of that, but decided to return it in Dragon Age: Inquisition, overhauled and streamlined. We'll see how good it is, but I'm still never in my life gonna play that type of game on a console. So no, I don't think that making D:OS on consoles will bring devs anything but a headache, tons of wasted time and complaints about inferior controls compared to pc version. Some types of games are just not good with controller. Like strategies, and D:OS is very strategic.

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Originally Posted by meme
I was thinking and actually I think where things are headed are tablets not consoles. BG I/II was recently released on tablet as well as XCOM. Obsidian is also release an interesting RPG on the tablet.
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Now what we need are 'touch' controllers that have sensors like a tablet to use with the big screen smile


Touch interfaces are a fad in terms of a replacing current PC inputs for gaming. It is like Wii, sure... it is fun, it has its niche uses, there are some really cool things you can do with it, but when it comes down to it, you aren't going to see people wanting to play long sessions (common in RPGs) making large physical movements.

That is not to say that a touch system can't be successful in some implementations, but not with the current setup of monitors (ie a screen sitting in front of you vertically).

Even if you tried to create a more natural approach to an interface, like for instance this:



There is still a lot of large physical movement going on to which will get tiring very quickly, even for those in good shape.

A keyboard and mouse provide the most optimal interface for comfort, precision, and depth of input control (number of input combinations) with the least amount of physical effort required. This is ideal for long play sessions of RPGs.

Controllers win out over keyboard/mice when it concerns comfort and least physical involvement, but... they lack precision and depth of input control.

I don't see the keyboard/mouse going anywhere soon and making games for the other input methods, while interesting and briefly entertaining (occulus rift, motion sensors, etc...) for specific purposes (ie limited immersion, exercise or short play) , they are not ideal for complex RPG systems.

It is going to be a difficult road for Larian to abide controllers, unless...


They create their own controller, designed from the ground up to facilitate this exact style of game (considering how they loathe physical releases, I don't see this going over well). I am not sure how it would work, how it would look, but it is the only way I see them being able to retain the complex interface designs of an RPG and have the relaxed comfort of a controller interface.

I mean, lets face it... the controller argument is essentially an argument of wanting to "kick back, relax, and play a game with minimal effort". Maybe it is just me, but I think that ideal is a bit conflicting with what a tactical and technical RPG is. /shrug

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Originally Posted by BioDio
Dunno if it has been said but, it's possible to create a working Divinity OS with the controller, don't see why not. The game is payed in turns, so, you have plenty of time to do exactly what you want, and while you're wandering in the field, you can press a button to call for an arrow and click on objects OR when you're close to intractable objects, you can cycle through them, and main objects (like chests and boxes) can be opened with a click...

Honestly, this game isn't that hard to port to a controller, just complex. If you port to PS4 you have the small pad that can function as an arrow, and with WiiU gamepad, you can simply touch the screen.

Loving the game with mouse and keyboard, but, many people can't play this masterpiece because they don't have a PC, you should really port it to consoles.

Quick edit - games that I played on consoles that were isometric:
- Champions of Norrath
- Champions of Norrath Return to Arms
- Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance
- Baldurs Gate Dark ALliance 2
- Sacred 2

All of them were awesome (except for Sacred 2 because the port was badly done, and had to buy it for PC... and it's one of my favorite nowadays).
Champions Return to Arms is IMO the best console Isometric RPG game, I ficnihed the game (and the 1st one) more than 5 times each one... co-op and solo.



Here is the thing. Are those console games or are they ports? I know "Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance" is a console game, was designed from the ground up to be such because Brian Fargo said it was a complete nightmare to try and translate the PC version to console. It was such a task because not only did they have to completely redesign the games core input mechanics, but they had to redesign the games mechanics, story encounters, etc... The result was an entirely new story and game play because the PC approach wouldn't work well for console.


That is my point previously about them wanting to support controllers, that is... the game will have to adapt to fit the controllers in many ways just to make it even feasible. They might be able to half-arse it, but... well why bother? Why ruin your game because you did a crappy port just to get it on console?


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