Tank controls

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Tank controls refers to a control system used in video games. In a game with tank controls, players control movement relative to the position of the player character.[1] Pressing up (for example on a D-pad, analog stick, or cursor movement keys) on the game controller moves the character in the direction they face, down reverses them, and left and right rotates them.[1] This differs from many 3D games, in which characters move in the direction players push from the perspective of the camera.[1] The term "tank controls" comes from the steering mechanisms of old tanks, which had to stop completely before turning.[2] Tank controls were common in 3D games in the late 1990s, such as Grim Fandango and the early Resident Evil and Tomb Raider games.[1][3]

Tank controls allow players to maintain a direction when the camera angle changes. Grim Fandango designer Tim Schafer chose the system as it allowed the developers to create "cinematic" camera cuts without disrupting the controls.[4] Tank controls have received criticism for feeling stiff or cumbersome, and the remastered versions of Grim Fandango and Resident Evil include alternative control schemes.[4] The system became less prevalent over time and free-roaming cameras became standard for 3D games.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "A eulogy for tank controls". PC Gamer. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "[Horror Declassified] An Examination Of Tank Controls - Bloody Disgusting". bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  3. ^ "Untold Riches: The Intricate Platforming of Tomb Raider". Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  4. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffrey (2015-01-26). "Bringing out the Dead: Tim Schafer reflects back on Grim Fandango". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2018-03-05.