Input on item controls?

Considering controls today. The sort of control setup I'll be mimicking is similar to Harvest Moon. That is, you can;

-Pick up an item >

-Eat or use the item
-Put the item in your backpack
-Throw the item

Normally, I would make it so these actions are done with the up or down keys, however these are currently taken up. The controls I want to work with are:

-Attack button
-Item button (currently pick up)

Here are some options. (Not mutually exclusive)

(Free down button)
- Change dash to another key.
- Set front dash to double tap. (back dash would happen if you double tap during an attack)
- Make it so you cannot dash while holding an item.

(Free up button)
- Make it so you cannot block when holding an item.
- Make it so you cannot block while holding a "usable" item (fruits, potions, etc)

(Free action button)
-Make it so the dive cannot be done while holding an item. Unless the action of the item is to use it on an enemy in H (like a toy), in which case it would do the dive.

When holding = holding an item

I-button: Pick up
I-button (when holding): Put in bag.
Up (when holding): Use on self/eat if possible
Attack (when holding): Throw item
Dive (When holding): Use item on enemy.

I-button: Pick up
I-button (when holding): Throw item.
Up (when holding): Put in bag.
Attack (when holding): Use/eat item.
Dive (When holding): Use item on enemy.

I-button: Pick up
I-button (when holding): Throw item.
Up (when holding): Put in bag.
Attack (when holding): Melee attack with item/ H-dive with item/item specific attack.
Dive (When holding): Use item.

(1) Has the most options available to the player.
(2) Seems like it would be the most natural, though the option to block with an item would be gone.
This might also make sense since if you are holding a tool, attack would use the tool.
(3) Adds the ability to melee attack with an item, though blocking is also gone.

Another possibility would be to make it so that the Dive button is always special/ item specific. Using it while the sword is equipped could throw the sword. Dive would be what happens if you use it while empty handed, or skills could be assigned to it.

Another option I've been considering is the idea of pressing V to pick up an item,
And then pressing and holding V would hold the item out in front of her. From this point, each direction would do something different, such as eating the item, holding it out to present to an enemy or npc, etc. Up could still bag the item, and attack would throw it. This would prevent the player from eating the item by mistake, since it requires a button combination.


  1. I think (3) can be awkward with your dive possibly suddenly changing positions. I personally like (1) the best because I think you might end up using the item in a panic while trying to defend yourself with (2). But then you mentions tools, and (1) doesn't have a key for it...
    Would "use item" count for slashing with a held sword? Then (2) would probably be best in that case, I think.
    Unless if swords are equipped separately and don't need to be held...

    1. Depends if weapons are made separate from items. Tools could also have the same designation.

  2. I'd recommend sticking to up to three frequently used buttons on the left hand and quick reaction buttons (movement, blocking, dodging) on the right. I'd do it like this:
    Left/Right: Move, double tap to dash.
    Up: Hold to parry. If an attack is blocked as soon as the button was pressed it costs less stamina. If carrying an item, stores the item instead. If carrying a consumable and holding the button, uses consumable on self. Can't parry with a strawberry, no?
    Down: Press to interact with environment: pick up items, use furniture (door, bed) etc. with the priority being given to picking stuff up (in case it's in front of another object). If carrying a consumable and holding the button, uses consumable on enemy or furniture. If attacking, cancels animation and back-dashes at the cost of extra stamina regardless of if you're carrying anything.
    Z (or X): Controls vertical movement like in any other platformer - jumps, double jumps, going down platforms, flying (which could be like infinite double jumps in practice). Unchanged by carrying items cause that'd be real annoying.
    X (or Z): The "violently use thing" button. Swings whatever you have in hand, be it a sword, hoe or strawberry. Holding it throws the item. If nothing is in hand, dives (unless unarmed fighting is possible)
    C: Use equipped skill. Holding it dives (an alternative to empty-handed X). Or dive could be a skill.

    This layout does a few things:
    -Only 7 buttons, not counting GUI
    -Buttons have a logic: Z to go up or down, X to attack (when using a hoe you're technically attacking the planet), C to do weird stuff, Up to interact with/protect yourself, Down to interact with the environment
    -Not carrying a weapon while fighting is not a good idea. Using consumables during combat is risky.
    -Back-dash has a greater risk-reward than a regular dash (attack cancel at the cost of stamina) and it's still on the same key.
    -Actions that need holding are used less than those that aren't: diving(no use in spamming it, either you enter H or go into a long-ish vulnerable animation), using consumables and throwing (you lose the item).
    -When harvesting you can just press down up down up, rather than having to hold a key to store each vegetable.
    -No accidental storing or using of items

    The only problem I see is that up and down can make you do the opposite of what you want if you don't hold properly. Say you want to use an item, but you don't hold so you store it instead. Or you want to drop an item but you use it on another creature because you held too long.

    1. To clarify, I meant "when an item is held" as opposed to holding the button. In general I'd like to avoid holding a button to do a function. Can feel a bit clunky.

      Holding attack while using a sword is a charged attack, so it wouldn't be a throw for normal weapons. The disadvantage is also that you lose the ability to charge the item throw for short/long.

      I don't think down can be used to interact with things and pick things up at the same time, since doors or objects could be blocked if there are a lot of items around it.

      Back dash out of an attack is one way that it could be used. Though that still leaves forward dash, and I know that some people aren't a fan of double tap. (Though that could just be because of how poorly many games implement it.)

      I do think that it's fine to get rid of blocking with items though. It's definitely the lowest priority and most logical thing to exclude, balance wise.

    2. That's why I mapped less-used actions on held buttons. Diving, at least, works as a charged attack (held button) since it's got a charge up and a "charge down" on a miss, with longer charges increasing distance travelled. I don't know how much importance charging throwing non-weapon items would have, though. I assume ranged weapons work with the regular attack button. I think throwing would work as a held button regardless of whether it's chargeable or not. Also, are skills going to be chargeable?

      About using down to pick up and interact with furniture, I assumed there wouldn't be that much clutter lying around. That's why I said prioritize items. Say there's a door and an apple, either there's enough room to use the door without touching the apple or you can just throw away the apple. But if you're planning on having a ton pick-uppable items lying around and the furniture sprites are small, that wouldn't work yeah.

      As for dashes, personally, having both back-dash and forward dash on the same key feels odd because letting go of left or right too soon can fling you in the opposite direction. Mashing movement buttons to dash also sucks, especially when using it to just go faster rather than dodging, but it's more intuitive.

      Overall, from the schemes you've proposed, I'd rank then 1>2>3. For 1. when harvesting you can just spam the Item button. The other buttons for 1. more or less have the same associations as I suggested them, with dive being the "interact with enemy" button.

    3. Well, aiming, for one. If there's no drop-to-the-ground button the weaker throw could also be used to throw something without destroying it. Possibly making it so weak items do no/little knockback, whereas throwing it hard does more damage and knockback, but destroys the item (depending on how durable it is).

      There will probably be magic, which will have possibilities to be charged.

    4. Personally I reeeeally dislike double tap to dash, in basically all games.

    5. Prob wont do it anyway. Not as default anyway.

  3. Pick-Pick = put in bag (or drop if bag full?)
    Pick-Attack = throw (hold to aim forward/45°Arc/Vertical?)
    Pick-Dive = use on ennemy if there's a target at range (or drop if there's none?)
    Pick-Jump/Dash = still Jump/Dash, mobility is important in such game
    Pick-Parry = use (may be counterintuitive at first, but makes sense to free the parry hand)

    Since Dive is a consious move, it kinda make sense to give it drop as a consious "I need to do that" before going for a parry. As for how item usage seems to be in conflict with other buttons...Maybe doube-tap the parry button before the animation ends to cancel the item use and drop it, or parry on hold, the item activation not happening on parry animation? That would make you parry a bit slower when you hold an item, but still allows it.

  4. 3 seems like the best option to me.
    Regardless of what you go with, dropping the ability to guard while holding items is probably fine. Seems like a fair trade off for whatever utility the item might have in combat re: thrown apple stunlock.

    Though I really like the idea of treating the sword like other items and giving it a special throw, with dive being the barehanded special. It opens up more options for you to mess with giving items secondary purposes, and letting people replace dive with different specials is a cool idea.
    Though then you also run into the problem with dive being objectively the best special in the game, and the only way people would replace it would be if all the other specials were just different kinds of player-dominant mounts. Actually, that's not a bad idea. Suplex -> succ combo.

  5. I think I like the Action Button option 3 the best. It opens up the most possibilities for the future and it's also a good idea on its own.