Controls, again

I have now implemented a prototype action bar (as explained in my previous post). Here is a screenshot:

Action bar screenshot (click to enlarge)
Action bar screenshot (click to enlarge)

As you can see there is a little row of action icons that can be clicked on. (Please ignore the red square on the left, that is a graphical glitch that will go away in the final version.)

After trying this out for a while, I’m reasonably happy with it. Using the mouse along with the WASD keys feels very natural (no doubt because of its familiarity from other games). On the negative side, the pure action bar system feels a bit slow to use, especially for common actions like attacking or opening doors where you don’t really want to hunt along the action bar every time.

The best system is probably some sort of hybrid, using keys (or mouse buttons) for common actions, and reserving the action bar for more rarely used actions. For example:

  • WASD = move
  • E = pick up, open door, etc
  • Right mouse button = attack

Alternatively, we could use the left mouse button (when the mouse pointer is outside the action bar area) as a “pick up” function, instead of the E key.

I tried this out briefly and it seemed to work quite well. Unfortunately I didn’t get time to go any further this weekend (I’ve had to spend some time installing anti spam measures on the forum unfortunately) but I will keep playing with it and report back on how it goes.

4 thoughts on “Controls, again”

  1. I’ve played this game on the Amiga. I like the control overhauls you’re doing, but I think that the game needs joystick support first and foremost 😉

  2. Yes, joystick support would be good. However I don’t think many people actually have joysticks these days, and I wanted to start with a control system that everyone can use. That basically means mouse and keyboard for now. We can always add joysticks later on…

  3. This is a very impressive overhaul of controls. I think I understand the usage concept. For beginners it is very functional to give the ‘view’ of what can be done per some place/object (get them into the game quickly with point & click). I hope newbies eventually move up to the interact/action mouse functions, not requiring the toolbar (for speed as you mentioned). For most of us longtime game fans (Amiga players), I’m guessing the original keyboard is still top pick. But, I’m going to try it both ways in battle until I determine which way has the advantage for speed and access to functions. At first try I agree it seems intuitive. Either way, I’m very excited to see the updates, especially if it draws in a new crowd of players that were previously ‘confused’.

    Regarding joystick usage, I had a nice windows ‘joystick’ controller a long time ago that supported ‘mapping’ controls to ‘keyboard letters’, although I haven’t tried to dig it out of my boxes and give it a try with knights, I think it’s ‘possible’ without any additional coding on your part (as long as you don’t lock out such hardware or controller software on some level while in game).

    I’ll never forget the early days with my ‘converted nintendo gamepads – the small white ones with 4 simple buttons’ used via joystick port on my A4000 – those were the slickest and fastest, best knights accessory requirement ever.

  4. Thanks K9. I’m quite happy with the way the new controls turned out, in fact I use them myself most of the time now. There is not really any loss of speed, because you have your important actions mapped directly to the left and right mouse buttons, and for the remaining things, the action bar is actually quite quick and easy to use.

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