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Old August 25, 2021, 21:10   #1
Julian
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Proposal - Realign the command sets

There’s a lot of necessary differences between the two command sets, but there’s also a lot of differences that only exist for historical reasons, either because a different command used to occupy a key (who remembers forcing a door?), or because Rogue used a different key from Moria.

What really provoked this was when I noticed that the original and roguelike sets flip the meaning of ',' and '.'

That’s just silly.

So, I’m proposing we realign the command sets, based on the following principles:

1) Whenever reasonable, identical commands should be on the same key.
2) Mnemonic key choices are preferred.
3) More-commonly used commands should be on easier-to-type keys
4) Everyone uses control-direction for everything they can, so the various subsumed commands are not important
5) Neither the original nor the roguelike set should be preferred, because everyone should be unhappy with me

And when they come into conflict, deciding on a case-by-case basis.

(For the record, I’m a roguelike person)

With that said:

wands, staves, etc: Four commands are needed.
Wand: a
Rod: z
Staff: Z
Equipment: A

The potentially-more-used wand key is now on the home row for roguelike players, all item activations are on two keys, and we free up lowercase U for the general-purpose use command in original.

There’s an alternate argument to put recharging (rod/equipment) on a/A, and charged (wand/staff) on z/Z, but I prefer having the aimed items on the lowercase letters. (Well, mostly aimed)

Missiles:

Ammo: f, for fire
Daggers, spears, etc: t, for throw
This requires moving original-set takeoff to T, but how often does one take off an item, and then tunnel to ^T, but see (4) above.

Run/stay still/pick up:

Run: ,
Stay still with no pickup: .
Stay still with pickup: removed
Get items: g

I’m working on the assumption that keypad players use 5 to stay still, so don’t care what the underlying key is. I’m used to using period. We already have a command to get items you’re standing on, so it’s more useful to have one that doesn’t.

Other changes:

Quit: ^Q

Having such a rarely-wanted command on a primary letter is silly, and there are unlikely typo-death possibilities that are reduced by moving it.

Walk into a trap: -

Like quitting, this is a command that is needed so very rarely.


That’s actually it. (Before going into it, I was sure there’d be more.)

What do people think of this idea? (Both in the general case, and the specific changes.)
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Old August 25, 2021, 21:30   #2
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Intellectually I appreciate the merits of this and think that, despite all the manure about to be thrown your way, something beautiful could grow.

On a more visceral level my reaction is "how dare you contemplate screwing with my muscle memory" and "stay off my lawn" (though the latter is more of a tourrettes style outburst I confess).
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Old August 25, 2021, 22:54   #3
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I don't really see why wands, rods, and staffs need separate commands. (Activation needs to be separate though, because, who knows, someone might add an artifact staff or something...)

I was slightly annoyed when I couldn't use @f1 on my ammo anymore and had to change it to @t1 (I am also a roguelike person, but I'd gotten used to using @f1 on my ammo despite using 't' to fire.)
I say that to say even good changes here will be annoying to everyone at first until people get used to them. I think we should have good reason to make the changes before making them. As a roguelike person, I like using 't' to fire. It's more handy than 'f'.

<throws manure>

PS: I never use the run command. I just use capital letters to run.
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Old August 26, 2021, 01:00   #4
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So I have a slightly more radical suggestion.

The original set survives because it's intuitive to use a keypad for directions. The roguelike set survives because of laptops and vi. Both of these are about player movement.

So we should:
  1. Move all the original commands off the h, j, k, l, y, u, b, n keys and
  2. Align all the other commands along the lines already suggested.
For part 1, that's
  • h: fire at nearest - totally unintuitive, TAB is just as good
  • j: already unused
  • k: Ignore - used to be 'k'ill for destroy an item, now unintuitive
  • l: look - this one is actually good, but you can't have everything
  • y: already unused
  • u: use is not intuitive as a staff-specific command, move it to 'Z' as Julian suggests
  • b: browse is intuitive, but it's barely needed as a command now anyway, and 'P' for peruse is fine
  • n: not intuitive, but better than ctrl-v, and such a common command that the muscle memory will hurt here
So this would be somewhat more annoying than Julian's proposal for original set users. The significant upside is that rather than two keysets, we just have alternative keys for the directions in a single keyset. Now switching to "roguelike keys" for playing on a laptop becomes a reasonable thing to do, and everyone can start laying down new muscle memory in the knowledge that's there's maybe something in it for them.
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Old August 26, 2021, 02:16   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
[*]n: not intuitive, but better than ctrl-v, and such a common command that the muscle memory will hurt here
There’s unused, un-shifted keys out there. p and v, for instance. I’d argue for Tab, and use v for “shoot with default ammo”. There’s also those that could be freed up by moving a less-used command, such as semicolon.
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Old August 26, 2021, 02:22   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian View Post
There’s unused, un-shifted keys out there. p and v, for instance. I’d argue for Tab, and use v for “shoot with default ammo”. There’s also those that could be freed up by moving a less-used command, such as semicolon.
Which reminds me, I missed K, L and U. This would hurt, but it's an investment in the future
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Old August 26, 2021, 03:17   #7
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Also ^L.

I’d also suggest including a pair of pref files for those who don’t want to retrain their muscle memory to load.
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Old August 26, 2021, 03:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
[*]l: look - this one is actually good, but you can't have everything
That’s why I didn’t suggest moving l, L, and ^L; they’re both intuitive and have a nice stacking of related commands.

We could move them all to x X and ^X. Put save and exit on the now-freed Q. (Or on ^Q, and find somewhere else for unconditional quit. This has the advantage of reducing annoying typos.)

On a related note, by moving (M)ap to (W)here, we could stack up the spellbook commands: cast, browse, learn. (Or cast, learn, browse, but you learn spells a finite number of times per game.)

(Honestly, it shouldn’t be too hard to yank learn into the browse command, which also avoids any weirdness with the fact that ^M may be return.)

Last edited by Julian; August 26, 2021 at 03:37.
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Old August 26, 2021, 03:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
I don't really see why wands, rods, and staffs need separate commands. (Activation needs to be separate though, because, who knows, someone might add an artifact staff or something…)
Because you can have a lot of them, and it makes looking at the list of choices easier. If you use inscriptions, it also means you don’t run out of numbers.

However, some consolidation would probably be viable:
(a)im a wand/rod
(A)ctivate a staff
(^A)activate equipment.

Or:
(a)im (target nearest critter)
(A)activate equipment
(z)ap a wand/rod
(Z)ap a staff

Quote:
I say that to say even good changes here will be annoying to everyone at first until people get used to them. I think we should have good reason to make the changes before making them. As a roguelike person, I like using 't' to fire. It's more handy than 'f’.
Isn’t f literally under your left index finger?

Quote:
PS: I never use the run command. I just use capital letters to run.
I’m pretty sure nobody uses the run command regularly. It needs to exist, but doesn’t need to be so convenient.

Edit: people with only one usable hand, or other handicaps that make chording keys difficult, probably use the run command. Run and alter need to still be easily available, unlike tunnel.
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Old August 26, 2021, 04:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian View Post
I’m pretty sure nobody uses the run command regularly. It needs to exist, but doesn’t need to be so convenient.

Edit: people with only one usable hand, or other handicaps that make chording keys difficult, probably use the run command. Run and alter need to still be easily available, unlike tunnel.
Are you talking about the run command as in '.' and then direction? I use it constantly.
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