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Max Stats
April 11, 2011, 21:51
My current keyboard is a budget model bought through Wal-Mart's website. It is actually quite a nice keyboard, especially for the price, but it is not quite the ideal keyboard for Angband. It is designed to be compact, and so there seem to be subtle differences in certain key locations. I am a touch typist, and I use the roguelike keyset to try to take advantage of this, so these small differences can be noticeable at times. Also, the feel of the keys is not bad, but far from the best.

I like the tactile, mechanical feel of keyboards from way back in the day. The old IBM keyboards were very nice, with lots of feedback, although a keyboard built exactly like that would probably cost a fortune today. I remember the Focus line of keyboards. They had neat gadgets like a built-in calculator and programmable function keys, but what I really liked was the feel of the keys, because they were very similar to the old IBMs. The company doesn't seem to be around anymore, at least not in the searches I have done.

Does anyone have a favorite keyboard they use that seems especially suited to Angband? The ease of doing Alt, Ctrl, and Shift combos with keys, along with good touch typing feel, would qualify a keyboard as ideal. I don't want to break the bank; I wouldn't spend more than $30 on a new keyboard. Suggestions, anyone?

Derakon
April 11, 2011, 21:58
Sounds like you're remembering the old Model M keyboards that IBM used to make, which had a special "clicky" spring mechanism. You can actually buy modern versions of these keyboards (e.g. link (http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/)). Might be worth checking out, though they are kinda noisy.

Myself, I just use the keyboard that came with my (Apple) computer when I bought it. It's held up well and I'm used to the layout.

Magnate
April 11, 2011, 22:39
Sounds like you're remembering the old Model M keyboards that IBM used to make, which had a special "clicky" spring mechanism. You can actually buy modern versions of these keyboards (e.g. link (http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/)). Might be worth checking out, though they are kinda noisy.

Myself, I just use the keyboard that came with my (Apple) computer when I bought it. It's held up well and I'm used to the layout.Derakon, my hero. I have two original IBM PS/2 keyboards from 1984 which are still delightfully noisy, though one of them has a temperamental connector and the other has a dodgy shift key. I was dreading their eventual demise but you have saved me from the hell of quiet typing. Thank you.

will_asher
April 11, 2011, 22:59
that reminds me of this:
http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/11/6451943-the-return-of-the-commodore-64
The return of the commodore 64

camlost
April 11, 2011, 23:07
Ah, mechanical switch keyboards. Too bad they're expensive :(

http://www.overclock.net/keyboards/491752-mechanical-keyboard-guide.html

Timo Pietilš
April 12, 2011, 01:27
that reminds me of this:
http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/11/6451943-the-return-of-the-commodore-64
The return of the commodore 64

Uh, I just have to have one of those. Even if it isn't useful.

I just hope that they fit that OS in some sort of chip so that it starts like the original one, Flip the switch and it's on, no waits whatsoever.

It also looks like that has a fan. It needs to be silent. I sick and tired of constant humming wherever I see a computers. I don't care if it is 1/8 of the modern computer speed if it just is silent.

Here is a link to product: http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx

Derakon
April 12, 2011, 01:36
It also looks like that has a fan. It needs to be silent. I sick and tired of constant humming wherever I see a computers. I don't care if it is 1/8 of the modern computer speed if it just is silent.This is mostly just a matter of build quality, I'm sure. My Mac only spins up its fan to audible levels when it's really chugging hard; if you were to buy a similarly-well-designed Windows box I'm sure it could be just as quiet. You end up paying more, of course, and most people treat computers as commodities these days, so they aren't willing to pay for quality.

Timo Pietilš
April 12, 2011, 01:56
This is mostly just a matter of build quality, I'm sure. My Mac only spins up its fan to audible levels when it's really chugging hard; if you were to buy a similarly-well-designed Windows box I'm sure it could be just as quiet. You end up paying more, of course, and most people treat computers as commodities these days, so they aren't willing to pay for quality.

All desktop Macs I have seen are just as noisy as PC:s. Laptops are nice.

When I say silent I really mean completely silent. We do have one Lenovo desktop mini-tower in work that is so silent that I can't tell if it is on or off without seeing the lights in front of it, but I can't say is it really silent or just silent enough that all the other background humming is just masking the noise it makes.

Next time I walk into PC-store to buy new computer my first requirement is silent, everything else is secondary.

camlost
April 12, 2011, 04:36
Next time I walk into PC-store to buy new computer my first requirement is silent, everything else is secondary.

Replacing case fans isn't that hard. Of course, a flimsy case with be noisy regardless.

Timo Pietilš
April 12, 2011, 06:57
Replacing case fans isn't that hard. Of course, a flimsy case with be noisy regardless.

Problem with "replacing" is that I need them to be removed, not replaced. That leads to overheating.

Magnate
April 12, 2011, 08:53
Problem with "replacing" is that I need them to be removed, not replaced. That leads to overheating.If you google for "fanless pc" there is no shortage of people selling them. You don't get much beyond about 1.6GHz but as you said, speed isn't everything. I'm going to get one to use as a media player in the lounge, as my wife has bat-like hearing so the only way a PC will be allowed out of my study is if it's fanless.

Ycombinator
April 12, 2011, 12:40
Merging the themes of noise and keyboards: I have a classic Dell mechanical keyboard (AT101W), but given my nocturnal habits, housemates weren't happy about all that clicking noise. So I've bought an A4Tech keyboard, slim, island type with scissor switches. The design is basically a ripoff of Apple keyboard (the one shipped with the recent iMac), but it's USB-wired and has 100% standard PC layout: no multimedia keys and noncrippled navigation block.
Looks like the idea of keyboard with standard layout without bells and whistles is really hard to grasp for manufacturers these days. The lack of the 2x3 block is also why I can't stand most laptop keyboards except ThinkPads (Fn issue aside. I am used to it, but I understand why it bugs people). Why you can have it on 12" ThinkPad, but even 17" monsters has maimed keyboard is beyond me.

runequester
April 26, 2012, 06:51
sorry for necro'ing this thread but the topic seemed interesting.

My PC keyboard is an IBM "model M". Heavy as all hell, basically indestructible, clicks loudly /every/ key you press...and playing rogue-likes on it feels amazing :)

Magnate
April 26, 2012, 11:16
sorry for necro'ing this thread but the topic seemed interesting.

My PC keyboard is an IBM "model M". Heavy as all hell, basically indestructible, clicks loudly /every/ key you press...and playing rogue-likes on it feels amazing :)That's the one discussed at the start of the thread. It's beautiful, and I can't see myself ever using anything else.

runequester
April 26, 2012, 16:33
That's the one discussed at the start of the thread. It's beautiful, and I can't see myself ever using anything else.

yeah, I'm going to be sad when I have to replace the computer since most computers don't seem to have PS2 connectors any more.

I guess there's adapters you can get.

rhutson
July 24, 2013, 05:21
Does anyone have a favorite keyboard they use that seems especially suited to Angband? Suggestions, anyone?

Programmable keyboards like the Northgate Omnikey were top of the line for gaming until they stopped making them. Creative Vision Technologies subsequently offered two styles of Avant keyboards. I bought an Avant Stellar (http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/38292/avant-stellar-keyboard) when my Omnikey suffered death by beer. But I just learned that the Avant keyboards are no longer being made. You can buy refurbished Omnikeys, Avants, and more here: http://www.northgate-keyboard-repair.com/ (Obviously I didn't realize that someone could repair an Omnikey, but I am quite pleased with my Avant Stellar.)

rhutson
July 24, 2013, 05:31
My PC keyboard is an IBM "model M". Heavy as all hell, basically indestructible, clicks loudly /every/ key you press...and playing rogue-likes on it feels amazing :)

You are wielding an IBM Keyboard (1d6) (+1, +5)

rhutson
July 24, 2013, 05:34
most computers don't seem to have PS2 connectors any more. .... I guess there's adapters you can get.

Oh yes. AT->USB and PS/2->USB adapters exist and are in service.

Pete Mack
July 24, 2013, 07:16
I use the "original" (rogue) keyset, so any keyboard is fine. I usually play on a removable-screen laptop. Sometimes I play in touch-screen mode.

rhutson
July 25, 2013, 07:06
I use the "original" (rogue) keyset, so any keyboard is fine.

I wrote the initial version of the Angband macro code so that I could utilize the function keys of my outrageous keyboard in the game. I do not recall what brand of keyboard it was, but it had two rows of function keys above the normal layout and probably more on the left. I played Angband with my right hand on the numeric keypad while I manipulated function keys with my left hand. My macro code was UNIXish and hacky by my nature. Ben implemented more portable and reliable but slightly less functional code and added it to the official release of the game. I read in the FAQ that the macro code has been removed, so I'm not sure how useful function keys are in modern versions of the game on various platforms. I do see why the maintainers would prefer that I have a shell alias or script like "load_abkeys; angband; unload_abkeys" rather than having the macro code in the game. (That's easy to do with Linux, but I don't know how to swap out keymaps on a Mac with the same functionality: F1->maa, etc.)

Anyway, the IBM keyboard mentioned and the Avant Stellar are the best general keyboards I've ever used. (I'm surprised to find that my Gateway Anyway programmable keyboard is selling for more on eBay than I paid for it. It's not on the same class as an IBM or an Omnikey lineage keyboard.)

Timo Pietilš
July 25, 2013, 07:40
I read in the FAQ that the macro code has been removed, so I'm not sure how useful function keys are in modern versions of the game on various platforms.

Macros have been removed, but keymaps are still there, so not much has been lost. IIRC only real difference between keymaps and macros was that macros could be used anytime game accepts input, but keymaps only when game is ready to accept commands. There has been some improvements also on keymaps, you can for example remove -more- prompts by surrounding your command sequence with brackets() and special keys can be used by their name ([Tab] is tabulator {S}[Tab] would be shift-tabulator [Esc] is esc etc.), making writing them easier even outside of game.

[EDIT] extra bracket removed.

Derakon
July 25, 2013, 15:03
"Macros" were removed; "keymaps" were kept. As far as I can tell, the only practical difference is that keymaps cannot be invoked when the game is in the middle of something (e.g. looking at inventory, or asking which spell to cast, or in a -more- prompt), while macros can be. Unwary players who weren't aware of this could thus "break" their macros by invoking them in the wrong context, potentially getting themselves into trouble. Of course, savvy players had also written macros that looked like "hit the escape key a bunch of times, then cast this spell" so they could cast things whenever...but in practice, the "automatically clear -more- prompts" option solves most of the need for that kind of shenanigans.

rhutson
July 25, 2013, 23:25
"hit the escape key a bunch of times, then cast this spell" so they could cast things whenever

Yeah, that's what you were supposed to do. :D

Thanks for the explanations. I didn't realize that there was keymap code in the code. I obviously thought that the reference to keymaps meant to use whatever keymapping was available on your OS. The Linux keymap utilities presumably didn't exist at the time that I first added macros to my copy of the game as I would have just used a custom keymap instead of writing code.

rhutson
August 6, 2013, 05:33
What you want are the 12 function keys on the left as these keyboards have. Then you can control movement with your right hand while using your left hand for spells / prayers.

Besides cost and availability, the main problem with the Avant Stellar is the placement of the vertical bar and backslash key. That's not a problem playing Angband, but that's a commonly used key in C*, UNIX, TeX, and DOS. It took me a while to become accustomed to the key being there.

The Gateway Anykey has my favorite keyboard layout, but it is lacking in tactile feel. I've never really enjoyed typing on it ... (My Anykey is version 5. Other versions may have better feel.)

I am currently using an original Matias TactilePro. I was using a wireless Logitech which had "a lot more keys", but this discussion about mechanically switched keyboards has reminded me that I can type much faster with my Matias. I would suggest checking out Matias Keyboards (http://matias.ca/products/) if you are looking for a "good" keyboard in general. There's a lot of interesting products for sale for keyboard enthusiasts (but nothing with 12 function keys on the left).