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Inventory Feature Wishlist (lock items, Interaction on click, change/swap items)

edited May 2015 in Engine development
Hi there! 

For my next game I'd like to improve interactions with inventory items a bit and I have some specific ideas. Unfortunately, my ideas can't be implemented with the current inventory features of AC. This is what I would need:

1. Lock Inventory Items
When an inventory item is "locked", it can't be dragged anywhere. At mouse-over, its name (label) is shown as usual.

2. Interaction on Click
When an inventory item is only clicked but not dragged, a separate interaction should be played. This is inspired by Broken Age and allows to "look at" an inventory item even with single-click-controls. This would need also a "clicked" feedback effect (e.g. a texture similar to the "click/highlight" textures of menus).
This should also be possible with "locked" inventory items (see 1.)

3. Change/Swap items in inventory
It should be possible to exchange/swap an item in the inventory with another item. It's important that its position in the inventory stays the same. 
Example: My 2. item (out of 4) is an empty piece of paper. Then something gets written on it, and it's practically a new item afterwards with completely new abilities and a new icon. BUT it should appear at the same place in the inventory menu (2 out of 4), it should NOT appear at the end of the inventory list (like a new collected item would).

Those 3 features combined would take the usability of item handling to the next level :) Chris, what do you think, do those features make sense?

Thanks and have a nice day!


  • The Broken Age style examining effect can be recreate by checking "Can drop and Item onto itself to Examine it?" in the Settings Manager.

    Good point about the swap feature - perhaps a "Swap" item next to "Add" or "Remove" in the Inventory: Add or remove Action would do the trick.

    However, I don't understand the need to lock inventory items - would this be a per-item thing?  When would this be useful?
  • edited June 2015
    Hi Chris!
    @ broken age style: Interesting, will try it out later, thx!
    @ swap: That would be so great :)
    @ lock: Yes, this is a very specific feature for my plans for our next game. And yes, it would be a per-item thing. In the course of the story one item gets unusable for a certain time - No dragging, just looking at it - but it should be possible to drag other items on it. Just drag'n'drop is disabled.
  • edited June 2015
    Ok, i just tried the "Can drop onto itself" option. To be honest, it's a bit unintuitive (For the player it's not clear that using an object with itself examines it) and not the way Broken Age handles it. Plus, I have the "Hide currently active item in menu" option on, so it's not possible at all in my games.

    In Broken Age, it is handled that way: As long an item was clicked (Mouse-Down) and wasn't dragged/moved before Mouse-Release, it is interpreted as an Examine Action. But when dragging occurs before Mouse-Release, the item is used like usual and/or just snaps back to its place in the menu. For tweaking the right feel, a sensitivity option (How far has the item to be moved to be interpreted as a "drag"?) could be helpful. 
  • The lock feature could be done if the swap feature is there: you could create two instances of an item (a normal one, and a "locked" variant).  The variant would have an empty ActionList as it's Use interaction, which would block the ability to select it.  You could then just swap the two whenever you need to lock/unlock an item.

    I'd be able to get the swap feature in for the upcoming v1.46 update, but an improved examine method will have to wait.
  • Ah, an interaction which blocks the ability so select it sounds great! Is this a new thing or is this already possible in 1.45? I don't need the examine thingy urgently, so its fine if it's done at a later point.

    Thanks so much!!
  • It's already possible - was never an intended feature, but it's a side effect of the way interactions work/
  • Just tried it and it works exactly the way I want it! Please don't fix this exploit :-)
  • Just tested the "Swap" (aka the "Inventory - Add or Remove - "Replace" action) feature in AC 1.46 and can confirm it works perfectly! Thanks, Chris!
  • edited August 2015
    Hey there again! 

    I just wanted to ask how's the 2. Interaction on Click (see first post and this post) feature going? In my upcoming game (release end of the year, hopefully) it's important to examine inventory icons without dragging them. And as said, the "drop item onto itself to examine it" option is no option for me (the usability just isn't that optimal; some of my items can't be dragged at all; if dragged, "hide currently active item in menu" would prevent them for being dropped onto themselves anyway).

  • I don't understand the difference between dropping an item onto itself and clicking it - the item is picked up the moment you click-down, so clicking up again straight after would achieve this.

    If an item can't be dragged, then you can just place the examine Action in it's "Use" interaction.

    Please try to explain what behaviour you're looking for clearly, bearing in mind that fact that dragging begins as soon as you click down (and hence not possible to detect a click until this has happened).
  • edited August 2015
    @ User Interaction if item can't be dragged: I'll try that, thanks!

    @ examine when only clicking:
    I quickly searched YouTube for a broken age example of how I want it to work (this example shows only the click-to-examine).

    As I explained here, in Broken Age the icon is only considered as dragged when it's moved a certain discance. When it's dragged only, let's say, 5 pixels before the mouse is released, it's examined. When it's dragged 10 pixels, the normal item drag and drop behavior starts.

    Currently the "dropping onto itself" in combination with "hide currently active item" means the following:
    1. Inventory item is clicked (mouse hold)
    2. it disappears from the inventory (because of "hide currently active item" option)
    3. it sticks on your cursor and it's size is reduced
    4. When the mouse was not moved and the mouse button is released, there is no item underneath in the inventory (because of "hide currently active item")
    5. So, the item wasn't dropped onto itself.

    For me the usability is the most important aspect. The "drop onto itself" feature has confusing user feedback, because as soon the item is clicked, it sticks at the cursor and has left the inventory -> There's no way the player will interpret this feedback correctly. You would have to teach him first what "dropping an item onto itself" (which makes no logical sense to the player) does.

    The Broken Age way is totally self-explaining and doesn't have to be teached:

    Clicking an object (= mouse moves only a few pixels and is released soon again) without "snapping" to the cursor and "leaving" the inventory-> examine/interacting with this single object
    Dragging an object onto another object -> using/combining the two objects with each other.

    Is it clearer now? :) Thanks!

  • edited August 2015
    @ User Interaction if item can't be dragged: 
    I just tried it out and it works! I thought the actionlist which should be assigned to the "standard interaction:" - "use" field has to be empty (like you said) to disable dragging the item, but apparently it also works as soon ANY actionlist is assigned (tested it with "Variable - Check" and "dialogue - play speech" actions). So this particular case is closed and humaldo is happy :)
  • Yes, that's clearer now.
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