Movement = EDSF as apposed to WSAD was wondering if this would be very confusing for players?
Yes, it would. Players have been trained to work with WASD. Whenever they start up your game and have to position their hand on the keyboard, they will end up wondering why they're running backwards instead of to the right. Even worse, if they spend enough time with your game to learn the EDSF (which is highly unlikely, given this big dissatisfier), they will start misplacing their hand in other games, meaning you have broken not only your, but also other games.
Sorry, but in interface design, if you don't have a really good reason to do something in a new way, it's not called being innovative, it's called breaking user habits.
Crouch = Ctrl
Run = Shift + Direction
First reason why we use WASD: For the majority of hands these two modifiers (esp. Ctrl) and the ESDF-controls are too far apart and therefore too hard to reach.
Block/Guard = G
This does work, but it's not the best solution. I assume you wanted to use "G is for Guard". However, the upper left and even more the upper right corner (R in ESDF) of the directional controls are easier/more ergonomic to reach and don't break the flow of player movement as much.
A seldom-used alternative is using the Alt-Key. The thumb is the most versatile of our digits, still, it's usually only used to operate the spacebar. Using the alt-key minimizes collision of movement-inputs and block-inputs. Of course, jumping and blocking won't be possible at the same time, however, at least I wouldn't know of many combat-systems where that would be a prominent or realistic feature. This approach on the other hands has two conditions: 1. You pretty much have to use WASD for movement or they won't align nicely. 2. You / your programmer will likely have to write a routine to catch the alt-key since most languages can't handle that natively.
Interact = A
That seems to be pretty much the only reason for using ESDF. Again, I'm guessing "A is for Action"? There are many other great keys around (from now on using WASD): As I already mentioned the Q and E are very easy to reach. Since interact doesn't have to work as fast as combat, you could also use F if you've put block somewhere else. Speaking of block: if the player can sheath his weapons, you could also use modus-sensitive block/interact or secondary/interact assignments. However, make sure to use that with a defensive combat-skill to avoid accidentaly hitting objects/npcs and so that the player is able to attack quickly without having to manually unsheath his weapon.
hotkeys z, x, c, v, b.
,and . (< >) as a way to cycle through hotkey setups
? key possibly acting as a 'context' on off feature that pops up the most appropriate hotkey bar
hotkeys in the form of W and R
Those are far too many hotkeys. Hotkeys are supposed to be used to quickly perform usual but non-trivial tasks from muscle-memory.
Given your list, you have 15-17 hotkeys (depends on if you include W and R) times x because you offer several setups. Memorizing that many assignments will take the player longer than beating your game, and that is for traditional memory. Memorizing them by muscle-memory is actually impossible since muscle memory cannot recognize different modi, even less so when they can only be choosen relatively but not absolutely.
What's even more, most of these hotkeys aren't even quickly accessible. Sure, the letters are super-easy to reach and the left half of the numbers are also acceptable. But the higher numbers? nope. And to change the setup the player actually has to move his hand over the entire length of the keyboard.
In terms of shortterm-memory, the human mind is capable of storing 7 +-2 chunks of information. Even though your case of memorization is long-term, the model is still a good approximation of how much will work. So even if you're sure that a large number of hotkeys will be needed for your game and you also want to keep the separate hotkeys for inventory and abilities, limit yourself to using z, x, c, v for one of the hotkey-sets and 1-4 for the other, maybe adding b and 5 if you really think it's necessary. This will give you a total of 8-10 hotkeys, enough for the frequent tasks and still something that the player will be able to learn.
Hope this was helpful,
Edited by Tobl, 06 November 2012 - 09:30 PM.
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