Thursday, August 24, 2006

Maybe the PS3 Boomerang Controller wasn't a bad design

Remember this conceptual abomination? I'm guilty of hating its look, but my opinion was based on the principal that it functioned exactly the same as today's Dual Shock 2 controller.

This came about when I was trying to adapt a better joystick to my Hori DOA4 Arcade Stick. I had pulled a stick from a generic Pelican stick, and noticed that there was a rumble motor inside. This initiated a "rumble = good" conversation with Jaret, my trouble-maker room mate. It turned to a conversation about motion-control. For the record, Jaret is almost a Sony fanboy; he likes his Playstations.

Jaret was in disdain of the PS3's motion sensing abilities. Back in the day, he had purchased a motion sensing controller for the PC. It was for use with some motorcycle game. He claims it was just too uncomfortable, and he hated it.

"I just can't imagine having to turn left and right with this," he said while 'steering' a PS2 controller in the air.

I mentioned that the new controller would probably be lighter and more comfortable since it would be without rumble motors inside.

Epiphany. Suddenly, this animated gif made sense.

" holding a steering wheel..."

Back then, we didn't know that Sony had intentions of putting motion sensing in the PS3 controller. So the open mockery made sense. But longer grips would be a definite plus if "waving around" the controller was the plan. And if it "felt like holding a steering wheel", then motion-controlled driving games would be a good home for the boomerang design.

We also didn't know that rumble was going to be removed. This would make for a light, easy to hang on to, and easy to move around controller. In the end, I now think it would have been a better candidate than the Dual Shock 2 design will be. The Dualshock seems that it would be stubby and awkward for motion control.

Maybe Sony shouldn't have lied about sticking with the boomerang controller?

Personally, I still want rumble. And I want the left analog stick and d-pad transposed since the d-pad's usage is getting reduced in newer games.

Opinions are welcome in the comments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing is though, I don't think that this controller could be immediatly re-released because of the R2 and L2 trigger button update in new dualshake controller.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really love this article. One thing that I'm really impressed by is that you're one of the few that will voluntarily revisit old news and then on top of it to change your perspective.

Regarding the contents of the article, I agree with the decision to move away from the boomerang. I believe that you don't need to change something that's already good (as in the shape). On the designing side I think it has been/ will be a much easier job for Sony to work with an already familiar design.

Ultimately we'll just have to wait and see (only a few more months!) how this thing is going to end up.

10:19 PM  

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