Let's talk about controls/cursor


Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2016
I have just tested the Star Fox Zero Demo and it made me philosophize about controls. We usually associate hardware (thumb sticks, Wiimote pointer, D-pad etc) with controls, but let's also talk about software.

I want to specifically address aiming, i.e. everything related to cursors (in all kinds of games). I would distinguish between 3 types of cursor aiming (you may add more if you think more exist). A game is not limited to one Type. A game may switch between them frequently.

Type I
The cursor stays in the middle.
This type has become the standard in gaming. It is perfect for a mouse and while it may not be the best solution for thumb sticks, various types of Aim Assist and the spreading of ADS (Aiming Down Sight) have made this option acceptable for the mainstream gamer. Thumb sticks tend to have a problem with oversteering, so Aim Assist (e.g. "sticky aim") and ADS (lowering sensitivity) came to the rescue. It's not the controllers that become better every generation, it's the fact that you (or at least most gamers) don't notice the help of all kinds of subtle Aim Assists (compare that to N64/PSone shooters where the cursor would jump directly to the enemy or Aim Assist could be was turned of completely - sth that is often not possible anymore!).

Examples for Type I:
-Call of Duty on PC/XB360/XBone/PS3/PS4
-most FPS and Third Person Shooters today in general.

Type II
The cursor does not stay in the middle and determines the turning of the screen.
This type of aiming saw its heyday in Wii era. A first attempt of standardization was Red Steel. While many shooters on the Wii took inspiration from Red Steel, they soon addressed the "heavy" feeling of it. Turning speeds became generally much faster and dead boxes smaller. The player was given much more choice than ever before, which led to huge range of options (e.g. The Conduit). With freedom comes responsibility and most gamers didn't feel like fine-tuning for (potentially) hours in order to find the perfect option for themselves - if they hadn't already given up after Red Steel.

However, this type was not born during the Wii era. The Timesplitters series switched between Type I and Type II with the press of a button. Instead of Aiming Down Sight (ADS) - which nowadays increases Aim Assist (that is why you see so many people aiming down sight even if the enemy is 5 feet away) - Timesplitters switched to Type II for more precise aiming. Type II has been associated with the Wii because it is a natural fit for the Wiimote pointer.

Even though Type II existed long before the Wiimote, the Wiimote did bring sth new. As far as I know, Timesplitters, Starfox Adventures and other games which used Type II had something called look-spring. It means that the curser re-centers even before moving it beyond the other side of the deadzone. Wii shooters are mostly played without look-spring, but some give the player the option.

Examples for Type II
-Most Wiimote shooters
-Time Splitters series (when holding down a shoulder button)
-Splatoon (only vertically and only accessed through gyro)

Type III
The cursor does not stay in the middle and DOES NOT determine the turning of the screen.

Remember how it felt to play the shooting minigame in Wii Play? In this type of aiming, the cursor does not have any influence on the field of view. The deadzone is basically the whole screen. With this setting, everyone can be very good at aiming and experts may become aiming gods (just look at the Wii Play world record video) in terms of precision and speed.
This type is found in all Wii rail shooters (but also old rail shooters on PC/Ardade). Type III also shows up in Resident Evil 4. Gamers sometimes call it the "headshot edition". As already mentioned, most gamers didn't want to deal with Deadzones and the like, but they still appreciated the Wiimote for RE4 and Rail Shooters. But guess what - many Wii shooters can switch to Type III as well.
Here's how: If you hold down the A button in Goldeneye or any Call of Duty Wii game, the image basically freezes (no turning of the screen; i.e. Type II -> Type III) and aiming becomes as easy as in Wii Play, RE4 or Rail Shooters. Many CoD players on Wii don't know about it or don't realize how effective it is.
A guy called P.E% (who might be actually me) does know about it and has had the world's highest KDR (Kill-Death ratio) in several Call of Duty games on Wii/WiiU worldwide (e.g.

Examples for Type III
-rail shooters (Arcade/PC/Wii)
-Resident Evil 4 Wii
-Goldeneye and Call of Duty series on Wii/WiiU when holding down the A button
-Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2
-Pro Evolution Soccer series on Wii
-Centipede Infestation

Excursus: Experimental Type (a variation of Type III)
This type has not really been realized yet. And probably never will be. It is a concept and I wonder if developers experimented with it. I mentioned that most gamers didn't give Type II a chance, but appreciated RE4 on Wii for its use of Type III. But what if you could have RE4 controls (moving: thumb stick; Type III aiming) plus turning with another stick or the D-Pad? Would it mess with our brains? Or would it feel great? Difficult to say, but if you want to catch a glimpse at this, have a look at Final Fantasy Crystal Bearers for Wii. There you can actually switch to 1st person view, walk with the thumb stick, aim with the cursor without influencing the screen (Type III) and turning the screen with the D-Pad. It feels strange but I wonder what could have been if the Wiimote had been accepted by the mainstream gamer and developers would still try new things with it.

So what about Star Fox Zero?
Actually I'm not sure. Classifying it gives me a headache.
I have only played Zero for 30 min so far, but while I would classify traditional Star Fox games as Type II (All-Range-Mode) and Type III (Rail-Shooting; even though you can influence the screen slightly), Star Fox Zero is very strange. There are two very different play styles, but I don't mean the difference between All-Range-Mode and Rail-Shooting. It actually has to do with 3rd and 1st Person view. We can discuss Star Fox Zero in depth if you are interested.

I'd love to discuss this topic (e.g. the benefits/disadvantages of a freely moving cursor) but I might be the only one. XD
Last edited by UltraDolphinRevolution,
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