Cross-Platforming for Portable Devices

My ipod touch trend this week got me thinking about the different types of games that are available on the device.

Right now I can go into the app store and find any genre that I play on consoles.  The problem is that some of these port better than others.

After playing a few FPS games on the ipod touch my conclusion is that the control scheme just isn't there.  Every time I attempt one I feel like I lose all the precision of console and PC FPS games.  Without physical buttons it is easy to lose control of what you are doing in a twitchy FPS.  There are some valiant attempts to make FPSs work, but they all fall a bit flat.

On the other hand, many casual games make the transition beautifully.  I would even say some are better on the ipod touch than they are on the PC or console.  Not only because of the portability of the game but also because of gameplay factors.  Once again, it comes down to the control scheme.

I've been playing Plants vs Zombies a lot since I picked it up a few days ago.  In my opinion it is better than its PC counterpart.  In PvZ the player has to collect sunshine pieces.  They are the resource that the player needs to build units.  In the PC version the player has to drag the mouse from wherever it was, place it over the sunshine piece, and click.  This doesn't take much time for any single sunshine piece, but it adds up in the hectic later levels.  In the ipod touch version I get to simply tap a sunshine piece whenever I see it.  It is a very slight difference, but I think it makes the game flow a lot better.

Some games just work better when they are played on a touch interface.  Some games are even designed entirely around the touch interface.  It will be interesting to see what types of games touch interface developers concentrate their efforts on in the future.


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