[chuck-users] Guitar Zero

Kassen signal.automatique at gmail.com
Fri Jan 9 07:27:45 EST 2009

Hey, Les!

> I may have spoken about Guitar Zero on the list before.  The program is an
> interactive ChucK program for practicing guitar.  I have made major updates
> to it<snip>

This is lovely. I don't play the guitar but I like seeing people make
musical games.

It seems that international keyboards such as a British or Belgian or German
> keyboard are handled improperly by ChucK and they can't use the menu options
> properly.

This is the bit I wanted to reply to. I use big IBM keyboards nearly all the
time, I have two; one for my laptop and one for my desktop, these have a
Dutch layout. My laptop (like nearly all, these days, it seems) has a US
layout and so I occasionally have to use that as well.

I haven't found a case where ChucK didn't handle both "properly". Clearly
there are differences, differences that can make things tricky, like for
example the extra key between the "Z" and the left shift or the three keys
between the "L" and the "Enter" that the Dutch ones have and the US one
lacks. This can be inconvenient, even confusing but I didn't encounter a
case where I felt ChucK's behaviour wasn't "proper". Because of the way I
tend to use the keyboard in musical interfaces I'm more interested in key
location then I'm in the label on the key, I found that my_key_msg.which()
typically refers to the same location on both (where possible) so I use that
one most often. If your application requires certain messages based on the
labeling I'd use the ascii value instead, those keys that don't have one
(like shift or ctrl) should be the same for msg.which(). This can take some
fidgeting and I realise this may be hard to write for if you lack keyboards
with those layouts.

There are many things about keyboards that we might call "improper". I for
example feel that nearly all modern ones lack "proper" tactile feedback for
typing and I don't like branding on keys either; few people seem to feel
that way. I realise I'm in a extremely small minority to prefer a Dutch
layout; to me anything else doesn't feel "proper" as that's what I'm used
to, like you are used to a US layout. We can blame lots of people; we can
blame keyboard manufacturers, we can blame governments for not yet having
designed a single language for all of the world to use (I suspect a loby by
professional interpreters and weapon builders who are benefiting from the
confusion ;¬) )... but I also suspect this is one of the rare cases where we
can't blame ChucK.

That is, of course, unless you can point out a case where ChucK could have
done better that I missed. I think poor ChucK is simply suffering from the
same issue that we all have; a lack of standards and of languages differing.
It's not ChucK's fault that English doesn't use characters like the "ß" or
"ü", which is without even going into the ones used by Chinese, Russian or

I hope that either clarifies the situation or will encourage you to explain
what I missed so far, maybe German keyboards do terrible things, like
sending different signals for the cursor keys; I never tried one.

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