Designing controls in a way that mirrors or emulates movement in the game can create a more immersive game experience as the controls tend to be more intuitive for the player as they map to familiar and real life movements. These controls can be a literal mapping such as physically walking to walk in a game (such as with the vive) but more often, due to the vast majority of games being controlled with a keyboard and mouse or gamepad, a key element of the movement is taken and applied to the control scheme. This element may be rhythmic motions, such as walking, being emulated with consistently alternating button presses or the element may be more abstract such as using different keys or buttons to control different parts of the player character.
This element of game design can be applied to a variety of games but is more relevant in simulator games where this sort of control scheme can enhance the simulation and enforce the suspension of disbelief.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 is an example of a game which maps in-game movement with the control scheme.
In this game the player controls the left arm and hand of a doctor performing surgeries on a series of patients. The player uses this hand to manipulate objects in the environment, such as scalpels and hammers, to perform the surgeries.
This hand is controlled in a way which mirrors player motion. For example, each finger on the hand is controlled independently with a set of five keys on the keyboard; when one of these keys is pressed the corresponding finger closes toward the palm. The keys for this control scheme are laid out in such a way that it matches how the left hand tends to rest on the keyboard. Thus, the player controls the left hand in-game by mirroring similar movements on the keyboard with the same appendages. Likewise, moving the arm follows with this control scheme. The movement of the arm is controlled with the mouse, matching the 2D plane the mouse rests on. The movement of the mouse on this plane matches the direction of the movement of the arm in-game, so moving the mouse forward to extend the arm has the player matching this movement by extending their own arm forward to push the mouse forward.
ReCore has a mechanic where the player has to extract cores from the robots they fight. These cores are located inside the robots and the animation of pulling the core out looks like the player is putting in a lot of effort. It looks like a tug of war between the player and the robot; the controls mirror this feeling. The pulling out of the core is controlled by the thumbsticks, pulling back too hard will break the cable that connects the player to the core therefore the player needs to control the tension in the cable by controlling how far they pull the thumstick back.
In Taiko Drum Master, the player must strike a drum with drum sticks. This quite directly maps to the same motions a real Taiki drum master needs to execute, and this novel input invites players as the pass by the machine. There are two distinct input types in this game:
- Direct strike to the drum
- Edge strike to the rim
Each of these inputs is recognized distinctly and demands that the player switch up their physical motion, also matching real drum strikes.