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Subject: VASSAL - Standard Hotkeys? rss

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Kurt Keckley
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I am drudging through my first module creation and would like to know if there are any standards out there for the hotkeys. For example, what is the standard hotkey to hide units or rotate a block?

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Joel K
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There aren't really standards. Many traits do automatically assign a command name and keystroke when the trait is added to a piece, e.g.: adding a Delete trait will default to a command name of "Delete" and a keystroke of Ctrl-D. Some of the suggestions are pretty bad, such as the default keystrokes for the Can Rotate trait: Ctrl-] and Ctrl-[.

There is no need to keep the suggested keystroke--you may have any number of good reasons for changing it. In general I would recommend that you avoid using single letters or numbers accompanied by the Shift key, because I've seen cases of these actions getting unintentionally triggered by the key being used in a chat message.

If you are designing your module using a beta of VASSAL 3.2, you can take advantage of the new Named Keystrokes feature--that is, you are no longer bound to various combinations of Ctrl/Alt keys and a single key. If you have a big module that will use a lot of commands this is a lifesaver for avoiding duplicated keystrokes on multiple pieces (a common source of unintended behaviors).
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Kurt Keckley
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Thanks!

Now if I can just figure out what is causing my infinite loop (game pieces)...
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jay white
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I think there are some fairly standard hotkeys for the examples you used. I guess that's because of the default hotkeys VASSAL assigns. I have no idea what VASSAL assigned, but these are the ones I'm used to:

Crtl-H: Hide
Ctrl-F: Flip
Ctrl-D: Delete

I agree with the previous poster that Ctrl-[ and Ctrl-] for rotate is annoying - too far away from the Ctrl key. I prefer it when people use something closer to the Ctrl key for that, like Ctrl A and Ctrl-S.

 
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Joel K
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I thought of a few more things related to this topic that might be worth sharing.

I've developed a habit of often renaming both the default command that VASSAL gives to a trait and its keystroke to be something relevant in the context of the game. For example, in a couple of my modules there are land units that have a Regulars side and a Mercenaries side. If I just accepted the defaults for the always-active Layer trait that implements this, I'd have two commands with non-intuitive keystrokes assigned to them: Increase on Ctrl-] and Decrease on Ctrl-[.

This isn't really helpful to the user, because nothing about this piece is meant to increase or decrease, and I don't want it to be something generic sounding like "Flip". So instead, I renamed the "Increase" command to "Regulars" and bound it to Ctrl-R. The "Decrease" command became "Mercenaries" and is bound to Ctrl-M. Now the commands are contextually more appropriate and the keystrokes match their first letter. After adding in a couple Restrict Commands traits, you can hide the Regulars/Mercenaries commands when the piece is already on those sides.

In a big module there are only so many variations on a theme you can do while maintaining this goal before you start getting mired in key combination hell: Ctrl-M, Alt-M, Ctrl-Alt-M, Alt-Shift-M, Ctrl-Alt-Shift-M. This is where named keystrokes in VASSAL 3.2 will be so great--you won't have to use up all the "easy" key combos on behind-the-scenes actions that aren't exposed to the user at any point--things like changing Dynamic Properties, setting up Triggers, silently creating/moving/removing pieces, etc. In VASSAL 3.1, everything you ever want to do with a trait requires a key command, whether the user is ever meant to see it or not.
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Martí Cabré

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Please don't use [ ] { } ~ \ < > ^ as they don't work properly on non-US keyboards. Sometimes you have to press weird combinations to activate them, sometimes they don't work.
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Martí Cabré

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And don't use combinations with Shift, as they are activated when writing on the chat window.
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Kurt Keckley
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I can't find flip as an option. help..
 
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Bart de Groot
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p38_Lightning wrote:
I can't find flip as an option. help..


Mask trait.
 
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Joel K
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The Layer trait will work too--just rename the Activate command to "Flip". The gold standard reference material for the time being is the Module Designer's Guide.
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