This is less a suggestion and more a prompt for a conversation on sim inputs in general, with a light-handed focus on inputs in I:B. I felt Development would be more appropriate category than Suggestions given the lack of concrete ideas.
I’ve got my armchair game designer hat on today. I’ve been thinking of ways to work around the key-hungry nature of sims. In I:B, we have a number of radial menus already, which collapse a dozen keys into a single one. Radial menus see a lot of success in other genres, and they’re faster than lists, but too many options on a single radial can make accurate input difficult and having a 4th or 5th radial menu to keep track of feels daunting.
I think I:B supports chord keys, but I haven’t tested it. I’ve accidentally set keybinds to things like “joystick0button1+joystick0button13” sometimes, but I haven’t done it intentionally yet. Cleverly configured chords could keep keyboard clutter under control.
Holds vs presses are also a possibility. For targeting, a tap could target under cursor while a hold could target closest, as an example. Holds could instead open a radial menu to allow for functionality related to what the press does (or to change the function of a press).
Any complex set of binds risks becoming cumbersome for entry-level players. The sim crowd tends to accept a fully utilized keyboard as a fact of life, so I don’t think most folks here will have a problem with a big ol’ mess of binds. I:B is less esoteric than most others in the genre though, which I suspect will attract players who would usually stick with more arcadey experiences. They might need some handholding on the way to space jockey status (I’ve also got thoughts on the new player experience, but that’s a different post). Control unification is on the roadmap so I know this is in the works, I’m just eager to discuss ways it could be implemented.
What do you think works or doesn’t work as an input method in a game like I:B? What successes and missteps have you seen in past sims? I’d love to have some ideas to chew on.