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    Colemak from the standpoint of arcade games

    • Started by azuvix
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    • Reputation: 14
    • Registered: 01-Apr-2018
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    So, I had a neat way of thinking about typing with Colemak that at least has helped me to gain some speed in a shorter amount of time than was expected. Some of you will probably have already thought of most of these little "tricks" subconsciously, but hopefully having it written out can be of help to some. :)

    To start off, I'm a pretty big fanatic of arcade games. Always have been.

    For those that don't know, arcade games, especially fighters, require a totally different kind of focus and control than games in other genres. There are a host of techniques that competitive players are expected to have mastered if they really want any hope of winning, and some of them are remarkably similar to what you do in Colemak. QWERTY users can also benefit from much of this, but not to the same degree.

    The big techniques I can think of are rolls, slides, double-tapping, and "piano-ing".

    An example word is "question". If I approach typing that word as I would playing a fighting game, the motion comes out like this:

    q - slide (ue) - roll (st) - roll (io) - n

    or even

    q - slide - longer two-handed roll (stio) - n

    As you can see, there are some distinct types of motion, including a single-finger slide and two rolls that can benefit from very slight wrist motion.

    Or, perhaps you're typing the word "right". That might look like this:

    r - i (build a little hand tension) - piano motion (gh) - land on "t"

    A "piano" motion in this case involves lifting your hands a little bit more than usual and snapping your fingers back down on adjacent keys rapidly, as many times as the word requires. It feels almost like a jumping action if you do it right.

    Rolls can also be used across rows almost as easily as on the same row.

    Take the word "swan" for instance.

    s - roll to w and a - n.

    "Would" is a very nice example.

    w - "circle" roll over o, u, l - d

    And for double letters, "double-tapping" doesn't quite convey what the motion involves. When you see someone double-tapping on arcade controls, they either use two fingers and "drum" out a double-tap (not helpful in proper touch typing), or they sort of twitch their finger to get the same effect. Doing it the second way, you don't need to let go of the button or key - instead you keep it near its actuation point and twitch it down again. Being able to do this on any finger is a great advantage and keeps your speed consistently high. The real challenge is getting only two letters out this way!

    The number of examples is really quite endless. The most essential thing is to get the rhythm down and make the motions automatic. Once you do, whole words form with very little effort at a surprising speed.

    Last edited by azuvix (03-May-2018 00:29:25)
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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Interesting post! ^_^ Particuarly the "pianoing" bit, hadn't thought of it like that.

    To avoid confusion, you could call the "double-tapping" technique "drumming". I think that's clearer. I've used the example of drumming your fingers on the table to illustrate how good a roll feels in comparison with alternating (which is good and an example of "pianoing" I think? – but not as delightful as rolling/drumming).

    On a good day, I approach question a bit differently: q – ue (alt-fingered by sliding ring finger in for 'e') – st (roll) – ion (mixed roll).

    Now, as a hardcore gamer, try typing FUZMATNOBA and tell me why that's funny... ;-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-May-2018 11:41:22)

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    Strictly speaking. I think the term "piano-ing" is only for two-handed techniques, but being a pianist myself, you're quite right that there are more motions than that which are similar in both typing and piano playing. Maybe the term's use can be broadened a bit in this context. I don't know that there's any good word for it when teaching touch typing. Actually, most of these ideas don't really have names, that's why I think that labelling and practicing them specifically may be worthwhile.

    Okay, you've got my attention. I can't figure out why FUZMATNOBA is funny, other than the facts that the ring finger is never used, there are some pretty wide jumps, and there is some interesting symmetry between hands. I failed the challenge. But hey, I never claimed that PC gaming was my area of expertise. XP

    So whatcha gettin' at, DreymaR?

    Last edited by azuvix (05-May-2018 13:56:26)
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    Heh, that joke was conceived wayyyy too deeply into the rabbit hole I'm afraid. Follow the white smiley... ;-)

    If "pianoing" equals "hand alternating" then we won't need the word: It's prettier but less clear. So unless pianoing can also happen without strict hand alternating then it's not a concept I feel. Similarly, "rolling" is already a word so "drumming" has to cover a bit more ground than that. But as I understood it, both terms do cover a bit more than their pedestrian counterparts.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    I daresay we sound like a couple of neurologists debating whether "substantia nigra" is really all that useful of a term when it translates to "black stuff". ;) As my old neuroanatomy professor said, it's a discipline where people would rather share toothbrushes than use the same vocabulary.

    And that joke was surely enjoyable. Thank you for not making fun of my lack of knowledge. :P

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    Oh, do come on. Most medical Latin is completely silly and that's the fun of it. Being able to refer to people's privates as "the tail" and "the sword sheath" and having them believe you're dead serious about it is a fine way to brighten your otherwise gray day of MD-ing. :-D

    Glad you enjoyed the joke. Awesome Mode unlocked! ^_^

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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