[games_access] duel navigation? Please could all members voice their opinions?

Tim Chase agdev at thechases.com
Wed Nov 16 09:20:18 EST 2005

> Is it too restrictive to insist on there being only one
> element in focus at any time? even in a gaming situation?

I'd say it depends on the game.  I read just yesterday about a
game that was actually comprised of four seperate "simple" games
(pong and the like) that you had to manage all four at the same
time, jumping between windows.  Each game in and of itself may
not have been a captivatingly great game, but the game was in
managing all four at the same time.  For the most part, a single
item of *primary* focus is usually best.  However, in many games
you have asynchronous events that need to take place.  The player
should then be allowed to change focus accordingly.  e.g.

In a first-person-shooter (FPS) style audio game, you may have an
enemy in your reticule.  If a second enemy starts firing off to
your left, the player can discern that (1) it's only a minion
with a pop gun, so I'll take the time to finish off my targeted
enemy; or (2) gaak! it's a huge beast and of far greater concern
to me than the enemy currently targeted.

Part of gaming is to make those sort of valuation decisions.  So
there should only be one focus, but other items should be allowed
to take place and call for the players' focus.

> Does anyone have experience of using dual controls to
> navigate(1)? Where one set of controls is linear, the other
> planar?

Well, there's the old classic Robotron in which one portion of
the keyboard (the eight keys surrounding the "K" key) controlled
your movement and another portion (the eight keys surrounding the
"S" key") controlled the direction of your firing.  I must say I
found the game rather maddening.  But some folks like that sort
of thing.  It clearly requires dexterity, coordination, and the
use of both hands...not a sort of game for mobility-impared folks.

> However it hasn't been satisfactorily described what should
> happen  when both are in use: what will the window.status show
> as the destination URL? (2)

I'd say that the window.status should show the most recently
changed item.  If you tab-focus link #1, it should show that
target URL.  Then, if you move your mouse over link #2, it show
the URL for link #2.  If you move the mouse off of link #2, it
should revert to the URL for link #1 (with keyboard focus).
Whether you move the mouse off a link or not, if you tab-focus
again with the keyboard to link #3, the window.status should show
the URL for link #3.  This scenario can cause minor problems for
folks that use only the keyboard, if bumping the mouse happens to
trigger motion over the target link.  However, in such a case,
one could easily park the mouse in a corner of the screen to
prevent such problems.

> Should there be only one element allowed to be in focus?

Like with games, the user is indicating their desire to change
focus by using either the mouse or the keyboard.  Their most
recent input should be treated as their "focus"

Just my early-morning ramblings...best served with a grain of
salt. :)


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