GuildWars and the ErgoDex DX1
Not only am I digging GuildWars more than any game since HL2 and Doom3, but I'm really enjoying it with the new ErgoDex DX1 (I mentioned this device last year).
The ErgoDex is, for lack of a better word, a Macro Pad. It's an 8x10 pad that most folks mistake for a Wacom Tablet when they pass by. However, it's got 25 loose (wireless) keys that adhere to its surface. They are kind of RFID-y and have unique numbers (i.e. they are addressable). It ships with keys 1 to 25 and you can buy 26-50 as an accessory. The keys have magic stickum underneath and twist off easily. If they get dirty you can wipe them and the stickum comes back.
Additionally, their user-interface for the recording of macros (single key, multi-key with or without timing and/or key concurrency) is fantastic. I've got lots of gamepads (don't we all) with all sorts of crap interfaces for macros and key bindings. This one just works. You can drag and drop or you can just click the ErgoDex key you want to assign, then the key or keys on the main keyboard it should emulate.
The other sweet thing about it is the ad-hoc macro recorder. There's a hardware button on the pad that starts and stops recording. You can throw temporary macros onto a key, type on the main keyboard, then finish. Subsequent presses on the ErgoDex key play back what you did with timings.
Like any good pad of any kind (mouse, stylus, etc), you can pop off the clear top and put a skin underneath it. Their software includes a shiny manager program that lets you create all sorts of underlays. I haven't had this much fun since I created home-made overlays for my Vectrex.
I've also used my ErgoDex at work along with CodeRush to have one button access to refactoring, class creation, quick navigation and a number of other VS.NET HotKeys.
Why have a pad like this you ask? There's a few simple reasons:
- A keyboard is designed for prose, not hotkeys. The whole F1-F12 thing is a hack and we never get F1 anyway. Eleven lousy keys unless we want to hold down Ctrl-Alt-Shift?
- I personally play one game at a time until I'm sick of it. The ErgoPad can change whenever I want it to, but this one will stay in this config until the next game I dig. There are a bunch of peripherals available like the failed Microsoft Strategic Commander. It failed for a reason. It was obtuse and only made sense for Age of Empires (and hardly then).
I like the idea of a totally custom controller/keypad for absolutely any reason I like. The ErgoDex also comes with Macro support for all the Microsoft Office apps and it even detects things you've got installed. It automatically set up profiles for FarCry and Doom 3.
I also like the idea of putting the keyboard elsewhere out of site and gaming with just this specialized pad (25 keys that are set up the way I want rather than 101 keys that are set up like a typewriter) and the mouse.
I hate being I/O bound by the hardware I interface to the computer with. I'd like to use pads, mice, voice and pens all at the same time.
the serious gamer anyone serious about interfacing with their computer effectively.
UPDATE#1: There's a bootleg RSS Feed for the GuildWars.com site as they don't have one.
Now playing: Black Eyed Peas - Hey Mama