What’s A Dead Zone?
Skip this section if you already know. For the rest of you, here’s a quick primer!
Analog thumbsticks typically send input to your code in the form of two numbers: one for the X (horizontal) axis, and one for the Y (vertical) axis. Usually the number ranges from −1 (fully extended one direction) to +1 (fully extended the opposite direction), where 0 is dead-center. The assumption is that if you’re not touching the stick, it’ll return (0, 0).
In reality, though, thumbsticks vary in quality and wear out over time. You’ve probably used a gamepad at some point that had a loose or “wiggly” stick; in that case, the neutral position is just a little bit off from (0, 0), even though you’re not touching the stick. To your code, that’s indistinguishable from the player pushing the stick just a tiny, tiny bit.
Dead zones are simply a minimum input threshold, often somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2. If the input received from the stick is smaller than that, it’s ignored.
Have you ever played a game where the camera moved or rotated very slowly of its own accord, even though you weren’t touching the stick at all? That’s a case of a missing (or too-small) dead zone. (Curiously, I see this issue in a lot of Xbox 360 first-person shooters.)
So to sum up: dead zones prevent unexpected input from loose thumbsticks, which makes players happy.
- Yes, having that option would be awesome
- No, aiming is fine (console)
- I’m a PC player