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authorSean Whitton <spwhitton@spwhitton.name>2015-11-18 10:09:12 -0700
committerSean Whitton <spwhitton@spwhitton.name>2015-11-18 10:09:12 -0700
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+[[!meta date="2011-09-04 19:13:00"]]
+[[!meta title="Grid hotkeys"]]
+[[!tag imported_PyBlosxom fiction vidya starcraft]]
+
+Today has been a day off (end of week) so I've spent it alternating
+between reading and playing StarCraft II, primarily experimenting with
+grid hotkeys. Mechanics is really interesting to me as an Emacs user who
+finds keystroke efficiency an interesting topic, but most are entirely
+irrelevant to me as a wood league player. One thing though is hotkeys,
+where it makes sense to customise things now while I'm still learning
+before I find it impossible to change later on. So I thought I'd try out
+the major alternative to the standard hotkeys, the grid hotkey setup.
+This means that your command card of buttons that cause a building or
+unit to do things is mapped spatially to the keyboard: the card is a 5×3
+grid, and so the 5×3 grid of buttons qwert,asdfg,zxcvb on the keyboard
+are mapped to the three rows---for example the second button on the top
+row is mapped to w. The standard setup uses mainly first letters, so z
+builds a Zealot, but there are exceptions where there are collisions or
+the first letters are too far to the right on the keyboard; an observer
+is built with a b.
+
+This approach attracted me because it keeps hotkeys tightly on the left
+of the keyboard. I rebound the control groups 6--9 down the side of the
+grid, along the keys y, h and n, to create a square I thought I could
+easily touch-type my way through. The other motivation for trying this
+out is that it is race-neutral which appeals to me because I don't want
+to be tied to one race forever just because it is a way to win lots; I'd
+like to eventually play random.
+
+Turns out grid hotkeys don't work for me. I think this is because I
+learnt the standard hotkeys (those that I know...) in terms of letters and
+words not spatially; I don't think about the command card at all and
+have to search it for an icon when I need to click one---I know the
+hotkeys better than the card. When I want a probe, pylon or sentry, I
+think 'e is for utility/support' and build it like that. So grid is nice
+but not appropriate for the way my brain processes this sort of thing.
+
+What I have learnt from this experiment is some useful moving around of
+hotkeys. I've been convinced at last that using the warp gate hotkey is
+a good idea; gates are automatically 'added' to it, you can't
+accidentally switch the camera to over your gates (pointless), and it
+doesn't use up one of the precious in-easy-finger-reach hotkeys
+available. Fine, but the problem I have with the default, w, is that
+it's not easy to include it in a sequence of taps from four or five
+through your production structures, so I've moved warp in to the
+spacebar: this way it can be included as my thumb can hit it at the end
+of a tap. Also it's easy to reach if all is going to pot and I need to
+warp in really quickly.
+
+I intend to move things like observers and immortals around, away from
+the far right of the keyboard, too. There should be enough spare
+letters.
+
+I'm also trying to habitutate starting buildings hotkeys from five up
+rather than from four because that gives you a few extra precious low
+number hotkeys for splitting your army.
+
+Finally I've come across the excellent base cycle hotkey, which cycles
+your camera between bases without selecting anything. This is great for
+shift-queuing probes back to the mineral line, and also much better than
+minimap clicking when, say, moving to your expansion to do a warp in.
+I've bound this to Shift-Spacebar. This is because so often I'll be
+using it to queue back probes, so I can just hold shift, then
+space-click and it's done.
+
+While I was researching this stuff (reddit), and pasting links to a chat
+window with [Ben](http://mooseguy.com/) who got me into SC2, Ben gave me
+the impression that he thinks I'm wasting my time with this and should
+get better at winning games at my level, *i.e.* making stuff and being
+aggressive with it, because that's fun. Let me be clear---trying to
+actually practice these mechanics is really boring and mildly stressful;
+I don't enjoy having to try so hard. But I really enjoy thinking these
+things through and considering alternatives and reading what other
+people have to say; this, I think, is a sign of me being in for the long
+haul with this and being quite willing to take my time to walk before I
+can run, so that I can start winning *well* at some point in the future
+once my macro and mechanics are at a decent stage.
+
+I find this attitude mirrored in watching Day\[9\]'s Newbie Tuesday
+series, where he tries to help people below the Diamond League. His
+attitude is entirely unforgiving about this basic stuff. He always talks
+about how easy it is to start winning instead, but of course that is
+only a temporary kind of winning, not actually playing well. I want to
+play well, so this stuff is sorted so I can do some strategy and micro
+and be epic! I seem to be sufficiently interested in this game that
+that's okay. I tend to agree with him and find it fun to hammer out
+these things, so that's what I've do.