Crafting Bug, Inventory Cursor Modes, and Preloader Work
It looks like I still missed a crafting bug in the flurry of activity. ht1237 alerted me to a bug which happens when one crafts an item that is stackable, and it matches an incomplete stack on the ground. If the existing item on the ground is the first place the crafting screen finds when checking to see if the yield fits, that existing item is deleted. The result is that completing a recipe in the crafting screen (not even confirming it, just completing it) might delete ground/camp objects.
I think I have a fix for it, and it should come with the next build.
Inventory Cursor Modes
Wow! It's a good thing I happened across those threads. I didn't realize the new cursor system was such an issue, and that folks actually preferred the old one. Some users still prefer the new one, too, so it got me thinking about how I could try to help both types of users.
One thing that I'm considering is re-enabling the cursor hotkeys with a slight change. Basically, everything will continue to work as-is (click will drag by default, double-click will take, and right-click opens the context menu), but there will also be the ability to toggle drag vs. take modes as the default click action. Right now, I've got the "1" key rigged to do that.
I've also experimented with rigging the "2" key to switch to "use" mode. However, rather than toggling that mode, the "2" key must be held down for as long as the user wants "use" mode active. This is mainly to avoid the issue of players forgetting that they had "use" mode active, and accidentally clicking on a precious consumable. I don't think requiring "hold" for this specific mode will be too bad, since folks usually don't need to be in "use" mode for very long. Just long enough to eat a pile of ketchup packets, etc.
I'm also looking into whether I can restore some sort of UI element to show the current cursor mode. True, the cursor is already a good indicator, but adding a UI element makes it a bit clearer to new users that there are other cursor modes, without having to exit and read the instructions (or go through a tutorial). They'll just see these little cursor icons somewhere, and when they roll over them, they see hotkey instructions for each mode.
So why did I choose "1" and "2" keys? A lot of folks suggest ctrl, alt, or other modifier keys. And normally, that would be a good idea.
However, as a cross-platform game, those modifier keys tend to get used for different things, and can make them unusable. E.g. ctrl is sometimes used by Macs to simulate a right-click, since the trackpad has no right mouse button. And alt opens menus in non-fullscreen windows, which can trap keyboard input before the game gets them. So shift is really the only safe key for now, and I use that for toggling stack vs. single item modes.
Anyway, I'm thinking this new setup will give us the best of both worlds. Users who like the current system can keep using it with no effort, and users who prefer the old system can pretty much still have it via hotkeys. We'll see how it works out in practice!
I also spent some time working on the preloader today. Lately, as the game gets larger, players trying to use the browser version are greeted with a black space where the game should be as it downloads a new build for the first time. If the player isn't used to it, they may think it's broken.
Normally, the preloader is supposed to kick in here, and show download progress. But there's a problem which causes the game to show a black screen for a while.
I'm working on hooking up a new preloader that should show the bar immediately. I'll be testing it out tomorrow, and hopefully, that'll make the game loading process more intuitive.
That's all for today. Thanks again to everyone who provided bug reports and usability suggestions! The game is still far from perfect, but having actual humans (besides me) discuss what works (and what doesn't) really helps!