Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Baldur’s Gate 3 Active Search

Since Baldur's Gate 3 was released on the Playstation 5, I was able to watch a few streams and see that the user interface of the game on the console is obviously very different from the PC UI. Given the huge number of possible buttons, selections, and tactical battle placements, using mouse and keyboard to play Baldur's Gate 3 probably has advantages. But then I watched a console player use the Active Search feature, and I got jealous: Console players have a function that shows them every item with which they can interact in a certain radius around the character in one handy list at the side of the screen. Unlike the ALT key on PC, which highlights only "important" items, absolutely everything that can be looted or otherwise interacted with is shown, and can then quickly be collected from that list.

It turns out that this Active Search feature also exists in the PC version of the game, but there is no keybind for it. You can't use it with mouse and keyboard. You need to attach a gamepad to your PC and then press A (for XBox controllers) or X (for PS controllers) and keep it pressed. Then a search circle will appear around your character, and the found items will appear on the left side of the screen.

Unfortunately when playing on PC, that isn't very practical. Not only do you need an additional input device, but using the controller and the active search completely switches the UI from the usual PC UI to the very different console UI. And you can't use mouse and keyboard on that UI, you would have to do all your searching of items and looting with the gamepad, and then switch back to mouse and keyboard. There are a few places in the game where there are a *lot* of small items, and if you want to loot them all, the Active Search function might be worth it. But most of the time the switch to the different UI is too much of a hassle.

Tobold said: "Unlike the ALT key on PC, which highlights only "important" items".

Really? I thought the point of such a feature was to show everything that you could interact with. At least, I think that's how it worked in similar games I've played such as Dragon's Age. (Note: I have not played Baldur's Gate 3 yet)
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