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Old April 3, 2008, 20:48   #1
chem
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[Feature request] Laptop friendly user input.

Hi. I am a long time player and one-time variant developer (entroband). I haven't played any Angband variant in over a year. Why? My only home computer is now a laptop. Specifically, a MacBook Pro.

I always played Angband using the numeric keypad for movement input on my old Windows PC. It's just perfect for quick movement and use of diagonals. While the MacBook Pro has numeric keypad functionality using the Fn-key+(various letters), they are not arranged in a square shape (so that the diagonals are instinctive) and the pressing of two keys is annoyingly extra work, especially since the Fn-key is at the far bottom left of the keyboard.

Nor have I learned the roguelike keyset. I know that is an alternative, but I simply do not like its key organization. The movement is unnatural. I know buying an external USB numeric keypad is an option, but that's hardly convenient for use in a coffee shop or on an airplane.

So, maybe someone clever can come up with a good way to use what's readily available on a laptop for input. I don't claim to know how to do this best -- I'm just requesting some serious thought to be applied here.

Two possibilities arise immediately:
1. (at least, for Macs) Use the arrow keys on the lower right of the keyboard for basic movement, but map Angband such that the "open apple" aka "command" key to the left of the spacebar (a convenient place for the thumb), when pressed in conjunction with an arrow key, produces a diagonal movement. For example: up arrow moves up, but cmd+up-arrow moves diagonal-up+right. I am not sure if this could be done right now using macros; I seem to recall trying something similar and failing, a while ago.

2. Make use of the trackpad. Single taps in the trackpad, while in the Angband main window, could be interpreted as single square movement in the desired direction (where the direction is defined as the region of the trackpad in which the click was made ... right, bottom right, top, etc). Double taps could be interpreted as "run" commands in the given direction.

I miss Angband, but it's just really not laptop-keyboard friendly (to me). Thanks for reading.

Thoughts?
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Old April 3, 2008, 21:51   #2
rdermyer
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i like your trackpad idea.
I also play on a laptop (Macbook) and use the mouse to move; it's in the options somewhere. If you look around, you can find it.
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Old April 3, 2008, 22:32   #3
Lebannen
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There's a few different approaches to this.

As rdermyer says, there's click-to-move, which I found problematic in 3.0.9 but is much improved in the dev versions.

Also in the dev versions, ajps has recently landed a patch which allows "lazy" movement with the cursor keys, which to me seems a nicer solution than your Apple-key one: you can specify a time delay, and if you do a horizontal+vertical within that time, a diagonal movement is produced instead.

At the moment, I personally use (also on a MBP) a combination of remapped keys and macros to make the "keypad" area behave like a proper keypad (ie no function key required). This does require moving a couple of other keys around, but there's enough free slots that this isn't a problem. The diagonals do feel odd at first, offset as they are, but work in the end.

[Edit] Oops, just realised the remapping did work best in zAngband and variants which have auto-open etc. I find it trickier in V, but instead have mapped fn-o to o - so essentially movement is without fn keys, actions are with.

Last edited by Lebannen; April 3, 2008 at 22:42.
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Old April 4, 2008, 00:10   #4
will_asher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chem View Post
Nor have I learned the roguelike keyset. I know that is an alternative, but I simply do not like its key organization. The movement is unnatural. I know buying an external USB numeric keypad is an option, but that's hardly convenient for use in a coffee shop or on an airplane.

So, maybe someone clever can come up with a good way to use what's readily available on a laptop for input.
The roguelike keyset is a good way to use what's readily available on a laptop. Have you tried to learn it? It takes a little getting used to, but it's really not hard to get used to it (especially if you know how to type). You may not like the organization while looking at what keys do what, but when you're actually using them you'll probably get used to them faster than you think.
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Old April 4, 2008, 00:28   #5
Big Al
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I play on a macbook pro too - and now that I'm used to it, I can't stand playing on anything else. I use the regular keyset and extensive use of the fn key to turn 'jkluio' into '123456' (789 stay the same). I just keep my left pinky on the fn key and then I never have to move my hands. It's a lot more convenient than even using a numpad, since it's trivial to switch between moving around and action keys on the right side of the keyboard (open, inspect, look, cast spell, etc.). Otherwise, I need to move my hand from the number pad to the keys and back again every time.
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Old April 4, 2008, 16:39   #6
protomech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
The roguelike keyset is a good way to use what's readily available on a laptop. Have you tried to learn it? It takes a little getting used to, but it's really not hard to get used to it (especially if you know how to type). You may not like the organization while looking at what keys do what, but when you're actually using them you'll probably get used to them faster than you think.
I'll second the roguelike keyset. I've been playing angband for years on laptops that way.

The only downside to the roguelike keyset is that it seems to get short shrift from the developers. Which leads to the occasional bug like, oh, being unable to buy or sell gear in stores

Edit: since one way or another you'll have to learn new key mappings, you might as well learn something that will carry across to most variants.
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Old April 4, 2008, 18:25   #7
kathoum
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I used to play with the numeric keypad too, and afer I switched to a laptop I learned the roguelike keyset and now I'm very comfortable with it.

However, if I had to learn now I would spend some time writing my own keymap. I would arrange the map so that the movement keys are in a position similar to the numeric keypad and I would try to put the other keys in comfortable places.

Then I would make a big drawing with the keys' positions and upload it somewhere along with the keymap itself.
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Old April 8, 2008, 21:35   #8
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Give roguelike a chance! IMO it is better interface once you learn it.

For spellcasting classes especially, all of your commands are closer at hand.
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Old April 9, 2008, 16:02   #9
Melchizedek
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I took a long hiatus from playing as well due to the laptop problem. Turns out USB numpads are pretty easy to obtain, and can be as cheap as 5 bucks on amazon. I got impatient when I found this out and spent 20 on the cheapest one I could find where I live. Now I am going to fail all my classes!
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Old April 15, 2008, 20:28   #10
chem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebannen View Post
Also in the dev versions, ajps has recently landed a patch which allows "lazy" movement with the cursor keys, which to me seems a nicer solution than your Apple-key one: you can specify a time delay, and if you do a horizontal+vertical within that time, a diagonal movement is produced instead.
Is this functionality present in 3.0.9b? Will it be present in 3.1.0? When is 3.1.0 due?

Quote:
At the moment, I personally use (also on a MBP) a combination of remapped keys and macros to make the "keypad" area behave like a proper keypad (ie no function key required). This does require moving a couple of other keys around, but there's enough free slots that this isn't a problem. The diagonals do feel odd at first, offset as they are, but work in the end.
Hmm, how did you do this? Remapping keys in Angband, or externally? If externally, how? If in Angband's remapping, did it just gracefully handle remapping, say, "i" to "5" and "Fn+i" to "i"? Or even better, "cmd+i" to 5 (avoiding the Fn key altogether)? It would be nice to have the numeric keypad be default.

To the people supporting the roguelike keyset: I appreciate that many people use it, but I am not interested in it. As I said in my original post, I find it to be unnatural. I do not like it. Movement should essentially consist of moving your fingers in the direction that corresponds to your motion. This works great on a numeric keypad. It may kind of work if I didn't have to use the Fn key all the time on the implied keypad on Macs.

A USB numpad is not convenient for the airport or plane. Would be nice for home.
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