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Old 12 September 2009, 20:24   #1
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[Hired Guns: suggestion] Adding/Improving keyboard controls, notably for 1-player

Here are 3 suggestions to improve the keyboard gameplay of Hired Guns.
My main suggestion is suggestion #3 and the main idea is to enable keyboard input for 1 (and 2?) player games.

For the record: keyboard 1 and 2 (choice I and J) are mutually exclusive
The same goes for keyboard 3 and 4 (K and L).

I have made a sort of reference chart of the current keyboard layouts to ease the discussion. It is a quick and dirty job, as the only diagram of a Qwerty Amiga keyboard I could find was the diagram of an A1000 (+ I am far from a graphic artist ).

I will suppose that allowing fully user-customizable controls would be more difficult than just adding some controls, so the first two suggestions will refer to adding something rather than modify and add.

1) Improving multi-player keyboard controls by adding a 'drop item' key for each keyboard layout

There is already a 'pick up item' key, so why not add one to drop items (as can be done with a modified Mega Drive joypad).

As I am quite used to use my pinkies in video games, a 4-key in a row solution would not disturb me.

That would give the following keys the drop item function
K1: [/{ (right of P)
K2: U
K3: 7
K4: Well, there is nothing to the direct right of Return so either the white key (if it can be used) or Right Alt

Then, I know quite a lot of people have trouble or don't like using their pinkie. Besides it could seem a bit more logical to have the drop item key under the pick up item key.

In such a case:
K1: K
K2: F
K3: + (under - on a 1200 keyboard)
K4: Right Alt would be the best solution

2) Improving multi-player keyboard controls by adding strafing keys


a) you can already strafe when playing with the mouse

b) At least another Amiga RPG (Legions of Dawn) has a rotate+strafe keyboard scheme and it is very pleasing to play this way. In this game, 8 is forward, 5 is backward, 7 rotates 90° left, 9 rotates 90 ° right, 4 strafes left, 6 strafes right.
I advise anyone to give it a try to make one's own opinion, but I doubt anyone would find it useless.

Edit: Found another RPG that uses something similar, thanks to the author registering on EAB, Crystal Dragon:

c) people playing modern FPSs are quite used to that.

However, given the current layout of keys, I cannot really think of easy control schemes that would not require a modification of some current key allocations.
If people have any suggestions they would be welcome.

3) Improving 1-player (or 2-player) controls by allowing keyboard controls

For the record, when you choose to play alone or with a second player, the game automatically attributes mouse controls to the player(s).
You then play by moving the cursor(s) to each controllable character and depending on where it is located a different action will be performed (forward, backward, rotate left/right, strafe left/right, pick up item, select menu tab).

To allow easy movement controls of several characters, there is also the little orange boxes that will start blinking when you click one of them. The character whose box has been clicked will then follow the character the player moves, if they are in close range.
This 'follow leader' function has already built-in keyboard shortcuts, through the F1 to F4 keys.

Therefore my main suggestion, to allow keyboard controls in 1/2-player games, would be to have keyboard shortcuts that would allow to switch the active character that the player controls.

This kind of switching is basically what you do in a FPS when switching weapons in a FPS or for example when switching characters in the game Project Eden. And in the end it is quite similar to what you already do by moving the mouse to the character part of the screen.

There are many possible solutions (hence it would be great to be configurable by the user).
If it is difficult to create new keyboard layouts, then I guess attributing each character control to 1, 2, 3 and 4, would be the most logical solution.
Maybe two keys to cycle through each would be a more convenient solution for some people (5 and 6?)

If anything would be possible, here is what I would suggest (based on my personal experience as a gamer) for a 1 player control scheme:

E and D move forwards and backwards
Space is the fire button
S and F strafe left and right
J and L rotate 90° left and right
I picks an item, K drops an item
W (above S) switches to the top left character, R (above F) switches to the top right character.
U (above J) switches to the bottom left character, O (above L) switches to the bottom right character.

I would also move the leader follow functions, at least to 1, 2, 3, 4 or more likely 2 to 5 (since E is just under the middle of 3 and 4) or maybe elsewhere (pinkie-accessible).

Semi-related PS: Of course, suggestion 3 would mostly useful when playing the campaign, as it is quite difficult to gather enough friends to play through the whole campaign (or rather it was, not sure if I could even gather one other person to play Hired Guns these days).
Obviously, you can start a 4-player game to have keyboard controls and then kill the other characters, but will all the stuff to carry in the campaign, even with the lightweight psi-amp, it is not a viable nor pleasing option.

PPS: You may have guessed but I never was really satisfied with the mouse control for 1-player games. Of course it is quite convenient to control 4 characters, but it involves quite a lot of left clicking on the whole.
Besides, I am sure that anyone who played this way will have several times fired by mistake (sometimes resulting in dying if the held weapon is a grenade launcher ), thinking the cursor was in a movement hotspot area while it was still in a firing area.
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Last edited by lilalurl; 30 September 2010 at 21:23.
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Old 30 March 2013, 17:13   #2
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I am interested because at the moment, i'm unable to play it as my 1rst port on my 1200 is broken, and have mouse connected to port 2. I'm actually using a port extender on port 2 to swap between joy/mouse, so a keyboard option wiuld be handy.
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Old 22 July 2013, 03:03   #3
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That would be... just perfect! Imagine the possibilities! Playing this with keyboard controls mapped to a gamepad in single player? I'm all in! Can it be done?
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