“A month ago or so I started playing StarCraft 2 again. I’m not really good at it, actually, but it’s fun to play with my friends. I’ve never ever got used to the hotkeys, most of my refuse to practice. As an engineer I’ve tried to solve problems by creating tools, not to practice stupid routines,” Andreas explained in a recent Chaozlabs blog post.
“The grind hotkey system seems a good idea, but it if you think about it, there is a serious design fault. As a right-handed person you have to use the left hand for the hotkeys. The grid on the screen is on the right side and the most used keys are on the left. This means you have to use your little finger for the most common actions – that’s not very comfortable. [Plus], switching between right and left shift is not very intuitive.”
So Andreas set about designing and building a keyboard that more intuitively mirrors the Starcraft grid.
“Mostly, you think from the middle of your view to the outside. The same is true for your hands. The index finger means center, the little finger is your outer side,” he continued.
In addition to Atmel’s ATmega8U2 MCU, the finished product includes salvaged Cherry-MX keys, a 3D printed case, a carbon cover and PCB slices.
“I played some games with it and you learn using the hotkeys incredibly fast. As I thought the mirrored grid is very intuitive. You don’t have to move the hand as much as if you use the normal hotkeys and with the two rows of numbers, every short group is easily reachable. The rectilinear grid of the buttons is more ergonomic than I thought,” Andreas added.
Interested in learning more about the Atmel-powered Starcraft 2 keyboard? Be sure to check out the relevant design files on Thingverse here.