Here’s a simple experiment you can try. Put on some music and play Flappy Golf, a game that uses the same input devices as golf (a handheld controller). Now, switch to an analog stick.
It doesn’t sound like a big difference. But it is. The digital control device is a lot easier to use than the analog stick. I didn’t discover this by chance: I did a lot of experiments with different devices.
In particular, when I played golf, I found that the controller was much more comfortable to use than either hands alone or hands and arms held stiffly in front of the body.
The most obvious reason for this is that it’s easier to control your fingers with two thumbs than just one thumb, so the controller is more efficient; this is what’s known as “interaction design.”
But there are other reasons too: if you’re holding your controller with both hands, they’re not doing different things at the same time, so they don’t get tired out. And when you swing your real club with both hands you don’t have to move around much while making each stroke; you keep your weight balanced over your whole body and can do it slowly, step by step.
That’s why golfers who have taken
Not an interview question, but I’ve seen this in a lot of games, and I have at least a few friends who hate it and have told me they do so on the basis that it’s cheating.
It’s funny, because when you first use a controller to play golf, there is no way to tell whether your swing is analog or digital. The good ones have triggers and buttons, but the bad ones just have vague hands shaped with black lines on a white background.
If you give up on the idea of analog controls and decide that you want digital controls, you are still stuck using a controller for most of your golfing needs. You can’t use a mouse to aim your shot, or click things to choose clubs. You don’t even get proper hotkeys for P1 and P2 for every shot. You can’t scroll through the inventory to find the club you need.
I used an arcade stick for my PlayStation 3 version of Flappy Golf , and I’m happy with that setup. It’s not perfect: it can be hard to hit shots if you don’t hold down one button (but sometimes it’s hard to hit shots with any button). More seriously, if your fingers hurt after playing Flappy Golf , maybe there are better games
Why would anyone play flappy golf? There are two main reasons. First, you might prefer to use a controller. Secondly, the game is an emulation of a popular digital game. In both cases the player is playing a digital game that may have been created without the player’s direct involvement. The overall experience is one of play rather than creation.
Directional control on a ball-and-stick would seem to be a tricky thing for a computer to do well, and so it has been done badly in lots of games, often as a way of reducing costs. Flappy Golf’s controls are especially bad: they are not just bad; they are very bad, and they are very expensive to implement. But the game isn’t all about the control-system: it is also about playability and replayability. You can make minor changes to the design of your golf course, or even re-play the whole game again, and come up with different strategies each time.
The idea that you might prefer to use a controller comes from your own experience with golfing games which typically assume that you want to swing your club directly at the ball.** Most people find this approach boring and frustrating. A minority, though, love it; those people would probably enjoy
The question of whether the game is a digital or analog experience is crucial to the game’s success.
In the early days of video games, it was taken for granted that the player was controlling a character in a virtual world on a screen. The player’s hand or arm operated a joystick inside the world, and this joystick moved the character around. But then, as computers got better and better and eventually drove away the need for human input, video games began to move toward being games only with a computer in control.
In Flappy Golf you play as yourself, not as a character in an artificial world. Your weapon remains your arm, but in this case your arm really isn’t your weapon.
Your golf club – which moves around on screen independently of your hand – is your weapon because it’s not just an artificial tool but also a piece of meat, something real you can hit and miss, misjudge and get angry at when you miss. Whatever buttons you press are themselves real objects like you’re holding them and they’re not just levers controlling imaginary actions on screen.
This is not true of every control device used in video games. The mouse, for instance, is just an invisible lever that lets you click on things inside your computer’s window. But
I have played golf with a controller, and it is not as easy as it looks. In the beginning you think you are playing with a real club, but then you find out that the virtual ones do not follow your will. The game has some very good aspects and some that are quite bad.
If you can use only one hand, the game is much easier than if you had to use both. It is also much easier to follow the flight of a ball in a pool if the camera is on its side. When you are playing online, the controls are very similar to those of an arcade game, which is important because these games are based on how well you can use your reflexes.
For all this arcade style, however, I would say that there is something of the analog in it: it is difficult to steer your ball without using your brain, so launching it through the air requires control over physical forces.
Digital golf has not worked out very well, so I am starting with analog.
I bought a used putter and an old golf glove. I even bought a ball and a slot in the wall to hang it from, but my first session was a disaster. The ball kept running away from me, over the cup and into the woods. The glove made it hard to grip the putter, especially when wet. And I had trouble keeping my thumb on top of the ball at all times, which meant I could never really generate power.
But then I thought about this article. “The Art of Golf” by Peter Dobereiner o u t l i n e s t o c k : http://www.artofgolfing.com/writing/features/the-art-of-golf-by-peter-dobereiner/
And suddenly everything clicked into place. With my new skills, I was able to make all kinds of adjustments in my stroke: how far back I held the clubface, how much forward motion I wanted from the wrist. But what affected me most were these subtle differences in what looked like very small movements in my hand and arm. In fact these were big changes in where my hands ended up
At first glance, an analog game is easier to play. Your hands don’t get tired, your eyes don’t have to focus on the screen, and the target of your swing (the ball) doesn’t move around. But a computerized golf game can be more challenging.
In the old days of computers you could see the ball in real time as it moved across the screen. You could correct a bad swing by moving your arm or body or club; in some games you could even change the angle at which you hit the ball.
But as a computer game gets more advanced, it has to fake reality more and more closely. If your swing doesn’t quite go right this time, you’ll just have to try again. The farther you are from the hole and the lower your handicap rating, the more likely it is that a bad shot will lose you a stroke rather than turn into one.