Summary of Issues for Supporting Gamepad/Console on Roblox

This is a summary of the issues people described in this discussion thread:
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/whats-stopping-you-from-supporting-xbox-controllers-console-in-general-is-it-challenging-or-confusing/2392800

Summary of the issues allows me, or others, to focus on the solutions by having a framework to tackle the problems. I made this a few months ago and decided to make it public here. It might help. :person_shrugging:


List of Issues:

  • Low percentage/amount of player base

    • Chicken and the egg problem:
      • If there aren’t games for people to play on consoles that interest them, then people won’t play on consoles.
      • That said, if there aren’t players playing games on consoles, then developers won’t make more games that support consoles.
    • There is now PlayStation support on Roblox, whereas before it was only Xbox. This means it is possible for more to enter the Roblox market on consoles.
  • Making UI look good on both small and big screens can be really difficult

    • Response:
      • Understand & use UI constraints
      • Make sure the selectable property is enabled
      • Use Gamepad Virtual Cursor for an easy ‘drop-in’ for UI navigation
      • Use .Activated for the code of buttons, not .MouseButton1Click
  • Low amounts of controls on a controller compared to keyboard

    • Conventions for controls:
      • A button - accept something, jumping
        • Like the Enter key on Keyboard
      • B button - backing out of an action/UI
        • Like the Backspace button on Keyboard
    • You can use a combination of inputs to allow more, such as how Super Smash Bros Ultimate does it. To me, this is an excuse. Games really shouldn’t have a bunch of controls the player needs to memorize.
  • Lack of chat on console

    • To the argument that chatting on consoles isn’t a thing due to the age rating…
    • Some say chat on consoles isn’t a thing due to how slow it would be, making that not ideal. I personally would rather have slow chat than no chat at all. Roblox touts its vision of connecting people together, that interaction with others; not having chat is counter-intuitive to that vision.
      • That said, I’d be interested in seeing what ways chat for consoles/gamepads can be improved.
        • There can be a quick chat system, but that’s more a specific game thing than a platform-wide system that can be implemented.
        • There is usually auto-complete included in an on-screen keyboard pop-up with keys to press for gamepads to interact with text boxes. That is a thing on and off Roblox. If there’s a way to improve that system of things, that could be an Xbox or PlayStation question/issue. Well, unless Roblox wants to make a custom on-screen keyboard.
  • Haptic feedback API confusion

    • Make sure to understand how the HapticService works.
      • When you set a value, that value stays rumbling until you set the motor to zero yourself. That means two API calls.
  • Laziness (it can be difficult to support consoles, making it easier can help, but some are just lazy either way.)

  • Making a UI/2D game

    • Still the same conventions of buttons
    • This is unrelated to console support, but Roblox could make things a lot easier for 2d games by making a 2d physics engine and more general support for 2d, such as a template.
  • Roblox’s Xbox/Console Guidelines

    • “At this moment, there are no console-specific requirements outside of the best practices outlined in the new console guidelines. All old requirements that are not on the new guidelines are outdated and no longer needed.” (Oct 2023)
  • “Some games just don’t work for controller support. You could alter some gameplay mechanics to make it more friendly towards mobile and controller users, but it is up to the developer.”

  • “You can choose what platforms you support, it’s just if you want to support Xbox, I want to make sure you can effectively and with more ease. If you feel your game isn’t for Xbox, that’s fine too.”

  • Roblox’s lack of updating the console side of things

  • This thing: Duplicate reserved servers created for XBox users with cross platform disabled - Engine Features - Developer Forum | Roblox

  • “I just don’t want to offer support to console players…I just don’t like console players.”