How to "fix" action panel tabs 'ctrl+A' hotkey?


  • Admin

    On the actions panel, we are consistent about the first letter mapping to the hotkey, except for 'Actions'. EG:
    resources = ctrl+r
    players = ctrl+p
    notes = ctrl+n

    The only exception is 'Actions', which is 'ctrl+c'

    'ctrl+a' is currently bound to battle calc, add attackers.

    The inconsistency of the action tab panel hotkeys is IMO a bit egregious, as much as I really do appreciate 'add attackers' being ctrl+a.
    Opening this thread to discuss how we might resolve this. I suspect we should make the action panel tabs highly consistent. That would leave a good question of what to remap 'add attackers' to, as many ctrl+letter combitions are taken.

    cc/@redrum


  • Admin

    @LaFayette Yeah, its not ideal. I added both the hotkeys for adding attackers and the action panel tabs. That was the best I could come up with after thinking about it some. I'm open to ideas here. I felt that adding attackers is something that is probably going to be used more and that there weren't any good alternatives that I could think of.


  • Admin

    Ah, I was also wondering why 'ctrl+d' was not working for 'done', it's bound to 'add defenders'. For some time I was hoping to change 'shift+d' for 'done' to not use "shift".

    IMO ideally actions tab would get the "ctrl+A" for the strong consistency and "done" would get the "ctrl+D". Would you agree 'done' and 'actions' should get the 'A' and 'D' keys? If so, leaves only question of what to bind to 'add attackers' and 'add defenders'.


  • Moderators

    @LaFayette Can "done" be made with something like "Ctrl+Enter"? Spacebar, if enter is not possible. I think that should be really something different than the other things.

    I already suggested substituting Ctrl+A with Ctrl+1,2,3... where that number adds all units of that movement or higher. This way, you can use Ctrl+1 to add all attackers from adjacent territories, then using Ctrl+2 to add all attackers from two territories away, and so on. That would increase usability quite a lot and free the Ctrl+A combination. To be consistent, Ctrl+0 can add the defenders. This is not fully covering, a you can also have movement 0 attackers, but that is quite minor a matter, and not a matter at all in all standard games. However, if wanting to be fully covering, then you can add the attackers with Ctrl+0,1,2... and add the defenders with something like Ctrl+Shift+0,1,2..., under the same concept (though for the defenders there is little need of differentiating by movement).

    The other challenge is making this feature actually known, as I can easily see most people will never figure out they can add attackers and defenders to the battlecalculator, as it is (just my prediction).


  • Admin

    @Cernel

    • ctrl+enter is possible for "done", I like that idea.

    Ctrl+number keys is an interesting idea, that can get a bit complex on a number of fronts. Notably if units gain movement bonuses and simply finding 'adjacent territories'.

    FWIW, the terriory tab lists the battle calc hotkeys, which is how I found them:
    Screenshot from 2020-01-19 01-22-38.png


  • Admin

    In case there are any good idea, tentatively flags will be grabbing ctrl+1, ctrl+2 and ctrl+3

    This removes the 'L' to toggle hotkey, and we'll have the ctrl+number hotkeys listed in menus. As mentioned in the unit scroller thread this is a way where we can get rid of the toggle flags button. I'm not happy with using 1-3 for this, but there did not seem to be any other good keys that were adjacent to each other that made a lot of sense.


  • Moderators

    Also being able to quick key done is not very useful if you can't start battles without clicking on the action tab (can you?). It would be good that, when in that phase, you can start battles by clicking (or maybe double clicking, for safety, though battle resolution order rarely matters) over the embattled zones, or maybe a quick key to start a battle by the list offered in the action tab, though, in this case, it should be assured that all naval battles are listed before all land battles, and all air battles are listed before all naval battles, as well, as you may have such priorities mandated by the rules (actually, I think air battles should rather be part of the battle in the same zone, but this is off topic).


  • Admin

    @Cernel I've thought that ctrl+1-9 would be great for selecting battles.

    @redrum / others, please jump in if you have any other thoughts, the current remapping being proposed is as follows:

    done -> ctrl+enter
    actions tab -> ctrl+a
    add defenders -> ctrl+d
    add attackers -> ?

    Attackers has limited options as 'A', 'T' are taken. We could choose "C" or "K" for it. Anyone have thoughts?


  • Admin

    @LaFayette I'm pretty hesitant to not have "add attackers" as ctrl+a because it fits nicely as the opposite of ctrl+d (both from a keyboard proximity and first letter of the option).


  • Admin

    @redrum Yeah, 'ctrl+a' fits really well. Though considering the action tabs, it's a "primary UI" element, you do not need any other screens to be open before it can be used. Hence I think it should be given the better hotkey, but more to the point the inconsistency of 'ctrl+c' for actions tab is IMO quite bad.


  • Admin

    We should also probably consider whether tabs really need hotkeys at all. If so, there are a lot of them, having anyone remember them is a lot, particularly since I don't think people switch to the players tab so frequently that they'll always remember it is 'ctrl+p' beyond the fact that 'P' is for Players tab. Hence why the 'C' for 'actions' tab IMO is seemingly broken.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette Here is the original hotkey improvements that I did a while back for reference: https://forums.triplea-game.org/topic/690/improve-hotkeys

    Folks did ask for hotkeys for the tabs so there are at least some people that use them. Originally actions was ctrl+A. I honestly don't know that there is a better option that what we have now. ctrl+C isn't ideal for action tab but I think its better than removing the hotkeys or not having ctrl+A for adding attackers to BC.


  • Admin

    I was going through hotkeys, realized that we had 'ctrl+R' for resources, then experimented with the others. When trying 'ctrl+A', nothing happened it looked like a bug/broken. I think the inconsistency there is very bad. IMO 'ctrl+A' was taken, we needed to find a different alternative compared to breaking the consistency of the action tab hotkeys. My 2 cents, this looked broken/buggy and it's due to the UI inconsistency. My opinion is based on the experience of thinking the "ctrl+A" hotkey was broken.


  • Admin

    @redrum FWIW, you and I had debates on code consistency, IMO a UI inconsistency is a realized problem, no hypothetical about it, it's a magnitude or two worse than a coding inconsistency as it makes users think the game is broken. I'd call the lack of consistency a pretty significant problem to the point I question whether we should even hotkeys at all on the tabs if they are inconsistent. I say that because if you have to remember such exceptions, it makes the hotkeys far less useful, perhaps useless/frustrating even. The point of a hotkey is that you can deeply learn it and do not need to think about it, if you have to hard-code such an exception into muscle memory, it's just not good and probably means the hotkeys won't be used.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette Agree, I don't like inconsistency 🙂

    That being said, the challenge is you essentially have 2 UI actions that to be consistent with the other similar actions both need the same hotkey. I think that adding attackers/defenders to the battle calc will be more utilized than the tab hotkeys which is why I chose that direction. I will say that I did rename 1-2 of the tabs when I redid the hotkeys originally and one of the reasons was to help align to available hotkeys though not sure there is a good alternative to "actions".

    The best solution might be to change tabs to not need ctrl and just the solo keys. That would have the benefit of aligning with the new unit cycling buttons as well which don't use ctrl. Would need to see if there would be any conflicts doing that though.


  • Admin

    @redrum Not a bad idea, 'n' for 'notes' would collide with unit scroller 'n' for 'next unit'. The others offhand look okay.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette Unit scrolling could use . and ,
    Some other games also use this. Even though I find it so much easier to just click the arrow 😊


  • Admin

    @Frostion Yeah, I've seen "," and "." used in a few other games as well. I think because they are have the shift value of "<" and ">" on most keyboards.


  • Admin

    Good suggestion 👍


  • Moderators

    @LaFayette said in How to "fix" action panel tabs 'ctrl+A' hotkey?:

    @Cernel I've thought that ctrl+1-9 would be great for selecting battles.

    @redrum / others, please jump in if you have any other thoughts, the current remapping being proposed is as follows:

    done -> ctrl+enter
    actions tab -> ctrl+a
    add defenders -> ctrl+d
    add attackers -> ?

    Attackers has limited options as 'A', 'T' are taken. We could choose "C" or "K" for it. Anyone have thoughts?

    Ctrl+O for "add attackers" would be mostly inconsistent, but at least not totally, as we already have some instances of "offensive", like in the AA attacks and in the supports. Of course, that would need renaming the option as "add offenders", as well as adjusting the automatic tooltips.

    I personally always disliked the dualism attack/defence. It is contrary to the traditional military thinking (I could dig and quote some Clausewitz), where the concept of "attacking" is not really something more related to the offence than the defence (rather, traditionally, it was the offender that decided to invade, while the decision to attack, that is engage, the invading force rested mostly on the defender; of course, with static World War warfare, invading and attacking became much more related, instead, in the moment you have enemy troops waiting for you right beyond the no man's land).

    It would make much more sense if the dualism attack/defence would be substituted by a more correct offence/defence one.

    That way, you can use Ctrl+O to "add offenders" to the battlecalculator.

    Then, I would also change the way the battle window presents the related steps, from the current, for example:

    RomanRepublic fire
    Carthage select casualties
    Carthage fire
    RomanRepublic select casualties
    Remove casualties
    RomanRepublic withdraw?

    to

    Offender attacks
    Defender selects casualties
    Defender attacks
    Offender selects casualties
    Remove casualties
    Offender remains or retreats

    Which would have the benefits of:

    • Being more correct game wise, as in defence you may have more than one power defending (and I believe there is also the current issue that the program assigns as the only defender the territory owner, that might even not have any units in the battle).
    • Being more correct tech wise, as offensively or defensively attacking is not something that it is all about firing with your gun (even, though, of course, in late modern wars it is very rare to kill or injure with bayonets and such, but, for example in the pacific, disease sometimes killed more men than any weapons).
    • Being more omnicomprensive, as it makes no sense using "fire" for ancient and medieval scenarios (how are my slingers and hoplites firing?), and it makes not a lot of sense using it for early modern scenarios either (still in Napoleonic times, cavalry fought mostly with swords, or even lances, rather than firing) (also, you may have scenarios with laser guns or whatever weapons that are not actually firing).

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