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Multi-keyboard setup
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 8:05 am    Post subject: Multi-keyboard setup Reply with quote

I just had this wild idea. After reading about it, you'll probably link me to a website that's working on it, but there you go. At least then we'll all know about it.

The Multi-Keyboard setup.
I'm thinking about being able to hook up several keyboards and mice to the computer at once and then identifying them all as different input devices in order to, for example, set up multiple controllers for games, much like you would hook several controllers into a playstation.
With my non-existant knowledge of computing, I believe it shouldn't be harder than a back-end program that identifies the different keyboard and mouse devices hooked to the computer and then arranges them. It could probably be built into the code of the games that support it, or you could have it as a separate entity on your computer. I dunno.

I was thinking about it when I just went to check on the multiplayer War Angels thread. That way, you could both play Keyboard-mouse set-ups.

Anyway, gotta run. Let's discuss the possibilities of this, eh? Could be cool!

ADDITIONAL:
What if there was also a unit you could purchase that was basically a condensed gaming keyboard? Like the ZBoard but without character keys. The keyboard could have one USB contact for hooking up a mouse and a mousepad built to fit to the side of the keyboard, so you could fit both the keyboard and the mouse comfortably on your lap?

This kind of a device is BOUND to appear now in the advent of the Livingroom Computers. New releases and announcements have shown that the hardware manufacturers are aiming towards media centre PCs for the living room. These are most probably also suitable for gaming, but keyboard and mouse in the sofa - while DOABLE - is a very inefficient solution for most people. I know from experience. Very Happy


Last edited by Magnulus on Sat Mar 11, 2006 8:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Konedima
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Joined: 25 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'd need at least one KB/mouse set to be USB, and USB keyboards aren't that common. Also, I don't know of any programs that let you do that.
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure USB keyboards will be coming on stronger in the near future. I think PS2 (that's what it's called, isn't it?) is hot on the Floppy drive's tail out of computers. I admit my computer is a bit insane, but I have a grand total of 10 (or was it 12?) USB drives in my computer. Mostly because my original motherboard didn't support USB 2.0 and I had to get a USB 2.0 card with four slots in it (after buying a USB 2.0 HUB which I thought was all I needed), but still. If there were no PS2 plugs in my computer, the motherboard could support four more USB 2.0 contacts with ease.

USB is just so endlessly more useful.

Anyway, in case you missed it, I added some to my previous post as you were posting your reply. I have little to do today at work, so I'll see if I can come up with a concept of the Keyboard setup.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All possible, and indeed, there's already a few games that support multiple mice:



Can't think of any supporting multiple keyboards.

from a purely commercial standpoint, I think it would be mad to make a game that relied hevaily on either of these options. It's a nice extra for a smaller game; you'd think a few people would have spare mice lying around or could get a friend to bring theirs round. I think it would be a really small target audience though Smile
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icarus
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woops delete


EDIT: cant you read i said delete


Last edited by icarus on Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:48 am; edited 2 times in total
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icarus
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Joined: 01 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one problem

it takes one hand to use a keyboard for gaming (and you are only using half the board)

it takes one hand to use a mouse

another keyboard will require 3 hands


you could just use 2 hands on the keyboard for gaming and get the same effect
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, my point here was that you could use it for multiplayer gaming, not for using two keyboards yourself. Like, if two people want to shoot eachother out in War Angels on the same screen, and they both wanted to use the keyboard+mouse setup, they could each connect their own keyboard and mouse, allowing them not only to sit apart by a bit (the shoulder-to-shoulder style of same-screen gaming gets a bit tedious unless you're playing your love interest.) but also to use the keys they are used to so one won't be banished to some weird keyset at the edge of the single keyboard.

ADDITIONAL:
This would also, if you had like a lap-board with built-in mousepad, allow you to play your media centre PC in the living room together with your friends. No need to huddle together on the couch. You could be sitting in a bean bag while the other lies on the floor playing.
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icarus
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmm

good point
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Anticheese



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sure it would be a great feature, But how many computers do you see with multiple mice?
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And how many do you see with two keyboards? I'm just saying the possibility would be cool. Actually, in my house, there are three working keyboards. Two computers. There are also three or four working mice. Also, if there were any cool games out there with this feature, there would be more of an incentive to HAVE two keyboards and two mice. Especially if you have the 'puter in your living room. Also, your friends could bring theirs when they come over to play.
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magnulus wrote:
And how many do you see with two keyboards?


Hmm, approx 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%

Sorry to shoot the idea down in flames, it just doesn't seem worth it to me. If War Angels for instance needed to support multiplayer on one PC, then it really needs to be able to support mouse+keyboard and then pad as that's pretty much the only way anyone is ever going to have much chance of setting it up easily.

It might make a nice addition to a game if minimal effort was involved, but I would never design a game around it.
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Magnulus



Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Bergen, Norway



PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"DIRECT HIT! Starboard Engine's gone! We're goin' down!"
*splutters and spins towards the ground and crashes in a magnificent ball of flame.* Very Happy

Heh. Yeah. I can see your point here. And I completely agree that you should never design a game around it. I probably wasn't clear enough about it. What I meant was that it would be cool if it were an option, not if there was a game designed that REQUIRED it. Like, would you have implemented it if the back-end (or driver or library or whatever you techies call it) existed already? If it were as easy as just adding it to the options with the same amount of effort it takes to add joypad support, would you support it?
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Fost
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Magnulus wrote:
If it were as easy as just adding it to the options with the same amount of effort it takes to add joypad support, would you support it?

Yes, definitely anything that's easy to add I always think is worth supporting.

On that score, I'm pretty sure multiple mice is fairly straightforward but only on Windows XP, as with earlier versions of windows there is no way for a program to tell which device the input came from -at least, not without a separate driver. XP has a feature called raw input which is used to accomplish this. I've no idea if multiple keyboards are easy to support - but I'd guess they can use the same system and have the same limitations as mouse support.


There's some info and code on raw input here. Looks like the same code was used in rag doll kung-fu, which support multiple mice too Smile
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