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We press them, we jump on them, we push boxes on them. They open doors and move platforms. But what should we call them?

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We press them, we jump on them, we stack boxes on top of them. They open doors and move platforms. But what should we call them?

Portal's Switch and Portal's Button
Portal's Button and Portal's Switch: but which is which?
(both modelled by gamerfreaq)

My team has recently finished figuring out the rules for playing levels in our game Nikki and the Robots and for some reason I asked "Is there a reason why we call 'buttons' 'switches'?" - The reply: "Well - they are, are they not?"

Whee

Wikipedia says buttons are switches and Giantbomb tells me buttons usually act as switches. I'm confused though. Is the switch castle a translation error? Are the jump-or-place-crates-on-switches puzzles called button puzzles? What should we call them in our game? Or does it not matter at all?

I should have probably kept this to myself. Oh well. Words.. Um. Comments?

Comments
moci
moci

Switch: switches between states. A light switch turns the lights ON, and if you press it again - OFF.

Button: sends a signal (either short pulse or for as long as you are pressing the button) to another system. The power-on "button" of the computer sends a signal to the motherboard.

I guess...

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moutandihami
moutandihami

Here's mine:
A switch is anything that can be moved into another position to change anything, and can usually be moved back, but won't do so automatically. A button is something you press, but might go back automatically. If it's a button that doesn't go back at least until you press it again, then it's a switch and button. If it's a button that times out or doesn't stay without being held down (most portal buttons) then it's only a button.
Finally: Switch is a name based on function. Button is a name based on the circular shape.

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nfojones
nfojones

A button can be a switch, but all switches are not buttons.

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TheUnabridgedGamer
TheUnabridgedGamer

Exactly. like how a square is both a rectangle and a rhombus, but not all rectangles (or rhombuses) are squares.

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Theon
Theon

You mean, like, all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs?
Herp

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warmasterpit
warmasterpit

so a switch seems the best option. right?

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nfojones
nfojones

I think I actually meant to say... a button is a type of switch, thus all buttons are switches but not all switches are buttons.

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mikejkelley
mikejkelley

Not all buttons are switches (see moci). Not all switches are buttons. Buttons can be, but are not necessarily switches (eg a button which alters resistance according to the pressure it receives rather than switching between two states). In the Niki and the Robots example, I would think the proper term would be switch since they are not returning to an "open" state.

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anni
anni

Call them alterators. Or alternators. Though I prefer the first one, that seams to not be a real word. Let's make it a real word.
But actually the question you pose is a very good one.

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tekkenboy
tekkenboy

ahoy hoy everybody
i say they should be pickles

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PwrUsr
PwrUsr

Definite difference, hence the two names o differenciate them... A switch toggles between two states and remains constant until switched, while a buttom is a momentary input that returns to an original position after being pressed. So yeah as mentionned a button is in fact a type of switch that automatically resets itself.

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