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my current task is to create an user interface for a mobile strategy game. stuff can be transported from point a to point b. the user can select an amount of stuff between 1 and 1.000.000. it is importan that he can choose any amount he likes. how would you solve this without using a textfield and keyboard entry? i have some ideas in mind but am eager to listen to other ideas.

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Step 1) Change your game so that it doesn't ask for a number between 1 and 1,000,000 –  you786 Nov 7 '12 at 18:39
    
Calculator-style buttons? It's a metaphor we are all relatively used to and will be able to find which button to press quickly. –  Lee Nov 7 '12 at 18:44
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This is like asking: I need to get to Alabama. How should I go? We need WAY more context. –  DexterW Nov 7 '12 at 18:49
    
Dexter, follow the southern twang :). I am kind of partial to how mobiscroll does it. –  VoronoiPotato Nov 7 '12 at 18:54
    
How important is the precision? should the user be able to select something like 912345 ? or could rounded values be acceptable (for example, 900000)? I think of this for solutions based on a slider for instance. –  Padrig Nov 7 '12 at 18:58
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Common solutions to this problem:

  1. Use a text field, not a label. Even with the methods below, you can still allow the user to select the text field as a backup input method. Make sure the text field is set as a digit entry (tells the mobile device to only show numbers, not the full keyboard).
  2. Slider (Alexey's suggestion)
  3. Up/Down control: Use an up/down control. Tap the button to add 1. Hold the button to add many. The speed will change if the button is held longer. Having two or more up/down controls (e.g., one for +/- 1, one for +/- 1000) may help.
  4. Send X. Clicking "Send X" will send X stuff immediately (clicking twice will send 2X, etc.). In many contexts, choices like "Send All", "Send Max" and "Send Half" are appropriate. In a fast-paced real-time game, removing a click may be important.
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thanks for listing different option how to tackle that problem. having defaults like send x pretty much depends also on the game mechanics and how they work when people interact with them. but it is good to keep an eye on that. –  otomo Nov 8 '12 at 11:47
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I like the idea behind iPhone Music player slider which is used for positioning inside a track. It's a regular slider which has one interesting nuance: the far your finger from the slider bar (vertically) the more precisely control will let you to position. I.e., if you move it as usual it will allow you to position (depending on the length of the track) between 10s chunks, and if you will move your finger away it will let you to position by 5s or even 1s steps.

You may use such control and increment value (for example) by 10,000 and as soon as user will move his finger away from the slider make the value incremented (decremented) by smaller and smaller amount.

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That is a neat approach. I was also considering the use of a slider and somehow setting it into a different precision mode. Using the distance of the finger to the slider to adjust that precision is interesting. –  otomo Nov 8 '12 at 11:44
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