Nick Fernandez/Android Authority
I think we all agree that the touch screen control is a bit bad. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely use virtual joysticks and on-screen buttons in most games, but in general, it’s better to use a controller.
For example: humans. Last October, when the upstart 4X game entered the testing phase on Stadia, I was angered. Google Stadia is by far the best performing cloud gaming service, but the limited catalog still greatly supports the unparalleled Xbox Cloud Gaming/Xbox Game Pass Ultimate combination. Being able to use the latest civilization-like things everywhere sounds like I need to rekindle my heavy dependence on strategy games.
Traditionally, 4X games have been firmly invested in the mouse and keyboard technology tree, but I found the idea of using only touch screen controls to play games very interesting. There is no need for a twitch mechanism or quick response to input, it should play well, right?
Well, no. The joystick on the screen basically controls the mouse cursor, and the remaining buttons are basically just substitutes for the left and right mouse buttons. The physical Stadia controller behaves the same way. After struggling for hours to convince myself that I just need to get used to it, I finally gave up and played on PC.
A few months later, human developers Amplitude Studios and Stadia Announce This game will be the first to adopt a new “direct touch” control scheme, which basically turns tapping anywhere on the screen into a left-click. Other types of touch input can be used to achieve other operations, such as dragging, holding, or tapping with two or three fingers.
Humankind is the first game to support direct touch, which changes the rules of strategy games.
Amplitude provided a copy of Humankind’s review, and I have to say that this technology is very effective. There is no significant input delay, and it feels like playing any game installed on the device. This feels like a huge leap. It is an input scheme that is very suitable for strategies and point-and-click games that don’t like controllers.
However, there are some important caveats. In some cases, the UI in Humankind is very small and difficult to read. The icons and menu options are small boxes the size of a grain of rice. Maybe you will get better luck on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 or tablet, but playing on my (quite large) OnePlus 8 Pro will put serious pressure on my weak gamers. There is a button to zoom in on the screen, but even then it can’t be completely zoomed out.
I also don’t like the option of using two-finger and three-finger taps for control, because they don’t really match the way people hold their phones in landscape mode. I have not been able to successfully use my thumb for two-finger taps, and using my nose for three-finger input is also ineffective (and really dirty my screen).
It is true that this game was only launched a few days ago, and a simple update of Amplitude can completely solve most of the problems. More generous UI scaling will make the game more interesting on mobile devices (not to mention the TV played via Chromecast, which still uses the joystick-controlled cursor).
But will Amplitude bother?
Due to the diminished interest of game developers, Google’s “If you build it, they will come” approach developed by Stadia has largely failed. Cool features such as state sharing (Fully supported by Humankind), 4K gameplay, and Stream Connect (allowing you to view the views of your teammates in real time) have already fallen into the hands of developers to implement in their games. But since there are so few viewers on Stadia, this is usually not a priority.
related: The best games on Google Stadia
It is worth noting that Microsoft has developed a similar direct touch technology, but has not yet fully launched it. As far as I know, it is limited to the menus in Minecraft Dungeons, and the actual gameplay is restored to virtual joysticks and buttons.
Microsoft has greater motivation to promote this technology through a large number of first-party games and a future strategy centered on game passes.In other words, despite the switch to Xbox cloud gaming, its performance is still lagging behind Improved server blade In some parts of the world earlier this year.
No matter who did it, I really hope that direct contact will become popular. There are many games with heavy menus and light controls that will benefit, and it is a great alternative to stopgap measures such as Razer Kishi.
Now, if you can forgive me, I think I will turn around again before the end of humanity™…