Keyboard alternative for gaming?

Jumpem

Gawd
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Dec 1, 2000
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I tried playing a traditional WASD third person shooter and my left wrist started bothering me. I think it is because my wrist bends reaching back and to the side for ctrl or shift, or reaching forward and to the side for r or t.

I like how with a PS4 controller your wrists are mostly stationary. I can't aim at all with the joysticks though.

Are there other left hand input devices?

Edit: Does anyone have thoughts on the Razer Tartarus/Orbweaver?
 
Last edited:

SeymourGore

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You might want to try using the arrow keys for your standard WASD controls, then using that side's control, shift, and numpad keys for other buttons. This was my old FPS setup (thanks to original DooM's controls being etched into my brain at the point of life), and while I've transitioned to a standard WASD control scheme, there was definitely less wrist movement in my old setup.

Hope that helps.
 

Ultima99

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I can't wait until they can grow us new bodies using our DNA and they can just swap our brains in.

Yeah that might be a bit extreme for carpal tunnel, but hey! :cool:
 

Jumpem

Gawd
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674
You might want to try using the arrow keys for your standard WASD controls, then using that side's control, shift, and numpad keys for other buttons. This was my old FPS setup (thanks to original DooM's controls being etched into my brain at the point of life), and while I've transitioned to a standard WASD control scheme, there was definitely less wrist movement in my old setup.

Hope that helps.
Interesting thought.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I saw the Razer ones after making this thread. I wonder if keys automatically map to them in games or if you have to map ten or twenty keys to get them working.
Probably work however you want, but I'd expect at least some customization necessary. Can probably pick one up locally (Best Buy maybe) for a quick test and see if the ergonomics work.
 

sharknice

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I tried playing a traditional WASD third person shooter and my left wrist started bothering me. I think it is because my wrist bends reaching back and to the side for ctrl or shift, or reaching forward and to the side for r or t.

I like how with a PS4 controller your wrists are mostly stationary. I can't aim at all with the joysticks though.

Are there other left hand input devices?

Edit: Does anyone have thoughts on the Razer Tartarus/Orbweaver?
They can help, but you should also check the angle your forearm is. You basically want it parallel with the ground meaning your keyboard should barely be above your knees. Most people have it too high and it puts strain on their wrist.
 

jthomas

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For some games, I just use a standard gamepad in my left hand and a mouse for the right hand. Makes a nice combination of analog stick for movement while still keeping superior mouse aim.
I found it especially useful in games like GTAV where you're frequently switching from FPS to driving modes, there you can just move your right hand to either device as necessary.
 

MacLeod

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They can help, but you should also check the angle your forearm is. You basically want it parallel with the ground meaning your keyboard should barely be above your knees. Most people have it too high and it puts strain on their wrist.
That's a very good suggestion. Seating position can make a huge difference. The most comfortable I've used was a desk with a keyboard drawer big enough for the keyboard and mouse. I could only find 1 chair that was low enough but once I did I could pull the keyboard drawer literally right into my lap and recline the chair back. I could play for hours like that.

Experiment with different seating positions as well as different keyboard configurations. Rotating the keyboard clockwise a little might help too.
 

Jumpem

Gawd
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674
They can help, but you should also check the angle your forearm is. You basically want it parallel with the ground meaning your keyboard should barely be above your knees. Most people have it too high and it puts strain on their wrist.
My arms rest on the desk from elbow to wrist. I probably have the surface of the desk a little higher than that though.
 

Sycraft

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Personally, as someone who has long struggles with RSI from gaming the Kinesis Freestyle is what I like. Fully adjustable mechanical keyboard. Just move the halves in to the position that works for your hands. Ya, it is pricey, but it is worth it IMO.
 

rudy

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If there is a specific reason you think the keyboard bothers you just solve it on the keyboard by reassigning the in game keys. For instance move the keys from WASD over to RDFG and use an NKRO mechanical keyboard, preferably tenkeyless to save mouse room. Then assign the main functions in game to whatever keys make you comfortable. I stopped using ctrl for duck years ago theres no point in reaching that far, its a leftover from a time when NKRO keyboards were rare so you needed to use modifiers. Also make sure you tilt your keyboard so your wrists are in a good position. When I type I move my keyboard back in front of me, when I game it gets angled way up to the left. Modern games largely dont have many keys so you should be able to work it out.

Alternatively if you like the PS controller so much just use that and software like joy2key to remap all the controls. I know one guy who was a console gamer and he knew that using the controller to aim sucked but for movement its not that bad. So in his left hand he held the controller which did most of the keyboard duty and in his right hand he used the mouse.
 

mlcarson

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As a touch typist, I find most of the one handed gaming keyboards a complete fail. They don't provide an indicator like most keyboards do of your home row by placing a raised edge of some sort on your F key. The Razer orbweave seems to be an exception to this rule. It would still be very difficult for somebody like me to adapt to that kind of layout after using keyboard layouts for 35 years. If you've trained on a numeric keypad and are used to that then this doesn't look like a huge leap.
 

Jumpem

Gawd
Joined
Dec 1, 2000
Messages
674
If there is a specific reason you think the keyboard bothers you just solve it on the keyboard by reassigning the in game keys. For instance move the keys from WASD over to RDFG and use an NKRO mechanical keyboard, preferably tenkeyless to save mouse room. Then assign the main functions in game to whatever keys make you comfortable. I stopped using ctrl for duck years ago theres no point in reaching that far, its a leftover from a time when NKRO keyboards were rare so you needed to use modifiers. Also make sure you tilt your keyboard so your wrists are in a good position. When I type I move my keyboard back in front of me, when I game it gets angled way up to the left. Modern games largely dont have many keys so you should be able to work it out.

Alternatively if you like the PS controller so much just use that and software like joy2key to remap all the controls. I know one guy who was a console gamer and he knew that using the controller to aim sucked but for movement its not that bad. So in his left hand he held the controller which did most of the keyboard duty and in his right hand he used the mouse.
I move the keyboard over to the left so the WASD keys are straight in front of where my hand rests.

I haven't tried rebinding keys yet.
 

Nenu

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Change the angle of the keyboard to suit where you arm points toward.
 

n64link

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I used to have a lot of wrist pain from heavy gaming as well. Before buying a new device do what some others have said regarding your posture and move the keyboard. I can tell you that, for me, having my chair just about desk level and rotating my keyboard to suit my arm's natural resting angle helped a lot. I also used an old gel wrist rest. You don't want your wrist aiming high or low, while doing a lot of finger movements, for long periods of time. That is what causes carpal tunnel. And see if you are more comfortable with the keyboard feet up or down. Experiment with what you can before wasting money. And as you rotate your keyboard, clockwise, the W and S keys line up better and don't put strain on your middle finger. Best of luck to you.
 

Domingo

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For some games, I just use a standard gamepad in my left hand and a mouse for the right hand. Makes a nice combination of analog stick for movement while still keeping superior mouse aim.
I found it especially useful in games like GTAV where you're frequently switching from FPS to driving modes, there you can just move your right hand to either device as necessary.
That used to be what I did a lot, too. Best of both worlds with analog movement and mouse aiming. Most newer games don't like that, though. They want one or the other and will disable functionality from one. That's the main reason I'm 95% a pad player these days. With keyboard manufacturers exploring analog key functions I'm hoping that will usher in a return for this type of thing.
 

RanceJustice

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There are relatively few "left hand gamepad" devices compared to a decade ago when they were somewhat popular, but they are still available. The Orbweaver is probably the best option between the two current Razer devices as it it appears a bit more ergonomic and also has mechanical switches, as opposed to the Tartarus' membranes. You may also want to consider the Logitech G13, which is set up a little differently and offers more keys, but I believe it is out of manufacture and its desirability among fans raise the price.

If you don't mind waiting until May (likely), check into the Dygma Raise ergonomic split keyboard - www.dygma.com - This is a high end boutique mechanical, built with all the bells and whistles (ie hot-swap switch sockets, RGB) and both firmware/controller and config software are open source! Atop all this, it is an ergonomic keyboard that can be used in various styles, including split (and then angled as you wish etc) which may help your wrist issue. Further, it splits the spacebar into 4 keys (to be assigned as you like), plus there are 3 low-profile mech thumb keys below it, adding even more macro/extra keys in a place you can easily and ergonomically reach them! Dygma Raise also has built in palm rests w/ removable and washable palm cushions which I thought was a nice touch and will definitely benefit your wrists. If you open to an ergo keyboard that had a lot of features including ergonomic ones, while also being up to date, gaming-friendly, and doesn't require relearning an entirely new layout (ie Any of the ortholinear keyboards, ergo like the Kinesis etc), check out the Raise.

In any event it may help to check the ergonomics of your workstation best as you can. If you don't have a wrist rest for your keyboard (and likely, a cushion for your mousing arm too) it would be a good upgrade. I'm actually working on something in this arena that I think many will find a BIG improvement, but right now even a cheap gel-style rest is better than none at all.
 
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