The cursor tools

The cursor on a Pop Framework view takes on a different appearance according to which cursor tool is active for that view. Left-clicking on a critter has an effect that depends on the currently active cursor tool. Do note that not all of the games have all of the cursor tools enabled. If a cursor tool isn't enabled, it's corresponding toolbar button will be grayed out.

Note that if you have currently selected the Player | Mouse Controls, you can't use any cursor tools, as the cursor is busy controlling your player.

If your mouse has a wheel, you can switch among the active cursor tools by turning your mouse wheel in either direction. Otherwise you can select a cursor tool with the toolbar buttons, with View menu selections, or with accelerator keys.

For purposes of detecting a click, critters are treated as circles. That is, a cursor tool affects a critter if the click lies within a circle around the center of the critter's sprite with a radius equal to the outermost point of the sprite.

Whenever you click on a critter it becomes the focus critter. All views of a game have the same focus critter. The focus critter is drawn with a circle around it, and its motion across the screen is paused. The size of the focus critter circle is slightly larger (10%) than the size which the critter is regarded as having. Sometimes you'll barely notice the circle, but for the wall critters in the Dambuilder game, the focus circle will look surprisingly large.

There does not necessarily have to be a focus critter. If you click on an unoccupied part of the game world, then there will be no focus critter, and all the critters for that game will move about freely.

The Pop Framework allows you to use the Z key in place of the left mouse button when using cursor tools.

In 3D worlds, the cursor tool click is thought of as acting on the line that runs from the viewpoint to the cursor. This means that clicking on a critter will affect it, just as in the 2D case.

Shoot cursor (crosshairs icon)

Clicking with this cursor aims the player in the direction of the click and makes the player fire a bullet. You can use the Z key instead of the left-click. In 3D, the default is to pick the aiming point to lie in the same plane as the player, that is, it is the point where your line of sight to the cursor cuts the player's plane. However, in 3D if you are using the View | Ride Player, the aiming point is picked to be the spot on the far wall in the direction you are looking in, that is, it is the point where your line of sight to the cursor cuts a vertical wall parallel to the screen.

Pick cursor (arrow icon)

The Pick cursor is a default cursor that has no effect on the games.

Drag cursor (hand icon)

The Drag cursor is used to drag critters to new locations on the game world.

In a 3D game world such as 3DStub, you can drag a critter only in the plane of its body.

In 2D or in 3D, if you drag a critter against a boundary such as a wall or the edge of the world, the critter will slide along the boundary, using whatever component of the drag motion lies parallel to the surface of the obstacle.

In the 2D Windows Graphics view, when you click a critter with the Drag cursor tool, the critter is visually moved to lie above the other critters. In 3D OpenGL Graphics, the critter's relative depth location is not changed like this by the Drag cursor.

Pin cursor (pin icon)

The Pin cursor kills a critter when you click on it. If you kill off some of your critters and restart the game (for instance by pressing Enter) the same number of critters are created as the current count. You need to make a separate left-click for each kill action, that is, dragging the Pin cursor has no additional effect.

Zap cursor (lightning bolt icon)

The Zap cursor mutates the critter that you click on. It can be used on the player as well as on the other critters.

The active hot spot of the Zap cursor is the upper left tip of the lightning bolt icon.

To 'mutate' a critter means to change its size, and possibly the appearance of its sprite.

Replicate cursor (equals sign icon)

This makes an exact copy of the clicked critter at a location near to the clicked critter. You are not allowed to replicate the player critter. Note that if you go wild and replicate dozens and dozens of critters, your updates per second will drop down, eventually making the game run too slow.

    Part I: Software Engineering and Computer Games
    Part II: Software Engineering and Computer Games Reference