Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

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kusalananda
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Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

Post by kusalananda » Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:38 pm

Hi, first post here.

Sorry if this feature has been requested before, but I couldn't find it in the archives.

Short version: Enable locking of mouse movement in X/Y direction when placing/mining/selecting.

I'm often trying to place items (especially belt) in long straight rows, but it's really difficult to move the mouse in a straight line, so what often happens is that the neat line soon goes off course and I have to manually pick up the erroneously placed items. This is common when placing ghost images as well as when placing items with the Long Reach mod. The current remedy is to place the items while running, but this is slow, and running over any perpendicular belt along the way may result in a wonky line.

The suggestion, therefore, is to have a feature that would enable one to start placing a thing, and while dragging in any direction with the mouse, the placing of further copies of that thing would continue only in that direction, or along that particular line in both directions. The effect would be of "locking" the movement in either the X or Y direction. This could possibly be activated by pressing a modifier key on the keyboard.

If this was extended to also only select things in a line in a specific direction, when the player's hand was empty, it would make picking up lines of inserters, belt etc. much less error prone. It would also make it much much easier to align things by simply engaging the feature, dragging the mouse and see where it ends up some distance away. The typical use case would be trying the place a splitter in the right location so that the split-off or joined belt lines up at the right place with a location on a belt bus, or finding where a belt has to be turned and extended to join up with another piece of belt further away.

This is a feature that I've seen in one or two graphical design tools, and it would make placing ghost images of belt and assembly machines (etc.) in neat rows much easier (or pick them up, or just measure things out for proper alignment).

Judging from watching a number of "let's-players" on YouTube, this is a common source of minor frustration, so I don't think it's just me.

Thanks for a most enjoyable game!

Regards,
Kusalananda
Attachments
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 21.15.46.png
Running while placing e.g. brick is ok for creating a straight line, but perpendicular belts will take you off course.
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 21.15.46.png (389.01 KiB) Viewed 1007 times
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 20.24.32.png
Is the splitter in the right location? (more difficult to see/measure over larger distances)
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 20.24.32.png (296.25 KiB) Viewed 1019 times
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 20.20.29.png
Placing belt in a straight line can be difficult.
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 20.20.29.png (197.43 KiB) Viewed 1019 times

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ssilk
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Re: Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

Post by ssilk » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:05 pm

That are good points. I like the pics, cause I have seen such pics very often in my games.


I added this to similar topics:
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=22305 Walking on Belts (New Power Armor module)
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=26720 Slow Walking/Running with Powerarmor Exoskeleton
Cool suggestion: Eatable MOUSE-pointers.
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kusalananda
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Re: Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

Post by kusalananda » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:46 pm

ssilk wrote:That are good points. I like the pics, cause I have seen such pics very often in my games.


I added this to similar topics:
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=22305 Walking on Belts (New Power Armor module)
viewtopic.php?f=80&t=26720 Slow Walking/Running with Powerarmor Exoskeleton

Hi, and thanks for responding.

The difference between the features in those topics is that I'm looking for a pure UI feature, not a new armour or upgrade to any existing item. The player would still go sideways on belts, but the mouse cursor, or at least the selected area on the ground, would not. If the belt transported the player too far away to build, it wouldn't continue to lay the belt/brick whatever and instead beep as it usually does.

This makes sense as all things are displaced by belts, even cars etc., so the player should also be transported by them. However, it also makes sense that the player (the character in-game) would be able to keep track of what a straight line is and not suddenly start placing brick in weird locations just because he got shifted one tile down while stepping onto a moving belt.

Likewise with placing ghost images, deconstructing things and aligning objects. It makes sense that the character standing on the ground would know what a straight line is, no matter how wobbly my mouse hand is.

Cheers,
Kusalananda

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ssilk
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Re: Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

Post by ssilk » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:14 pm

I put that in the article with the armor, cause when they work on controlling the character by a module or so, they can fix this togther. It't clear, that this is a basic feature, not dependend on modules, that was why I put it under "related".. :)
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Re: Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

Post by DemiPixel » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:49 pm

Only if there was a hotkey. One simple example of this is creating 4 lanes of a bus at the same time, just being able to drag to create that. I love the idea, and I understand the frustration, but there needs to be a hotkey. Perhaps there could also be an option to have it on by default and make the hotkey DISABLE it?

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Re: Locking mouse X/Y coords when placing things

Post by AndrewIRL » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:18 am

Love this suggestion.

Maybe don't LOCK the direction but have an affinity for a particular established direction and allow for some error in mouse position but continue to place belts where expected (continuing line).

Here's an example where Amazon did something along these lines for their menus - allow the mouse to get into the "wrong" area but continue working as expected: Breaking down Amazon’s mega dropdown (external link)

In particular look at the triangle image representing a greater allowance of deviation the further the movement in a particular direction. In Factorio terms even though the mouse has deviated off diagonally - continue to place track in the established straight line.

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