Update 4: Civilization, Starcraft, Terraria

Deciding which games to look into next for the Pio often ends up as a selfish choice. I personally started work on the Pio One keyboard because I wanted something like this myself, the end goal being for me to own one. The success we have had in funding and support has been fantastic and it has opened new avenue in areas such as audio, video, and special needs. Whenever I feel I need to get momentum back and keep myself going and enthused I head back to my passion which is gaming.

Civilization has a special place in my heart. The very first game I ever got on PC was Civilization along with Worms in a double pack, and while Worms was pretty easy to understand as a 5 year old, Civ was really suited to me. I remember building up my Palace in a single city, holding down the Return key to speed up building a totally unnecessary wonder. Only to be bombarded by tanks while I still only had spearmen. From there I played Civ 2 and 3 religiously, skipped CIV 4 before almost throwing my final year of high school as a result of how much CIV 5 I played. On principle the game is very cursor based which is why it works so well on tablets, however I found myself learning any hotkey I could while I was playing it to speed up things. Adding hotkeys for buildings, Units, Wonders and Advisors could really speed up gameplay which we know is notoriously long. One more turn.....

Starcraft was the first E-Sport I ever watched. I remember staying up late watching Jaedong, Flash and Bisu in Broodwar and soon after SC2 was announced and I watched Total Biscuit's casts and explanations and I as hooked. I became a complete Zerg cheeser and thats why the keyset I designed today is based on zerg. What we are aiming for is for the Pio One to recognise which unit you have selected and to change the hotkeys based on that, so for a Drone you can go into build menus, for an Infestor you can use the spells etc. It could be an amazing keyset to watch live as things would change so rapidly and for newer players the numerous hotkeys would be very easy to learn.

Finally Terraria one of my guilty pleasures. I started playing this fairly recently with a couple of friends and failing miserably once we got onto hard-mode. Much like Minecraft the hotkeys are fairly simple and most likely there is quite a young userbase who could see the keyboard for what it is; a simple layout of inputs as opposed to letters, numbers and symbols. The dynamic changing of the 1-9 keys showing which item, as well as the top screen displaying health etc. will make again for a board that will look fantastic on video, even more so than still images.

There are many more games to come as I scroll down my Steam library and a lot more to come from Pio Design and the Pio One.

Any suggestions for video game, or any software layouts are more than welcomed. Contact me at Euan@PioDesign.org


Update #3: Music Production

We always knew people would surprise us with interesting ideas for the Pio One. Audio and video production always seemed to make sense, there are already a plethora of keyboard stickers you can purchase for all manner of softwares for traditional keyboards. Using these as an inspiration, and with the help of a couple of talented musician friends, we decided to delve out of the video game industry and step into a whole new world of music production.

We discovered that there are fairly understandable hotkeys for a lot of these softwares, however they change very much based on which software you are using therefore things that seem quite obvious. E.g. having Quantize on 'Q' doesn't necessarily follow based on what each software package uses as their hotkeys. We figure that people will play around with that hotkeys they want in which position on the Pio One and even perhaps have them all on one side of the keyboard as usually music production is a keyboard + mouse affair and noone wants to be stretching for a Ctrl + P with only their left hand.

Customisation is going to be huge for this sort of field: people have specialties, they have expertise, and they also have keys for tools they have never used before and likely will never use. Cluttering up the keyboard and filling it with every hotkey under the sun probably won't suit most people.  With the Pio One they can tailor it to suit their day-to-day needs and increase their efficiency. We believe that the Pio One could be especially helpful in learning somewhat intimidating softwares by showing exactly what the keys do! Conventional keyboards are simply typewriters, ASCII symbols mean very little when you are working in audio production. I doubt you'll ever hear someone say “I'm going to 'H' that sample real quick” or “it's good, but it needs more 'U'”.

As ever, we welcome feedback for our designs, feel free to contact me at Euan@piodesign.org.

Update #2: DOTA 2

Confession: I'm a League of Legends player. This may seem like a trivial piece of information but for some reason the DOTA2 players I've experienced have an innate ability to sense this. I played the original DOTA on Warcraft 3 a fair amount but when I first got invited to the closed beta a few years ago I played a couple of games and my teammates and opponents could tell I was primarily a League of Legends player. Naturally this was a thought going into the design of the Pio One keyset for DOTA2, I knew people would be able to tell where my knowledge lies and I certainly wanted the keyset to be a true reflection of how DOTA2 would work on our product.

I started working with a couple of regular DOTA players, who hadn't touched LoL which was the best way of getting a fair reflection of the way most players would use this board. First of all we wanted to pick a hero that could really show off the benefit of the Pio One versus a standard keyboard. Initially we chose Invoker     as a hero where his abilities are very dynamic, he has a total of 14 abilities from only the QWER keys, however this is only truly demonstrable with a video of the changing keys which will be a different undertaking. We instead opted for Chen as a hero with multiple creeps to micro manage and fairly simple spells.  We like the idea of cooldowns being displayed on the keys as they are used and even dimming the keys when they are on cooldown to give a really immersive feel to using the Pio One.  From here we added the item slots(again with cooldowns) and the simple hotkeys like chat and attack-move commands which would help the new players get to grips with the game.

Chen has the ability to take control of creeps and micromanage them. We assigned each of these creeps to the additional hotkeys to the left of the tab, caps and shift keys for easy access. Another additional aspect to take account of in DOTA is the use of couriers, we decided the courier could be again assigned to one of these additional hotkeys in order to give the player quick access to it.

Finally when it came to the top screen we wanted to do something different than our LoL layout by adding a few more interesting things. Firstly the standard minimap and healthbars which make sense on a lot of games. It also became apparent the benefits of having the courier status for easy viewing. Finally we chucked the scoreboard to the far right hand side so you can keep and eye on just how fed the enemies are. 

Apologies for any errors in terms, minion/creep, hero/champion or otherwise, I am but a humble LoL player, trying my best.

Update #1: World of Warcraft

Looking into a game with a community as passionate and knowledgeable as World of Warcraft's was always going to have to be a careful measure. I missed the boat when it came to WoW, so I asked for support from 1LevelUp (www.facebook.com/LevelUpGlasgow/) a local gaming cafe and they were more than happy to help me build a keyset that would suit the game.

Naturally the first step was to put the skills and spells on the number keys and function keys so there would be no need to hold shift to access spells. The additional hotkeys on the LHS of the board were allocated to mounts and potions and we added separate chat keys for raid, guild, party and whisper for ease of use.

At this point we looked at what you could do with the top screen, I initially suggested having a mini map and maybe a health bar for your character however it seemed that all the great guys helping me out were more interested in seeing the enemies health-bar than their own. From here we added buffs, debuffs and trinkets alongside. 

The exciting stuff we are exploring is having dynamic reactions from the Pio One, keeping track of countdown timers and healthbars etc. this is where the board really could improve your immersion and with a game as notoriously addictive and life changing as WoW the Pio One could be a fantastic piece of kit for those late night (or early morning) raids.