Pressure-Sensitive Keyboard

#1 Posted by wewantsthering (1565 posts) -

I play video games on PC and all consoles on a regular bases. I even hook up a 360 controller to my PC for 3rd-Person games. I've noticed one major advantage to the analogue sticks compared to using the WASD for character movement. It's very hard to move subtly with a keyboard. I had this problem near the end of The Walking Dead chapter 2. I kept failing because the keyboard wasn't letting me move slow enough. I ended up having to just tap the key over and over again to make the character inch forward. If the keys were pressure sensitive, it wouldn't have been a problem.

Here's the part, but don't look if you plan on playing the game:

This is why I think it would be great if someone would actually make a pressure-sensitive keyboard. Microsoft was apparently researching it, but most of the research ended up in their surface technology.

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Most games get over this by adding a modifier key to the keyboard controls that lets you toggle walking. Weird that Telltale made that part of the game that way but didn't include anything to let you solve it effectively.

#3 Posted by wewantsthering (1565 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

Most games get over this by adding a modifier key to the keyboard controls that lets you toggle walking. Weird that Telltale made that part of the game that way but didn't include anything to let you solve it effectively.

That is one way to get around it, but I get used to having that kind of control. That's why I hook up my 360 controller when I play stuff like Assassin's Creed. The mouse is better because it's more accurate than an analogue stick for aiming, but the left thumb-stick is better for movement. I just want to have my cake and eat it, okay! Haha.

#4 Posted by haffy (673 posts) -

Wounder if it would actually be worth it. A pressure sensitive keyboard doesn't exactly sound like it would last long or be a reasonable price.

#5 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@wewantsthering said:

The mouse is better because it's more accurate than an analogue stick for aiming, but the left thumb-stick is better for movement. I just want to have my cake and eat it, okay! Haha.

Agreed. I played through Saints Row: The Third with a controller plugged in for any time I was in a vehicle. Any time I needed to shoot anything, I went back to the KB+M.

#6 Posted by wewantsthering (1565 posts) -

@haffy said:

Wounder if it would actually be worth it. A pressure sensitive keyboard doesn't exactly sound like it would last long or be a reasonable price.

I don't think either of those would really be that big of a deal. Musical keyboards have been pressure-sensitive for decades and that's a pretty similar technology.

@Ravenlight said:

@wewantsthering said:

The mouse is better because it's more accurate than an analogue stick for aiming, but the left thumb-stick is better for movement. I just want to have my cake and eat it, okay! Haha.

Agreed. I played through Saints Row: The Third with a controller plugged in for any time I was in a vehicle. Any time I needed to shoot anything, I went back to the KB+M.

Oh yeah I totally forgot about driving games. Haha. Worthless with a keyboard. I ended up just using the gamepad for everything on SR3 because it was too much a hassle to swap back and forth.

#7 Posted by fox01313 (5072 posts) -

Think it's probably in that range of too expensive to build or not enough demand for it. Instead of the keys having just a pressed or not pressed state there would have to be multiple things for each key to get it to register. Considering how many times I've seen keys on a keyboard start to not register for whatever reason it'd make a pressure sensitive keyboard even more frustrating when the keys start to stick & possibly ruin things even more. It'd be an interesting idea but looks like might only be something on a dedicated touch pad like the ipad.

#8 Posted by wewantsthering (1565 posts) -

@fox01313: I've never really had issues like that with keyboards, but I tend to buy more expensive keyboards. Right now, you can hook up a pressure-sensitive piano keyboard and have the computer software recognize 88 individual pressure-senitive keys pressed at high speeds. I think if they can pull that off with more fidelity than a computer keyboard would need at less than $300, I can't see why it wouldn't work for a computer keyboard as well.

#9 Posted by Sin4profit (2931 posts) -

pressure sensitive keyboard is already a feature of Microsoft's upcoming Surface.

I think a more realistic option for games would be the control/mouse combo

...but i've never felt the need to go down that road as anything that is analog heavy i just use the controller.

#10 Posted by wewantsthering (1565 posts) -

@Sin4profit: But isn't that only on tablet devices? That's not really going to help me whilst gaming on a PC desktop. Would that control stick actually have all of the buttons necessary for PC games?

#11 Posted by fox01313 (5072 posts) -

@wewantsthering: Not saying that it wouldn't work as my Wacom tablet is pressure sensitive, just that a pressure sensitive keyboard might be in a very small demand category. Seems that what you ran into with the Walking Dead was just bad design work on that part of the gameplay.

#12 Edited by predator (352 posts) -

I wonder if polyphonic aftertouch a la CS-80 would be beneficial here.

#13 Posted by Jams (2960 posts) -

@wewantsthering: I occasionally think about think same thing. Being the armchair innovator that I am, I think it would be easy to make. Just use the same tech they use for the ps2 controller buttons. Add them only to WSAD and the arrow keys. Make the analog switches seperate from the normal switches and have a kill switch on the keyboard that disables it when you don't use them. Make the analog keys have a driver that acts like a joystick and that's that.

#14 Edited by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

Keyboard and Mouse for First person.

Xbox Controler for Third person.

Also, once there is more software that utilizes pressure sensitive keyboards, then there will probably be more pressure sensitive keyboards.

#15 Posted by Scrawnto (2446 posts) -

@wewantsthering: I think musical keyboards are usually velocity sensitive, rather than pressure sensitive. You can't modulate the magnitude of an individual key after it's been pressed.

I would really dig something like that if they could manage it without compromising the durability of the keyboard. I think has the right idea on limiting the pressure sensitivity to WASD. Treating them as joystick axes makes sense too.

#16 Posted by predator (352 posts) -

@Scrawnto said:

You can't modulate the magnitude of an individual key after it's been pressed.

This is polyphonic aftertouch which I mentioned earlier and it does exist.

#17 Posted by 71Ranchero (2765 posts) -

Just curious here but if the game plays better with a controller then why would you want to alter a keyboard to serve a function that is already taken care of. This isnt meant to be a jab or anything, I just dont get the logic. One of the best things about PC gaming is that you can use a numerous amount of control interfaces depending on whats best for the game you are playing. I dont think analog WASD would make Assassins Creed much better with a mouse and keyboard.

#18 Posted by Itwastuesday (963 posts) -

You could make it so that when you MASH THE KEYS REALLY HARD it types in all caps!

#19 Edited by wewantsthering (1565 posts) -

@Dagbiker: ME2 on PC does not support the 360 controller.

@Atramentous: Like I said earlier, the mouse has advantages over the right analogue stick so I want to keep that part of it. I want to have the best of both worlds.

#20 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

I bought a Logitech G13 for the convenience of having an analog stick in a pinch when playing a game that mostly uses keys or a mouse. But Logitech kinda messed up the design and refuses to implement basic things into their drivers software such as a deadzone or properly scaling diagonals to the full extent of the axes. It was really handy in BF3 being able to sneak around slower than the regular walk speed but quicker than prone, as well as lining myself up to shoot through a sliver between two objects.
 
I also used to use the controller+mouse combo for a few console-to-PC FPS ports that don't need too many buttons (like Borderlands).
 
I'm clearly a proponent of analog movement in games, but I don't really know that pressure sensitive keys would be the solution though.
 
@Scrawnto said:

@wewantsthering: I think musical keyboards are usually velocity sensitive, rather than pressure sensitive. You can't modulate the magnitude of an individual key after it's been pressed.

Keyboards with Aftertouch can do this. But it's still pretty weird. You can't hit it softly, then waggle the key and make it more intense than the initial impact though. At least on my Axiom 25.
#21 Edited by Jams (2960 posts) -

Let's Kickstart this bitch! FUCK!

#22 Posted by Sin4profit (2931 posts) -

@wewantsthering: Dunno what "enough buttons" means. Depends on what you're playing and what the software side of things is programmed to do.

If you can add modifiers (Alt,Ctrl,Shift) to actions within the games themselves then that's one way to increase the amount of controls you have.

Or on the device driver side it could have a momentary toggled mode switch which can be assigned to a button to change functionality of all other buttons thus multiplying the amount of actions you can preform.

That, in theory, could work but i have no experience with that controller to know if that's a feature.

#23 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

I believe logitech sells a gaming keyboard thingy that's about the size of your hand that has an analog stick sort of thing on it.

#24 Posted by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

@wewantsthering said:

@Dagbiker: ME2 on PC does not support the 360 controller.

@Atramentous: Like I said earlier, the mouse has advantages over the right analogue stick so I want to keep that part of it. I want to have the best of both worlds.

I was generalizing, Saying what I use to play games. But honestly I would rather play Mass Effect on Xbox, if I played any Mass Effect at all.

#25 Posted by NTM (7377 posts) -

Yes, I had asked the same thing, and I would love this. The other way is just dumb to me. The only game to ever do this better in my opinion is the Splinter Cell games, where you could walk slower or faster just by using the mouse wheel, it made it easier so there'd be no mess ups.

#26 Posted by Scrawnto (2446 posts) -

@predator said:

@Scrawnto said:

You can't modulate the magnitude of an individual key after it's been pressed.

This is polyphonic aftertouch which I mentioned earlier and it does exist.

I stand corrected.

#27 Posted by TyCobb (1972 posts) -

As it would be nice, it is also reinventing the wheel. New games would have to take advantage of it and program for it. Old games wouldn't be able to use it. Reason being is Windows only registers key presses as Down, Press, and Up. Windows would need to be overhauled to handle this. One way to get around this would be for keyboards to also be registered as a gamepad. There manufacturers can write drivers to handle the pressure sensitivity and the game will just function as it being played with a gamepad even though it is just a keyboard acting as 128 triggers instead of buttons.

#28 Edited by SpartanHoplite (384 posts) -

why not do like in Splinter Cell, where u could control speed with mouse scroll.

also g13 is great.

#29 Posted by bibamatt (1088 posts) -

Yeah, this has always frustrated me about keyboard and mouse control. Obviously it's by far the superior control method for controlling aim, but it feels like moving around with a d-pad. I don't know what the solution is, but I'd flippin' love pressure sensitive WASD keys.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.