PSA: Removing legacy touch controls

We’re saying goodbye to the DPad, Thumbpad, and Thumbstick mobile control modes.
I’ll explain why.


First, some history.
Roblox launched on mobile in 2012 with support for 4 control schemes:

  • Click-to-Move
  • Thumbstick
  • Thumbpad
  • DPad

DPad mimicked a controller DPad on your screen, locked to four directions.
Thumbstick was the classic button on the bottom left hand corner of your screen.
Thumbpad was Thumbstick with extra steps.

These controls did the job for a long time, but there was clear room for improvement.

Dynamic Thumbstick (DT) debuted in 2017.
DT lets players use a whole corner of their screen as a controller – Put your finger down wherever and and swipe to move. User tests showed that DT was a huge win for accessibility and ergonomics, especially for portrait mode and younger players lacking fine motor control.

We continued to iterate on Dynamic Thumbstick well into 2017 and 2018, making continuous improvements and fixes based on numerous rounds of feedback and testing. DT was made the default for all games in late 2018.

It’s now 2019, DT has matured well, and bug reports are relatively few and far between. We’ve heard success stories with top games like Adopt Me migrating to DT without hiccups.


This brings us to a point where we have one well-supported, modern control scheme, and a few seldom-used legacy control schemes collecting dust.

Every scheme we support adds an extra permutation of control modes for us to test and support with every update and improvement, increasing the time it takes for us to push updates. Additionally, Thumbpad and DPad are rarely (if ever) used, and Thumbstick is becoming rarer by the day.

Time to say goodbye.

What’s not going away

The TouchMovementMode enums will stick around forever. Existing scripts, including forked PlayerScripts, will continue to work – no action is needed.

When?

Thumbpad and DPad are the least used. We’ll be removing these from the in-game menu and remapping them internally to Dynamic Thumbstick. This will happen on Wednesday, October 9th.

If you run into any DT bugs during the migration, we ask that you report them on the devforum and tag @subcritical. We will provide any necessary technical support for helping your game move to Dynamic Thumbstick.

-subcritical

61 Likes

I have ONE small problem with the Dynamic Thumbstick though. It automatically enables auto-jump regardless of the value in StarterPlayer on mobile devices. However, that’s all I have to say about it. Thanks for the changes.

Edit: I prefer the legacy Thumbstick though, that was pretty good.

27 Likes

I personally dislike this change, the legacy thumbstick is compatible with GUI’s that the new dynamic thumbstick wouldn’t be compatible with due to the amount of space it takes up not to mention, it automatically enables auto-jump, I don’t understand why it isn’t possible to keep the legacy thumbstick in settings and allow users to still toggle it on/off.

49 Likes

Wow, I happen to prefer thumbpad for mobile

17 Likes

I find this change unnecessary.

Players should get the freedom to choose what control scheme they want to use, not being forced to use one that arguably makes in-game interfaces that much harder to design for phone & tablet.

The argument “it’s too hard to maintain” doesn’t work in this instance, as all you’re doing is adding different libraries to a central one, the smaller libraries being individual control types.

Classic thumbstick & DT should stay, while the others are removed.

29 Likes

I dont understand why some of you are upset. If you want this control scheme in your game, it’s really easy to make on your own with the tools given.
They’re doing this so they’re not slowed down by the old controls. I doubt any complaining will do it justice.

1 Like

Not every game will take the time to reimplement the controls, thus if you prefer a certain control scheme, you can’t use them in all of the games you play.

I haven’t ran into a game that forces you to use a certain control type.

6 Likes

Why this change? Pls give me any reason. DT is the WORST control type ever(excluding touch to move) . And these two are only controls, that will stay. Is there any logic?
Why there cant stay all controls and the others only be not updated.

11 Likes

I personally like the idea of having multiple different control schemes for different games. What I do like, however, is that some games can take advantage of it, and that the controls are a more centered 1 scheme .

I personally have mixed feelings about this update.

1 Like

Probably for the best, many people seem to complain about the auto jump with mobile but you can turn that off in studio so…!

1 Like

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

1 Like

It’s quite useful for small devices. And its easier. I love it. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

that isnt reason why it must be removed, that is reason why dt cant be removed

1 Like

The dynamic thumbstick has really bad conflicts with UI; in future games, I will very likely be implementing custom mobile controls and disabling default controls.

3 Likes

It is I! The confirmer, on a serious note, here are all the details;

image

Off, right?

These are the only two references to the EnableAutoJump function (other than the function itself), and from this, auto-jump is enabled regardless of the value in StarterPlayer.

Edit: Sorry, it might look like I’ve edited the value, but I didn’t.

11 Likes

As the developer of a game aimed at precise parkour which is mostly played by an older audience, the removal of Thumbstick leaves me feeling left in the dark. The Dynamic Thumbstick works great for games that don’t see movement as one of their core mechanics, but lacks the precision that these more advanced games require. Not being able to turn off auto-jump is extremely developer-unfriendly, my players have continously told me to add always-visible buttons for mobile controls because they hated the gesture-like ‘magic’ controls of which DT is a prime example, and in all the previous instances where I have tried to work with DT I’ve ran into issues with the enormous screen space reservation the DT requires.

I get that it works for Adopt Me because roleplaying games are played by a younger audience and movement only plays a supporting role in their experiences. When this announcement shows up for a more movement-centric game however, I’m worried that I’ll need to stick around with legacy forked control scripts for the future.

Even more advanced off-Roblox mobile games like Fortnite and PUBG stick to the Thumbstick because it offers precision and communicates exactly what the players need to know to control their characters. The thumbstick that Roblox offers currently should be improved or at least maintained as there is a very legitimate use-case for it and seems to be preferred by older players.

This feels like a step in the wrong direction, sabotaging a large group of games/developers who might be aiming for something more advanced than your average ‘Adopt Me’ or ‘Meepcity’. Please don’t do that.

58 Likes

I don’t understand why thumstick is getting removed. It is way better than dynamic thumbstick, and most of the mobile players (that I know) hate dynamic thumbstick.

5 Likes

I honestly enjoy using the Thumbstick more than DT but I think the Thumbstick could use a design change to make it fit more with the DT’s design.

4 Likes