Hands in the air
Our worries all slipped away though when we plugged in the Fightpad and started to play a few games.
In use, the entire experience changes. For one we were no longer looking at the ugly carbon fibre cover, removing one problem entirely. Our hands quickly found the buttons in game and our little fingers relocated to the M13 macro key so that we could manoeuvre in-game without fear of accidentally deafening ourselves by slipping on the volume control.
The buttons on the pad still feel very clacky and cheap, but in game we were often to absorbed in the action to really pay attention, but we always have been partial to a bit of SiN Episodes
The macro software for the Fightpad is what I call 'semi-lame' because, while it provides decent macro recording capabilities, it still looks awful because someone decided to design it to have lots of spiky edges and steel-like effects to help it appeal to twelve year old Counter-Strike
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The macro software bears more than a passing resemblance to the software used by Revoltec's Fightboard, which isn't really very surprising – that was one of the major benefits of the keyboard. The macro recorder allows gamers to create very long, complex macros with set delays between key presses. This is especially handy for in game pauses when animations play as they can be predicted and worked around – something not possible on other gaming peripherals.
While the macro software may look awful to most mature gamers – by which we don't mean people who play Leisure Suit Larry
– it still provides excellent functionality and an easy interface with which to navigate and record game commands. We find macros are incredibly useful for use in Photoshop and Oblivion
, where casting three healing spells and a fireball is a macro we often use.
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Out of a game, the Fightpad has its functionality diminished, which is fair considering it is designed as a games device only. The macros can be used outside of games and the 'F' keys etc are all usable too, though a keyboard is usually preferable for non-gaming. The direction buttons are treated by the computer as their WASD counterparts and the jump button doubles as a spacebar, though why you'd want to type with it is beyond us.