The case and the keymat


_wb_

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About the space bar: since the keys are already rectangular to start with (not square like on the Pandora), the space bar has an aspect ratio that is more extreme than on the Pandora. Without countermeasures, it could be very "wobbly", in the sense that if you press it on one side, the other side does not go down.

So I have the following questions about the wobbliness of the space bar:

  • Will the space bar be wobbly?
  • If not, how is it avoided?
  • If it is wobbly, would it be possible to make it a "dual-action" key, where pressing it on the left side would potentially do something different than pressing it on the right side? The default could/should be that both are just "space", but it would be neat if remappers could magically get an extra key here.
  • If it is wobbly and it is possible to make it a "dual-action" key, would you consider a dual-action space key something that can be used in the default keymap and in the labeling? My guess is no, and I don't want this myself (I want either two separate keys or one single-action key), but some people *cough*comrade*cough*kingu*cough* made a layout proposal that is based on this principle.
 

Bosbeetle

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From the rendered picture it looks like the gamingbuttons will also be included into the rubber mat? Are they made from rubber or solid plastic? I would prefer the second!
Same here.  A very strong "yes" for plastic buttons here, although I am guessing the buttons will just go over the silicone that has the stuff for the contacts, as in many controllers and handhelds.
The little prototype that ED shows now and then in the youtube video have plastic ones. (although those are not the gaming buttons) It is a complete different style than the pandora used.
We were talking about the gaming buttons not the keys.  Edit:  Upon rereading I see that you said that but showed keymat pics.  There have been devices that have all silicone buttons.  As I said, I am pretty sure that isn't the plan, but I just wanted to state my support for plastic buttons.
Like ED said the gaming buttons will be similar to the normal buttons, and all of them will have plastic inlays.
 

fusion_power

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The only thing that might still change is the battery lid and the battery compartment.

Using screws instead of clips, we can probably decrease the thickness a bit (due to the battery, we had to increase the thickness about 1mm).
Wouldn't be thicker=better actualy? Just to be on the safe side.

2. The Keymat

The design for the keymat has also been almost finished.

If you take a look at the picture, you can see the caps enclosed in the transparent keymat rubber.

The key caps will be a tiny little bit higher than the rubber surrounding (0.1mm), which helps navigating blindly on the keyboard.

I will ask to make the gaming buttons a bit convex so they feel better as well.
I hope the ABXY buttons will be really convex like "real" gaming" buttons because they just do not work well if they are mostly flat like the rest of the keyboard. I recommend to use separate button caps for these 4 buttons so they look like the usual Gamepad buttons like on the classic X Box gamepads for example. There is a reason why these buttons are that much rounded.

The 2 smaller buttons could be flat and lower actualy so they are not touched accidently.

Will the surrounding rubber of the mat (the keys, not the inlay) stay transparent or will it be covered black?
 
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Grench

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Here is an attempt to summarize the main discussion themes of the keyboard layout threads.

1. Shift symbol pairs (aka "DOSBox compatibility")

Should the symbols -_  =+   [{  ]}  \|  ;:  ' "  /?  `~  be on the same key, like on a standard US-QWERTY keyboard (which means e.g. "=" would be at Meta/Fn+[letter] and "+" would be at Meta/Fn+Shift+[letter]), or should we avoid the Meta/Fn+Shift layer and have all the symbols on separate keys? The former brings us a bit closer to standard US-QWERTY (which might be a good thing for DOSBox etc, although there should be ways to make DOSBox behave correctly either way), while the latter makes it a bit easier to type the symbols. The opinions seem to be roughly evenly split about this issue.

2. Number of shift keys

Should we have two shifts (one on the keyboard and one as a shoulder button), or three shifts (two on the keyboard and one as a shoulder button)? The former means we have one more key available for other things, and it is closer to a standard keyboard; the latter might be more convenient for users who don't (want to) use the shoulder button shift. There seems to be a rather convincing majority in favor of only one keyboard shift. It has been proposed that the keyboard shift would optionally be sticky, like the Fn key on the Pandora, meaning you don't have to hold it down to type capital letters.

3. "International" letters printed?

Should language-specific letters like üäöß, éèàç, ñ, åøæ be printed on the keymat or not? The alternative is to leave some letters free of Meta/Fn labels, reserved for language-specific letters, without having them explicitly labeled. Printing more symbols on the keymat adds "clutter" for those who don't need those symbols, but for those who do need the symbols, it might be useful to have them labeled. If they are labeled, it should be decided which languages to support: German? French? Spanish? Portuguese? Scandinavian languages? There is no consensus on this topic either, though most people seem to prefer to label only A-Z, with a default mapping for a.o. German but not explicitly labeled so other languages can remap to the letters they need without having incorrect labels on their keymat (incomplete but correct).

4. The name of the Pyra-specific modifier

This is an issue that is mostly orthogonal to the keyboard design, but there is a consensus that "AltGr" would not be a good name for the Pyra-specific modifier, since AltGr is usually the same as RightAlt, and we should not have four Alt keys. Suggested names are "Meta" or "Fn".

5. Left-aligned or centered?

Comradekingu is still in favor of a left-aligned layout where there is room to the right of the letters P and L to map extra letters like on German/Scandinavian keyboards. The consensus is that a centered layout is better though, since there are not really enough keys available for dedicated primary Ü Ö Ä ß keys.

6. One keymat or different region-specific keymats?

Only one keymat has the advantage that devs know where every key is physically located, so they don't have to take into account different keyboard models.

7. Dead diacritics?

There seems to be a consensus that it's a good idea to have at least ◌́ acute , ◌̀ grave , ◌̂ circumflex and ◌̈ diaeresis / umlaut available, because they are used in many languages. Also  ◌̧ cedilla (which can be combined with ◌̨ ogonek) and ◌̃ tilde would be good to have (especially if ç and ñ are not labeled), as well as ◌̌ caron (which can be combined with ◌̆ breve). Less essential, but still quite useful, are ◌̷ stroke, ◌̄ macron, ◌̇ overdot (or dotless) and, only for Hungarian, ◌̋double acute.

Some of these dead diacritics can be made available in a natural and non-intrusive way by not putting Meta/Fn labels on the keys ,< (for cedilla/ogonek and caron) and .> (for overdot and circumflex),  and ' "  (acute and umlaut) or `~ (grave and tilde) if those keys are available as primary keys, or by not having Shift+Meta bindings to the symbols ' (acute), ` (grave), " (umlaut), ~ (tilde), - (macron), / (stroke). There is some controversy about how to indicate the dead diacritics: not at all, using dotted circles (◌), using rectangles or underline or something else.

8. Position of ,< and .>

There is a consensus that these keys should be available as dedicated keys (some people would prefer to have ,; and .: pairs instead of ,< and .> though), but it is not clear where to put them: on the left, like on the Pandora, or on the right, like on normal keyboards? If they're on the left, then Shift and Meta have to go to the right, and then the important Meta-symbols should be on the left too (opposite of Meta, for convenience); if they're on the right, then Shift and Meta would be on the left, and the important Meta-symbols should be on the right. This is mostly a matter of staying close to the Pandora layout (convenient for those already used to the Pandora layout) or getting closer to standard US-QWERTY.

9. The 4 keys on the very top row

It is unclear whether these 4 keys around the power button should be reserved for "hardware keys" (brightness, usb/wifi/bt/gps/3g/hdmi toggles) or if they can be used for keyboard keys like Esc.
Nicely done summary of where we're at now. Thank you for that.
 
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Wouldn't having the gaming keys (ABXY, also hopefully not d-pad as well) made the same as the other, "standard" keyboard keys affect their "action"? While it may not be a problem for the "standard" keyboard keys, the keymat, being a type of silicone would make the keys, in general, sort-of squishy, throughout (also I imagine it would leave the sides of the keys more prone to wear and tear as they travel up and down through their holes in the frame). To make them more rigid (if that can even be done, I'm not sure), would surely affect the feel of the "travel" of the keys and gaming buttons.

Couldn't the areas of the keymat for the gaming buttons & d-pad be left like in standard gaming controllers, where they are just the little nubs that solid plastic buttons rest on top of (hopefully, with a flange to hold them in place in stead of glue this time)? If the d-pad IS being made that way, wouldn't it just be safer and much more stable to make the ABXY buttons the same way as well? I get that having the ABXY buttons light up, adds to the perceived "wow factor" (for some people); but with the rest of the inside of the Pyra already being lit up, some light is going to leak out from around the buttons, no matter how they are constructed..so why not give the Pyra "normal gaming buttons"?
 
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WizardStan

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where they are just the little nubs that solid plastic buttons rest on top of (
this is how the Pandora does it: The keymat is all squishy plastic, the keycaps of the keyboard part are hardened and the gamekeys (including Dpad) are plastic buttons just put on top of the squishy.Technically the D-pad is glued into place.
 
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where they are just the little nubs that solid plastic buttons rest on top of (
this is how the Pandora does it: The keymat is all squishy plastic, the keycaps of the keyboard part are hardened and the gamekeys (including Dpad) are plastic buttons just put on top of the squishy.
Technically the D-pad is glued into place.
I know. I went on to explain that I understood all of this.
 
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levi

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I guess ED is looking at whether it's possible to reduce the number of small parts like those buttons which need to be individually put in the right place, thereby making the Pyra less expensive to produce, and reducing its cost to you.

As far as I understand it, the only difference between a separate cap on top and a cap built in to the rubber keymat is that a cap acts to spread the pressure, helping ensure the rubber collapses evenly, while with direct access to the keymat there's a danger the button might collapse on one side first, giving a less positive sensation to the gamer's thumb.  But the Pandora keyboard keys didn't do that in practice, so maybe it's not a problem that needs solving, and built-in caps will be fine.  And the gaming buttons are circular, which is harder to make collapse only on one side too.
 
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I guess ED is looking at whether it's possible to reduce the number of small parts like those buttons which need to be individually put in the right place, thereby making the Pyra less expensive to produce, and reducing its cost to you.

As far as I understand it, the only difference between a separate cap on top and a cap built in to the rubber keymat is that a cap acts to spread the pressure, helping ensure the rubber collapses evenly, while with direct access to the keymat there's a danger the button might collapse on one side first, giving a less positive sensation to the gamer's thumb.  But the Pandora keyboard keys didn't do that in practice, so maybe it's not a problem that needs solving, and built-in caps will be fine.  And the gaming buttons are circular, which is harder to make collapse only on one side too.
What about the tiny plastic bits that will now have to be inserted into the top center of each and every single key, including gaming buttons (btw, I'm guessing they will all have to be held in place with yet more glue... :(   )? I'd think that would actually add exponentially to the number of, complexity of, difficulty in placement/orientation of (the "separate plastic button that rests on top of a little nub" can be made so that they will only fit in the holes right-side-up), the possible need to be re-glued after a vigorous gaming session, etc.. If it is going to be the "cost saving argument" seriously, we've been through this with discussion of having a quality audio chip.. It seemed to be fairly unanimous that the people who cared wouldn't mind paying a few extra dollars to get the best we can get. Once again, and quite likely much more important to an even greater number of people (since we're talking about the main gaming controller buttons) "saving a few bucks" is not what people are going to want. Just imagine trying to play a game like Super Mario World or a twitch shump using the kind of "rubbery"(likely silicone) buttons on an older-model calculator. ...and games like Street Fighter? No way that will work out well... Also, when the whole button is made of squishy material it will not depress evenly, the sides (or body) will bow one way or the other (even if only slightly), again likely forcing it to rub against the hole in the frame as it travels up and down through it (leading to wear & tear). This bowing will also affect the stability of the gaming buttons as you press them inward. Imagine taking a spring and trying to compress it without having it end up bowing in any particular direction, it can be done (sometimes) but it requires more time (moving slowly) and attention/effort to do so. That is just not the way that people press gaming buttons.
 
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EvilDragon

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The travel distance of a button doesn't have anything to do with the cap though. The 3DS has nearly flat buttons and a very low travel distance and they work fine. I also prefer PSX buttons to the ones on the XBox, personally.
 

_wb_

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Will the surrounding rubber of the mat (the keys, not the inlay) stay transparent or will it be covered black?
Good question! Will the keys have a transparent border around them (which lights up with the backlight on), or not?

(If there's a border, that also means that some margin has to be respected on the inlay/cap, to avoid labels touching the border)

Another question: how does this get produced? Are those keycaps somehow printed collectively on a sheet of plastic, sent to a laser cutter to turn them into separate keycaps, which are then glued into the rubber in some automated way? Or how does it work? Would there be a way to remove a keycap and replace it with another one, e.g. to swap the letters Y and Z without cutting up the rubber?
 

fusion_power

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I just asked because I don't think it looks that great if the keycaps are surroudned by the transparent rubber that glows. This needs practical testing of course but I would prefer a solution where the buttons are completely black and only the labeling is shining through when lit.
 

LogicalUnit

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Hi all, I'm a newbie, really looking forward to the Pyra. :)

I plan to use my console as an all-in-one emulation platform, especially for N64 games. I was hoping that the 6 face buttons might more closely resemble the N64's controller. The four standard buttons are fine to use as C-buttons, but the remaining two face buttons on the Pyra seem a little small and inaccessable.

It's probably too late to change the design at this stage, but I just thought I'd mention it.
 

TrashyMG

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That has been mentioned numerous times. The issue is that there is no room for the buttons in a n64 like configuration and most people here didn't like the idea of shrinking the down the button size any further.
 

bzar

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That has been mentioned numerous times. The issue is that there is no room for the buttons in a n64 like configuration and most people here didn't like the idea of shrinking the down the button size any further.
More precisely, there's no room under the case plate. There have been some image manipulations that seem to fit six buttons in a 2x3 formation there, but their positions are impossible due to components and case features under the hood.
 

TrashyMG

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That has been mentioned numerous times. The issue is that there is no room for the buttons in a n64 like configuration and most people here didn't like the idea of shrinking the down the button size any further.
More precisely, there's no room under the case plate. There have been some image manipulations that seem to fit six buttons in a 2x3 formation there, but their positions are impossible due to components and case features under the hood.
Replying to a 4 month old post?
 

bzar

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That has been mentioned numerous times. The issue is that there is no room for the buttons in a n64 like configuration and most people here didn't like the idea of shrinking the down the button size any further.
More precisely, there's no room under the case plate. There have been some image manipulations that seem to fit six buttons in a 2x3 formation there, but their positions are impossible due to components and case features under the hood.
Replying to a 4 month old post?
What. This thread showed to me as one with new posts. Didn't think to look at the time stamp :D
 
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