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  Click and drag vs letter and number selection  (Read 1168 times)
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Offline Pilldom

Senior Newbie


Projects: 1



« Posted 2013-07-19 17:15:24 »

Title doesn't make much sense, but basically I am trying to get opinions on what people think is a cleaner, and more user friendly way to manage selecting things ingame.

For example, currently my inventory system is set up like this.



To select an item, you simply press its corresponding number. Then if I want to, lets say equip it, I would just press 1.

Do you think this method is effective and simple? Or would it be more appropriate to add a drag and drop system. Where I would simply grab the word, and then drop it into the equip slot.

Any ideas and thoughts are great.
Offline Troncoso

JGO Coder


Medals: 20



« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-07-19 17:16:58 »

Couldn't they just click to select an item? It'd be the same one step process as selecting the corresponding key, but they don't have to find the key on the keyboard.
Offline ctomni231

JGO Wizard


Medals: 99
Projects: 1
Exp: 7 years


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« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-07-19 18:52:23 »

It completely depends on whether your game is primarily using the mouse or not. If you are already using the mouse for your in- game actions, I suggest just making everything workable by clicking it. If you are using the keyboard for your in-game actions, then you might want to use a highlight selection system with letter shortcuts.

All-in-all, you want to make controls transparent to the user as much as possible. If their hand is already on the mouse (or keyboard), don't force them to move it unless completely necessary. The easiest way to deal with a list is always a menu where you can see the highlighted selection.

Letter to select is just... very... DOS (and/or for people who like to micro-manage RTS's like Starcraft Tongue ).

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Offline quew8

JGO Coder


Medals: 29



« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-07-20 08:04:51 »

What about Dwarf Fortress? I think purely keyboard menus will discourage some people. However, after a period, you can be a hell of a lot quicker just using the keyboard.

But why must it come down to a choice? Couldn't you just have both?
Offline heisenbergman

JGO Coder


Medals: 14


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« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-07-20 08:20:26 »

I prefer clicking, personally. Would like no dragging, if possible. Just either left or right click.

Offline Abuse

JGO Knight


Medals: 12


falling into the abyss of reality


« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-07-20 14:23:45 »

1) don't use words for inventory items; images are language independent, contain more information and deliver it more quickly to the user .
2) if the user's action involves 2 actors, then drag & drop is the perfect fit. It also transfers well to touchscreen devices too.

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Offline Grunnt

JGO Wizard


Medals: 66
Projects: 8
Exp: 5 years


Complex != complicated


« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-07-20 14:34:25 »

Why not do both?

Generally clicking & dragging is easier for new users to get into. Keyboard shortcuts are faster but take more time to learn.

If you design your game to be newbie-friendly, use click & drag. If you aim for a hardcore audience, use keyboard shortcuts. But the best, in my opinion, is to use both. Then new players can use the easy to learn way, and hardcore players can use the keyboard.

Offline Pilldom

Senior Newbie


Projects: 1



« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-07-20 22:00:28 »

I switched to click and drag and I deffinetly think its a better fit. Seems easier and it also is much cleaner code wise.

I would add images but I dont have the talent, nor the time to make them drawings. The game already has 70 items and I have barely even delved into that aspect. Also, text fits into the "style" of the game.
Offline xsvenson
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-07-21 12:59:03 »

Drag and drop has a few problems when it enters an erroneous state.

With keys You either hit the right key or You don't.
Drag'n'drop however needs You to be accurate on start and on stop. Grab in a wrong location and You can get a wrong item or nothing. Stop at a wrong location and You can reset Your current progress (the item goes back) or You drop it into a wrong location or something else. Then there is the hardware failures,mouse not keeping the mouse button pressed (I have a mouse, that acts up, in which cases I have dragged and dropped my folders in an unpredictable ways, very annoying)

What I am saying is that You need to be weary of the troubles it might cause when things do not go as You planned, in which case hitting the key is more stable and predictable solution.

An alternative to the both methods mentioned is to mark and move: click on the item You need to move and click where you need it to be. Though it's a 2 action sequence, it's an alternative

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