An In-Depth Look at Improving Gyro Controls
I'm a long time Splatoon player, and I was ecstatic when they added gyro controls to the game. Overall, they are much better than sticks when it comes to tracking and flicking. As much as they help however, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I was hoping that we’d have seen an update by now, but it’s been 9 months and gyro controls are the same as they were when they launched. As a Splatoon veteran, I’m hoping that I can give some detailed insight on what needs to be improved. I’ll be comparing the Paladins gyro to Splatoon quite a lot in this post. Keep in mind that this is talking about my experience with the Switch version, as I can’t test the PS4 gyro controls because I don’t have a PS4.
First, I’m going to talk about the most important issues, where gyro can be improved the most. After that, I’ll go into smaller issues that don’t necessarily need to be addressed, but would add more polish to the overall experience.
I know that the AoC are already looking into letting gyro players disable aim assist so I don’t really need to go into this, but I’ll include this segment just for completion’s sake. What I don’t get is why stick players won’t get to disable aim assist when it’s clear that many of them would rather go without it. I might make another thread on this.
Basically, aim assist throws off the aim of gyro users because we expect the reticle to follow the movements that we input (shocking, right?). It messes with leading your shots with projectile champions, and an enemy running across your screen can drag your reticle away from where you were aiming. I hope we get the option to disable it in the future, and I hope stick users get that choice as well.
Speaking of reticle movement without input from the user: For some reason, the gyro controls move on their own. And I’m not talking about gyro drift from the controller, this is different. The reticle moves in seemingly in random directions for a second or two after moving the reticle with the gyro. If you aim at something and stop, the reticle will slowly drift away from the target for a second and stop. It’s especially noticeable at high sensitivities or when you’re scoping in with Strix or Kinessa. I’m not sure why this happens, maybe it was an attempt to counter the controller gyro drift gone wrong, but being consistent with aim would become much easier if this was fixed.
Another thing that should be added is the option to adjust the acceleration. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain: Acceleration for gyro controls means that the amount your reticle moves varies depending on how fast your controller movements are. The faster you flick the controller, the more the reticle moves. The slower you move your controller, the less the reticle moves.
Paladins gyro has acceleration by default, so the amount of camera movement will change if you move your controller quickly vs. slowly. (Example: If you slowly move your controller 10 degrees, then your camera slowly moves 10 degrees in-game. If you quickly snap your controller 10 degrees, then your camera quickly moves 30 degrees in-game).
This can be good or bad depending on your playstyle, how it feels to you, what champions you are using, etc. Overall though, it means that your aim will be less consistent because you have to take into account two variables: the distance that you flick, and the speed of which you flick at.
Now compare this to Splatoon’s gyro controls: The gyro controls in Splatoon don't have any acceleration, meaning the amount of camera movement in-game directly corresponds to the amount of controller movement regardless of speed. (Example: If you slowly move your controller 10 degrees, then your camera slowly moves 20 degrees in-game. If you quickly snap your controller 10 degrees, then your camera quickly moves 20 degrees in-game). This makes it much easier to consistently land flicks since you only have one variable to take into account: the distance that you flick.
Currently there are a few options to adjust the acceleration of the sticks, but there isn’t a way to adjust or change the acceleration for the gyro controls. What they should do is add options for gyro acceleration like they currently have for stick acceleration (a slider between 0 and 10) so if people want more/less/no acceleration, they have options. If they want the distance consistent regardless of what speed you move the controller, they can set the slider to 0. If they like different speeds depending on how fast they move the controller, they can set the slider to a higher number. If the dev team isn’t able to do this, a simple on/off option would do fine.
Now I’m going to talk about some of the smaller issues that could be improved. If the larger issues mentioned above are addressed, then these would simply add polish and could be put on the back-burner.
This isn’t that big of a deal, but there is a bit of input lag with the gyro controls. It’s nothing that you couldn’t get used to, and this probably doesn’t even really need to be changed at all, but reducing the amount of input lag is always a good thing.
I’ve noticed that the gyro controls in Splatoon will register smaller movements than the Paladins gyro. This is really only noticeable with Strix or Kinessa, but reducing the deadzone (or adding an option to reduce it) would slightly improve the aim of gyro players when fighting at long range.
As of now, the reset button isn’t too useful. Two things about it: 1) It only resets the vertical orientation of the camera, and 2) there’s a short cooldown on it. I’m not sure if this is just Paladins being buggy or if it’s because of the cooldown, but sometimes if you press the button, it doesn’t register that you pressed the button.
I believe the reason that the camera doesn’t reset horizontally is because the devs didn’t want players making 180 degree turns at the press of a button, and that’s completely understandable. Of course that’s already possible with gyro controls, but a button press would make it much easier. However, the reset button needs the horizontal reset in order to correct for the gyro getting off. In Splatoon for example, after making a flick shot to the right or left, players will bring the controller back to a comfortable position and press the reset button so the camera matches up with where they want to look. It’s rarely, if ever, used during combat.
My suggestion for this would be to make the camera reset button also reset the camera horizontally, to whichever direction the left stick is pointing (like Splatoon), but only allow it to turn maybe 50-60 degrees to the left or right. Because of the delay between presses, it's still much faster just to turn with the gyro controls (or just turning with the stick normally) than to wait to press the reset button three times in a row. This would still allow enough wiggle room for players to move the controller into a comfortable position and reset the camera without having to tilt the right stick to center the camera. (In addition to this, stick players should be able to use the camera reset button, since from what I understand they can't. I don't see why not, it'd give them more of a chance against good gyro players and in general it'd be fair).
The biggest issues with the current iteration of the Paladins gyro controls are aim assist (which is being addressed), the gyro drifting (software, not hardware), and the lack of acceleration options. Some smaller issues like the deadzone, input lag, and reset button can be addressed later, but fixing the three main issues would drastically improve the gyro experience.
Note: This thread is me trying to help the devs with improving the gyro controls for the PS4 and Switch. It does not address the balance issues when it comes to crossplay between the Switch and Xbox, or between gyro and sticks in general. If you would like to discuss balance, please make a separate thread. Thank you.