Designing a Game Controller for Novice HALO3 Players.

Designing a Game Controller for Novice HALO3 Players.
Designing a Game Controller for Novice HALO3
Matthijs Kwak , Ben Salem2,
Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Den Dolech 2,
5600MB, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Abstract. This paper describes the process of designing and developing an
intuitive controller that helps lower the threshold for novice gamers to play
Halo 3. To help novices to master the controller, most controls have been
replaced with rich and meaningful interaction. To help novices understand the
game, extra feedback channels have been added to reinforce information given
onscreen so critical information is not missed.
Keywords: Game Controller, HALO3, XBOX 360, and Product Design
1 Introduction
The most important objective of this project is to lower the threshold for novices to
play games. While the design of the current XBOX 360 controller is not difficult for
novices to hold, the controls (buttons, joysticks) require a lot of training to master
them, which is often good enough reason for novices to stay away from the XBOX
360. We are also concerned with providing some guidance for novice players. The
result of all this is consisting of two controllers, one for each hand, providing the user
with more freedom. These controllers are equal in level of importance, sharing the
same design and dividing the controls as evenly as possible. In the redesign of the
controller, we are focusing on some key feedback given to players (see the work of
Paras (2006) in this area).
2 Aiming
Aiming has specifically received a lot of attention. It is done by changing the angle of
your head and turning around your axis. We have implemented a control that
combines the strengths of the joystick (relative control) and the mouse (absolute
To give a more natural link between the control and the activity (aiming), a slider,
equipped with force sensing resistors (FSRs) is used. By sliding the slider with the
thumb the angle of the characters head is determined in an absolute way. By applying
force with that same thumb, either to the right or the left of the middle, the
acceleration by which the character turns around his axis is determined in a relative
way. We have evaluated our design with user tests, focusing on the novelty of our
design and how easy can one learn to use the controller. We asked 18 students at
Industrial Design to use three devices in random order to perform a targeting task on a
computer display. Figure 1 shows the improvement of the scores (means) for the left
and right hands for the three devices: Joystick (1), Mouse (2), Combined Controller
(3) after 5 repeated sessions with each device. While for the left hand, the Mouse is
the best improver, for the right hand it is our combined controller that has the best
Fig.1 Score improvement (means) for Joystick (1), Mouse (2) and combined controller (3)
4 Conclusion
We have designed, developed and integrated several original controls and coupled
interactions within our controller. Novices should have less difficulty in
understanding the game mechanics and more fun playing Halo 3. Our design lets
gamers control the Halo 3 character without having to displace his/her fingers and
thumbs. The device has controls and interactions that are linked more naturally to the
outcomes in game and placed more logically. Furthermore, the guidance in the
controller enforces the information given on screen. The reloading prompt, enacted by
the dropping of part of the controller, is very strong. It is also a combination with the
reload control.
5 References
Paras, S.P. (2006) Learning to Play: The Design of In-Game Training to Enhance Videogame
Experience. 2006. PhD thesis. Simon Fraser University Surrey.
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