Categories Of Control

In Brief

  • There are three forms of control in a video game.
    • Defining these will help to understand scripted sections.
  • Scripted section -Sonic is propelled forwards automatically. The player is limited to holding down forwards on the D-pad.
  • Full control - The opposite to scripted control. The player can move as s/he pleases. This is the normal state of game play.
  • Scripted control - A compromise between scripted sections and full control.
    • Although the player has full control over Sonic, the stage only allows the player to travel forwards (back tracking is not possible).

Control in video games exists as a continuum with three key positions. Understanding these positions will prove useful when deconstructing scripted sections.

Standard Scripted sections

A standard scripted section is where player input is limited to holding down the forwards button on the control stick/d-pad. Provided the button is held down, Sonic will be propelled forwards.

In some cases, once the scripted section has started, the player doesn’t even need to hold down a button, as Sonic will move forwards automatically.

▲ An example of a standard scripted section.
The player simply has to hit the spring and, provided the forwards button is held down, Sonic will automatically be propelled upwards through the hollow tree.

Full control

Full control is the polar opposite to a scripted section. It is the standard mode of gameplay - everything that is not a scripted section is an example of full control.

Full control allows the player to do more than just hold down the forwards button. The player may have fight enemies, jump upwards to collect rings, choose between different paths or navigate past an obstacle.


▲ An example of a full control section.
The player can move as s/he pleases. There are no devices that will automatically cause the player to travel in a particular direction.

It is important to remember that full control exists within limits defined by the designer. For example, although in the above example, the player is free to move as s/he pleases, s/he still has to obey the limits of Sonic’s abilities - The player is not free to start flying upwards or to start cooking a meal for the robot, as Sonic cannot perform such actions.

Scripted control

Scripted control is a compromise between scripted sections and full control. In a scripted control section, the player has full control over the character. However, the level is desinged in such a way, that the only real option for the player is to move forwards - actions such as backtracking are not possible.


▲ An example of a scripted control section.
The narrow path only allows the player to move forwards. The dash pad makes it impossible to back track, as it sends the player forwards.
Although the player has full control over the character, moving in another direction other than forwards will cause Sonic to fall of the track and die.

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Scripted Mechanics Rush & Spectacle Mechanics Standard Scripted Sections


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