Views on the G15 LCD

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.

Very handy. 

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?

14 thoughts on “Views on the G15 LCD

  1. trigger64

    “What about EVE Online? There is so much data in that game, there must be something that would work well on that display.”

    EVE-Mon has an option to display your character training time on the G15. Tools -> Options -> General

    [ ] Use G15 Display
    [ ] Cycle Characters every [_] seconds

    As for in game, a percentage based readout of shield/armor/structure remaining would be nice, as you currently have to mouse over and stay there for a few seconds. Also, Wallet balance (personal as well as corp 1-7, permission pending of course.)

    Other than that I don’t have any suggestions, because like you said, when I’m playing, I’m watching the screen, not my keyboard.

    I also have a Saitek Gamer’s Keyboard w/ the 9 key (2 shift = 27key) pad that I have all my common commands bound to based on ship and various fittings that I use for each ship. So I dunno v:)v

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  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I was going to mention EVE Mon, then forgot. Such is life.

    I had that Saitek keyboard for a while. I found it too flat for decent typing. That, and the backlight for the keys is… well… wrong. The G15 shines through the keys, so you can see what they are.

    I think your ISK balance would be a decent choice… maybe skill points. You ISK balance changes with so many actions, that mightbe worth having.

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  3. trigger64

    “the backlight for the keys is… well… wrong. The G15 shines through the keys, so you can see what they are.”

    Thats what bugs me most about it.. :(

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  4. Pvthudson

    Man I want to get one of these boards. My friend had one and said he could do crazy stuff as a healer in WoW with it. So tempting. I need a headset first though.

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  5. syncaine

    Has anyone ever had compatibility issues with the keyboard? If a game does not support it at all, have you ever had any negative effects?

    It does look like a great keyboard, might have to consider it around x-mas time, along with a new Nvidia card if they release in Nov like they plan.

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  6. kendricke

    Virtually everything you’ve mentioned is already available through UI updates which can be downloaded from EQ2Interface.com.

    That said, I’m a bigger fan of the ACT implementation for a G15, since we’re constantly tracking DPS. Having an actual in-game DPS track might be better, as it’s likely to be a tad more accurate (and hopefully less resource intensive) than a client side log parser.

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  7. Stargrace

    I have a G15, I love it for ACT simply because of the spell cast timers, it lets me know when we’re going to get hit with a massive AoE and times them (after you input the information for the AoE of course) by counting down, even multiple AoE’s at a time. Now, this is of course an ACT feature, and not exactly an EQ2 feature, but it’s made the keyboard exceptionally valuable imo. Aside from that, I don’t need to see too much on it at any time, it’s all already on my screen. I love not having to open up extra programs or have the ACT windows “always on top” and what have you.

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  8. Debes

    For Eve a trader might like to put how many active sell orders he has, or track market averages for some specific items..how full your cargohold is? DPS would be nice too… you can switch between percentage and absolute readout by rclicking on one of the arrows, iirc.

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  9. ShadowHeals

    I disagree I would prefer to have a scalling program for the g-15 LCD. simply because it wqould make it easier to answer questions for yourself and others that may ask. If you think about it how many people are truly lazy and prefer to have info already up on a screen of some sort. I know a lot of people who use the G-15 as i do. Most of them complain because stats, baggage,money ext. are not already up on screen without blocking out the gaming screen. Having all your stats and charactor info including baggage count already on screen would make life just that much easier so i can always tell where my armour dmg is along with the current stats that are affected with that already subdued armour damage without taking the time to have to look it all up with mouse over reactions that can seemingly take for ever. so i think every game including soe should inplament that into there systems.

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  10. ShadowHeals

    OH and one more thing hehe I played the healer class’s all the time since back when ultima 7 was deemed one of the first mmorpg’s on dos and i am always wanting to know when i need to cast a cure or or dispell action. and since like a lot fo the other gamers around the world quit a few of us are color blind and with the icons so small around the names we have to choices. eathier play another toon type which we prefer not to do and or find a mod program that inlarges and or tells us what and when to cast something other then heals of course. or they can simply put it in as a lcd pop up that says cure skandone or dispell prototype. but i also agree that you need to keep your eye on the fight. So i figure that most people who use the g-15 with lcd will more or less have the screen visible to them anyway and not have a desk with a pull out keyboard slab.

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  11. MsG

    I use it for Minilyrics in Windows, when I listen to music. Besides the functional benefits: the G11 is about €2,50 cheaper than the G15 here in Holland. So why even concider a G11 at all? :)

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  12. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, the price difference here in the states is about $25-30, which is about two and a half Euros these days, but which should be enough for us poor Americans think twice about a feature we might never use.

    Though, to be honest, I use the LCD a lot more often than I use the extra programmable keys on the left of the keyboard, I just cannot think of something that I really “must have” on that little screen. It seems like it should be good for more than my main use, which is controlling iTunes.

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