Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sun Jun 22 23:31:50 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> From: Caliban Tiresias Darklock <caliban at darklock.com>
> On Sun, 22 Jun 1997 11:09:04 PST8PDT, "Jon A. Lambert"
> >The checkbox has the advantage of validating/restricting the input and
> >the user need not know the command at all.  I do exits by allowing the
> >builder to draw lines between room boxes instead of using checkboxes.
> Just out of curiosity, how in the world would you do this from the
> keyboard? This is exactly the sort of great idea that starts to present
> a problem when you take the mouse out of the picture; I can already see
> several potential solutions (such as allowing you to select a room,
> choose 'make exit' off a menu, and then select the destination of the
> exit), but when working with a large number of rooms in a single area it
> can become very tedious from the keyboard. This is why I like the option
> of a text-based interface; there are occasions when the mouse, keyboard
> navigation, *and* direct command entry become unwieldy. In any given
> situation, all three should be available, because there will inevitably
> arise a situation where the one you've neglected will be exactly the one
> that best fits the specific task. 
Without the mouse it resembles your standard X or MS Windows interface.  With
menus and shortcut keys.  You are right. In many instances it is preferable
to use a mouse.  This isn't really difficult, I've used Xwindows for many
months without a mouse (the terminal didn't support it).  This problem has 
already been addressed many times over with popular GUIs.  In fact it takes 
more effort to write a GUI application to NOT allow use of the keyboard.  
Lurking just below the surface of many successful GUI apps are powerful shortcut 
keys.  WordPerfect for MAC/Windows for instance contains hundreds of shortcut 
keys held over from DOS days and even back to WordStar for CP/M days.  If it 
didn't, 60+wpm secretaries wouldn't have allowed it on their desktops.  
Many of these keystroke combinations are similar to EMACs.  I'm sure there
is a common history somewhere here(?)

> For example, if I have a large series of rooms that are linked together
> in a sort of torus, and all of it is laid out graphically on my screen,
> but it won't all fit... in order to select the rooms, I have to choose
> one end of the map and then scroll all the way to the other end of it to
> select where the exit goes. With a command line, I can do this easily,
> but when I'm connecting one room to the rooms immediately around it I
> can do it much faster using clicking and dragging with the mouse. When
> I'm designing rooms one at a time and adding in everything I need as I
> create the rooms, there's a lot of typing, so I would find it much
> easier to work exclusively from the keyboard. 

Sure it will fit. :)  CTL Z, F, Tab to Select Room (That's Zoom, Fit to Page
then Tab to Find the room)  Or even better, for those with poor eyesight;
CTL <arrow key> for immediate page by page scrolling.  

Hmmm, there's a point here somewhere.  I think what I am trying to 
convey is that GUI design is quite mature and there are "standards" to
follow.  Leave it up to the user to decide what's the most comfortable
for them, keyboard or mouse.

You can even enable voice activated commands or text-to-voice output.
I have a few programs that do this. I'm not quite comfortable with it
yet. ;)


More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list