How control groups should work on a console

I have been playing PC RTS games for quite some time. First of all, I think they did a fantastic job making an RTS game playable on xbox in both HW and HW2. However, I find the control groups (one of the features I was most excited about for HW2) a bit clunky in their current implementation on console.

Below is a suggestion that I think would make them see much more use (it wouldn’t have to be a mandatory change for players, it could be an optional change in the options menu):

Short Description: Turn D-Pad into an “all-units” command for the specific type of units you want. In other words, make control groups unit-type based.

Example:

  • I assign a single banshee to “up arrow” all banshees are now “up arrow” for the rest of the game, unless I reassign. New banshees that are made automatically go into the group.
  • I assign 1 engineer and 1 shroud to “right arrow” then selecting “right arrow” group selects all engineer and shrouds that I have. Making new engineers and shrouds automatically puts them into “right arrow” group
  • “down arrow” etc.
  • " left arrow" etc.

Benefits:

  • Units are so expendable in HW2, that I believe most average players and below just don’t use control groups. The controller doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a mouse/keyboard to quickly jump/gather units across the map. This way you make the control group once per game.

  • Easier to have your units walk somewhere in logical order, I.e. Tanks up front, etc. I would imagine most people would organize their D-pad as a “Melee unit group”, “Range unit group”, “Support unit Group” and “Air Group”.

  • Easier and more organized y abilities. If I want to make all Reavers jump, just right arrow and press y, rather then finding one under the banshees and hoping double a tap A works, or doing an “local units” command and they cycling past 6+ other types. I suspect most D-pad groups in this implementation would have 1-3 different types – much easier to cycle through and less risk if you accidentally skip past the desired unit.

  • Easier to split units to dodge a leader power

Disadvantages:

  • It is a watered down version of control groups. I would not want this on a PC-RTS. But on a console, I do think it would make them a lot more viable.

$0.02

Or they could just remove control groups so I can have a functioning right trigger

> 2533274811417927;2:
> Or they could just remove control groups so I can have a functioning right trigger

Wow best idea since the automobile

> 2533274811417927;2:
> Or they could just remove control groups so I can have a functioning right trigger

Why are you worried about a simple right trigger when air units are OP. Priorities.

> 2533274840245702;4:
> > 2533274811417927;2:
> > Or they could just remove control groups so I can have a functioning right trigger
>
> Why are you worried about a simple right trigger when air units are OP. Priorities.

Irony?

My suggestion: Use a wheel just like leader powers and buildings.
One key to open the wheel.
The wheel initially has the option to add a new group (the current selection). You can then add groups dynamically, say up to 10.
Selecting a group could have extra options (besides select), such as split, scatter or replace group.

What if I play with a steering wheel…?

I find the control groups just fine honeatly. Espically when I just spam All Units or if I don’t want a certain unit just give them the Guard command.

> 2582868000586318;1:
> I have been playing PC RTS games for quite some time. First of all, I think they did a fantastic job making an RTS game playable on xbox in both HW and HW2. However, I find the control groups (one of the features I was most excited about for HW2) a bit clunky in their current implementation on console.
>
> Below is a suggestion that I think would make them see much more use (it wouldn’t have to be a mandatory change for players, it could be an optional change in the options menu):
>
> Short Description: Turn D-Pad into an “all-units” command for the specific type of units you want. In other words, make control groups unit-type based.
>
> Example:* I assign a single banshee to “up arrow” all banshees are now “up arrow” for the rest of the game, unless I reassign. New banshees that are made automatically go into the group.
> * I assign 1 engineer and 1 shroud to “right arrow” then selecting “right arrow” group selects all engineer and shrouds that I have. Making new engineers and shrouds automatically puts them into “right arrow” group
> * “down arrow” etc.
> * " left arrow" etc.
>
> Benefits:* Units are so expendable in HW2, that I believe most average players and below just don’t use control groups. The controller doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a mouse/keyboard to quickly jump/gather units across the map. This way you make the control group once per game.
>
> * Easier to have your units walk somewhere in logical order, I.e. Tanks up front, etc. I would imagine most people would organize their D-pad as a “Melee unit group”, “Range unit group”, “Support unit Group” and “Air Group”.
>
> * Easier and more organized y abilities. If I want to make all Reavers jump, just right arrow and press y, rather then finding one under the banshees and hoping double a tap A works, or doing an “local units” command and they cycling past 6+ other types. I suspect most D-pad groups in this implementation would have 1-3 different types – much easier to cycle through and less risk if you accidentally skip past the desired unit.
>
> * Easier to split units to dodge a leader power
>
> Disadvantages:* It is a watered down version of control groups. I would not want this on a PC-RTS. But on a console, I do think it would make them a lot more viable.
>
> $0.02

Great post. Hope 343 sees this and takes it seriously.

id rather have a working right trigger to select units correctly. nobody uses control groups bc they are slow and clunky. in an rts you need to be efficient and as fast as possible. to do that on console the only option is to have a working right trigger to select certain units after hitting all units.

> 2535422421305993;3:
> > 2533274811417927;2:
> > Or they could just remove control groups so I can have a functioning right trigger
>
> Wow best idea since the automobile

Agree, the control groups don’t work well and I often end up highlighting units or mono selecting them just to effectively use them unlike the first halo wars.

> 2533274792362811;6:
> My suggestion: Use a wheel just like leader powers and buildings.
> One key to open the wheel.
> The wheel initially has the option to add a new group (the current selection). You can then add groups dynamically, say up to 10.
> Selecting a group could have extra options (besides select), such as split, scatter or replace group.

I got to say that is a promising idea but there is a flaw. The wheel is much like a pizza in many ways as the more pieces of pizza you have, the smaller the piece. Where am I going with this you might ask? well because the wheele has so many small slices because of the many units that this can actually become very difficult to use as when you try to highlight one unit, you must have very steady hands to select the slice correctly without selecting another and is still possibly time consuming.

> 2533274855353246;9:
> id rather have a working right trigger to select units correctly. nobody uses control groups bc they are slow and clunky. in an rts you need to be efficient and as fast as possible. to do that on console the only option is to have a working right trigger to select certain units after hitting all units.

I don’t think it should have to be one or the other, but I agree improving right trigger should be a priority. As they are now, they are slow and clunky – but the method described above would make them much more streamlined. Cycling through units would be more efficient and faster as you are taking a ~6+ groups that you get with an “all units command” and reducing it to ~2 with the d-pad assignments.

The only time I use control groups now is to scout/harass with an all air group – which would also be much easier with the method described above as it wouldn’t have to be remade every time a new air-unit came out.

Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time with a big-title PC-RTS knows how important control groups are – they are a core part of any RTS game. Granted, HW2 is in a little bit of its own category with its strong leader powers and being on console – but I still think the game would only be enhanced with functional control groups.

> 2582868000586318;1:
> I have been playing PC RTS games for quite some time. First of all, I think they did a fantastic job making an RTS game playable on xbox in both HW and HW2. However, I find the control groups (one of the features I was most excited about for HW2) a bit clunky in their current implementation on console.
>
> Below is a suggestion that I think would make them see much more use (it wouldn’t have to be a mandatory change for players, it could be an optional change in the options menu):
>
> Short Description: Turn D-Pad into an “all-units” command for the specific type of units you want. In other words, make control groups unit-type based.
>
> Example:* I assign a single banshee to “up arrow” all banshees are now “up arrow” for the rest of the game, unless I reassign. New banshees that are made automatically go into the group.
> * I assign 1 engineer and 1 shroud to “right arrow” then selecting “right arrow” group selects all engineer and shrouds that I have. Making new engineers and shrouds automatically puts them into “right arrow” group
> * “down arrow” etc.
> * " left arrow" etc.
>
> Benefits:* Units are so expendable in HW2, that I believe most average players and below just don’t use control groups. The controller doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a mouse/keyboard to quickly jump/gather units across the map. This way you make the control group once per game.
>
> * Easier to have your units walk somewhere in logical order, I.e. Tanks up front, etc. I would imagine most people would organize their D-pad as a “Melee unit group”, “Range unit group”, “Support unit Group” and “Air Group”.
>
> * Easier and more organized y abilities. If I want to make all Reavers jump, just right arrow and press y, rather then finding one under the banshees and hoping double a tap A works, or doing an “local units” command and they cycling past 6+ other types. I suspect most D-pad groups in this implementation would have 1-3 different types – much easier to cycle through and less risk if you accidentally skip past the desired unit.
>
> * Easier to split units to dodge a leader power
>
> Disadvantages:* It is a watered down version of control groups. I would not want this on a PC-RTS. But on a console, I do think it would make them a lot more viable.
>
> $0.02

I am making my own post about the advanced controls of this game and I will be drawing a bit off of these ideas. Thanks for posting and giving me inspiration for some awesome ideas!

> 2582868000586318;12:
> > 2533274855353246;9:
> >
>
> I don’t think it should have to be one or the other, but I agree improving right trigger should be a priority. As they are now, they are slow and clunky – but the method described above would make them much more streamlined. Cycling through units would be more efficient and faster as you are taking a ~6+ groups that you get with an “all units command” and reducing it to ~2 with the d-pad assignments.
>
> The only time I use control groups now is to scout/harass with an all air group – which would also be much easier with the method described above as it wouldn’t have to be remade every time a new air-unit came out.
>
> Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time with a big-title PC-RTS knows how important control groups are – they are a core part of any RTS game. Granted, HW2 is in a little bit of its own category with its strong leader powers and being on console – but I still think the game would only be enhanced with functional control groups.

sure on pc control groups are important. But the controller is limited to a right trigger and a D pad not like a keyboard which has infinite possibility’s. I want the controls back to like it was in hw1 bc it worked. no top player even touches the control groups which is why I think they should be removed altogether. the only useful things to keep are hold position, attack move and waypoints other than those things remove everything useless.

> 2533274855353246;14:
> > 2582868000586318;12:
> > > 2533274855353246;9:
> > >
> >
> > I don’t think it should have to be one or the other, but I agree improving right trigger should be a priority. As they are now, they are slow and clunky – but the method described above would make them much more streamlined. Cycling through units would be more efficient and faster as you are taking a ~6+ groups that you get with an “all units command” and reducing it to ~2 with the d-pad assignments.
> >
> > The only time I use control groups now is to scout/harass with an all air group – which would also be much easier with the method described above as it wouldn’t have to be remade every time a new air-unit came out.
> >
> > Anyone who has spent a decent amount of time with a big-title PC-RTS knows how important control groups are – they are a core part of any RTS game. Granted, HW2 is in a little bit of its own category with its strong leader powers and being on console – but I still think the game would only be enhanced with functional control groups.
>
> sure on pc control groups are important. But the controller is limited to a right trigger and a D pad not like a keyboard which has infinite possibility’s. I want the controls back to like it was in hw1 bc it worked. no top player even touches the control groups which is why I think they should be removed altogether. the only useful things to keep are hold position, attack move and waypoints other than those things remove everything useless.

Control Group are still useful but never too slow in most situations to use.

> 2535428931727626;11:
> > 2533274792362811;6:
> > My suggestion: Use a wheel just like leader powers and buildings.
> > One key to open the wheel.
> > The wheel initially has the option to add a new group (the current selection). You can then add groups dynamically, say up to 10.
> > Selecting a group could have extra options (besides select), such as split, scatter or replace group.
>
> I got to say that is a promising idea but there is a flaw. The wheel is much like a pizza in many ways as the more pieces of pizza you have, the smaller the piece. Where am I going with this you might ask? well because the wheele has so many small slices because of the many units that this can actually become very difficult to use as when you try to highlight one unit, you must have very steady hands to select the slice correctly without selecting another and is still possibly time consuming.

I’d say the number should be limited to something that still fits nicely on the screen, say 10 groups?
The slices could actually be fixed, i.e., always showing 10 slices (initially unassigned).

I agree with OP and the next commentor. As of now, the control groups are useless. Even if they weren’t slow, units just tend to die too quickly and then your control group needs to be rebuilt. In HW2 the entire reason you would want a control group is to easily control certain types of units in your army seeing as it typically isn’t beneficial to split your army.

If we can’t do this then just remove it to improve cycling responsiveness.

I actually use control groups a lot, but for buildings only.
It’s great you can keep producing/queuing stuff while keeping your eyes on your army.
For buildings it works fine since they don’t die so easily and the limitation of 4 is not so bad (it’s enough at any point in the game if you occasionally switch a group once the building is not so useful anymore).

> 2533274792362811;18:
> I actually use control groups a lot, but for buildings only.
> It’s great you can keep producing/queuing stuff while keeping your eyes on your army.

Yes, this is very useful. I do wish you could add more then one building to a group though and cycle through them.