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Feedback Wanted Aimpad - Analog Keyboard Suggestions


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I noticed a couple posts that mentioned Aimpad on these forums and thought I would reach out for some feedback.  For a quick recap, Aimpad is a company that is developing an analog keyboard.  In other words, sensors are mounted under the key switch to sense how far down the key is being pressed and then translate that into an analog joystick axis.  I have made a series of YouTube videos that focuses on how a keyboard like this can benefit you in different games.  For my next one, I would like to focus on Star Citizen.  However, I don't have a lot of experience in the game.  I am looking for advice or recommendations on how one would best configure the inputs on an analog keyboard to effectively pilot a space craft while still using the mouse at the same time.

Our current prototype is configured with 10 analog keys:

Q = Left Analog Trigger
W = Left Analog Stick "Up"
E = Right Analog Trigger
A = Left Analog Stick "Left"
S = Left Analog Stick "Down"
D = Left Analog Stick "Right"
Up Arrow = Right Analog Stick "Up"
Left Arrow = Right Analog Stick "Left"
Down Arrow = Right Analog Stick "Down"
Right Arrow = Right Analog Stick "Right"

The rest of the keys on the keyboard are just normal digital keys (either keyboard keys or XInput buttons).  If you have any recommendations on how you would use the analog keys above while using the mouse at the same time I would GREATLY appreciate it (and give you credit in my video).  Right now I'm thinking maybe WASD for throttle and strafe, Q/E for roll, and the mouse would control pitch and yaw, and use other keys on the keyboard or mouse for vertical movement.  Regardless would be curious on your thoughts.  Thank you for taking the time to read.

Edited by Aimpad
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how about rolling with the mouse X-axis and pitch/yaw with the mouse Y-axis. that way the Q and E can be used for something else like strafing up/down or something.. idk, just my 2 cents :)

good luck with your product

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Well, I would use them just like they're used on an usual keyboard.
Can't imagine anything else nor any reason why anything else should work better.

As for your overall idea, it does sound nice, but are there even many people who mind how far they're pressing the buttons down? Personally I totally don't mind that.

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how about rolling with the mouse X-axis and pitch/yaw with the mouse Y-axis. that way the Q and E can be used for something else like strafing up/down or something.. idk, just my 2 cents :)

good luck with your product

 

Thank you for the suggestion about using Q and E as strafe up/down.  It wasn't even a thought that occurred to me.  Is there a lot of need for fine control over vertical movement or would roll be more important?

Well, I would use them just like they're used on an usual keyboard.
Can't imagine anything else nor any reason why anything else should work better.

As for your overall idea, it does sound nice, but are there even many people who mind how far they're pressing the buttons down? Personally I totally don't mind that.

Just for clarification, the idea is not that people mind how far down they are pressing keyboard keys.  The idea is that a normal keyboard is either on/off. You either press it or you don't press it.  So, for example, if you are in a ship and you have "W" configured for throttle you would press "W" and you would instantly go from 0% throttle to 100% throttle.  You cannot control your throttle using a normal keyboard.  However, my keyboard prototype is different.  If I want the throttle to be 20% I press my "W" key 20% of the way down.  If I want 60% throttle I press the "W" key 60% of the way down.  This provides much greater control  over your ship than is possible with a normal keyboard.

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Just for clarification, the idea is not that people mind how far down they are pressing keyboard keys.  The idea is that a normal keyboard is either on/off. You either press it or you don't press it.  So, for example, if you are in a ship and you have "W" configured for throttle you would press "W" and you would instantly go from 0% throttle to 100% throttle.  You cannot control your throttle using a normal keyboard.  However, my keyboard prototype is different.  If I want the throttle to be 20% I press my "W" key 20% of the way down.  If I want 60% throttle I press the "W" key 60% of the way down.  This provides much greater control  over your ship than is possible with a normal keyboard.

I knew exactly what you mean after reading your first post.
Doesn't change the fact that there's not even much space to lower the button. Even if the sensor can notice that, you need quite some space below the button. Otherwise it still comes too close to on/off.

As for the throttle, in SC that doesn't matter at all.
There's no on/off throttle. The game itself is working with a kind of 0% - 100% metre.

tl;dr  (yes, my tl;dr are often longer than the other text):
Personally I would use such a keyboard for games where I drive a car. It's really annoying that you can't change your direction as smoothly as you want.
But for SC I totally wouldn't need that. The difference compared to a normal keyboard would be too tiny. I'd rather get a joystick for that.

Anyway, that's just my feedback based on my opinion/experience.
Don't get scared by that, I know many people would love to get their hands on something like that.
Also I'd expect the price to by higher than the price of an usual keyboard. If that's not the case, there's no reason to hesitate. If the price is fine it could easily replace other keyboards. Of course that won't be the case for everyone (and obviously it won't be suitable for all games, but that doesn't seem to be your aim anyway). That on/off thing is something that people are used to. I wouldn't mind trying though.

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Ah, okay cool.  No worries.  It is certainly very good for driving games (GTA V is MUCH better with analog keys).

It is good to know that SC doesn't have much throttle control.  Each Cherry MX switch has 4 mm of throw.  So for a full x,y axis you have 8 mm of throw to use.  The sensors we are using combined with the micro controller we are using provides greater precision than an xbox 360 controller.  In addition, because we don't need to worry about centering the stick against two springs (there is a single spring that each key engages) the deadzone is around 1-2% versus 20-30% of an xbox 360 controller.  So, we can use significantly more of that throw for greater control. 

I spent some time last night messing around with the training module for the first time.  The analog control on the keyboard is fine, but I can't seem to figure out what to do with the mouse.  It currently behaves as a virtual joystick which is horrible since there is no haptic feedback to figure out where the "center" of the virtual joystick is.  Is that how people actually fly with a mouse?

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Honestly for strafing I'd prefer an analog stick for that. I have a G13 - using it together with a Joystick on my right for normal flight. The G13's analog is much better used for strafing since u can control 2 directions at any given time (up-left, down-left, up-right, down-right, up, down, left, right} Buttons for strafe is tricky, at least for me.

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Yeah, it's like the takeoff in the tutorial mission. Omg, I broke my ship already.

That was EXACTLY my thought when I was trying to take off.  I remember several months back there used to be an auto center on the mouse control to behave kind of how it was in Free Lancer, did they get rid of that?

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That was EXACTLY my thought when I was trying to take off.  I remember several months back there used to be an auto center on the mouse control to behave kind of how it was in Free Lancer, did they get rid of that?

If we're talking about the same feature, I'm sure there was an option to switch between the control modes.
This auto center was one of them.

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I would love to see your technology in an Orbweaver though. If that was a possibly or even something I could send you as a refit you'd have my money five minutes ago. I don't need an entire keyboard with just the WASD +/- QE but getting a gaming keypad with your tech would be absolutely everything I need.

Okay, and a better thumbstick for the Orbweaver because it outright sucks compared to the G13.

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I would love to see your technology in an Orbweaver though. If that was a possibly or even something I could send you as a refit you'd have my money five minutes ago. I don't need an entire keyboard with just the WASD +/- QE but getting a gaming keypad with your tech would be absolutely everything I need.

 

Okay, and a better thumbstick for the Orbweaver because it outright sucks compared to the G13.

 

 

Our original plan was to make an Orbweaver/G13 type device but the overwhelming feedback was "This is great, but it would be better if it was in a full keyboard".  So, we scrapped that idea and started over.  Ultimately it was for the better because we have improved everything in the process, but we are at the point where we have to move forward with the full keyboard design and can't deviate from that.  Sometime in the future I would like to revisit the gaming keypad though.

As for a refit in the Orbweaver, unfortunately, it requires an entirely new circuit board to properly support our analog keys (or a really messy mod).  I have heard of people modding the Orbweaver's stick to be analog like this guy:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTvRxWKzPyc  So, if you are feeling adventurous you could give that a shot!

 

 

Edited by Aimpad
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Since I'm planning on going with the Oculus a full keyboard isn't an option, but business wise I definitely get the need to pick a format and go. I'll keep my eyes out here to stay abreast of development and I'm glad you found SCB.

What's the problem with Oculus and a keyboard?

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You could use some textured key caps or something like that to help orient your fingers, but yeah, doing any kind of significant typing or key finding on a full keyboard while using Oculus is going to be a bit difficult.  It wouldn't be an issue with simple games, but the vast amount of key bindings available in SC that I've seen so far is pretty complicated.  Granted, a lot could be done with voice commands or something like that so it would help minimize the need to use the keyboard for a lot of things.  Just some thoughts.

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I don't know my way around one with my eyes open and looking right at it. With my vision otherwise obscured I'm going to need a good reference.

I think SteamVR is quite open if you really need to see your keyboard. At least I read that.
Btw can't you use the keyboard without seeing it? It's quite handy to be able to.

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I spent a chunk of time last night trying different configurations and I think I have a pretty good handle on things now.  The best configuration I found  up to this point was:

Q/E - Roll Left/Right
A/D - Strafe Left/Right
W/S - Strafe Up/Down (Vertical)
Mouse X - Yaw
Mouse Y - Pitch

I set two mouse buttons to be throttle increase and throttle decrease (with double tap of these buttons set to 100% or 0%).  So I have analog control over 5 degrees of freedom of movement and an okay control over throttle.

On another note, I found "relative mode" provided the best amount of control over Yaw and Pitch with the mouse, but it still isn't great. It feels really "blocky" for lack of a better word.  It feels like a mouse resolution issue perhaps, but when I move the mouse it doesn't feel like I am tracking one pixel at a time but it "jumps" in small increments each time of several pixels. It does not feel accurate or precise at all.  Has anyone else run into this?

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