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Wednesday, November 11, 2009


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Crap Mariner


AWSD and point-and-click are SOOOOOOO yesterday.

I move around with my Spacenavigator...



Honour McMillan

I tried point and click movement in Blue Mars - and yes it was my first experience with it. Hated it!

Skate Foss

Agree with Crap Mariner, I live in SL thru my Space Navigator. But that's an investment in SL alot of users may not want to make. Giving up control of our avatars to point and go...is like speeding past scenery, hardcore users aren't giving up control so fast

Tinsel Silvera

I agree with Honour. Don't like the point and click movements either. Prefer using the arrows or AWSD. I guess it's all in what you are used to.


There is Double Click Autopilot.


Such a feature already exisis in the SL client.

Advanced|UI|Double-Click Auto-Pilot

Nobody uses it. WASD/arrows is preferred everywhere.

Hamlet are you an avid player of any particular MMORPG or MMOFPS spending hours and hours immersed? Just wondering.

Your gut feeling is in the right direction though. The SL client needs to be made more for MMORPG style use with user definable hot bars, etc. And be skinnable so we can make MMORPG skins to go with MMORPG games inside Second Life. Given the leaked "sl 2 communications feedback" I fear Klingdon is in no way shape or form anything remotely close to a MMORPG player and despite his connected dots art he appears to be uncreative when it comes to user interface design and instead seems to be taking it in directions that ensures third party viewer utilization will skyrocket.

Maybe a third party client team will develop a skinnable interface spec.


Most likely Corey didnt want/have a quick solution to pathfinding.

Domchi Underwood

Hamlet, shame on you. SL has had point-and-click avatar movement for as long as I can remember.

Click anywhere on the ground and select "Go" from the pie menu. Your avatar will move to the place you clicked.

Alas, this doesn't work if you click on rezzed floors, but there's a better way: just turn on Advanced / UI / Double-Click Auto-Pilot. (If you don't see Advanced menu, press CTRL-ALT-D.)

After that, doubleclick anywhere you want and your avatar will go there.

I've used this mode of movement for a while thinking it would complement standard movement controls, but to be honest, default movement works much better. Even though it complements existing controls (doubleclick is rarely used in scripts) I don't think it should be enabled by default.

Arcadia Codesmith

A skinnable/configurable interface with easy presets seems to be the way to go. I like The Sims, but the click-and-go movement is one of the peeves I have with the game. On the other hand, I'm all for making existing customizations easier to access and adding more options for customizing.

Hamlet Au

"Click anywhere on the ground and select 'Go' from the pie menu. Your avatar will move to the place you clicked."

That's not point-and-click, though, that's point-right click-select from the pie menu-click. Or actually, as you say, CTRL-ALT-D, Advanced / UI / Double-Click Auto-Pilot, double-click.

Doreen Garrigus

Mmmmm. The differences in average spatial ability between men and women is slight and is dwarfed by the differences in ability between individuals of the same sex. It is also a great deal smaller than the average gender difference in verbal ability, but I don't see anyone suggesting that we need canned text responses in a drop-down menu to get more men involved in Second Life.

I have to say, having run across that click-to-go method of movement long after the first-person-shooter style movement, I hate click-to-go. It is disassociating.

It's alright for a game like The Sims, where you aren't supposed to identify as any one of your characters but are, instead, supposed to grow all of them, or for something like YoVille, which is played in a little box in a browser and isn't actually 3D or even truly interactive.

But for Second Life? You need to *be* your avatar while you are in world. You shouldn't be moving your little pixel Polly Pocket around on the screen. You should be experiencing the rich, user-created immersive environment, preferably from first-person perspective---in mouselook.

Lizzie Lexington

I am a simple woman with simple needs. I just want to be able to walk and type at the same time, Ha!

Exosius Woolley

Easier still would be to press and drag your avatar in the direction you want to go, and click on thing to automatically look at them. ...I think all of you have missed the real problem, which is that most of the people in the world are simply far too stupid to use Second Life. I don't agree that we should make things simple enough for them, and don't feel any particular need to turn the interface into a grade school level big-head monstrosity like YoVille.

Kaseido Quandry

World of Warcraft *doesn't* have point-and-click movement. Some other MMOs, like Guild Wars, have point-and-click as an option alongside the standard WASD.

As the poster above noted, point-and-click is hugely immesion-breaking. It's also awkward as hell for negotiating any terrain that isn't flat and smooth: you end up running repetitively into any object big enough to trip over.

However, if the goal is not to provide a smooth, immersive experience using standard keyboard tools that millions of people use daily, but to maximize the number of eyeballs looking at the screen - seemingly the theme of a series of your posts lately - there are any number of options for making SL "easier to use."

Several social virtual worlds have orders of magnitude more users than SL, and one of their UI tools is to have a menu of pre-programmed chat responses to choose from.

This ensures that typing - a complex skill which may require years to master - is not a barrier to entry, and also helps prevent offensive speech, which may exclude the more delicate from participation.

Of course, these worlds cater to children, but if a mass, unskilled membership is the goal, and the potential user base is viewed as hopelessly unskilled anyway, why not treat potential customers as children all the way?

Caliburn Susanto

What Exosius said!! Although I would add "...and lazy" to that.

Case in point, all the raving about third party viewers "doing" new things when all they are doing is providing buttons for features which have been there all along but people never bothered to discover for themselves.

Lowest common denominator sucks. Don't dumb down things for the riff raff.

Myf McMahon

"World of Warcraft *doesn't* have point-and-click movement"

Uhmm, it does actually, I used to use it all the time.

Hamlet Au

Thanks, Myf, I was wondering if I was smoking
crack when I pointed and clicked the hell all over WoW (well, up to level 10 before getting bored.) One of SL's main investors told me he thinks the point-and-click interface is what made so WoW big in China -- since so many Chinese still smoke, and want to keep their smoking hand free while they play!

Hamlet Au

"Don't dumb down things for the riff raff."

And that's the kind of belief that would doom Second Life to being a niche platform with little or no relevance outside its small user base. However, "simple" is not the same as "dumbed down" -- witness the iPhone.


"One of SL's main investors told me he thinks the point-and-click interface is what made so WoW big in China -- since so many Chinese still smoke, and want to keep their smoking hand free while they play!"

Well what are they waiting for!?! I bet the tobacco companies would be happy to sponsor SL and allow free use of their trademarks in Second Life!

BTW I hear some people are experts at one-handed "play" in Second Life already. :P

Hamlet Au


As with the idea of adding Facebook integration, I'm definitely not suggesting point-and-click *replace* the existing movement regime, just that it's added/tweaked and promoted as the default UI for new users. Hardcore SL users can stick with AWSD like they do with WoW, or opt into same.

Metacam Oh

I honestly think mode of walking around is not the reason SL isn't more mainstream.

Lish Lach

There's a mouse-driven alternative to point-and-click movement that can work compatibly along side WASD navigation keys. It's been used most recently in TellTale Game's "Tales of Monkey Island", which displays your avatar in a 3D world with automatic camera positioning.

To use it, you click and hold down the left mouse button near your avatar. A hula hoop with a rotating arrow is displayed around your avatar's waist, showing which direction he's pointing. If you then drag the mouse your avatar will follow, and the screen will scroll in 3D to keep him centered. It works quite well for surface-based movement, not so much for flying, though WASD keys can't handle that either.

Lum Lumley

> One of SL's main investors told me he thinks
> the point-and-click interface is what made so
> WoW big in China -- since so many Chinese still
> smoke, and want to keep their smoking hand free
> while they play!

This isn't a joke.

Point-and-click movement is a requirement in both Chinese and Korean games because players smoke like chimneys.

In Korea especially it is a very cultural thing; the pc-baangs were (slightly skeevy) neighborhood bars where people would get away from the house, play a game with their friends (all of whom were in the same room so chat/social features weren't as strong an issue) and those games had to be playable with one hand so the players could smoke.

PC baangs aren't as popular now that every home in Korea has broadband internet, but the preference of Korean players for point-and-click movement remains.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

In those games that use point and click for movement, how does one manipulate objects? Are they smart enough to find a safe path rather than taking a straight line (which might take one over open space, through the moat stocked with piranhas, out of the Neutral Zone, etc.)? I'd guess the answer to the latter question is "No, you have to click on each of the points at which you must turn", in which case I wonder how many such points there have to be before it's more bothersome than SL's arrow keys.

Jack Abraham

I think SL would benefit from embracing the UI conventions of MMOs, not the Sims. They're much closer to what SL already is, and incoming users are familiar with them. Also, in all the MMOs I've played (not a lot, granted) you can left-and-right click and walk, one handed, with considerable precision. Much better than WASD.


Just wondering - point and click - how would that work when flying? Does the avi automatically switches between walking and flying? Or do you by default fly?

And what about "flying at a high altitude" - where in some cases there's nothing to point and click at.

Also - obstacles - when you point and click in WOW, your character sometimes gets stuck behind a tree or a wall or whatever; and that is an environment that's always perfectly the same.

Thing is - point and click will always get the software to generate the shortest way from point a to point b; not sure if that will always be handy, and on top of that - many environments in Second Life are beautiful when you take the "designers route" through them - the shortest way from point a to point b would make you miss a lot of what the designer intended...

So - point and click - would it mean avi's all walk around with a sensor to know where obstacles are? And does there come another "kind of building tool" that allows designers to set up waypoints for people using point and click?

Sveid Heidenstam

More interface options are always welcome, and I'm certain many will find this particular idea appealing.

I have long believed that Linden Lab could learn much from the game development industry in terms of SL's interface. This would be one such example, however there are two more I believe to be even more crucial to SL's acceptance in the mainstream.

Camera placement is one of them. SL's current default camera rests high above the avatar as something of a downward angle featuring the ground and area around the avatar.

This camera angle presents several problems.

1) This camera angle encourages taller avatars. Many new residents, and even many long time residents, mistakenly believe a larger avatar will appear larger in their view. However, the camera pulls back further the taller one's avatar is.

2) This encourages over-sized environments and ridiculously tall ceilings, leaving content creators very little room to be creative lest they risk preventing potential visitors from entering their environments due to too-tall avatars, and a camera which will not play nice with low ceilings.

3) It limits the avatar's view of what lies ahead of them, unless they pull the camera back even further.

4) It is entirely against the concept of immersion. It creates a layer between the resident and their avatar by pulling the camera away from the avatar's view and immediate surroundings.

This works for the Sims, where the player is not supposed to be immersed in their sim's experiences, but rather the player is a guiding force over them.

In addition, Second Life does not force residents to conform to a specific height. An avatar may be anywhere between about three to nine feet in height. This is wonderful, allowing a wide range of creativity.

Unfortunately, that potential creativity is artificially capped by the fact that the avatar editor does not present the resident with their avatar's height. As a result, most residents are between seven and nine feet in height, and, tinies and animal avatars aside, avatars under six feet in height are almost non-existent.

Beyond removing over half our options as far as avatar height, this adds to the practical problem of encouraging environmental builds which are most often 1/3 to more than double in scale. As an experienced builder I can say without reservations that this significantly hurts SL's visual appeal, and reduces our ability to make full use of sim resources.

First, larger builds require more prims simply for their structure. a 10x10m floor is a single prim, a 20x20m floor is four. This adds up more quickly than many might imagine. Even megaprims are an imperfect solution and succeed at only diminishing the problem to a limited degree.

Second, it effectively reduces the area of a sim. The average avatar is 1/3 larger than is realistic, meaning the area of a sim is 1/3 smaller in comparison. That is no small amount.

This presents problems for vehicle creators, as sim borders are not entirely friendly to scripted vehicles. Making vehicles scaled to our oversized avatars reduces the relative size of the sim they are traveling in. Worse yet, vehicles, like buildings, are often scaled up even larger than our avatars. A double sized truck or airplane means the sim is half-size in comparison.

I doubt anyone would argue that larger sim sizes would not enhance SL's appeal. Simply encouraging smaller avatars and environments, by providing avatar height and a better camera view, would be a very simple way of providing exactly that.

Game developers recognize this. Most games approach it by giving the user little to no options regarding their character's size.

All of them give their users very limited camera options.

Neither of these approaches are an appealing option for SL. Rather than limiting avatar design, provide basic information and multiple new camera views.

Personally, my camera is set to an over-the-shoulder view akin to Resident Evil 4 or Fallout 3. I've found this to be much more aesthetically appealing, as well as much more immersive and functional.

What I've seen of "Viewer 2.0" hints at none of this, which is frustrating, as well as frightening since it shows a lack of understanding of the virtual world medium SL should epitomize.

Nalates Urriah

One big problem for point and click navigation is the clubs and plants. I left-click my AV and press the W key, steering with the mouse. I run into problems in clubs when the mouse registers a click on the mostly transparent lights or the transparent part of a plant.

New players are not going to understand what is happening.

One can see these problems in Blue Mars. Some times its a big problem to go somewhere because of the transparent part of objects and no walk zones. Just getting out of the landing area in Venice is a problem.

Builders often screw up and create places where it is difficult for an AV to walk. Being able to jump gets one past those problems.

While WASD-EC keys may be tough for new players to learn it does provide a 3D navigation that is easy to understand. The SpaceNavigator is a good step forward, I have not come across market penetration data.the point and click navigation seems to take one back to a 2D navigation with no intuitive way to handle vertical movement.

Getting down movement with WASD-EC is a couple of hours. SpaceNavigator takes a couple of days. Point and click is basically zero time to learn, but frustrating for vertical movement and flying.

Mitch Wagner

Interesting. I didn't realize that point-and-move was a feature of the main client. I've been using it in the Emerald client for a few weeks now, and I like it. I think it's great when I'm going to a SL lecture, where my primary mode of interaction will be text and audio.

I also have a Space Navigator, but I've been using it less lately, mainly because it's too much stuff on my desk.

I also like Doreen's suggestion of using mouselook more in combination with either the movement keys or space navigator, for a more immersive experience.

Mitch Wagner

(following up my own, previous post).

Indeed, a couple of my favorite features in Emerald are arguably features that break immersion:

- Click-to-navigate (actually not a feature of Emerald but rather the main client. I did not know that.)

- Avatar radar, which shows you a list of all the avatars near you, and allows you to IM, look at, teleport to, and do other groovy things.

Some might say those things break immersion, but I think maybe they enhance immersion by making SL more useful and enjoyable for me. Then again, I'm on the extreme augmentationalist end of the spectrum. I was thinking this morning that I don't think of my avatar as someone I am but rather as something I wear, like wearing the right clothes to the right RL occasion.

Hamlet Au

"Some might say those things break immersion, but I think maybe they enhance immersion by making SL more useful and enjoyable for me"

That's a good way of putting it, Mitch. Look at it this way: Roughly 90% of new SL users don't even make it off orientation island. So the biggest way immersion gets broken is people giving up on Second Life without really trying it out.

Mitch Wagner

BTW, mainstream SL would be a mixed blessing. I've seen it happen with the Internet. I was online a few years before the Web became popular. It was really life-changing for me when my Dad got an Internet connection.

I saw it happen with Twitter, and I was one of the last wave of early Facebook adopters.

You gain a lot when your geeky community becomes a mainstream hangout. But you lose a lot too.

Hmmm.. I'm thinking one of the main things I love about Facebook is that it's given me an opportunity to connect with old friends. I'd love it if they just showed up in Second Life one day and we could hang out at a concert or club or play 7 Seas Fishing.

Hamlet Au

I double-checked that Right Click-Go Here movement function in Snowglobe, it's definitely not point-and-click in the way I described. For one thing, it doesn't add a display target to the location you're going to, a la WoW, Free Realms, etc. For another, it's hidden behind the RMB and a pie menu. Real point and click needs to be as intuitive and immediately obvious as navigating a mouse around a standard Windows desktop.

Mitch Wagner

Hamlet - FWIW, Emerald surfaces the click-to-go-here activation in the Preferences settings - which is still not as intuitive as your blog posts calls for, because most consumers aren't ever going to go into the Preferences settings.

Balthasar Bookmite

How the f will making movement easier help SL gain more members? People don't leave SL because they have to use their keyboards. Hamlet think of some good ideas like reduce lag, market market market, bump graphics up for everyone, let more people onto one sim. Doesn't take a genius or a blogger to know what should make SL mass market.

Hamlet Au

Again, Balt, 90% of new accounts don't make it past the orientation island to the main grid, so they don't even get far enough to notice lag, the market, local concurrency, etc.

Sveid Heidenstam

Which is why the orientation areas need a complete re-envisioning. Fixing the camera placement, and down-sizing avatars so we can make larger, more detailed environments, would certainly help new residents' first impressions.

LL may need to hire outside talent if they are unwilling or unable to do the design work themselves.


Another reason for a Lite SL UI mode and a Pro SL UI Mode

Dusan Writer

My own longer response on my blog - which is to say that it's an interesting point, although I think incremental.

Also wanted to point out that in the news today, word that Linden Lab is 'shutting down' its Korean localization efforts. Maybe they didn't understand the chain-smoking avatar conundrum?

Dusan Writer

Oh - Korean story link here:


Arwyn Quandry

I think that point and click would totally screw over the dynamics of SL and alienate older users. We've been on arrows since the start, and changing it now would be too little, too late. Left clicking is already used for touching objects, so if we did point and click, we'd have to change how we touched things.

SL is pretty good the way it is already, we don't need to put in point and click to pull in new people. What we do need is a simplified orientation system and a way to ease the learning curve for newbies. Get rid of the radial menus (or just make them an option) and bring in normal computer menus, and add a more intuitive interface option.

Balthasar Bookmite

Those people who don't make it out of OI because they have nothing to do! LAG is on OI. I remember moving like I was in molasses on OI, if I didn't have other reasons for staying I would have left. OI needs to change so that way it shows all the cool things to do with SL while training people to use the client. Interaction needs to take place. Also remove the main hubs, have a large board of POI for the newbies to choose their desired location.

BTW: I was referring to LL marketing, not the market inside sl

Ace Albion

SL has half of that system, Jack. You can hold the (left) mouse button on your avatar to directly control turning left n right. It just needs the option to let you walk forward if you hold down the right button. Without that half, it is a bit pointless, admittedly. Not point n click, but it does allow single handed movement.

Coughran Mayo/Dick Dillon

I like the Advanced|UI|double click option, thanks AnnOToole. Of course, I think Crap is buying me a Space Navigator for Christmas so I won't need this option come Dec. 26!


Actually, I somewhat agree with Erick. Unfortunately, if everyone else would have looked at that map that was posted, and realized that half of the map is bots and campers, then the map, does not seem very impressive at all.

Anyone who has done any research at all into bots\campers, knows that there are just as many of them now as there has ever been, and they continue to grow.

And, you can not report them. And the Lindens only selectively stop a few of the worse offenders from time to time, but that is it. The problem is still massive.

Anytime you logon and you see 75,000 online, you can be assured it really only means 40,000 real people online with the rest being bots and campers. This is a fact but most people seem to ignore it.

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