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Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

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firescue17

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Post Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:59 pm

Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

As my ISBoxer profile grew, I found it became more and more difficult to manage all the Mapped Keys. Finding an unused hotkey was one thing. Being able to actually remember what they did and use them in combat was another . . . CTRL-SHIFT-NUMPAD 4 does what? CTRL-NUMPAD 4 does what? SHIFT-NUMPAD 4 . . . ALT-NUMPAD 4 . . . I vaguely remember the last time I played I moved my panic heal . . . to where? What did I do with Evac!

Using Virtualization and the Like a Pro process, I devised a method to build a hotkey menu with on-screen indicators which allows a user to tab through pages of hotkeys in the same manner one would tab through an HTML webpage. In the event of a shortage of available hotkeys, simply add another menu or sub-menu to the workflow.

Video Demonstration

My current EQ profile spans 6 characters and contains 41 Key Maps and some 600 Mapped Keys. My current menu structure allows for the Mapped Keys and various combinations of Mapped Keys to exist in 2 main menus, one for default PVE and Raiding and a second, parallel Monster Mission menu. Almost every single Mapped Key is accessed through THREE keys: “Tab” or “\” to navigate the menus and a G-Key to activate the hotkey:

Image
Image 01

STEP 01: CREATE THE LABEL CLICK BAR
Setup the click bar in the layout of the key bank to be Virtualized. In this tutorial, I am using the G keys on a G15 keyboard. I selected a custom transparent image for the third and sixth rows to simulate the exact layout of the keyboard keys.

Image
Image 02

In order for ISBoxer to preserve font colors, sizes and styles upon a “New Clickbar Button Action,” a default label text needs to be entered directly into the base click bar. I use a hyphen as the default text placeholder.

Image
Image 03

STEP 02: CREATE THE KEY MAPS
Next, create the base Key Maps. I have adopted a numeric naming convention for Key Maps in order to use the sort function build into ISBoxer: low numbers being very generic moving through the order of operations hierarchy to high numbers being specific to the character level. In this case 00: contains base hotkeys, 10: contains virtual placeholders, 20: menus and submenus. I could continue on from there to 30: Mapped Keys shared between characters or character sets, 40: generic class Mapped Keys, 50: character specific Mapped Keys, etc.

For this example, create 4 Key Maps:
00: General Hotkeys
10: Virtual G15 Hotkeys
10: Virtual G15 Placeholder
10: Virtual Placeholders

This example has two parallel menus which co-exist independently of each other. Also create:
20: Control: Menu: 01
20: Control: Menu: 02

Image
Image 04

Next, create the Menu. It is easier to visualize the Virtualization process when starting at the bottom of the hierarchy.

STEP 03: CREATE THE MENU
Inside “20: Control: Menu: 01,” create the following Mapped Keys:

A click bar and matching Virtualized Key Bank for each Menu Page. In this example, Menu 01 has 3 pages: Page 01, Page 02, and Combat.

Clickbar: Combat
Virtual G15: Combat

Clickbar: Page 01
Virtual G15: Page 01

Clickbar: Page 02
Virtual G15: Page 02

Image
Image 05

Once each click bar Mapped Key is created, assign a “New Click Bar Button Action” for each button label in the menu:

Image
Image 06

Once each Virtualized Key Bank Mapped Key is created, assign a “New Mapped Key Virtualization Action” for each button in the menu, in this case 18 Virtualization Actions, one for each of the 18 G keys:

Image
Image 07

“Inside 20: Control: Menu: 01,” also create two additional Mapped Keys and assign their “Do Mapped Keys.” These Mapped Keys tie the page label click bar and it’s associated Virtualized Mapped Keys together. This Mapped Key separation is needed to avoid any information being truncated by ISBoxer.

Sub: Page 01
Sub: Page 02

Image
Image 08

While it may not be evident in this basic tutorial, once the base menu is built, there are limitless opportunities for “Step Synchronization” and “Do Mapped Key” options to incorporate workflow logic into the menu itself (See Image 15 and 16): When loading a Buffs Menu, it’s probably a good idea the characters load their buff spells. If switching to an AoE stance, you might as well load AoE weapons along with the AoE spells. Due to this one needs to be careful to avoid hitting the limit on the amount of actions which can be placed into a single step.

Finally, inside “20: Control: Menu: 01,” create the “Combat: Assist” and “Load Menu” Mapped Keys and assign their “Do Mapped Keys.” Based upon personal preference, one can add a “New Mapped Key Step Action” to "Combat: Assist" in order to reset “Load Menu” back to step one. This will allow the menu to reset and automatically kick out to Page 01 when tabbing out of combat.

"Combat: Assist" requires a separate hotkey from the Load Menu hotkey to co-exist and supersede the general menu in order to prevent becoming bogged down in a submenu tree in the event of unexpected combat. “Load Menu” defines the order the Virtual key banks will appear as one is tabbing through the Menu: Page 01, Page 02, Page 03, and so forth.

Image
Image 09

STEP 04: CREATE THE MENU VIRTUAL PLACEHOLDERS
“Inside 10: Virtual Placeholders,” create two mapped Keys “Combat: Assist” and “Load: Menu” and also assign their “Do Mapped Key” options. My personal preference was to always load the default menu, “Control: Menu: 01” in this tutorial, regardless of the character set being played. Due to this preference, I declared the default “Do Mapped Key” options in the Virtual Placeholders Key Map as opposed to the Character or Character Set tabs.

Image
Image 10

STEP 05: CREATE THE VIRTUAL KEY BANK MAPPED KEYS
Since this tutorial covers Virtualizing a G15 keyboard, inside “10: Virtual G15 Placeholder,” create a Virtual Mapped Key for each G Key. Leave the step empty, or alternately, assign a default pop-up text to appear in the event of a failed virtualized key press.

Image
Image 11

STEP 06: CREATE THE VIRTUAL HOTKEYS
Inside “10: Virtual G15 Hotkeys” create a Mapped Key and assign the appropriate Hotkey for each G key. Create a “New Do Mapped Key” for each hotkey to do the appropriate Virtual Mapped Key in “10: Virtual G15 Placeholder.”

Image
Image 12

STEP 07: CREATE THE GENERAL HOTKEYS
Inside “00: General Hotkeys” create a Mapped Key and assign the appropriate Hotkey for “Combat: Assist” and “Load: Menu.” Create a “New Do Mapped Key” for both to do the appropriate Virtual Mapped Key in “10: Virtual Placeholders.”

Image
Image 13

STEP 08: ASSIGN LABELS AND MAPPED KEYS
This is the never ending step. Inside “20: Control: Menu: 01,” assign label text and a Mapped Key to each button to be used on that menu page. The following images are not from the attached template, rather they are from the default menu combat key bank in my actual EQ profile as shown in the video:

Image
Image 14

If at any point you find yourself running out of hotkeys, simply add a new classification of keys to be grouped together such as “Buffs” or “Transportation” and a new menu or submenu page as shown in Image 14.

If at any point you find the need to break out to a parallel menu structure, such as monster missions in EQ, resource node farming, emote driven raids, etc, add a new “20: Control: Menu: XX,” assign clickbars labels and Virtualized Mapped Keys, then redirect “Combat: Assist” and “Load: Menu” to the alternate “Combat: Assist” and “Load: Menu.” The first image below illustrates the Virtualization of “Combat: Assist” and “Load: Menu” from my default menu to a parallel menu for Monster Missions. The second illustrates resetting “Combat: Assist” and “Load: Menu” back to default.

Image
Image 15

Image
Image 16

In Image 14, one will note there is a duplicate Utility Menu; Utility w(ith)Timer. The default menu I use in regular group xp grind zones has a Timer Reset Action in my Combat: Spam Mapped Key. Using the Timer Capability I have the default group menu set to time out and revert back to the default Utility Menu after 20 seconds of no key presses. The time out / Timer Reset Action essentially acts as a built in safety switch. This prevents my blowing 30 or 40 minute cool downs into thin air if, for example, I leave the keyboard to go get a drink, come back and forgot I left my characters in combat mode.

One final note, this same menu effect can be accomplished by Virtualizing an entire Key Map as opposed to Virtualizing each individual Mapped Key in a single step. I tried that method and found it very hard to proofread and troubleshoot. I find it easier to read all the Mapped Key Virtualizations in a single step as shown in Image 14 as opposed to the ISBoxer UI resetting every time a new Key Map is clicked and then having to expand each and every Mapped Key to see what Mapped Key was assigned to it.

DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE

EDIT: SPELLING
Last edited by firescue17 on Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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MiRai

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Post Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:27 pm

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

Mind = Blown

This is impressive. :)
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FuryOfNature

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Post Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:27 am

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

Absolutely outstanding! Neat concept, nice execution and great video + explanation.

Thank you for sharing this with us.
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Alge

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Post Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:58 am

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

I think Alice said it best in Through the Looking Glass:

"Somehow it fills my head with ideas—only I don’t exactly know what they are!"

This is an impressive piece of work. Further study will be required at a later date.
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firescue17

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Post Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:00 am

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

Thank you all.
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Alge

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Post Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:09 am

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

I've partially implemented this method for both my G13 keypad and G600 mouse. I like it. It does involve a lot of repetitive setup though.

The best thing about it is that I can see it is going to reduce my clicking on those occasionally-used abilities once I get them built into a menu.
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firescue17

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Post Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:41 am

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

Thanks, Alge. That triggered the thought I made an oversight in the writeup, which I will edit. I saved a little bit of time by making a copy of blank labels and virtualized keys to be used as a Template. At that point, when I added a new menu, I would copy the Template again, rename the copy of the Template, and go down the list, clicking "Do this . . .," "Do this . . . ," "Do this . . ."
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lax

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Post Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

I wanted to say, this is great and thank you for sharing :)

I am going to try to do my part to improve on this idea and especially make it easier to configure something like this.
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Ualaa

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Post Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:48 pm

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

This is a great idea.
Thank you for sharing it.

I really like the key usage for hotkeys.
But would likely want the option for things to be clicked too; in your video, you mentioned that was an option but not part of your implementation.
Keybinds are generally faster, but the mouse is convenient at times too.

This definitely gives a lot of ideas.
I'd like to adapt this, for both the G15 and G600, as Alge mentioned.
Streaming in 720p HD: www.twitch.tv/ualaa
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firescue17

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Post Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:59 pm

Re: Guide: Unlimited Hotkeys Through Virtualized Menus

Thank you, Lax.

I don't presume to understand the inner workings of ISB, so I don't know what the feasibility of implementing anything is; however, as I was fleshing this out and experimenting with things, my imagination was telling me what I wanted to do was:

1) Assign a hotkey to a clickbar button directly in the ISBoxer UI panel, similar to the manner one would assign a left / right mouse click or mouseover action.

Instead of creating a whole bunch of infrastructure Mapped Keys for label and hotbutton virtualization, one would create separate clickbars in the ISBoxer UI panel with hard coded hotkeys. Once I had separate clickbars with hardcoded hotkeys, I could do:

2) "New Clickbar Virtualization Action" such that Clickbar "Empty Placeholder" is now "Clickbar "Something Else."

Version 1.0 of this consisted of separate clickbars with "New Clickbar State Actions to turn them on and off, but as I expanded on the theory, added more pages and workflow logic, especially jumping to a non-linear page, it became too complex to track and troubleshoot which of any of the 17 clickbars needed to be turned on or off at any given time.

The ability to associate the labels with the hotkey would reduce the profile overhead by at least half.
Last edited by firescue17 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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