Commander hotkeys

FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds EntertainmentSan Francisco Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Posts: 6,815Super Administrators, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, NS2 Developer, Constellation, Subnautica Developer admin
edited November 2010 in NS2 General Discussion
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I'm working on improving the commander usability.

NS1 started out having standard "letter" style hotkeys - "b" for Build, "v" for Advanced, etc. Later it changed to use a "grid" system by default. This way it doesn't matter what the name of the button is, the hotkeys map to the keyboard physically (see attached image).

Here's a video talking about the "grid" system (skip ahead a bit):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBHBsBS__1M...player_embedded

My impression has always been that the grid system is superior for speed and ease of use, but that the letter system is easier to learn in the first few minutes and is also the legacy system (Starcraft 2 defaults to the letter system but added the grid system as an option). I believe the grid system came as a user mod to Warcraft III but has yet to be adopted broadly.

Do you guys have a preference? The game supports remappable hotkeys of course, so this discussion is only about choosing a default the game has loaded.
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Post edited by Unknown User on
Charlie Cleveland
Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
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Comments

  • DelphicDelphic Join Date: 2006-11-02 Member: 58262Posts: 431Members
    edited November 2010
    I think it should default to the easier to learn (quick edit: I agree that it's easier to learn when the key matches the thing you want to build C for Command Chair!) but with a grid option in 'options' (rather than having to manually remap the bindings if you want the grid option). :)

    It also means it doesn't matter if you personally have an issue recognising the icons chosen to represent given actions (because that's what you'll be using as reference if you have a grid system).
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • SolitarioSolitario Join Date: 2006-10-29 Member: 58097Posts: 245Members
    I think default should be with letter, because b=build, a=armory is easier to learn
  • WhiteZeroWhiteZero That Guy Join Date: 2004-06-24 Member: 29511Posts: 843Members, Constellation
    Letter for sure. But having an option to switch between the two would of course be preferable.
  • QuovatisQuovatis Team Inversion Join Date: 2010-01-26 Member: 70321Posts: 1,014Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue
    Since the alien HUD is not a grid, it should default to the letter system to be compatible with both marine and alien.
  • homesicknesshomesickness Join Date: 2003-01-10 Member: 12124Posts: 31Members
    QUOTE (Solitario @ Nov 23 2010, 03:13 PM) »
    I think default should be with letter, because b=build, a=armory is easier to learn


    it stops making sense when the same letter has multiple words, like v for advance and a for armory. grid hands down.
    "But I had this feeling inside of me that something real was there. Just hardened ****, maybe, but that was more than they had" C. Bukowski
  • lillbrorsanlillbrorsan Join Date: 2003-08-21 Member: 20060Posts: 402Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
    I prefer Letter.
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  • heartborneheartborne Join Date: 2007-02-21 Member: 60076Posts: 6Members
    QUOTE (Delphic @ Nov 23 2010, 07:12 PM) »
    I think it should default to the easier to learn (quick edit: I agree that it's easier to learn when the key matches the thing you want to build C for Command Chair!) but with a grid option in 'options' (rather than having to manually remap the bindings if you want the grid option). :)

    It also means it doesn't matter if you personally have an issue recognising the icons chosen to represent given actions (because that's what you'll be using as reference if you have a grid system).


    I 2nd that :) Both systems, if possible.
  • doomed.marinedoomed.marine Join Date: 2007-09-07 Member: 62196Posts: 16Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (Quovatis @ Nov 23 2010, 08:16 PM) »
    Since the alien HUD is not a grid, it should default to the letter system to be compatible with both marine and alien.

    +1
  • XerophinityXerophinity Join Date: 2004-10-08 Member: 32145Posts: 6Members, Constellation
    Default letters. Option for grid.
  • KillaBiteKillaBite Join Date: 2002-11-23 Member: 9733Posts: 93Members
    I love the grid system. Possibly in the minority.
  • SolitarioSolitario Join Date: 2006-10-29 Member: 58097Posts: 245Members
    QUOTE (Quovatis @ Nov 23 2010, 08:16 PM) »
    Since the alien HUD is not a grid, it should default to the letter system to be compatible with both marine and alien.

    totally, haven't think of this yet
  • VoXVoX Join Date: 2006-11-05 Member: 58403Posts: 3Members
    edited November 2010
    Though I personally prefer a grid layout even if I'm not familiar with the game beforehand, the letters approach is probably more beginner-friendly due to its wide adoptance.

    And as stated a few posts prior to this one, the alien HUD will have to be reworked to work with a proper grid setup.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • Lemming JesusLemming Jesus Join Date: 2010-04-13 Member: 71385Posts: 240Members
    If we can just rebind keys then I don't care either way.
  • AsimovAsimov Join Date: 2010-07-30 Member: 73352Posts: 46Members
  • Hot CoffeeHot Coffee Join Date: 2010-11-03 Member: 74744Posts: 18Members, Constellation
    I find the "standard" easier to learn method well...easier to learn. This was the case for me when I was trying to pick up commanding in NS2 - it was easy to think "I want to build, so I hit B" without even looking at the tooltips. Advanced players interested in a more efficient, superior setup will change their keys anyway.
  • SgtBarlowSgtBarlow Level Designer Join Date: 2003-11-13 Member: 22749Posts: 1,109Members, NS2 Developer
    edited November 2010
    I would rebind to a gird. I deffo want a Grid option. it would be easier if we could chosse between the two.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • puzlpuzl The Old Firm Join Date: 2003-02-26 Member: 14029Posts: 4,107Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation mod
    The game should really present itself in 'easy mode' and allow people with advanced skills to easily setup 'advanced mode'.

    I would suggest the keybindings for the commander have it's own config section.
    Option 1: Letter
    Option 2: Grid
    Option 3: Custom


    Letter and Grid provide non-editable templates whereas Custom will be completely editable.

    Retired NS1 Developer, currently making myself useful as a forum moderator - message me for any mod related requests.
  • SewlekSewlek The programmer previously known as Schimmel Join Date: 2003-05-13 Member: 16247Posts: 2,302Members, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester
    would like to see an option to switch to grid
  • FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment San Francisco Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Posts: 6,815Super Administrators, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, NS2 Developer, Constellation, Subnautica Developer admin
    QUOTE (Quovatis @ Nov 23 2010, 11:16 AM) »
    Since the alien HUD is not a grid, it should default to the letter system to be compatible with both marine and alien.


    Good point. But actually, we're changing the alien commander HUD to be more standard and like the marine HUD.

    Every time we try to make a "custom" commander UI, we end up going with the more traditional one! Lesson learned...again.
    Charlie Cleveland
    Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • SnougarSnougar Join Date: 2007-12-31 Member: 63301Posts: 173Members
    I can see the advantage of grid. But as the menus are now, it would mean a complete visual haul for it (alignments and what not).

    That and will there be enough upgrades and actual shortcuts to make grid preferable?
    formally known as "MaLaKa"
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  • Corporal_FortierCorporal_Fortier Join Date: 2005-03-22 Member: 46079Posts: 409Members, Constellation
    QUOTE (Quovatis @ Nov 23 2010, 02:16 PM) »
    Since the alien HUD is not a grid, it should default to the letter system to be compatible with both marine and alien.

    +1

    Also I often get the feeling "H" should be hive instead of harvester, but I guess I just have to get used to it. Would be nice though if both teams' resource building would be the same hotkey (like B->R for resource harvester/extractor).
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  • demacedemace Join Date: 2005-01-21 Member: 36475Posts: 2Members
    Letters by default for RTS players.. but I would use Grid given the option.
    NS2 in-game: 'mace'
  • OrtzinatorOrtzinator Join Date: 2008-03-02 Member: 63781Posts: 9Members
    Letter, like every other piece of software.
  • Saber RiderSaber Rider Join Date: 2010-07-16 Member: 72449Posts: 2Members
    Personally I find the standard keys easy to pick up, but difficult to use once you start doing complex tasks. Starting players on the grid system may lower the overall learning curve duration of commanding a team.

    Whatever the default is, it all comes down to how well the Commander tutorial is prepared.
  • Racer1Racer1 Join Date: 2002-11-22 Member: 9615Posts: 969Members
    As long as the items have the letter next to them in the UI (e.g. Build (Q) ), the grid system is just as easy to learn, and makes for much faster use in the future.
  • GaroGaro Join Date: 2005-01-07 Member: 33134Posts: 65Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver
    I'd vote for grid because shortcuts will have conflicts. For example:

    A - armory, ammo, arms lab
    T - turret factory, turret

    In particular I'd vote that the grid is the default and it would also have additional shortcuts to give medpack and ammo directly.

    - Garo
  • Hot CoffeeHot Coffee Join Date: 2010-11-03 Member: 74744Posts: 18Members, Constellation
    QUOTE (Corporal_Fortier @ Nov 23 2010, 12:29 PM) »
    +1

    Also I often get the feeling "H" should be hive instead of harvester, but I guess I just have to get used to it. Would be nice though if both teams' resource building would be the same hotkey (like B->R for resource harvester/extractor).

    Yeah, I kept running into using the wrong hotkey for Extractors because I was so used to them being called RTs... I would support changing the default harvester/extractor hotkey to 'R' for both of them.
  • AsranielAsraniel Join Date: 2002-06-03 Member: 724Posts: 2,228Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester
    make the commanding experience as close to SC2 as possible. i think it is more or less perfect.
    Ollj: "ns_napo, the first good custom map ever" ns_napo
  • phoenixbbsphoenixbbs Join Date: 2003-02-10 Member: 13379Posts: 406Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Subnautica Playtester
    Having spent years playing NS, and in particular, Commander (really _really_ badly), I wish i'd learned about the grid key options that it had built in much sooner, rather than piddling about with the mouse !

    I'd vote for grid personally, particularly if aliens and marines could use the same layout as commander.

    You could always have a switchable "hinting" option, where you could superimpose the keyboard letter in the corner of the icon as you hovered the mouse over it, or offer a simple tutorial mode for it from the main menu.
    My nickname in-game is "phoe", and I'm an NS addict.

    I haven't managed more than two days without NS since 2002.

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  • TriggermanTriggerman Graphic Artist Join Date: 2004-11-10 Member: 32724Posts: 553Members, WC 2013 - Supporter
    I would switch to grid in a heartbeat, but when considering the tradition it's probably letter that will work best for newcomers. However the question is phrased what I want so I went with grid.
    Best would be to give the player the lettersystem as default and some time later have the game ask if you would want to switch to grid or simply alerting the player that the option exists in the menu.
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