Squeekboard Gaming Layouts [Community Project]

As I read some posts of people who’re interested in gaming layouts I thought someone should just start.

Let’s create a Layout together with different layers for different games. It should extent the support of games that can be installed, but need some keyboard input to get be used as well as possible.

What do we need?

  • a design standard for all layers
  • a css hack for spacers, so this wont be supported officially (yet) - but it’s very important for handling
    • (there is a chance to get support in future with official spacers)
  • the knowledge what kind of input different games will need
    • people who’re willing to test this for their games and give feedback

What won’t be supported?

  • keys that are not supported by predefined keysym (as long as nobody knows how to define new ones)
    • for example controller keys that cannot be mapped via usual keys like tabulator instead of pause-button
  • changes related to Squeekboard behavior
    • changing total size
    • overlapping game with transparency background

I would start the whole thing if 2 or 3 people are willing to help, so please reply. You don’t need any specific knowledge.

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So are you picturing system specific game pads? I was thinking as an MVP to just do as many inputs that can be easily supported, and then let others fill in the gaps to get a single universal pad, then it is east to remove things from there if people want specific layouts.

Perhaps these customizations could be managed from an app in the future, or maybe provide defined configurations that download like an app. I’m sure there will be plumbing issues as well as per my initial tests with some games using the default terminal keyboard.

In terms of adjusting the userspace of the squeekboard itself, surely these are considerations for a future tablet product ideally, to address landscape mode. I know the iPad can split the keyboard into two pieces to make it easier to reach. One step further would be to have a component directly on each side, rather than all at the bottom, especially for the Librem 5. MVP in the meantime could just try to make the bottom bar as narrow as possible with a slightly adjusted configuration.

The Librem 5 reminded me of an old school thick GameBoy Colour, and even has M.2 cartridge slots (for SSD) :grimacing:

My idea was to create one Squeekboard layout with a layer hub where you could choose specific layers for different games. But layers should have as few as possible buttons to make buttons more big and this way games easier to control (that also speeds up how fast you can hit buttons on virtual keyboard). Some layers could be designed as different game pads, some as WASD+some-more-buttons keyboard or even just 4 arrows as most simple layout. The games will give the requirements.

And to make it not too complicated - similar layouts may could be matched together to a single layout - if it makes sense in the specific cases. This way we don’t need a new layout for each new game.

But all the ideas I wrote here were to write custom layouts that Purism supports by default. I’m not a programmer and I don’t think there will be anyone anytime soon just to write an app (or modifying Squeekboard) that implements all your ideas (for example splitting keyboard on landscape). My thought is more like “until we have a real and well function solution, we can use the gaming layouts to bridge that time”. Or in other words: a solution that is much better than nothing (or than terminal layout :wink:).

Also, if someone is programming a real solution in future, our design work could be part of that application.

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