Virtual Game Controllers

I play a lot of games – goes with the territory I suppose. Traditionally my platforms of choice have been desktop / laptop PCs (Windows or Mac OS X) and dedicated game consoles (PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo Wii, DS etc). More recently I’ve started playing more games on my phone(s) and tablet(s) – yes I have a few :).

The interesting thing about solely touch based devices is that most games look to replicate virtual equivalents to physical hardware – joysticks / thumb sticks and buttons are prime examples. With the continued spread of devices that now support the Flash Player and AIR runtimes I thought I’d knock up a simple set of virtual controllers for use in some of my game demo files for touch based game development.

The one thing that became apparent was that on paper it seems pretty straightforward – after all it’s just a controller right? However there were a few things that didn’t initially occur to me until I actually put the controls on a device and tried them out in a real world test.

To avoid just creating a short post containing the ‘tips n tricks’ I learnt I decided to actually write a couple of articles about how to create a virtual thumb stick controller using Flash Professional / Flash Builder and highlight the potential pitfalls in those articles. I say a couple of articles, as once I started to write the process up I realised that just having it as one post would have made it quite heavy.

You can grab the source code and read the first part of this two article series below:

Mike Jones