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Please make sure there are hotkeys for everything.

 

OK, maybe the design will necessitate having to use the mouse once in a while, but whenever possible, have there be a keypress for it too.

 

Obviously, using a mouse for everything should and probably already will be doable as well, but for those of us who know how to use a keyboard, it's fantastic to have that choice.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Yeah I have a post about this in game engine and widgets.

 

Ideas:

-Turning a "page" (spell book, character sheet, book reading, etc) should be able to be done with "up/down" or "pgup/pgdn" keys. Make this consistent and just use the same function for it every time.

- Customizable hotkeys.

- Make casting magic facile by using intuitive hot key methods (e.g. hit "C" for cast, then another letter for the school of magic -"S" for summoning for example, then a third letter for the spell-type - "F" for fire elemental, for example = C,S,F -> cast "summon fire elemental")

- allow us to quickly find a party member by hitting the # corresponding to party hierarchy (1 is first member, 2 is second member, etc). hitting that number twice centers the map on the party member. Or if this is being used for quickslot, allow us to use Function keys to do so.

- Allow skills to also use hot-keys. Use similar methodology to spell casting (e.g. S,T,P -> skills, thievery, pickpocket or S,P -> skills, pickpocket, etc)

- Allow arrow keys to move map

- Don't use Esc to go to main menu. Use esc to go out of 'current page' if in inventory or something.

- Make hot-keys battle ready, that is to say that allow an expert player to play with one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse. All combat type skills should be on left side of keyboard. (see starcraft)

- Quickslot keys.

-Multiple keystrokes are not a problem. Utilize them.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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While I by far do not use hotkeys for everything, it sure would be nice to have the option to map whatever I want however I want.

Luckily if we assume the old IE games are an indication to how it will be, that will likely be the case. I can only check for the original Icewind dale on this computer, but there I can map just about everything, including class specific abilities and spells.

Main problem with the IWD keymapping though is it does not really appear to support multiple key shortcuts, but that is something that should be improved no matter what.

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I wanted to resurrect this thread and ask if the moderators can move this thread to the engine and technology forum? I have a few thoughts about this and I don't want to make another thread in that forum.

 

User controls

 

When I look at other Real-Time Strategy games like Age of Empires, Starcraft, Warcraft, and other similar titles, I notice that they spend a good amount of time working on the user interface, and utilize both the mouse and the keyboard as input controls. However RPGs rarely do this and I think that this is a shame. In a lot of the cRPGs that I've played in the past, the mouse always seems to be the main player input used to make player choices and even then, players sometimes have to traverse several mouse clicks before arriving at the skill they wish to use. You have to click on the party member, click through a series of options, click on a part of the map, to finally perform a certain action. Keyboards however, are usually given little thought, and implementing thoughtful keyboard function seems like a last-minute rush before the end of the development cycle. Even then, the keyboard functions are minimally or poorly designed, forcing players to only use the mouse as the sole input controller.

 

I wanted to bring this to Obsidian's attention before the UI is completely created, so that a thoughtful and intuitive keyboard layout can also be considered that works well with the UI in the game. I had made a similar thread about "hotkeys" being customizable but I think that the issue won't necessarily be solved with just redefining hotkeys. The whole user interface in RPGs has to be completely rethought.

 

Please use RTS games as an inspiration for an innovative, intuitive approach towards utilizing party mechanics in-game. I have several initial thoughts about this that I have noted below. The final interface should obviously take mechanics into account, and so these initial thoughts will change as more of the gaming mechanics are introduced to us, the backers and players.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Some more thoughts when considering keyboard inputs:

  • Keyboards are important. Please use them.
  • Keyboards should work as redundant inputs for mouse-clicks. For example, instead of clicking on a party member, you should be able to hit a key that does the same thing.
  • Make combat controls that are used frequently (or with cooldowns) utilize a single hotkey to activate. Look at SC/2, AOE, WCIII, etc for inspiration.
  • Make class specific commands also use one (or maximum two) keys. Do not make players have to go through several clicks to utilize a command.
  • The more a certain action is meant to be used, the faster I should be able to activate that action. Thus, this should have as little clicks or keys as possible. Attack move? Hit A. Pickpocket? P. Pick locks? L. The mouse clicks should also be similar. The GUI should have these skills on the main screen so that I do not traverse several screens to utilize them.
  • Menu screens should be hot-keyable. F10 for main menu. F#s should be used.
  • Flipping through “pages” should have a consistent key to do this. Page up,down, etc.
  • Tab button giving a quick-look health, mana, stamina look. BG2 did this I believe.
  • Space for autopuase is fine.
  • When in different screens, you should be able to use the same hotkeys to do a different action. If in dialogue, allow us to use keys to choose dialogue options instead of having to click.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Stackable potions bound to hotkeys are the epitome of evil. That is all.

 

Please explain why you think so. If we have quickslot locations, why would it be evil to utilize those during combat? The point of utilizing hotkeys is to allow you to immediately tell the game what you wish for your player to do. Mouse clicks just make this take longer. If battles can pause during game, and you're allowed to drink as many potions as you want, then it shouldn't matter. But if your problem is that you shouldn't be able to drink as many potions as you want when the game is paused, then the mechanic should be in place for that; hotkeys shouldn't make a difference.


My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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~ select whole party

F1-F6 select party member

Tab - scroll party members

1-0 Use talent/spell/ability/item

Shift - queue command

 

Right click - contextual action menu (NOT radial menu)

 

Alt - highlight usable objects with names

 

Oh and by the way, if a chest is locked you don't need to press L or whatever to pick lock, you just click the freaking chest and pick lock without this key mashing.

Edited by Hellfell
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Good posts Hormalakh!

 

I actually agree with Sacred_Path about potions, not as a UI issue, but as a game design issue. If potion spamming is indeed the format the game uses, then yes, a hotkey to use them is ideal. Potion spamming however makes for thoughtless, garbage gameplay in my opinion.

 

Actually I don't think we need to worry about that, though; as I recall, one of the devs mentioned in an interview that healing is hard to come by. Hopefully we can count on player wounds to be a bigger deal than, say, in Diablo.

 

Anyway, just to get back to basic principles of UI design, the thing to strive for is a minimum amount of input to achieve maximum results. And remember, "Just one mouse click" is not the smallest amount of user effort. For people who can freakin type, it takes far more time and effort to drag a mouse cursor to a particular pixel grouping on a screen than it does to push a key. In my case, I would rather press like 5 keys in succession than navigate to a single onscreen button and click it. (Of course, a single keypress is even better.) Modifiers like alt and shift are fine too. For me, using the mouse as the primary input device always makes me feel like I'm playing "Connect the Dots", with all the sophistication and maturity that that implies.

 

And just in case anyone is considering wheel menus ... they are great ... for Xbox games.

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~ select whole party

F1-F6 select party member

Tab - scroll party members

1-0 Use talent/spell/ability/item

Shift - queue command

 

Right click - contextual action menu (NOT radial menu)

 

Alt - highlight usable objects with names

 

Oh and by the way, if a chest is locked you don't need to press L or whatever to pick lock, you just click the freaking chest and pick lock without this key mashing.

 

The only point I disagree with is the last one. You should be able to either click the chest and click "pick lock," or hit L and click the chest. That, while being slightly redundant, allows you to either click only once (on the chest) or click twice (once on the chest, the second time on the "pick lock" skill). I want to USE my keyboard, not just the mouse. This is a computer game after all, I don't need to be limited by only two buttons on my mouse.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Well for a game lkke this being able to use the mouse for everything is more important I think. I'm sure there will be hotkeys for most things though.

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~ select whole party

F1-F6 select party member

Tab - scroll party members

1-0 Use talent/spell/ability/item

Shift - queue command

 

Right click - contextual action menu (NOT radial menu)

 

Alt - highlight usable objects with names

 

Oh and by the way, if a chest is locked you don't need to press L or whatever to pick lock, you just click the freaking chest and pick lock without this key mashing.

 

The only point I disagree with is the last one. You should be able to either click the chest and click "pick lock," or hit L and click the chest. That, while being slightly redundant, allows you to either click only once (on the chest) or click twice (once on the chest, the second time on the "pick lock" skill). I want to USE my keyboard, not just the mouse. This is a computer game after all, I don't need to be limited by only two buttons on my mouse.

 

This isn't an action game though.

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This isn't an action game though.

 

Right I know it's not. But I think that action games do some things well and those ideas should be incorporated into this game. Having hotkeys doesn't take away from the play style of cRPGs. They only allow you to perform actions faster than you otherwise would be able to. What's the difference between trudging through a few skill screens clicking away, and being able to to quickly perform the same action with a hotkey? One just wastes time, while the other allows you to focus on the things that matter: the story and the characters.

 

If you think that RPGs are defined by clicking away, I would disagree with you. I don't like wasting time clicking on a bunch of screens just to be able to do a simple action (over and over again too, sometimes). Let me spend my time on those parts that matter.

 

As for those mechanics that seem to "break" with hotkeys, I would say that it isn't the hotkey that breaks it, but rather the way the mechanic is implemented that does so. The healing potion example as given before is one. Instead of forcing me to "slow down" by making me have to click with a mouse, make potion drinking a timed-action, like Baldur's Gate 2 does. Instead of allowing potions to work immediately, make them take a certain amount of time before I can do it again. That worked well. The quickslot hotkey wasn't part of the mechanism and so it still worked as it should.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Well for a game lkke this being able to use the mouse for everything is more important I think. I'm sure there will be hotkeys for most things though.

More important? I disagree. But I do agree that mouse controls are equally important. Many PC users are married to the mouse just like I'm married to the keyboard. That's not unreasonable at all.

 

If you think that RPGs are defined by clicking away, I would disagree with you. I don't like wasting time clicking on a bunch of screens just to be able to do a simple action (over and over again too, sometimes). Let me spend my time on those parts that matter.

Yeah. Nothing wrong with clicking, but a bunch of nested menus is bad design. Again: minimum user input for maximum results.

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But... why would you need a hotkey for "pick lock"? Why would "hotkey + mouse click" be better than just "mouse click"? Did I read something completely wrong?

Edited by Tamerlane

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But... why would you need a hotkey for "pick lock"? Why would "hotkey + mouse click" be better than just "mouse click"? Did I read something completely wrong?

 

It's not just mouse click. It's two mouse clicks.

 

With a mouse alone, you need to drag your mouse over to the picklock skill, and click it. Then you need to drag your mouse over to the chest/door and click again to pick the lock. With a keyboard, you hit the "pick lock" hotkey, and drag your mouse to the chest/door and click. One click + key vs two clicks.

 

With the use of a keyboard, I can always have one hand on the keybaord, and one on the mouse. I'd quickly choose the particular party member with one key, activate the picklock skill with another key, and only have to drag the mouse over once to click on the chest/door. However, having the mouse also able to do the same thing (redundancy) allows people with disabilities to play the game without having to use the keyboard.

 

Remember, this is a computer game, might as use the computer's peripheral devices.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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What people are arguing for is the contextual cursor. Hover the mouse over a chest and the cursor changes to a lockpick. Highlight and click, that simple.

 

I'm not a big fan of context cursors, but I could go along with that ... as long as there was no other way to interact with a chest.

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But... why would you need a hotkey for "pick lock"? Why would "hotkey + mouse click" be better than just "mouse click"? Did I read something completely wrong?

 

It's not just mouse click. It's two mouse clicks.

 

With a mouse alone, you need to drag your mouse over to the picklock skill, and click it. Then you need to drag your mouse over to the chest/door and click again to pick the lock. With a keyboard, you hit the "pick lock" hotkey, and drag your mouse to the chest/door and click. One click + key vs two clicks.

 

With the use of a keyboard, I can always have one hand on the keybaord, and one on the mouse. I'd quickly choose the particular party member with one key, activate the picklock skill with another key, and only have to drag the mouse over once to click on the chest/door. However, having the mouse also able to do the same thing (redundancy) allows people with disabilities to play the game without having to use the keyboard.

 

Remember, this is a computer game, might as use the computer's peripheral devices.

Or you can just have a single, context-sensitive click. Don't recall the original, but I know that's how NWN 2 did it.

 

I mean, what the hell else is the thief going to do with the chest?

 

EDIT: And if they spot a trap on the chest before they open it, then the context-sensitive click becomes "disable trap" instead.

 

It's not like it's a foreign concept. In virtually any RTS, right-click moves you, right-click on an enemy gives an attack order, and right-click on a resources gives a gather order. It's not you like have to hit the "a" key to attack in Starcraft. Hell, even giving an attack order in an IE game is a context-sensitive click.

Edited by Tamerlane
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What people are arguing for is the contextual cursor. Hover the mouse over a chest and the cursor changes to a lockpick. Highlight and click, that simple.

 

I'm not a big fan of context cursors, but I could go along with that ... as long as there was no other way to interact with a chest.

 

I would be fine with contextual cursors when there is only one possible action to be done to an object as this makes sense and is good design. I'd rather not have contextual cursors because I would want to do more than one thing to a chest/door. In cases where I can do more than one thing to an object, (i.e. should be able to "attack" it, trap it, pick the lock, attach an explosive to it, etc), then having hotkeys would be great. There will usually be more than one thing to can do with any object in-game, and making each object only have one single context doesn't make sense.

 

That leaves a contextual menu that you open with a right-click, and then select the correct action with another click. How big should the menu be? If it's too small, people might make a mistake and attack the chest instead of picking it. If it's too big you still have the dragging mouse issue.

 

 

Or you can just have a single, context-sensitive click. Don't recall the original, but I know that's how NWN 2 did it.

 

I mean, what the hell else is the thief going to do with the chest?

 

Let's assume that you only have one context to the chest. Great, we've solved the problem for one specific object (chests). What about other NPCs? Will you also have context-sensitive menus for them? Pickpocketing? Attacking? Dialogue? Sneakattack? Cast spell, etc?

 

What about other objects? Doors? Will you have a lockpick, lock, bash, open, close context menu or no? How about setting a trap? Or disarming a trap? Would you just right-click the floor and it automatically sets a trap? What if you wanted to throw an object there instead? There are too many contexts to have a single-click.

 

Edit: Changed mind about contextual clicking.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Yeah, that's what I was talking about - one left click on the locked and chest and you pick lock. If you want something else, right click to open a menu and choose the option.

Edited by Hellfell

Only boring people get bored

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I'd rather not have contextual cursors because I would want to do more than one thing to a chest/door. I should be able to "attack" it, trap it, pick the lock, attach an explosive to it, etc. There will usually be more than one thing to can do with any object in-game, and making each object only have one single context doesn't make sense.

Too bad, because the IE games already had a context-sensitive action. It was called "attack".

 

What if you want to cast a spell? What if you want to use smite or whirlwind or whatever? Then you can choose those. Often from menus in those games because their interfaces were clumsy, but ideally from hotkeys.

 

Otherwise, it's attack.

 

You're taking a basic ease-of-use thing and saying that it can't work because if you do a terrible, convoluted ****ing job of it it's bad. Was NWN2 impossible to play for you? Or any RTS ever?

Edited by Tamerlane
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I don't have an issue with context sensitive clicks. That should just be a more effective way to click the mouse and if it's more effective than non-contextual clicking, then so be it. But it doesn't obviate the need for keyboard hotkeys. There will be situations where you want to do something other than what the contextual click is for. In those cases, a hotkey would be great.

 

In your starcraft example, the context sensitive mouse-click, didn't mean that they didn't have hotkeys for players who used the keyboard. Right clicking usually moved the army, where as A+click attack-moved, killing anything in the path.


My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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And nobody has argued that hotkeys shouldn't be used liberally.

 

Just that in the case of something like "pick lock", where you will do the exact same action 99 times out of 100, a single, contextual click will suffice, with hotkeys or menus or whatever the **** covering the 1/100.


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