mouse controls


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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 09:39

mouse controls

With the new android port and the upcoming webtiles mouse support, I think it's a good time to improve some of the default mouse controls. There's 2 buttons (left and right) and 2 modifiers (shift and ctrl). In android, the right click is done by tap and hold, and the modifiers are mapped to the volume controls. Modified right clicks are a bit cumbersome so they should be assigned low priority commands. Or none at all.

Currently, right clicking on anything bring the description. Right clicking on the player bring the overview screen (%). It's consistent, but I think it's wasting a very accessible control to a not so important command.

There are 2 areas that are a bit under exploited IMO. Self clicking and stats area. Left clicking the stats area start a long rest and that's all. For self-clicking, the current bindings are:

  Code:
button |  mod  | command
left   |       | pickup
left   | shift | climb stairs / pray at altar
left   | ctrl  | self-zap
right  |       | overview (%)
right  | shift | religion
right  | ctrl  |


I think 2 commands are very important and should be the most accessible: wait a turn and start autoexplore. Thus, I suggest the following bindings:

self-click
  Code:
button |  mod  | command
left   |       | wait a turn
left   | shift | climb stairs / pray at altar
left   | ctrl  | self-zap
right  |       | auto-explore
right  | shift | pickup
right  | ctrl  | drop menu


stats area
  Code:
button |  mod  | command
left   |       | rest
left   | shift | religion (^)
left   | ctrl  | mutations (A)
right  |       | skill menu (m)
right  | shift | overview (%)
right  | ctrl  | item knowledge (\)
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 11:09

Re: mouse controls

About ergonomics: when I play with the mouse I have my left hand on the keyboard (tab, z+(abcdefghz), c, e, f, s, 5, d, t, and yn for prompts) and my right hand on the mouse (movement, pickup, equipment switching, also eVoking). So keys on the right side of the keyboard should be easily accessible via mouse, so you don't have to switch the right hand between keyboard and mouse much. The important right-side keys are the vi-keys and pickup (currently covered by mouse), and pray and autoexplore (currently not really covered). Waiting a turn (s) and long rest (5) are easily accessible with the left hand, so there's no need to make them easily mouse-accessible, at least not for mouse+keyboard. Pray and autoexplore on the other hand would be extremely useful to be able to do by self-clicking + modifier.

So from my point of view left selfclick should stay pickup. Move to item by clicking on it, then selfclick to pick it up is one of the most common actions, and should be easily accessible. Afterwards you usually want to autoexplore, so moving that to right selfclick sounds awesome. Putting prayer on shift-right selfclick would be pretty cool. Also the current shift-left selfclick for stairs and shops is pretty convenient. I rarely use ctrl-click.

I think that showing the description on right-clicking on something is not important, because the description for a lot of stuff already shows up in the message area on mouseover.

Mouse-only control of course has different requirements.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 11:44

Re: mouse controls

Galefury wrote:So keys on the right side of the keyboard should be easily accessible via mouse, so you don't have to switch the right hand between keyboard and mouse much.

You know, some people are left-handed. I am! And some people use vi-keys, some keypad and some have custom controls. Or different keyboard layout. So I wouldn't consider this criteria as being very relevant when deciding on which controls should be on the mouse.
To improve mouse+keyboard, I guess it would be better to make mouse controls customisable with options. But for the default mouse controls, I think it's better to focus on mouse-only scenario.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 12:06

Re: mouse controls

I'm not yet sure if I should try to completely replicate the local mouse controls or not. There are several aspects I really don't like about the local controls.

One is the use of modified clicks; I think any command should be accessible without modifier keys. Of course, that reduces the possible controls even more. I've considered using context menus on right click (that should be much easier to do in HTML than in local tiles).

About the stats area -- I've thought about dividing it further. For example, clicking on the hp/mp bars would rest, clicking on the Place: info would open the dungeon overview, clicking on the stats would show the % screen and so on. I'm not sure if that would be discoverable enough though (not that the current controls are very intuitive).

Self-clicking: I think the proposed changes are an improvement. If I was playing for the first time, I would expect self-clicking to just wait a turn, so that's a plus. Pick-up can already be done from the floor view below the inventory tab, although of course that means moving the mouse over half the screen. Praying on altars and climbing stairs could also work that way (i.e. show the stairs/altar below the inventory), and we could add a pickup button there when there are too many items on the floor.

I guess many of these things come down to whether we want the interface to be efficient or intuitive. (Of course, I'd actually like to have both, but that may not always be possible ;) )
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Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 12:53

Re: mouse controls

edlothiol wrote:I've considered using context menus on right click (that should be much easier to do in HTML than in local tiles).

A radial menu with all the context relevant options would be the best and would work well with all tiles interface. Of course, it's much more work. And modifier keys could still be used as shortcuts.

edlothiol wrote:About the stats area -- I've thought about dividing it further. For example, clicking on the hp/mp bars would rest, clicking on the Place: info would open the dungeon overview, clicking on the stats would show the % screen and so on. I'm not sure if that would be discoverable enough though (not that the current controls are very intuitive).

This is a great idea, and not too hard to implement. Regarding its "discoverability", the blue pop-up can tells it. And help/tutorial/hint modes too.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 13:57

Re: mouse controls

galehar wrote:
edlothiol wrote:About the stats area -- I've thought about dividing it further. For example, clicking on the hp/mp bars would rest, clicking on the Place: info would open the dungeon overview, clicking on the stats would show the % screen and so on. I'm not sure if that would be discoverable enough though (not that the current controls are very intuitive).

This is a great idea, and not too hard to implement. Regarding its "discoverability", the blue pop-up can tells it. And help/tutorial/hint modes too.

I think it is a horrible idea. There is no proper visual separation between different parts of the stats area, so having different effects for clicking on different parts is bad.

Having customizable controls would be great (also for keyboard; z and y being switched on german keyboards is horrible for vi keys). A major change in mouse controls would optimally come with customizable controls and a config file that can easily restore the previous controls.

IMO going for efficient controls over intuitive controls would be better in crawl. It works great for the keyboard controls. However, having a list of mouse commands akin to the ?? overview of keyboard commands would be good.

Note that in local tiles there already is a button for % in the commands tab, and the char overview isn't viewed that often, so I don't think it needs to be easily accessible.

Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 14:25

Re: mouse controls

Galefury wrote:I think it is a horrible idea. There is no proper visual separation between different parts of the stats area
That can be changed, you know. (For example, showing a border on mouseover.)

Galefury wrote:IMO going for efficient controls over intuitive controls would be better in crawl. It works great for the keyboard controls.
Of course it works great for people already accustomed to the controls.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Friday, 6th January 2012, 18:45

Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 14:28

Re: mouse controls

Galefury wrote:I think it is a horrible idea. There is no proper visual separation between different parts of the stats area, so having different effects for clicking on different parts is bad.

Visual separation can be added, though. Colors, white space, borders, mouse-over highlights can all convey information to the user.

Vestibule Violator

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 16:36

Re: mouse controls

edlothiol wrote:Of course it works great for people already accustomed to the controls.

I think if any game can get away with having a steep learning curve it's crawl. If you're going to win crawl you're probably going to be playing for a long time, long enough to be annoyed by inefficient controls even before your first win. And that's only scratching the surface.

Most people who would be alienated by slightly unintuitive (but efficient) controls would be alienated by being permanently killed again and again anyway. And most people who can tolerate or even enjoy permadeath would probably be alienated by inefficient controls. I tried playing Dungeons of Dredmor, but I was so put off by the inefficiency of the default controls that I stopped playing after about two hours. I haven't touched the game since.

Note: if controls were customizable, the same arguments would still apply to the default controls. Learning a completely new set of controls is hard, so the default controls need to be as good as possible.

Dungeon Master

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Post Friday, 27th April 2012, 21:16

Re: mouse controls

Galefury wrote:Most people who would be alienated by slightly unintuitive (but efficient) controls would be alienated by being permanently killed again and again anyway.
I don't think that's necessarily true. I believe Crawl could benefit greatly from more intuitive controls. You're right in that we can't sacrifice efficiency for it, though.

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