Monday, April 18, 2011

New Synaps joypad

Among many things, what I love about video games is the introduction of new controllers, ideas gone wild. Sometimes, there are failures, sometimes there are fads, and sometimes there are genuine breakthroughs that feel like they're perfectly balanced.

So I would strongly recommend reading this article about the Synaps splitable joypad. It's choke full of good ideas, although I'd have some cons to fill.
  • The  underside triggers don't really look like they'd be that comfortable to use.
  • The bumpers look like they're too close to the center of the pad.
  • The circular D-pad might not be such a good idea if it doesn't allow the precision of a cross D-pad. Even if it may allow for different pressures, a typical D-pad's advantage is that you know where you're going. It's 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock, plus the diagonal intermediaries. That's why I believe that nothing could be superior to a Click Wheel, for it may be THE most perfect D-pad ever built. Smooth, easy to move around, with a small recession in the middle to know where to put your thumb, it only needs to be enhanced so it gets eight axises like on any cross shaped D-pad. It has the ability to send input in any direction with the segmented circular touch pad, which is just ace. Again, just imagine playing Street Fighter IV with a Click Wheel developed for gaming.
Still, the Synaps is a good step in the right direction, and the introduction of the pads on each side is very interesting. That's a new and intuitive way to handle virtual objects. Now, it's hard to tell if both sides, once the joypad is split, will handle well. The presence of powerful magnets, the usual hardware plus two battery packs (no cables are mentioned or visible) will surely make each half quite heavy.

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