Hotkeys and the simplified UI: preffered bait and tool


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The Deep Forest update comes with a simplified UI, and changes the hotkeys and how we can quickly access various tools. We have to cycle through light sources and weapons in a predefined order, and we still don't get a choice about bait at all.

For the most part, I've adapted to instinctively using the interface (including extensive use of the 'holster' key!), but the feeling of frustration about certain aspects of the current arrangement hasn't faded. It looks as though some other people have frustrations with one or more aspect of the UI, and I think that adding two quick-access options would solve this: The first would be a quick-access to one piece of equipment of your choosing (e.g. matches, or bow or lanterns etc.), and the second would be for selecting an item of 'bait' that trumps all other potential baits when the 'drop bait' key is pressed.

Conceptually, it would be like putting the pieces of survival equipment that are most important to an individual player in the most easily accessible place, and instinctively reaching for these first. You could even have a 'quick-draw/preparedness' screen on the in-game menu to visualise this, such as a diagram of the player with a bait pocket or hook at the left hand and a 'reach for' option near the right hand. Both of these can be empty or filled with a picture of the selected food or tool, and you can scroll through acceptable options like with the new first aid screen. The idea would be that a player can set these at will throughout the game as they plan ahead, making their decisions depending on what they feel their survival needs and options are.

Why do I want to be able to define my preferred bait? As it stands now, I think the 'bait' hotkey needs a total rethink. How does it manage to never do what I want it to do? :? At the moment a very important survival decision is being made by an algorithm, not by the player. This often leads to an incredulous 'oh now that's stupid, I wouldn't have done that!' moment during which immersion is reduced.

For example, if I don't have much food on me and have just risked life and limb to acquire some, you can bet it drops my only 1kg chunk of meat instead of the 0.2kg chunk, leaving me to risk starvation. At other times, I've got loads of cooked venison that I'm happy to use as bait, and I've just harvested a scrap of rabbit. It will drop the raw rabbit :x , when what I really want is to have more time to run away by dropping something more substantial for the wolf to eat. Maybe I need longer to run away, because my stamina's run down, or because I will be running backwards uphill? Basically, the hotkey doesn't take survival context into consideration. Binding a particular item to a 'bait' key would allow that item to be dropped first, and the bait algorithm can move on to its own decision hierarchy whenever the preferred bait option is empty.

The item quick-access option could even be extended so that it not only brings up a particular item (e.g. lantern or match) but also takes you straight into the action (e.g. place bedroll, eat 1kg venison, light lantern) just as though you'd selected that from the menu. It would make a player's chosen action occur more naturally and smoothly than if they'd had to go into the menu all the time.

Adding these two quick-access options would allow us to have the simplified UI whilst still enabling players to enhance the experience according to their own style of play. It would also be interesting to see what styles of play people use and choices they make (e.g. high calorie bait to maximise the time to run away, or lower calorie bait to conserve food? Quick access to water, a cup of cold coffee or a lantern?). The great thing is that new players can still play the game without them, but once they've been playing for long enough to become comfortable with the interface (and have developed their own pet peeves with it) the options are there for them to tweak their experiences just that bit.

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