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idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:24 pm
by KnaxMax
Hi,

I tried a little bit MZ-800 emulation on my PC, but I was really fighting with the key mapping (even for normal characters - but much more for special characters).

But today I learned about a company, that sells customized keyboards. You can chose colors and also provide key layouts.
Did not yet make a layout but tried the online configurator for a first color scheme that I call "Dark700".
WASD_Keyboard_Dark700.png
WASD_Keyboard_Dark700.png (71.95 KiB) Viewed 760 times
Another option would be to make special keys gray instead of orange, so it would look more like the MZ-1500.

Only problem: this thing will cost a lot of money. It starts at 145€ and I don't even looked about the customization prize and shipping fee.
So not sure if I will really do this. It will surely be some work to do the special character layout.

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:18 pm
by Jo Even
These keyboards are really good, a colleague of mine has one. They are a bit pricey, but mechanical keyboards usually are.

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:27 pm
by hlide
I have this analog mechanical keyboard (as a KickStarter backer).

I also wish there was a(n) (O)LED keyboard where you can display the characters you want (would it be great at least to display MZ characters as the original keyboard).

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:01 pm
by mz-80a
Can anyone explain why the emulators make it so hard to work with your PC/laptop keyboard? It is frustrating that the symbols aren't where they usually are on the keys. I guess they're trying to emulate the exact positions of the MZ keys perhaps? But, for instance on EmuZ-80, that's not true of the DEL key for a start (just maps direct to the usual 'delete' key on my laptop keyboard). It does make it frustrating. Also, my cheap laptop doesn't have a PAUSE/BREAK key it seems, so I can never break out of a program in BASIC :) Kind of annoying! Would be best if you could re-map these keys yourself in the software I think...

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:28 am
by KnaxMax
Another level of confusion often comes from non-US keyboard layouts.
Some emulators just use the ASCII codes of key events instead of the key code.
But they expect US keyboard layout to map ASCII to the emulated keys.

The more your keyboard layout differs from US layout, the more confusing it gets.

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:33 am
by Jo Even
This is one of the reasons why I rarely use emulators. Yes, it looks right when looking at the screen. But the keyboard is wrong and feels wrong. You don't handle tapes and disks. It's just not the same without the real hardware.

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:32 am
by sharpmz
What about using an emu that supports (customizable) virtual kbd? The correct one for each machine and for Europe, Japan and so on?
For PC but more interesting perhaps for mobile devices using touch screens ... Ask the emu programmers for improvement

Re: idea: custom keyboard for MZ emulation

Posted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:34 pm
by gregctaylor
An easy solution is to buy a really cheap USB keyboard, a compact one can look even better. Then print keytops, you can sometimes find images which you can scale up and print. I have found the easiest way to do this is to brush paint a little lacquer on each key, stick the paper keytop to the sticky keys, wait to dry then pain another coat of lacquer on each. They seem to last quite well if you don't want a perfect finish (engineering principle, function over form). If you use multiple emulators then you get a keyboard for each. If you were more artistic than me you could probably dress them up to resemble the computer.

I did once wonder about getting the cheapest Raspberry Pi computers, install WINE and the emulator of your choice and build into a cheap keyboard so you would have a custom emulator/keyboard. Never go round to trying though I have a spare Pi waiting....