Spaces on Snow Leopard and ctrl/arrow keys

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I'm getting ready to make my Dirk Dashing 2 platformer available for pre-order next week. It is written in C++ using SDL 1.2.14. The default key mappings use the CTRL key to jump and the left and right arrow keys to move back and forth.

I'm running with Mac OS 10.5.8, and the game runs fine for me. But one of my testers is using Snow Leopard, and he reports that the game is unplayable with the standard controls because CTRL-Left/Right arrow keys operate OS X Spaces.

Is there some way to temporarily disable OS X Spaces while the game is running? Or is there some other way to easily handle this?

Thanks!

P.S. - Oh, and I'm still using Xcode 2.5, if that makes any difference.

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Creator of Dirk Dashing, Rick Rocket, and Fashion Cents Deluxe
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Luminary
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Post: #2
Don't choose controls which collide with OS-level features?
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Unfortunately, arrow keys are pretty standard fare.

Ctrl seems to be a fairly common key to use in games, too. I can't imagine I'm the only game dev who's run into this problem.

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⌘-R in Chief
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There's no way around it other than choosing different controls or being in fullscreen.
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(Aug 16, 2011 11:15 AM)SethWillits Wrote:  There's no way around it other than choosing different controls or being in fullscreen.

+1

And it's also not good programming to disable OS features, such as OS X Spaces. What's wrong with using the space bar for jumping? That's more common anyway.
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I'm using the space bar to shoot. Sad

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(Aug 16, 2011 01:40 PM)GolfHacker Wrote:  I'm using the space bar to shoot. Sad
Z, X, and C easy to use when also using the space bar. And don't forget to add keys for left handed people. Like W, A, S, and D for movement and so forth. Wink
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I'm getting ready to release Dirk Dashing 2 this coming weekend, and I need to revisit this issue. (It's been a low priority during the pre-order beta, since players can re-map their keys, but now I need to pick the official default keys for v1.0).

Anyone see any issues with using arrow keys to move, space to shoot, and Alt/Option to jump? I was looking at the OS X Human Interface Guidelines, and I don't see a potential collision if I use the Alt/Option key. (Though, I didn't see one with the Ctrl key either, since this document doesn't appear to have been updated to address the Ctrl + arrow keys collision with OS X Spaces)

The Alt/Option key is right next to the Ctrl key on my Apple keyboard, so it seems like it would be relatively easy to use.


Edited: I just remembered I'm using Shift + arrow keys to make Dirk sneak quietly. Changed Shift to Alt/Option.

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Sounds reasonable to me.
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Thanks, ThemsAllTook!

Edit: crud, I just remembered I'm using Shift + arrow keys to make Dirk sneak quietly. How about Alt/Option to jump?

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That'd work too, but seems a little bit weird to me for some reason. PoseMotion's suggestion of Z, X, and C is a pretty common choice these days, at least in the realm of Windows and Flash games - I don't really understand why Mac games usually avoid that scheme. What if you used Z to jump, X to shoot, and C to sneak? If I was starting a game for the first time, I'd try space, Z, X, up arrow, and maybe shift to jump, but I probably wouldn't think to use alt.
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Post: #12
I think classically, the bottom row and modifiers were used more often than anything else, but my preferred placements are WASD or ASDF + Space + Arrows. ASDF + Space is more natural than trying to use the modifiers and ZXC. You can still get at shift for sneaking, space is easily hit for shooting, you have four fingers always on top of keys, and you easily can get at another four with just your index finger.

Logically, it's the most relaxed hand position on the keyboard. Plus I find the modifiers (minus shift) to be a nuisance on laptops with the function key being there.
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Hm. I haven't played any flash platformers, but I've played lots of other ones.

The older DOS platformers, like Commander Keen, Crystal Caves, Secret Agent, etc. are still my favorites, and these all use arrow keys plus Ctrl and/or Space. So I'm used to these most (though I realize these are older games, and less familiar to most players).

Turtix and Ozzy Bubbles use the up arrow to jump, but that doesn't work for me. I need the up arrow for ladders, doors, switches, and other stuff.

Frogatto uses a control scheme I've never seen before, namely A to jump and S to attack. So I'm hesitant to adopt this. Besides, A and S are buried in the middle of the keyboard - seems like an odd choice to me.

A search on google shows a wide variety of opinion about what people think the default keys should be for a platformer. No help there. Sigh.

In general I think flash games avoided using Ctrl, Shift, and Alt because they're played in a browser window, and those keys can do weird things when used in conjunction with other keys. That's probably how ZXC became common. But desktop game developers stuck with Ctrl, Shift, Space, etc. I'm guessing that's probably why there's a difference in control schemes between Windows/Mac platformers and Flash platformers.

My original Dirk Dashing game used Ctrl to jump and Space to shoot, so my existing customer base is already familiar with this setup. So I'm hesitant to deviate too far from it. Maybe I'll try substituting Alt for Ctrl, and leave the other default keys as-is. At least Dirk 2 adds the ability to remap keys, so players can switch to ZXC or whatever they're comfortable with. And left-handers can finally remap the movement keys to WASD.

There are in-game instructions in level 1 that will communicate the use of Alt to jump (in the default control scheme). So hopefully players shouldn't be too confused about Alt...?

(Jun 27, 2012 11:59 AM)SethWillits Wrote:  I think classically, the bottom row and modifiers were used more often than anything else, but my preferred placements are WASD or ASDF + Space + Arrows. ASDF + Space is more natural than trying to use the modifiers and ZXC. You can still get at shift for sneaking, space is easily hit for shooting, you have four fingers always on top of keys, and you easily can get at another four with just your index finger.

Logically, it's the most relaxed hand position on the keyboard. Plus I find the modifiers (minus shift) to be a nuisance on laptops with the function key being there.

You're describing a left-handed control scheme. WASD to move, Space to shoot, and Shift to sneak. What would be your recommendation for jumping? Would you use the Up arrow in that configuration? Or some other key?

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⌘-R in Chief
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Post: #14
I personally wouldn't use WASD to move in a platformer. I was just saying that's one of the most normal keyboard game mappings to use to me.

I'd use space for jump, F for shoot, shift for sneak, and the arrows. You have ASD and RTGV to do any other special moves or what not.
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Post: #15
You should setup both WSAD and Arrow keys for both right and left handed people. Wink
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