Severed iOS Controls

Hey, I’m Ryan, a producer at Drinkbox Studios.   The Blog Team has asked me to provide, for your reading pleasure (to use that expression loosely ;)), a summary of the steps we took working out our touch-screen controls for Severed on iOS.

Slashing, interacting with on-screen objects and player movement are all essential parts of the experience in Severed, and sometimes players alternate rapidly between moving and slashing / tapping objects.

On PS Vita, the game’s initial launch platform, slashing and object interaction was touch-based, while camera and player movement was controlled using the stick / d-pad.  On touch-only devices, this posed a bit of a challenge.

The process for coming up with a control scheme that would work on iOS turned out to be non-trivial…there was a ton of playtesting, a few meetings with some UX experts, and a lot of internal head scratching.

In the end, our final iOS control scheme can be summarized as follows:


Click to enlarge


  1. Tap middle: Move forward
  2. Tap sides: 90-degree snap turn (quickly rotate camera to next cardinal angle)
  3. Drag with two fingers: Look around (free-rotation of camera)
  4. The middle tap-zone is slightly wider as a % of overall screen size for phones, narrower on tablets
  5. A limited form of movement queuing is supported, allowing players to queue up their next tap-movement as the current movement approaches completion
  6. Tappable pickup zones on most parts are a bit more generous on iOS than they were on PS Vita, making it harder to miss parts when tapping to pick them up
  7. A very short cooldown period is applied after part pickups to prevent players from moving accidentally after tapping frantically to pick up parts
  8. The length required for a slash to be considered ‘long’ is shorter on IOS, as a % of overall screen size, compared to PS Vita (with the difference being more substantial on tablets with larger screens)

Turns out what we thought would be a straight forward process ended up being much more of a challenge than what we had anticipated. The reception for the iOS controls was overall positive so let’s chalk that up as a success.

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