Action button labels, again


_wb_

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Yes, I know this topic has been discussed before a lot already (e.g. here, here, here, here, here and here). But none of the earlier discussions have really lead to a convincing conclusion. Greek Playstation-like letters (Π Ω Δ χ) and Pandora-like Latin letters (A B Y X) were rather popular options. There was a weak majority in favor of ABYX, but without a clear consensus on how to extend ABYX with two extra action buttons: adding C and Z does not exactly make sense in this physical button arrangement; Roman numerals I and II could be confused with the letter I (uppercase i) or l (lowercase L) and with the pipe symbol |. Also there is some concern about potential confusion between the action buttons A, B, X, Y and the letter keys A, B, X, Y — one proposed solution is to use the labels ( A ),  ( B ),  ( X ),  ( Y ) for the action buttons.

A lot of these earlier discussions took place before we knew how the physical buttons would look like: for example, it was not clear from the beginning where the extra buttons would be located (some people were hoping for two diagonal rows of three, which would make ABC XYZ possible).

Today we have much more information about the actual design. We now know how the buttons are arranged, we know that they will also be backlit like the rest of the keyboard (which means their labels will be much more visible than the Pandora's), the keyboard layout discussions have progressed a lot so we know what the actions buttons will be mapped to, and we know that the two extra buttons will be smaller than the four main ones. Here's a detailed picture from one of ED's most recent news posts:



So perhaps it is a good time to restart this discussion.

All the current keyboard layout proposals assign the functions Home, End, PageUp, PageDown to the four main action buttons, and Insert, Delete to the two smaller extra action buttons.

I personally think that it is best to label buttons/keys with their actual function, to make the learning curve as smooth as possible and to reduce the amount of things users are supposed to "just remember".

About the two extra game buttons:

Looking at the above picture, I don't think the labels Ins and Del would be very readable on those small action buttons. Those main key labels (the red ones) are 3 x 7 mm, so those small action buttons (the yellow ones) would probably have no more than 3 mm diameter in printable area. It should be possible to print "INS" and "DEL" in the same font size as the "START" and "SELECT" on the Pandora, which perhaps is big enough.

The labels + and -  (as proposed by Saber) would fit well, but it is rather confusing to have buttons labeled + and - that do not produce the symbols "+" and "-", even though "plus" and "insert", and "minus" and "delete" are semantically somewhat related.

The labels I and II (Roman numerals, could also be rendered as and , or and ), as proposed by ED at some point, would also fit easily, but that leaves nearly no clue at all about what those buttons do. could be considered as the first letter of "Insert", but there is no link between and "Delete".

The labels C and Z have the same problem.

Another option would be to use the symbols   (or perhaps ) and for Ins and Del (and use for backspace). That is perhaps a bit more cryptic than simply "Ins" and "Del", but at least it could be a big symbol instead of small letters.

About the four main action buttons:

I still kind of like the "Playstation Greek letters"  Π Ω Δ χ , but since those don't describe the actual meaning of the button, the labels "Home", "End", "PgUp", "PgDn" would have to be added (in a small font). For Pandora-compatibility, the letters for the corresponding Pandora button (ABYX) could be added as well, but then it's a bit much.

Pandora-style ABYX could be used too, but with added brackets to disambiguate: ( A )   ( B )   ( Y )  ( X ), and also with the labels "Home", "End", "PgUp", "PgDn" added in a small font.

The symbols ⇤ ⇥ ⇞ ⇟ are more or less standard symbols for Home, End, PgUp, PgDn, and they make good game button labels because the symbol itself gives you a direct clue as to where it is located. More cryptic than simply "Home", "End", "PgUp", "PgDn", but also language-neutral and arguably more æsthetically pleasing. Again, the letters A B Y X could be added in a small font, for Pandora-compatibility.

Comradekingu has proposed to use the symbols < > ^ v, which give a directional clue to where the buttons are, but the reference to Home, End, PgUp, PgDn is weaker, and there is potential confusion with < (less than) > (greater than) ^ (circumflex) v (letter V) and the dpad.

Personally, I don't think Pandora-compatibility is very important w.r.t. the labels of the action buttons (I do think it is important to maintain compatibility w.r.t. their mapping though). I am currently in favor of using just the symbols ⇤ ⇥ ⇞ ⇟ for the main action buttons, and   and for the smaller ones, or "Ins" and "Del" if that fits.
 
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rygD

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It's universally accepted (outside of Nintendo circles).
Don't you mean "outside of Sony circles"?  Nintendo uses ABXY.

Why don't we have a Pyra keyboard section for all this stuff yet?
 

Hồng Thất Công

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Leave them blank. You label them yourself. Works for every imaginable cases :)


Or make those buttons transparent so stickers can be put on the inside.


Ed then sells different labels on high quality stickers for all sorts of images and labels so you can stick it on the inside. Or you can print your own.
 
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comradekingu

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Blank buttons aren't activity confusing, ugly, nor do they look like a knockoff, thats most of the problems with the proposed solutions dealt with.

Going one better, I think we can do two things at the same time.

The pandora, and certainly the pyra has outgrown being a gaming-centric only device. Its game-prowess is communicated, but it shouldn't talk down the computing-aspect.
 
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Xcl4m4t10n

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Or make those buttons transparent so stickers can be put on the inside.


Ed then sells different labels on high quality stickers for all sorts of images and labels so you can stick it on the inside
Outside of jokes, for me, that could be awesome.

EDIT: But yee, ABXY plus I & II is pretty much nice (Nintendo & PC "Love" Engine together).
 
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Neelix

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As a joke that's getting pretty old. That might work for those who like building things from kits, but it isn't really a practical solution for a product which is designed to be shipped and used as-is like the Pyra.

As for the labels, at this point I'm quite liking the idea of marking them with symbols that match their keyboard function as _wb_ suggested above. That said, if they must have "gaming" labels I still think multiple alphanumeric characters is a good way to go. (e.g AA, BB, XX, YY)

- Neelix
 

Saber

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I think keeping it Pandora style as it's been is wise to avoid any legal problems. Nintendo is probably watching to see how big things get around here already with the clamshell design and the emulators for it's old handhelds and wii roms.

As for the two mini-buttons, labeling them + - or numerals I II or even c and z have some good vibes to them. No normal person should confuse them with the keyboard keys.
 

Saber

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What!  All clamshells are Nintendo designs? I am sure the Pandora clamshell design is not EXATLY those of Nintendo.
True, but when you have plenty of money for lawyers, like Nintendo does, you decide the accuracy of things. 
 

_wb_

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The Pyra, unlike the Pandora, will use a "full-size" GNU/Linux distribution (Debian, I guess), which means that a lot of software will be available that is intended for desktop/laptop PCs. Most of that software will work pretty much out of the box, no Pyra-specific porting needed, because the screen resolution and the CPU power will pretty much match the requirements already.

That is a good thing, of course.

But it also means that there will be less incentive for Pyra devs to make the effort of packaging Pyra-specific ports of all that software and provide a Pyra-specific default key mappings, Pyra-specific documentation (even if just in the form of repo descriptions), etc.

This means that the burden will most likely be on the end-user to interpret application/game documentation and to modify the key mappings. These will always use the "real" names of the game buttons, not the "game" names: they won't talk about [A] [X] [Y] [iI],  [L1] [L2] [R1] [R2], [sTART] and [sELECT], they will only use the names [Home] [End] [PgDn] [PgUp] [ins] [Del], [R_Shift] [R_Meta] [R_Ctrl] [R_Alt], [L_Alt] and [L_Ctrl], in all the help screens, documentation files, built-in remapping dialogs, etc.


 


So to avoid confusion, I think it is important to label those 12 game buttons with something that helps to identify and remember what they actually map to. It will also help a lot to make it seem like all that software is intended to be used on the Pyra, as opposed to being perceived as external software that can be made to run on the Pyra, if you can just remember those 12 differences between the platform it was intended for (PC) and the platform it runs on (Pyra).
 

elvissteinjr

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 http://boards.openpandora.org/uploads/post-1-0-19236900-1404520639.jpg
​Oh no.
I mean, sure, the keyboard layout on that somewhat old rendering is a placeholder, but the game button labels? Who knows. (ED does)
It kind of implies a bit that ABXY will probably stay. You know, improve what can be improved, don't change something that worked just fine just for the sake of change or being special.
 
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Xcl4m4t10n

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The Pyra, unlike the Pandora, will use a "full-size" GNU/Linux distribution (Debian, I guess), which means that a lot of software will be available that is intended for desktop/laptop PCs. Most of that software will work pretty much out of the box, no Pyra-specific porting needed, because the screen resolution and the CPU power will pretty much match the requirements already.

That is a good thing, of course.

But it also means that there will be less incentive for Pyra devs to make the effort of packaging Pyra-specific ports of all that software and provide a Pyra-specific default key mappings, Pyra-specific documentation (even if just in the form of repo descriptions), etc.

This means that the burden will most likely be on the end-user to interpret application/game documentation and to modify the key mappings. These will always use the "real" names of the game buttons, not the "game" names: they won't talk about [A] [X] [Y] [iI],  [L1] [L2] [R1] [R2], [sTART] and [sELECT], they will only use the names [Home] [End] [PgDn] [PgUp] [ins] [Del], [R_Shift] [R_Meta] [R_Ctrl] [R_Alt], [L_Alt] and [L_Ctrl], in all the help screens, documentation files, built-in remapping dialogs, etc.


 


So to avoid confusion, I think it is important to label those 12 game buttons with something that helps to identify and remember what they actually map to. It will also help a lot to make it seem like all that software is intended to be used on the Pyra, as opposed to being perceived as external software that can be made to run on the Pyra, if you can just remember those 12 differences between the platform it was intended for (PC) and the platform it runs on (Pyra).






 


Oh noes, here we go again :D .
 

Nintendo

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http://boards.openpandora.org/uploads/post-1-0-19236900-1404520639.jpg

​Oh no.

I mean, sure, the keyboard layout on that somewhat old rendering is a placeholder, but the game button labels? Who knows. (ED does)

It kind of implies a bit that ABXY will probably stay. You know, improve what can be improved, don't change something that worked just fine just for the sake of change or being special.
As the old saying goes... "If it aint broke, don't fix it"
 
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Hồng Thất Công

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Nothing in thisworld is broken.  We could have lived the way our ancestors lived.  And of course Pyra is special!
 
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_wb_

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http://boards.openpandora.org/uploads/post-1-0-19236900-1404520639.jpg


​Oh no.


I mean, sure, the keyboard layout on that somewhat old rendering is a placeholder, but the game button labels? Who knows. (ED does)


It kind of implies a bit that ABXY will probably stay. You know, improve what can be improved, don't change something that worked just fine just for the sake of change or being special.
As the old saying goes... "If it aint broke, don't fix it"
As the other old saying goes... "if it's broken, better fix it"

The point of the Pyra is to start from the Pandora, keep what is good, improve what can be improved. If you think ABYX (in a non-standard order) is for some reason something good that we should keep, fine, but please give reasons why you actively want to have it like that (other than "that's how it is on the Pandora and no matter what objections people make, we have learned to live with that on the Pandora so we can learn to live with it on the Pyra as well").

I've seen too many Pandora users finding out, weeks or even months after they got their Pandora, that the shoulder buttons are actually modifiers and that the action buttons can be used for Home/End/PgUp/PgDn. To me, that is a pretty obvious sign that the labeling can be better.
 
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Neelix

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I just had an odd idea... (Not necessarily a good one but if not, it may perhaps be mildly amusing to some. Perhaps this has been suggested before but if so I don't remember it.)


Fe Ni
Rh Ag
Os Pt
Or perhaps a similar idea but with a different approach:
Code:
Zr  Yb
  Au  Br
Cl  Xe
... just a thought... :)

- Neelix
 

Rockthesmurf

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Buttons : ABXY, Continue (resume triangle thing), Home (box with roof)
Triggers : L1, L2, R1, R2

Thankfully we have already had votes which have shown there is no need to worry about the confusion of using letters, and also that letters are the most popular choice. So as we have already been through that we don't need to do it again! Just need to decide which Roman letters to use and we can move swiftly along.
 
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