Sunday, 5 January 2014

The control panel (part 2)

The VecCab is an  arcade cabinet with a reduced width. As such the width of the control panel that fits in-between the cabinet sides is just 368mm. Due to this width I already decided that it's not practical for the VecCab to offer two player controls - too much going on for such a small area!

With the space available for one player controls I investigated different quantities of buttons and their positioning in relation to each other and the joystick. I also decided I won't include extra buttons to select one or two player games. I will use button 1 to select this as is already implemented in most of the Vectrex games.

I sketched a number of designs using Microsoft Visio and printed out 1:1 on A3 sized paper. Printing 1:1 means I can try with my hands to establish a layout that is comfortable.  I proceeded to play different Vectrex games in my head whilst moving my hands in unison over the buttons on the paper (Yes, I know there’s a reason why they call me VectrexMad!).

Some of the investigated layouts are shown here:

The original Vectrex controller has four buttons. They are smaller than arcade cabinet buttons, and as such an averaged sized hand can comfortably span across the four buttons. I discovered that simply copying this layout on the new control panel but scaled up is not an option. The standard but bigger arcade buttons dictate that the buttons have to be spaced wider apart, and using the standard Vectrex controller layout just won't be comfortable for an average sized adult hand.

Putting the joystick in the centre and therefore forcing some buttons on either side of the stick is not ideal for all games. A disadvantage of this layout although a minor detail is that also the layout does not correspond to the button details shown on a typical game screen overlay.

The last option of staggering the buttons 3 and 4 looks to be the best option for comfort (at least when playing Mine Storm). Haven't decided yet if 3 and 4 are better switched round.

No comments:

Post a Comment