Why is arcade control so frowned upon?

Pretty much everybody at my school thinks that tank control is superior to arcade control. I neither agree or disagree because I think it depends more on the game that year and the driver’s ability. Am I missing something? Does the code execute faster for tank drive or something?

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it sounds like maybe the teams at your school feel it is more complicated? i had to use arcade control last year due to making a holonomic drive and i have to say its definitly user preferance


Nope. We used arcade and I know 67101X did too. Both have their pros and cons and good teams have used both.

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I think it might have something to do with that tank drive is the more raw drive control scheme, which makes it better for advanced drivers to execute more complicated maneuvers. I think some drivers just feel like it’s the closest control scheme to the robot, being that the stick directly controls the power and speed of each side of the drivetrain, whereas arcade isn’t as direct.


User preference, and I honestly think Arcade Drive is better.
With arcade drive you only use one thumb, vs two thumbs, which frees up one thumb to always be on buttons, or the other stick if your using a holonomic drive, previously stated by @stromboli_499A

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I feel that arcade is superior to tank simply because it takes less action from your fingers and brain to get action from the robot.
With tank drive, to execute any movement you have to mentally manage two joysticks. Going forward and backwards, this is fine, but when turning or trying to execute more complex movement, your brain has to think harder and your fingers have to move faster to drive smart, which takes away from how well you can play the game strategically.

With arcade, you only need to manage one joystick and that joystick gives full mobility to the robot. And when you only need one joystick to drive, you have four buttons(a/b/x/y) in addition to the triggers/bumpers on the back that you can use to control your robot with because you don’t need the second joystick.

arcade>tank imo, but it’s up to the driver’s preference


It’s all down to personal preference, there isn’t any real advantage of using either.

Thank you thats what I think but some of the more experienced members just make arcade sound inferior

I would say user preference. This past year the team I coach switched from tank to arcade control and was more fond of the latter. Other teams in our club use a mix of driving control, and we always just have them try out different ones to see what feels right for their drivers.

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To support the argument that it is all personal preference, I’ll simply point out the success teams have had with both. 515R uses tank. 4082B and 2775V (if you call them successful) use arcade. I personally find arcade much easier to drive on.


As a programmer, I can tell you my personal process for deciding whether to use tank or arcade(or split arcade, in our case).

Every year, when the game came out, my driver and I work out different game strategies. Within those, we determine the superior control setup for that strategy, as well as our abilities. Mine as a programmer, and his as a driver. I would by no means call us a ‘successful’ team, however.

Sparing our first year, Turning Point, we’ve always elected to use a split arcade(one joystick controlling forward/backward, the other controlling turning).

From a programming standpoint, I’d argue that tank is easier to code. Because you don’t need the guesswork of where the +/- need to be, but it really is just personal preference. The first practice after we have a driveable robot has always been dedicated to controller mapping, which is where we work through that.

Example of what I mean by +/- values



As a last note, the best team in my region, 51581S, has always used tank drive. Teams can be successful no matter which controller setup they utilize. It’s all up to driver skill and preference.


We just coded both and had a multi-button switch between them so we could use whichever one we wanted, but we mostly used split arcade.

Either one has its own host of upsides and downsides, but it should ultimately come down to the driver’s preference because they are most likely to be the one using it (why do you care what drive your team is using if you aren’t the one who has to use it).

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I agree with “it depends” and being heavily influenced by user preference. Here are my thoughts based on working with a few (younger) kids new to VEX (& newish to driving):

  • Single arcade (L|R) can seem quick to explain & pickup, and (as stated by others) keeps a hand free for focusing on buttons.

    • Bonus: Both joysticks can also be coded for 2 different driving speeds: 1 for full-speed movement, and 1 for fine-tuned (slow) movement. A toggle button could change 1 stick between fast/slow instead, but with both active, you can add them. (Either method can help those struggling with analog stick precision control.)
  • Split arcade can be especially helpful for new drivers who can’t drive straight in a panic, or need to pivot in place (without accidentally drifting fwd/back while turning).

    • Story: In the IQ Slapshot comp, a robot often needed to shimmy back/forth to shake the pucks into the shooter, and this often resulted in unintentional turns (& spraying pucks, occasionally at the alliance bot instead of into the scoring zone, lol).
  • Tank drive makes it a lot easier to pivot around a drive wheel (vs pivoting around center between wheels) or similar fine-turn control. Reproducing such a side-pivoting turn (or close enough) is possible w/ arcade, but not as easy.

    • Either arcade control can adapt to holonomic or H-drive fairly naturally, but switching from tank is harder IMO. (But not so much harder that enough practice couldn’t overcome.)

Last season, once we had a lot of buttons defined, (L|R) Arcade won out.

Hopefully you can continue to learn more about your schoolmates preferences from them answering “why?”, and then running experiments to confirm any testable claims (eg: if something is faster or stronger). Have fun & good luck!


I personally don’t like tank drive but ik some people do, there isn’t a difference between those 2, atleast with reaction, I don’t think there was a bot at our school that ran tank drive.

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i have no idea me and my team had arcade drive this year

My team chose tank drive, but as a programmer, it’s my responsibility to understand what our driver wants, because if my driver isn’t comfortable with what she’s using, then it’s not worth it, as how she performs matters, and what she’s most comfortable with using is what matters. I would advise, as a lot of people are suggesting, is to just use what your driver is comfortable using. It should help you find more successful results in my opinion.


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