Conduit 2 Wiimote Controls

I guess the timing is right to present the sequel to our Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls – my control settings for the first Conduit adapted to the sequel to The Conduit, which isn’t exactly The Conduit 2, but simply Conduit 2, a.k.a. DUKE NUKEM’s official return to video games. (The previous Note still applies, so keep those conditions in mind) My controls are geared toward an exploration/realism perspective, so it’s probably not the l337 onrine FPS’ing scheme suited to all those childish twitch-turning high-jumping strafe-running genre conventions that you were hoping to employ. I am raging infinity suns, but it’s not how I play shooty games.

Fortunately, this project includes somewhat less ranting and more explanation/analysis. Read on for screens/details and technical issues the gaming press probably didn’t mention in the reviews.

– Conduit 2
(click to enlarge)

Sample gameplay from “The Conduit”. See Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls

Conduit 2 Controls” – woo, looks like the search engines brought someone here safely. And you’re here because you don’t like the presets. Right. So the screens show my current custom settings, which should help some get started right away (maybe?). Since I tried to carry over my performance/results from one game to a VERY SIMILAR game, I can’t avoid making some comparisons while addressing the points below.
Note: Ever since Twilight Princess, I’ve been resting my Remote-hand/wrist on my lap (or couch cushion) whenever the gameplay calls for pointing/aiming. With the Remote anchored, I use fine wrist movements to pivot the Remote, moving the cursor. This common method is very relaxed and accurate, making it well-suited to lengthy action/adventure game sessions. My controls assume that I still play like that. IF you expect to hold your arm out at your TV like those Wii-gaming-casual-audience-actors, you’ll have to completely overhaul the controls to accommodate that – but the results aren’t usually pretty. If you’re seeking a precise gunplay simulation, then video games and their controls need to be approached differently from the online shooters influencing the market right now.

– Turning Speed

Determines the maximum speed the camera spins around. The camera gradually spins faster as the cursor/reticule moves from the edge of the Dead Zone (zero speed) to the edge of the screen (max speed). So, the further from the Dead Zone, the faster it should turn. In both Conduits, turning speed typically applies to the horizontal/X direction of your display, with no affect on the vertical/Y direction if the vertical Dead Zone is not enabled (see Camera Styles section below).

I use “30” in both games: turning 90 or 180 degrees won’t take forever, and it’s not so quick that it becomes dizzying and harder to control.

– Cursor Sensitivity

Controls how the reticule responds to your physical handling of the Remote. Lowering the sensitivity gives the reticule a smoother but slower appearance – reduces/filters “twitching” movements at the price of response time, increasing the delay between your input movement and the on-screen movement. Raising the sensitivity gives the reticule a rougher but quicker appearance – less twitch filtering with the benefit of improved response time, decreasing the input-to-screen delay. Sensitivity does influence your perceived turning speed by affecting how easily the reticule zips around the non-Dead Zone areas; from slow-region to fast-region, and vice versa. As always, it’s important to strike a balance between comfort and functionality.

I use “26” plus a slightly narrower Dead Zone in an attempt to make up for the following…

– Horizontal View – REMOVED
– Vertical View – REMOVED


[Why didn’t the gaming press point this out? “the sequel has all the customization options from the first ga-” BULL. SHIT. You played the first game for an hour, wrote your review, and waited two years for a free review copy of the sequel. Repeat.]

The vaguely termed “View” or “Look” causes the camera to tilt/lean towards the reticule as it moves away from the centroid of the screen, giving the camera a “rubber band” behavior. It doesn’t rely on the Dead Zone, doesn’t cause continuous turning, but definitely creates an impression of initial turning.

In The Conduit, Vertical View was helpful in determining the maximum angle you could aim/see/tilt upward, whereas the alternative was enabling the vertical/Y Dead Zone. I previously used a low horizontal value to smoothen camera transitions between “turning” and “not turning”, and a medium-high vertical value to aim “high enough”.

However, I think increasing View/Look promotes excessive camera movement; a twitchy perspective of the action that’s not comfortable to watch all the time. The screen feels unstable and oversensitive, and it interferes with accuracy. The Dead Zone, an intentionally “frozen” portion of the screen, becomes less useful for non-turning shots – what good is my Dead Zone if a stationary target won’t stay still? I don’t want to increase my dependence on zoom/ADS/iron sights/freeze/lock-on functions as remedies for a poor basic camera (didn’t players hope that Wii shooters would have decent cameras?).

[GoldenEye 007 lumped this behavior into a single option called “Camera Look”; it was set to “ON” by default, was VERY sensitive, had NO WAY to fine-tune it, and SABOTAGED any benefit Wii Remote aiming supposedly had.]

As for Conduit 2, these variable settings are GONE. The developer has made assumptions on the respective X/Y Look sensitivities and limited the menus to block reasonable changes, so it’s frustrating to see the game released like this when the first game set a much better example. The now-invisible Horizontal View feels like it’s set to some low value, but still too high, possibly game-breaking for some, and sucks. Vertical View is set MAXIMUM high, probably to “100”, letting the reticule (not necessarily the center of the screen) look almost straight up, and tilts very quickly (see Camera Styles section below).

– Wii Remote Thrust Sensitivity

No one [at a distinguished website] has probably mentioned this: you don’t have to THRUST the Wii Remote to perform the melee attack – a quick flick to the side gets the job done. Apparently, the Remote is only waiting for any sufficient lateral movement. Shaking up/down does nothing.

It’s probably the better method in the long run, since I have an easier time reorienting my aim after a flick than than the camera confusion caused by a THRUST. It might be a better match for Duke’s attack animations as well. I bumped the sensitivity to “60” to ease the flick-then-aim process.

Ultimately, Duke gets to whip his Wiimote on the enemy. But you’re still welcome to THRUST, if that’s your thing. (Ignore that blue circle around Duke MotionPlus; it came with the photo)

– Nunchuk Shake Sensitivity

Grenade motion is awesome. If you throw too many on accident, maybe gaming isn’t right for you.

Use high values to require a firm, forward flick/shake, like a maraca. Use low values if you wish to throw your Nunchuk at the TV.

– Camera Styles

What a mess. I imagine the default Human/”Look” bothers most players, just like preceding Wii shooters did. The menu only provides an incomplete set of on/off options (when is “OFF” not “OFF and STAY OFF”? When it’s forced to be ON sometimes).

X Look is too sensitive, so I’d rather disable it. But I can’t completely disable it, because it’s still active when crouching. Huh? Crouch? WHY NOT “NEVER”? Forcing the Look function AT ALL is nonsense (HVS, fix this, please). It’s a good thing I don’t crouch much during walk-n-gun gameplay; if the settings overall turned out worse, I would’ve returned the game.

I’m OK with Y Look enabled, because I don’t need to rapidly bounce my aim up/down frequently in these games. Since I’m allowed to point almost straight up, the vertical tilt is more sensitive than I’d like (wish I could change it…), but I can live with it. The alternative – vertical Dead Zone – has an annoying issue (see Dead Zone Glitch? section below).

I don’t know if HVS was kissing up to the controls of the “successful” 2010 GoldenEye, but the way they fumbled these options tells me they lacked confidence in their own product or forgot to playtest it with the Wii Remote (as did Eurocom). Does the Classic Controller make developers sloppy and/or lazy?

– Wii Remote Dead Zone

The Dead Zone determines if the camera turns or not, depending on the reticule’s location. When inside the Dead Zone, the camera generally stays put (unless Look is active), and allows stable snap-aiming that’s suited to shooting galleries and menus. Outside the Dead Zone, the screen is basically a giant analog region, with the reticule acting as the “stick”. As indicated, point further away from the Dead Zone to turn faster. Wii Remote aiming is/was unique in that games could combine the quick accuracy of “gallery” shooting with the traditional analog turning concept, just by dividing and managing the game screen as an integral component of the control scheme. So rad.

Shrinking the Dead Zone to “nothing” would be like Metroid Prime 3: the screen hardly sits still, and you’d need a separate freeze/lock-on switch to take advantage of “gallery” shooting . Ehhhh we can do better than that, because FPS-oriented gameplay demands better.

[Fixing the targeting reticule to the center of the screen is absurd to me (was this in the Splinter Cell port?). That just turns your TV+Wiimote into a giant freehand analog stick – then what’s the use of Wii-pointing if you’re going to drag the camera around like a moldy old analog stick?! Conceptually, is your weapon represented by the Wii Remote, or by the camera? Whoever suggested it in the first place should’ve thought it out.]

My Turning Speed, Sensitivity, Look, and Dead Zone were selected to balance snap-aiming, semi-fast turns, visual comfort, and tangible (controller) comfort. I want to quickly sweep the reticule from one edge of the screen to the opposite without significant screen pausing/stuttering; can I smoothly, easily change the camera direction without losing control nor causing a headache?

I used a “160”-width Dead Zone (height ignored) in the The Conduit. This time, I narrowed it by one click to “157”, to get some overall sensitivity/responsiveness that felt “right” in the absence of the H/V View options. I like a square-ish Dead Zone while zooming in, so the camera won’t look up/down too easily.

Zoom/Scope/Iron Sights/ADS

Conduit 2 does it right, surpassing the first game plus those lesser Activision shooters. Big, beautiful scope fills up the screen and shows that Duke knows how to use it, unlike that Bond fellow who spends his time staring at the buttstock.

Zoom view ignores the X/Y Look settings (thank goodness), and simply behaves according to your Dead Zone.

– Dead Zone Gitch?

(HVS, how did this get past you?)

Using the Dead Zone in place of Y Look has a peculiar behavior that turns me off. To demonstrate, start off by looking at the horizon (Screen 1). Tilt your reticule up only enough that it leaves the Dead Zone and causes the screen to turn/tilt. At some higher angle, the turning STOPS (Screen 2). From that point to the maximum angle, Y Look tilting takes over, so you have to lift the reticule up further to see the top (Screen 3). Weird, but not good at all.

In practice, that pause causes a stutter and bounce when moving to and from the vertical extremes. Zoom/scope view is also affected.

If it ain’t smooth, it ain’t worth using. Because of that, I can’t rely on the Dead Zone for vertical aiming.

– Wii MotionPlus Options

Enable it if you think you need it. Honestly, I didn’t see any improvement in on-screen targeting when I used MotionPlus (same twitch, delay, etc.). I did notice the game tracked the tilt of my Remote when I purposely pointed off-screen (like Red Steel 2), allowing a smooth transition back to on-screen targeting. (we remember what happens without MotionPlus: screen gets stuck or spins out of control, then freaks-out just before it recognizes you were pointing properly again, tee-hee)

My gaming setup has no problems with IR/sensor bar tracking, and off-screen pointing issues are rare and insignificant if my attention is on the game. Both Conduits track my reticule to the screen’s edges just fine, while muscle memory keeps me from pointing out-of-bounds. For now, I’ll give Duke MotionPlus a rest.

You might benefit from MotionPlus if your setup’s cursor tracking is unstable and/or edge tracking insurance sounds helpful. But, it’s just a guess.

What does “Calibration” do? lawl, I don’t know? It never asked me for a table or anything. HVS did some magick with this one.

– Wii MotionPlus Glitch?

(HVS, did the testers notice?)

Let’s get the small bug out of the way: MotionPlus ignored a setting. The game always spun like madness while the cursor was off-screen, despite “Turn While Cursor Offscreen” set to “Off”. No clue why. MOVING ON…!

Defective cursor region after turning MotionPlus OFF

If you enable MotionPlus once, THEN disable it, the boundary for default (“regular” Wii Remote) cursor tracking gets screwed up. Above, the green border shows approximately where the tracking loss occurs. Crossing into the naughty margin is like pointing off-screen; the reticule gets “stuck” and briefly doesn’t respond.  I checked individually: this problem affects both the MotionPlus add-on and the Wii Remote Plus. The only way to correct this is to reset the game.

An issue like this would make a big difference to me because I do utilize the entire screen. If I try to play normally, I’m greeted with unwelcomed stutters in my turns. Therefore, it needs to be addressed.


Despite the oddball shortcomings, the Wii Remote controls in this game are still top class, but a step behind The Conduit.

Frankly, I’m sick of this IP’s emphasis on deathmatching and shiny polygons (framerate is king – pick a number and stick to it, nothing more, nothing less – quit endangering it with unnecessary bells & whistles; 48KHz audio? big deal! I don’t notice that like I notice unstable framerates). I’m also pissed that Team Invasion mode isn’t available for online co-op play despite the vague and misleading game description on (false advertising?) – now I have NO REASON to bother with multiplayer. I prefer we had The Grinder, instead.

Maybe some day I’ll mess with Conduit 2 using a “Wii Zapper” configuration and see how it stacks up to those videos of awful PS3 Move “rifle” FPS gameplay I see on YouTube (UPDATE: I TRIED IT – IT DOESN’T WORK the way we think it should – so it’s just a missed opportunity; the “Calibration” option seems to be completely unrelated to Zapper gameplay.)

Note: Screens have been enlarged for viewing purposes; screens were taken from direct feed 480p source. As of this writing, my game was updated with the “multiplayer” update downloaded on April 19, 2011.

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