The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

What do you want to see in Armagetron soon? Any new feature ideas? Let's ponder these ground breaking ideas...
FroZen
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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by FroZen »

Are we immediately ruling out a two-handed layout? Although I'd agree that a one-handed layout may be more intuitive for new players, any player spending a substantial amount of time on Armagetron will probably end up upgrading the layout.

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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by sinewav »

FroZen wrote:Although I'd agree that a one-handed layout may be more intuitive for new players...
That's exactly what we are getting at. Anyone can change their settings later. We want the first few minutes of the game to be as easy and enjoyable to interact with as possible. amirite?

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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by compguygene »

When we debated the default layout of tr2n, we decided to go with a layout that supports double binding out of the box. We doubt that many of our players, if any will play with more than one player on a keyboard. However, it appears that the development team here would like to support 2 players sharing the keyboard with the default keyboard layout.
I think we both need to use the arrow keys for movement in our default keyboard config.
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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by Lucifer »

FroZen wrote:any player spending a substantial amount of time on Armagetron will probably end up upgrading the layout.
You'll be surprised how many old school players use a one-handed layout for movement. :) (Like me, I find it makes more sense to put movement on one hand and camera/communication on the other)

What really surprised me, one particular day, was finding that a guy I'd been playing with for several years that was kicking ass and taking down names was still using the default layout with no double-binding.
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compguygene
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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by compguygene »

Lucifer wrote:
FroZen wrote:any player spending a substantial amount of time on Armagetron will probably end up upgrading the layout.
You'll be surprised how many old school players use a one-handed layout for movement. :) (Like me, I find it makes more sense to put movement on one hand and camera/communication on the other)

What really surprised me, one particular day, was finding that a guy I'd been playing with for several years that was kicking ass and taking down names was still using the default layout with no double-binding.
/me is not surprised at all. At times, I use the arrow keys to stay away from any multi-binding, etc.
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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by Concord »

the number of single binders- well ok, not default binders- is sizable. I'm not sure I can list them all. Kind of irrelevant, but Lucifer brought it up!

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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by FroZen »

Lucifer wrote:
FroZen wrote:any player spending a substantial amount of time on Armagetron will probably end up upgrading the layout.
You'll be surprised how many old school players use a one-handed layout for movement. :) (Like me, I find it makes more sense to put movement on one hand and camera/communication on the other)

What really surprised me, one particular day, was finding that a guy I'd been playing with for several years that was kicking ass and taking down names was still using the default layout with no double-binding.
I know some players still use the default layout, and only one hand (I'm glad I got a reply about it). I don't want to argue that players that only use one hand can't be good, but I'd say the majority of the time two hands are better than one; and it just seems like an unnecessary limitation.
For everything besides high rubber, I use the default layout, only shifted into the middle of the keyboard.

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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by Phytotron »

Tried to find the post(s) where Z-Man noted that the default of having more than one key bound to turns has nothing to do with doublebinding, but only increasing the chances of someone finding sensible turn keys. But, couldn't recall where that might've been.


On the subject of Mac keyboards, here are the keys that don't exist:

• Pause
• for Console Input, a character that looks like ^ but the only way I can achieve that is Shift+6.
• Print Screen
(• Backspace, but that's OK because it makes a distinction between the two delete keys.)

Seemed like there were a couple more, but I guess not. T2O (is that the accepted acronym now?) had one that looks like that sideways-L character nemo, er, dlh currently has as his avatar; don't know what that was supposed to be, and it's not there in the most recent build. ::shrugs::

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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by Z-Man »

Phytotron wrote:Tried to find the post(s) where Z-Man noted that the default of having more than one key bound to turns has nothing to do with doublebinding, but only increasing the chances of someone finding sensible turn keys. But, couldn't recall where that might've been.
But it's true. The 'x' key, the only one bound to turn right, pretty much always is in the spot it is on the English keyboards. But the key to the left of that varies: it's 'z' for the English, Spanish and Portuguese, 'y' for the Germans, and 'w' for the French. So that's the three keys turning left is bound to, covering most of the western world's population. I don't think those three keys are anywhere near each other for db exploiting on any keyboard.

Regarding symmetrical two handed bindings, I wouldn't mind giving that as an option to select from, but yeah, it makes it difficult to allow a second player, and most gamers are used to do different things with their hands, not the same things for different directions. Like move with left hand, aim and shoot with right. Even those games where moving is more important than aiming (like, those that don't have shooting at all, or autoaiming) let the player handle movement with the left hand, by the way. I admit it's more of a controller limitation, though. Movement with the mouse would be awkward, and the right stick on console controllers is in thumb conflict with the face buttons, so you have more actions available if you don't force the player to keep his right thumb on the stick. Back in the day, when the buttons were less important than the stick, the stick would be on the right side.

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Re: The Quest for a Better Default Keyboard Layout

Post by Z-Man »

Keyboard layout 'research' time. The only games I found using T for public chat and Y for team chat are the quake ones. UT, at least, also uses T for public chat, but R for team chat. Every single other game uses completely different keys :) WoW and Multiwinia both share the return key for general chat. BZFlag uses N and M, probably because there was no other space left. *shrug* We're already using T for team chat, though, Y is used sometimes, R too.

Keyboard layout wise, it turns out there isn't too much variety. More people than I thought use the basic QWERTY one, and the QUERTZ of Germany and other European countries only differs in the swapping of Z and Y, and the non-letters on the right. ',' and '.' are always unchanged, '/' and '-' are always swapped. That at least makes the lowest row completely manageable without having to distinguish too much between the two forms. The second player's cycle controls can go there in the WASD variant, for example, far away from the firs player's keys.

That leaves the French and Belgian AZERTY in the dust, of course :) Lacking a proper way to detect the keyboard layout, I think we should, for the time being, give them a special layout to pick, at least for the WASD variant (which would be ZQSD for them). The language selection can't be used as a criterion, blame Canada. The cursor keys variant doesn't need so much adaption to make a separate layout necessary.

So anyway, control keys in the variants. Binding player 1 brake to space never hurts, binding camera mode switch to both C and V is also safe. Camera movement stuff goes to the numpad, 0/Ins there is always glance left, ./Del always glance right, just so it's somewhere.

Cursor Keys:
P1TL : left, U (Player 1 turn left)
P1TR : right, O
P1BR : down, I
P1GL: J (Player 1 glance left)
P1GR: L
P1GB: K

P2TL: S
P2TR: F
P2BR: D
P2GL: W, Z
P2GR: R
P2GB: E

Uses the UIOJKL block that is on all the traditional layouts for glancing and secondary turn binds for player 1, and the slightly shifted WERSDF block for player 2. Those two blocks can be switched, of course, only then player two, on top of only having one block, needs to put his hand between P1's hands. Works only for lap play.

WASD:
P1TL : A, Z, Y
P1TR : D, X
P1BR : S
P1GL: left, Q
P1GR: right, E
P1GB: down, W

P2TL : J, M
P2TR : L, ,
P2BR : K
P2GL: U
P2GR: O
P2GB: I

If P1 takes his hand off the cursor block, they can then play with equal single hand layouts.

QZSD: like WASD, but with the corresponding keys swapped.

Of course, instead of all that advance planning for keyboard layouts, we could prompt the user to press Z, then check the scancode for where it sits, then swap the keybindings accordingly.

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