Pointman was primarily designed around providing a form of virtual locomotion control capable of supporting tactical infantry movement: moving with respect to cover & concealment. That includes pie-ing corners, moving to & taking cover, and peeking around & shooting from behind cover. The human ability of redirecting the heading (the direction the body faces) and adjusting the course (direction of movement w.r.t. the body) while moving at different speeds & in different postures is quite demanding. Yet that is required for scanning with the weapon at the ready on the move.
The Immersive Simulation Lab at NRL explored a variety of entirely leg based virtual locomotion techniques, including stepping-in-place (while standing) and sliding the feet on the floor (while seated). But in the end these approaches were deemed either too awkward to use or too demanding to learn to use in order to perform realistic tactical infantry movement.
The adoption of a seated interface was motivated by the desire to perform squad level training in a classroom setting.
The gamepad (PS3/XB360-style controller) was originally selected because it could be used while wearing a fully immersive head-mounted display. But HMDâ€™s have been slow to evolve and one-to-one head coupled view control worked well in practice, especially for aiming. Having a pair of thumb sticks available to directionally control the course & heading goes a long way to supporting pie-ing/scanning movements. Outside of the thumb sticks, the gamepad serves mainly as a weapon controller.