Saturday, May 06, 2006

Changing Hot Keys Annoyance

I don't want to play with my mouse. I want to use keyboard keys to control my game. This method of user input happens to be a Windows standard and even is part of section 508 compliance.

So Doyle's Room has a feature they call hot keys. This lets you run the program without a mouse but with your function keys. The trouble is the the "hot key" changes meaning, often while you are trying to press the button.

The programmer apparently took the list of all possible actions and assinged the function keys to them in sequence. F1, F2, F3, ... But not all the possible actions, only the possible actions for the moment - this particular time and place. So the meaning of the function key can change, drastically and adversely, from minute to minute.

So just as you are about to say, check your hand, the function key for check might suddenly become "call 6,400". A very irritating morph. But to be honest, I complained and the following week the software changed. Most of the problem went away.

But not all of the problem. Just look at F1. If you have just joined the game, F1 is Post Big Blind. When it is your turn to bet, F1 is fold. If it is not your turn, but you want to perform a pre-action, then F1 is Check/Fold, while Fold has no hot key. If it is time to post blinds, F1 might be Post Small Blind. This lack of consistency causes the player to feel he is less in control of his computer.

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