Want some on-the-road training on our keyboard commands for copying and placing blocks? Play our Drive game!
Several Land F/X tools include a built-in set of commands fired by pressing specific keys on your keyboard. We've incorporated these keys into a simple but fun driving game you can play within any of your DWG drawings. While cruising around your site, you'll be building familiarity with the keys that will kick your design process into fifth gear. (Leave it to us to turn CAD into a video game. At least it's for educational purposes.) So go ahead – put the pedal to the metal, and enjoy your road trip.
Why the Drive Game?
Think of our keyboard commands as tools within tools. When copying or placing blocks such as plants, RefNotes, and irrigation equipment, you can use these commands to toggle to the next block in the list, increase or decrease your block spacing, and more.
For example, when you activate our tool for placing plants in your drawing, you are also activating the following keyboard commands for actions you can perform on the fly:
- 1–0: Set a number of plants to place (aka Shotgun Mode).
- Q/E: Toggle to the previous/next available plant in the Plant Manager.
- T: Enter Paint Mode, where you can "paint" an area with copies of the selected plant.
- P: Switch to our Copy along Polyline tool.
- W/S: If placing multiple plants, set a wider/smaller spacing for them (aka Shotgun Spacing).
- A/D: Rotate the plant(s) you are placing to the left/right.
- L: Label the plant(s) you're placing.
- X: Enable our Xhair Angle tool, which allows you to place plants at a set angle.
- V: Switch to our Copy along Line tool.
- C: Switch to our Copy along Arc tool.
The value of these commands really can't be overestimated. Because you're able to carry out all these actions while a tool is active, you won't have to move back and forth between your drawing and the manager dialog box you're sourcing for the blocks you're placing. At their core, the commands allow you to specify plants, site amenities, and irrigation equipment as you're placing these objects, which adds a considerable amount of fluidity and speed to your design process.
Once you've developed a familiarity with these keys, you'll be able to fly through your designs even faster than before. Although the keyboard commands have slightly different functions across our features that include them, you'll find that a general familiarity with the keys will serve you well across the board.
In fact, we put a lot of thought into which keys to use for which functions. The keys we chose are those you'd use in any number of computer games that require some sort of movement up, down, left, and right.
We recommend using the W, A, S, and D keys as your home keys, where you should be keeping your hand while copying or placing plants, RefNotes, irrigation heads, etc. Then think of the A and D keys as the left and right arrow keys. A will toggle you "left" (decrease spacing) and D will toggle you "right" (increase spacing). This position also gives you easy access to the keys that toggle between best and exact fit (W) and reset back to 100% spacing (S).
So if you use W-A-S-D as your home base, you'll begin to realize that the commands are built intuitively around this axis. That's where the Drive game comes in.
Play the Drive Game
In creating the Drive game, we reverse engineered our set of keyboard commands into a simple video game where you learn the commands by "driving" around a drawing. Here's how to play:
Open one of your existing DWG drawings – ideally a plan that shows a site with roads or pathways. You can play in a blank drawing if you want, but you'll have a better experience within a file that includes enough objects to form a visible background for your joyride.
Open our Plan Graphics tool:
F/X Site ribbon, Plan Graphics flyout
F/X Details ribbon, Plan Graphics flyout
F/X Graphics menu, Plan Graphics option
or type PlanGraphics in the Command line
Select any vehicle block from the Vehicles category, and click OK to place it.
We'll select the car pictured to the right.
The Drive game will only work with blocks from our Vehicles library.
Place the vehicle block in your drawing, and set its rotation.
We'll place a vehicle on a section of road in the drawing pictured to the left.
For a more authentic experience, you may want to scale the vehicle up or down to fit its environment proportionally.
To start the Drive game, type DRIVE in the Command line and press Enter.
The cursor will turn into a pickbox, and you'll be prompted to select a vehicle to drive. Select the vehicle you just placed.
You can now start driving! To see a dialog box with the available keyboard commands, type K.
You can move your vehicle around your drawing using the following keys on your keyboard:
- Number keys (1 through 9): Set a speed for your vehicle.
- W: Drive forward.
- Q/E: Lane change left/right.
- A: Turn left.
- S: Back up.
- D: Turn right.
- H: Honk horn (sound the chime sound currently assigned to your computer).
- Spacebar: Close the game and get back to work.
When driving forward or backward with the W and S keys, you can either tap the key to move the vehicle a step at a time, or hold the key down to floor it! Don't worry – even if you hit a tree, you won't break anything.
Why each key does what it does
We gave each key a logical function in the Drive game that suggests that same key's function within our tools. For example, the W and S keys move your vehicle forward and backward. When used with our tools, these keys increase the spacing of the blocks you're placing (essentially moving them forward and back). The A and D keys, used for turning right and left in the game, are used for rotating blocks to the left ad right – like turning a steering wheel. And the Q and E keys, which change lanes in the driving game, are used for toggling to the previous or next block, which is a bit like going over to the next lane to the left or right. So you'll be learning and internalizing the essential functions of these keys as you drive.
Here's an example of a route, with the keys you'd press to guide your vehicle along that route:
That's it! Drive around your site to your heart's content. Use the number keys (1 through 9) to change speeds. The higher the number, the higher the speed. Try going faster as you get more comfortable.
Remember to keep your left hand on your "home keys" (W-A-S-D. As you gain more time behind the wheel, you'll become more and more comfortable with the keys you'll need to actually work. (Yes, you still have to do that.)
Oh, and don't forget to delete the vehicle from the drawing when finished, unless you want a random car or bike in your site plan.
Apply the Keyboard Commands to Our Tools
Ready to get back to work? You should now have a strong basis of our fundamental keyboard commands you can use while: