A thought: quite a few people use smaller portable keyboards to control PCs from the bike. Some of them require Fn key to be pressed to operate F keys, so flicking an elbow while maintaining power output becomes a rather tough task which requires use of both hands. Why not use just number keys?
Don’t the number keys give us different rider views though.
… or use some of the letter keys or sequence thereof e.g. one key for Gesture then pop up an on screen choice of options based on the next keypress. On my tiny wireless keyboard number keys also require pressing two keys at once. For that matter on most phone virtual keyboards number keys also are a separate mode (if you are using remote desktop type functionality to control the PC) so I think finding a way to get everything working on very simple keyboards that don’t have ready access to fn keys, numbers, ESC or other special characters, would be quite useful.
Do you have an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Android device? That is ideally how you’ll be interfacing with Zwift in the future. They keyboard actions are there backup for those that don’t (yet) have the mobile app.
I found iPhone app slightly less responsive compare to keyboard. Plus, running it with the screen on for hours drains the battery. So given a choice I would prefer a keyboard.
What Konstantin said. As well,
- phones in a basement consume lots of battery power trying and retrying the various cellular signals trying to get the best one (signal strength in basements is terrible so they are always cycling trying to find a higher speed/better data connection). It’s a pain to turn off cellular data only to preserve battery (and then have to remember to reenable)
- all my electronics in my cycling cave get splattered and covered with sweat
- in the darkness of the cycling cave face recognition doesn’t work to log in to the phone, have to sit there typing in a passcode and you have to do it every single time you want to interact with the phone
- not everyone uses Apple and Android phones/tablets
- battery life of remote keyboards is in the range of months to years, rather than hours, and they are pretty much instant-on
- for things like screenshots you really want a direct connection to the PC to eliminate latency
So, using the phone to interact with the sim is not for everyone (not in any way meaning to say it isn’t great for some people, just not for me). And, having well chosen keyboard inputs is utterly trivial to implement in the software, really no reason not to do it. Even allowing user defined key mappings would also be trivial.
Too bad there’s no ‘like’ button here, Eric :).
The idea of using your cell-phone as a remote-control has some seriously limiting issues.
- Auto-lock of your phone will require an unlock
- Phones controlled by a business with mobile-device-management can force a screen-lock timeout and require a password.
- Having your phone near to where you are pouring sweat isn’t a great idea.
- The battery-issues mentioned above
That said, the suggestion above that “not everyone uses iPhone or Android”… you certainly can’t expect a developer to work on an app for any other platform. Which is funny, considering this is a Windows program, but there is no Windows Phone app that’s been mentioned.
Not that anyone is actually using a Windows Phone!
I do indeed use a Windows phone and I would like to see it supported eventually.
The game will always be functional with a keyboard, and we hope you won’t even be required to use the keyboard once you’re actually up and riding if you don’t want to. The phone is a totally optional component…use it or don’t. I think most people will probably opt to use it, but often I ride without a remote kb or phone at all.
Ultimately, a key remapping option, in the configuration screen, should be the answer to all. Until then, the FN key, under OS X, can be turned off through the keyboard configuration panel.
As for the phone control, I love the idea of having this close to me, to enable the computer/laptop to be further from the sweat! (And closer to a large screen if needed). Unless restricted by company restrictions, the auto-lock option can be turned of for the duration of the training, and it should be easy to add a cord extension around to leave the phone connected.
All in all, I very much like this option. Good work. The “game” is already very entertaining and I’m very eager to see the coming improvements, not the least of which the structured training portion.
Allowing the user to pick the keys (or gestures) which correspond to the virtual animations would be nice.
I ride whenever I can with a projector making the VR world as large as possible on a wall or wall screen and do not have a phone or tablet device at all (just a computer driving the projector).