Wind-Up Knight 2 Will Support All the Gamepads, and That’s Not Hyperbole

Wind-Up Knight 2 Will Support All the Gamepads, and That’s Not Hyperbole

Jan 24, 2014

Wind-Up Knight 2 developer Robot Invader is serious about gamepad support for the upcoming sequel to their hit game. How serious? Well, the studio’s Twitter account posted a photo of just which controllers and devices they were testing gamepad support on:

Source: https://twitter.com/robotinvader/status/426456929347436545/photo/1

Source: https://twitter.com/robotinvader/status/426456929347436545/photo/1

From left to right and then top to bottom, there’s an Nvidia Shield, a MOGA Pro, a SMACON, a Red Samurai gamepad from Gamestop, MOGA Hero Power, Nyko PlayPad Pro, MOGA Ace Power (iOS MFi gamepad), an Ouya controller, the 60beat for iOS (which plugs into the headphone port), and an Xperia Play.

That’s a pretty extensive list of controllers. ]But it’s not even all the ones they have](https://twitter.com/robotinvader/status/426470252516347905).

So yeah, Wind-Up Knight 2 will probably work with your controller.

MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review

MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review

Nov 28, 2013

MOGA’s first generation of controllers are ones that I continue to swear by for their comfort and versatiliity. The Pocket’s lack of HID support and buttons hurts it, but it’s still a great portable controller, and there’s plenty of MOGA API games to justify it. But the MOGA Pro is perhaps the strongest of the lot – with its HID support and excellent ergonomics, it’s the gold standard of Android controllers.

Well now MOGA is back for round 2 with a new generation of controllers, both in pocket and full-size versions, but with a new feature: the ability to charge a phone attached to them. Unfortunately, the new designs with these new features just introduce new problems. The Pro only takes a minor ding, but the Hero proves to be greatly flawed because of it.

MOGA Hero Power

MOGA Hero Power

First off, the MOGA Pro Power only makes slight changes to the formula: its design has been seemingly modified to fit better with the look of the Hero, and perhaps to accomodate the battery inside. Both controller scome with a standard micro-USB cable for charging in the contorller’s female micro-USB port, and a short micro-USB cable for charging from the female full-size USB port on both controllers, used to charge a phone connected to the device.

The MOGA Hero Power is a total overhaul of the MOGA Pocket. Where the Pocket lacked analog triggers, clickable joysticks, and a d-pad, the Hero contains all of these, while still maintaining a small size, and now supporting both MOGA API and standard HID gamepad modes. The joysticks are no longer the flat discs of the Pocket, they’re convex standard analog joysticks, just very small.

MOGA Pro Power

MOGA Pro Power

The portability factor is mixed: the controller certainly would fit in a pocket, but I’d be nervous about those joysticks breaking off just by their nature. It’s the same reason I don’t really pocket my PS Vita. Perhaps they would stick on there, but it makes me nervous. If it came with a little bag like the Pocket did, I’d feel better. Otherwise, if you’re throwing it in a bag, then it’s probably best to just go up to the Pro Power, eh?

The other reason to just go with the Pro Power? The triggers on the Hero are terrible. They are incredibly stiff, and absurdly uncomfortable to use; I just couldn’t find a comfortable position to place my index fingers on the triggers. A first-person shooter like Neon Shadow is okay with the triggers; a racing game like Asphalt 8 is practically unbearable.

MOGA Hero Power: the triggers are stiff and very, very comfortable.

MOGA Hero Power: the triggers are stiff and very, very comfortable.

In comparison, the MOGA Pro Power, with more traditional full-size triggers.

In comparison, the MOGA Pro Power, with more traditional full-size triggers.

The power recharging on both controllers leaves something to be desired. They really only put out enough power to keep the phone from draining too much of its battery, and only while the screen is on and the controller is connected via Bluetooth, even if the little 6″ micro-USB cable is connected. While some battery power is likely needed to keep the controller itself working longer than it can recharge, it’s really not that useful of an addition, more of a novelty.

Honestly, the added weight is a great addition to the Hero; the Nexus 4 and the Hero with battery are a perfect weight to use, balanced between controller and phone without one tilting the other. The Pro Power’s added weight doesn’t really do much for the controller, it just feels a bit too heavy. CHECK THIS The new “SMRT Lock” clamps do a great job at holding a phone in the controller. The Pro Power comes with the fantastic tablet stand that came with the Pro; the Hero is lacking this, though. The rubberized sides are a sad omission from the Pro Power, and just overall it feels like it’s taken a step back from the fantastic construction of the original Pro.

MOGAHEROPOWER-2

Really, while the MOGA Pro Power is still a solid controller, it’s a step down from the original MOGA Pro, which still works quite well, and is actually cheaper now that it’s on clearance at many stores. Now is the perfect time to pick it up, especially as the power capabilities of the Pro Power aren’t too useful. Meanwhile, the MOGA Hero Power’s flaws and terrible triggers make it a hard controller to recommend; it’s just especially limiting. I can only really recommend it for people that really a portable gaming controller with a clamp for their Android phone that they can stick in their pocket and not in a bag with them. It seems like a small market.

All parenthetical scores below are (Hero/Power):

The Hills Are Greener: Why Has Google Lost Control of Controllers?

The Hills Are Greener: Why Has Google Lost Control of Controllers?

Aug 19, 2013

If there is one thing that I do not understand, it is how Google could get gamepads so right, and then so wrong.

The thing they did right was exactly what Apple is doing: creating a standard HID protocol that controllers could use. It’s something where any Xbox controller can be used by an Android device. And anyone could make a contorller that could be supported by games.

Yet, there are still many alternate APIs in place and the Android gamepad market is still a mess. MOGA supports HID on one controller but they also are pushing their own API. Green Throttle’s off pushing multiplayer-focused games. There’s others out there too.

So where did Google go wrong? Simple. They didn’t do enough to push their own controller API that’s built-in.

GreenThrottle

Good luck trying to find HID-controller-compatible games on Google Play. Heck, good luck knowing that you could just plug an Xbox controller into your Android device. It’s a somewhat-undocumented feature. Well, that and the whole USB host functionality through micro-USB ports is a bit of a mystery too. But Bluetooth gamepads? That problem should be solved. Not so fast, my friend. Because everyone’s looking out for themselves, the push has been for companies to make their own controllers instead of adhering to the standard.

Now, Apple’s creating a standard with MFi gamepads, and not making their own, but the big difference is this: their walled garden. Because they can effectively shut down any other protocols, or make discoverability for them a challenge (iCade games on the App Store can’t mention in their descriptions), they can make their MFi protocol the go-to one. As well, they’re specifying particular protocols for how the hardware should work and be laid out. And again, because they have the force of the walled garden behind them, they can ensure that this will be ultimately the only gamepad protocol.

Google can’t necessarily do this in a fair way because there’s already games on the store, and shutting down competitors abruptly because they don’t like them seems like bad poker. But they can do a lot to make their protocol attractive. They can feature HID-enabled games. They could make an interface for Android unconsoles to use. They could make an official Bluetooth controller. Really, they could do anything more than install the protocol that Nvidia helped to develop in Android and leave it out there to flounder. Because Android, despite having a two-year head start with gamepads, is still floundering in that aspect and now Apple’s catching up.

Seriously, they could do anything more than they’ve already done.

The Hills Are Greener: Is This Finally the Time of Controllers?

The Hills Are Greener: Is This Finally the Time of Controllers?

Apr 1, 2013

If there was one recurring theme with Android games at Game Developers Conference 2013, it was certainly about controllers. Ouya had its uneviling for the product that will get into Kickstarter backers’ hands. Green Throttle had a presence around the show, demoing its controller to devs, press and to attendees at the Pocket Gamer party, showing off its multiplayer functions. MOGA wanted to go with a professional, highly-playable controller, that they demoed with their Pro controller. Nyko was still around, reminding folks that their HID-compatible gamepad was still being updated. Project Shield, Nvidia’s high-profile controller-with-a-5-inch-screen was a major part of the Nvidia booth. I even saw something else controller-related that will be public on Tuesday. All in all, there was a big market for controllers at GDC, and they were presented in the guise of various goals: to enable console-quality games on Android. To make tablets more versatile. To bring people together. Or possibly, in the most interesting and valid reason initially given to me by MOGA: in order to get people playing games longer, which can definitely be a welcome thing in free-to-play titles.

Yet, I was bothered by the number of proprietary APIs in use – most of the companies I talked to were supporting the built-in HID protocol as well, but Green Throttle did not support it at this moment. HID support can be wacky, but it’s still something that can futureproof and improve the support for controllers, something I was glad to see the MOGA Pro support.

Overall, I think these companies are on the right track. TV gaming is bound to break through eventually in some capacity. Getting gamers to play for longer amounts of time may help drive adoption of some of these controllers. They could be a useful promo gimmick for some as well.

But most importantly, if Apple is introducing a controller as well-connected rumors are indicating, then it’s a game changer. Unless their controller is wildly different from standard ones, there’s still that legitimization of controller-based gaming that will lead more developers to consider controller support, because with iOS still being the lead platform for the overwhelming majority of developers, there hasn’t been much forethought given to games with complex controls. Now not only can they exist on Android alongside iOS, but they can thrive because there will be more support from developers, and possibly even expectation from players, for control support in games that use it.

I am skeptical about any external accessory’s chances for success, at least in mass market terms, but if there’s this much support behind the controller movement, maybe it is time after all.

E3 2012: Nyko Announces New Android Controllers That Will Be Compatible With Just About Every Game

E3 2012: Nyko Announces New Android Controllers That Will Be Compatible With Just About Every Game

Jun 7, 2012

Nyko has announced at E3 a new pair of controllers for Android, that come with a software feature that will greatly bolster the usefulness of the controllers.

The Nyko PlayPad and PlayPad Pro are Bluetooth controllers that will connect to Android 3.0 and greater devices, with a focus on tablet support. The PlayPad Pro is similar in design to an Xbox controller, with two analog sticks, a d-pad, four face buttons, 2 shoulder buttons, and 2 shoulder triggers. The regular PlayPad is designed for portability, versus the PlayPad Pro being designed more for home use. The PlayPad is smaller, comes in a carrying case, with a tablet stand to make playback easier. The button layout appears to be similar, with only the triggers possibly removed or modified in this incarnation.

Now, there’s apparently a tantalizing feature in the works through an app called Playground that will greatly expand the use of these controllers. According to our own Jeff Scott, who got to test the controllers at E3, users will be able to take a screenshot of a game, and then use Nyko’s software to configure the controller’s buttons to on-screen commands by dragging commands to where the on-screen buttons are. With this feature, it means that the list of games that could use these controllers is hypothetically unlimited, although naturally, some games will work better with the controls than others. Nyko will offer pre-set profiles for some popular games as well.

However, Nyko is working to get their controls supported directly in some games through a partnership with Nvidia. Some games offered through TegraZone will come with native support for the PlayPad controllers. There’s also the possibility that games that already use Android’s built-in controller support, such as Grand Theft Auto 3, will be supported by the PlayPad contorllers out of the box.

Nyko’s PlayPad and PlayPad Pro are set to hit this fall, with the Playground app set to hit around the same time. We hope to have more on these controllers later this year.