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Best key for pausing a game?

  • I'm thinking maybe using P, Esc or Enter to pause my game, but I wonder if there is a common key used in browser games for pausing gameplay? I'm trying to make the controls as intuitive as possible. Thanks.

  • ESC is the most common key for pausing a game. Why don´t you take that?

    Most browsergames I played use a mouse-click button to make it stop.

  • Thanks! I think I'll use Esc then.

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  • Why not P AND Esc? Intuitively the user will press one of them, so you can just make sure they find it by offering those two possibilities?

  • P is more universally the pause button, because ESC could also be to..., well escape. Of course, you could use the ESC to escape to the menu, and have the game pause that way.

  • Fwumpy, depending on how often your game needs to be paused and how important the functionality is, then you could also use the space bar if it doesn't get in the way of your other functionality.

    Also, I find that in non-"browser" games, ESC is usually used to pause and bring up the keyboard. If you use ESC in a real browser while your game is full screen, then that key may make your game escape fullscreen mode (in certain browsers). So, P is more often used in the embedded games.

  • "P" for pause seems like the most logical and popular response, so I'm going with that.

    danialgoodwin

    Good point. I remembered that there was a reason for not using Esc, but I forgot what it was. Thanks!

    I can't use the space bar for pausing, because it's the "shoot" button right now. I like to use the space bar because it's in the middle of the WASD and the Arrow keys I'm using for movement. I want both left and right handed players to feel comfortable playing my game.

    Thanks again, everyone!

  • I definitely vote the escape key for pausing. Instinctively it's the key everyone presses first when they want to pause a game. You could even go as far as making the "Pause/Break" key on the keyboard the pause key if you really wanted too and as suggested, you can have multiple ways of pausing the game, not just the one. Just don't have too many pause options or it could get annoying for the end user if they keep accidentally pausing.

  • I definitely vote the escape key for pausing. Instinctively it's the key everyone presses first when they want to pause a game. You could even go as far as making the "Pause/Break" key on the keyboard the pause key if you really wanted too and as suggested, you can have multiple ways of pausing the game, not just the one. Just don't have too many pause options or it could get annoying for the end user if they keep accidentally pausing.

    It's a keyboard scavenger hunt! Find the keys that don't pause the game!

  • I'm late to the game for this topic, but I'd have to argue that 'P' is a better choice. More traditionally with PC games, 'P' will pause a game while 'ESC' will bring up some sort of menu. Granted, pulling a context menu of some sort will achieve the same purpose of stopping the game momentarily. I think it's mostly semantic. Players will traditionally hit 'ESC' because they want to get into the menu and it's become a norm. But 'P' typically performs a single pause state without extra stuff, like a menu.

    When in doubt, and for the sake of making life easy, I would recommend having both keys do the exact same thing and listen for both.

  • I have to vote for P as well. This is what I tend to use as it is harder to accidently hit and the letter itself is easy to remember.

  • I also vote for the P, it's widespread in computer.

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