I have a Logitech G15 gaming keyboard. It is a popular keyboard with good reason. It is solid, well made, and works well for touch typing. I am very happy with mine. It has a number of interesting features, including a small LCD that can be accessed by applications on your computer in order to display information.
For example, iTune can display information about a track you are listening to, including title, artist, and a progress bar with time that shows the duration and current point in the song or podcast.
So when Average Joe came back from the SOE Fan Faire reporting that SOE would be putting in support for the G15 keyboard, I started thinking, again, what is the best use of that LCD.
Technically, the LCD is actually the only part of the G15 that EQ2 does not support as far as I can tell. It already has the ability to notify the keyboard when the application has focus and thus should have its profile loaded. I have also been able to map the extra keys to EQ2 functions. So all that remains is the LCD.
The obvious first answer for me was health and mana bars. That is what Lord of the Rings online puts up on the G15 LCD.
However, I never look at the LCD for my health and mana… erm… morale and power… because it is clearly and colorfully displayed up on the screen. Since I have to pay attention to what is happening on screen anyway and since the data is already there, this ends up not being very useful at all.
So I started thinking about what other games display.
World of Warcraft puts up a list of all of your attributes on the display. As an added incentive, it also puts up how much ammo you have if you are wielding a projectile weapon.
These are at least items that are not already displayed in your game window by default.
But how often do I need to know something like my strength or crit percentage? And of those times that I do need to know it, how often do those times occur when my character window is not already open and displaying my stats? Almost never. Perhaps I am the exception in this, but stats do not strike me as a very useful thing to display.
And my ammo supply is actually easier to track with an addon that shows the number of projectiles left in my ammo pouch.
Vanguard, at least during beta, had a couple of options for display on the G15. As I recall, they were health/mana, attributes, and a compass.
So the first two I’ve covered, but the third was at least a little different. The compass at least had a little bit of “cool” factor going for it. But in the end, a game would have to have a pretty awful in game compass (sense direction anybody?) before I would spend my time starting off screen to get my bearings.
After some more thought I realized that when I am playing I EQ2 occasionally run Fraps for frame rate reads or Advanced Combat Tracker for combat log parsing. Both of those put up information on the G15 LCD. In the case of Fraps it gets that big yellow FPS counter off your screen while with ACT you get an instant read on your DPS without having to bring the application to the foreground and analyze the fight.
So not only am I at a loss as to what EQ2 should display on the G15, I have managed to come up with two items I would likely use in place of whatever it did display.
So my enthusiasm for such support is tepid at best. I am sure that SOE could come up with something, but I cannot imagine what it is at this moment in time.
What do you want to see on that G15 LCD in your game? A clock to show in-game time maybe?
What about EVE Online? There is so much data in that game, there must be something that would work well on that display.
Or have you all opted to save the $30 price difference and go with the G11 keyboard?