A couple of things I’ve been pondering came together for me recently, which led to a crazy idea that I think might just work.

In short adding facing to the game, but bear with me on the explanation before you decide whether that’s a good idea. Basically facing would be represented by something very similar to the “look around” command, except it’s persistent. In other words, you adjust your point of attention to be on a square where you aren’t standing, and your facing is toward that square. If that’s not clear, here’s a crappy ASCII representation:

Standing near a building corner, you look ahead and see a zombie...
.......     .......     Z......
.......     .......     .......
 #.....      ......     .......
 #.@...      #.....     .......
 #.....      #..@..       #....
 #.....      #.....       #..@.
 #.....      #.....       #....
Keeping the zombie in view, you move to the corner of the building for cover
.Z.....     .......
 ......      .Z....
  .....       .....
   ....        ....
   #...         ...
   #.@.         #@.
   #...         #..

The first two actions are “look around” actions, and the next two are movement, you can see how the adjustment to look direction is maintained even though you’re moving. I’m thinking the default for adjusting move direction would be Shift+hjklyubn like the default for movement, though this would be remappable like anything else. There’d also be a “center attention on player” button.

This would make driving nice, as you generally want to look ahead of you instead of having the view centered on you. If you’re running from a horde you can watch behind you to keep track of where they are. Finally this would give you a way to direct a flashlight, the flashlight cone would face the center of the drawn area, so you can selectively illuminate things. If the view is centered it’d basically be interpreted as “point flashlight at the ground”, with there possibly being adjustments to how the flashlight casts light based on where you’re looking e.g. if your attention is nearby it’d still be pointing mostly at the ground and have a limited range, but if you’re looking far away it’d be pointed horizontally and cast light further.

In the distant future the direction you’re facing might have additional effects, like a higher chance to spot things (once there’s some kind of spotting mechanic), including facing for monsters, NPCs (which is easier to implement than PC facing, go figure)

Thoughts? I’ll be trying it out and possibly pushing it as a non-default option since I think it’ll be easy to implement the basics, but I’m interested in feedback.

Would zombies also have facing?

If the facing isn’t a forced thing (both 360 and to atleast screen’s edge, most of the view we have now, being an option) then I’m all for it.
Sounds like it, but I’m worried about the ‘pointing at the ground’ part to imply that the view radius is significantly reduced from what’s currently in-game.

Personally, while I think UrW’s facing is an interesting… feature… I don’t care for it one bit.
Now, if you reduce the radius/angle in trade for focusing further in one direction, I could easily accept that.

It’s a separate issue really, but I think they might as well. (you’d probably need to check it by 'e’xamining them).

[quote=“n9103, post:3, topic:194”]If the facing isn’t a forced thing (both 360 and to atleast screen’s edge, most of the view we have now, being an option) then I’m all for it.
Sounds like it, but I’m worried about the ‘pointing at the ground’ part to imply that the view radius is significantly reduced from what’s currently in-game.

Personally, while I think UrW’s facing is an interesting… feature… I don’t care for it one bit.
Now, if you reduce the radius/angle in trade for focusing further in one direction, I could easily accept that.[/quote]

At least as a first cut, it would be totally optional, you could just ignore the feature. The default would be the view exactly like you have now, and e.g. flashlight range would probably be exactly like it is now if your view is centered. The main difference would be that you would have the extra option of shifting your view persistently.

I think that part will be useful regardless of whether I actually tie it in to any game mechanics. So I’m going to go ahead and implement that, and we can see if it makes sense to tie it into anything else later.

I think it’s a very interesting improvement, but to exploit this feature would require increasing the size of the game screen so you can see more terrain, or not?

I believe the idea is to un-center the view, so that you see further in a direction of your choice (but not the others, obviously.)

The character will remain in the center of the screen?

sneakyfreaky has it, you move the view independently of the character.

It doesn’t interfere with anything else, so I implemented and pushed to dda repo. If you build grab a copy and give it a spin. I set the default hotkeys to HJKL, the cardinal move keys + Shift. You’ll need to either nuke your data/keymap.txt and have the game make a new one or add the keys yourself since they’re new.

Let me know what you think, it’s great for driving.

Played with this a bit and it’s bloody fantastic in general.

It’s nice for more than just driving, being able to keep an eye on a horde that’s chasing you, or watching your pit line while crafting/reading is sweet.

I’m pretty damn happy with the feature as it is, my main problem is the keybindings. I’d really like for it to either steal B and U along with Y and N, which would probably make some people understandably unhappy, or move the view shifting commands to Alt- or Ctrl- hjklyubn, anybody particularly familiar with the keybinding code and know if that’s supported?

Why not alt-numpad numbers?

no problem having those also, but I use hjkl and I’m not sure how to have it recognize Alt-

also makes anyone on a laptop without a numpad (which is almost all of them) to either remap the keys, or skip the view-shifting altogether.

Fantastic - definitely will make driving easier and getting a better look around. One idea for ‘realism’ (and I realise this is a bit debatable) but being able to look backwards (and keep running) seems a bit strange.

More than for realism though, I think it reduces the ‘tension’ of being chased by a horde. One of the main things which is worrying about a horde is not knowing how many are behind you, whereas with the facing backwards you get a bit more of a ‘tactical’ overview.

Perhaps facing behind you could have a slight movement cost/pause as you look around?

Good point, if we make the transition from this being a pure UI thing to being actual facing, I’d probably want to add a movement penalty for various scenarios, such as moving in the direction opposite where you are looking (running backwards), or watching something in the distance while moving.

In combination with a run mode, this could give you a chance to trip… ooh I’m liking this a lot :smiley:

Considering the look commands have always been available, and take no actual time (they never should in a roguelike) this hardly seems an issue of realism, and more one of convenience.
Since you need a handicap to go with the advantage, consider that if you’re offset behind to see the horde, you’ll never see the Hulk ahead of you until it’s too late.

That’s what I meant by:

What I’m pondering is making facing and attention a very real and game-impacting facet of the game. If I go that direction, “looking around” may* no longer be a free action (though it’d be VERY cheap), and the direction you are looking when performing actions will impact your ability to perform those actions.

For example, movement penalties for “not looking where you’re going”, melee penalties for looking away from combat, and restricting ranged attacks to enemies in the current view. The default would be no penalties because the view is centered on your character.

*I’m on the fence whether “look around” should have a cost, you make a good argument FOR it having a cost in that otherwise there is no penalty other than convenience for keeping track of any and all enemies within your field of view. That’s definitely bad design because it makes the optimal way of playing really irritating and time-consuming. On the other hand free “look around” has a valuable realism use in that we’re representing a very high-bandwith stream of visual information with a very low-bandwidth representation. “You should be able to glance at a room and see what’s in it”, but just the ASCII or tiles are often insufficient, so roguleikes use “look around” to get information that “should” be available.

An alternative would be to use facing to restrict your field of view even when in “look around” mode, so when in neutral facing you are aware of things within a certain (smaller than it is now) radius , and when facing a certain direction your perception extends further in that direction, but at the cost of developing a blind spot in the opposite direction, and possibly reducing the radius of lateral perception. It would be WAY easier to just add a small cost to looking around instead of messing with rendering, but I’m not sure which is the superior UI.

Since with the current look-around you can see the ‘a’ slot item in a stack but just get ‘and others’ for any additional items maybe another application of a focused (non-charactercentric) view could be seeing more than just that top item, partially based on your perception attribute. Say, something is close but more than 1 tile away in a stack. You should realistically be able to determine how many and at least a general composition of the items that are in the stack other than being able to identify only the thing on top.

There’s a “display nearby stuff I can see” command in the works, we found a dev that’s not allergic to the wacky menu hackery Cataclysm uses for menus.

Sadly, I have to say that if full-facing becomes implemented, I’m going to have to say goodbye; Just like I did to UrW.
It’s a much increased tedium with minimally increased realism, and much impacted gameplay.
It’s a novelty that wears off as soon as you stop being excited about it.
If someone wants a stumble-in-the-dark game, they can play things like Resident Evil, or go old-school with Alone in the dark.

And the option of modding out facing is a handicapped one at best, should it stay in for long, because the rest of the official dev will be done with facing being a thing to work with.