Push my button, baby!

2011-04-20 by . 0 comments

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Sejanus was wondering why on earth gaming consoles require a button-press, whereas on PC games you simply press any key and you’re straight in the main menu.

One of our local game devs, Sadly Not, pointed out that requiring a button press is an easy way to figure out who ‘Player One’ is, because he’s the most likely person to be in control. Obviously, when you’re sitting behind your computer, the one controlling the mouse is the boss. However as Powerlord commented: “every console game I’ve played forces you to use the first controller. Even the ones for systems with Wireless Controllers. All 3 current systems assign the controller a number. On the Xbox 360, it’s represented by which one of the green ring sections is lit (left to right, top to bottom). The Wii and PS3 each have 4 lights on their controllers with a number below them; the light that’s lit is the controller number.”

The right answer to this question, as Tridus found out: is actually a certification for console games (required to get the game approved by the vendor). This certification requires that the game must have some interaction with the player after a set time period, even if it isn’t loaded yet. So pressing Start to continue is one way of meeting that goal, however Fifa’s interactive loading screen is probably a more attractive alternative:

user image

Mag Roader mentioned some ‘side-effects’ that might help explain the requirement:

  • When a user presses start, the game knows who’s “in control” of the game at the moment. This means the game can do nice things like display the game environment in appropriate context. For example, if you have a saved character, the game can show that character.
  • It’s a convenient place to put branding info, like company logos and such, as well as whatever legal text might be necessary or stuff like ESRB info.
  • It’s a good landing page for the (also required) “Attract Mode” that shows something interesting every so often like a movie or some gameplay.
  • The game can load up the Press Start screen while other stuff is loading in the background. It gives the player something to look at if the intro movies are over but the rest of the game’s front end isn’t ready to go. You might notice that some Press Start screens actually don’t show the “Press Start” text until several seconds after the screen appears (and if you noticed that, you’re pretty dang observant, good job!).

Well, there you have it folks: a nice little (somewhat useless) fact to remember!

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