New app under development

One issue we have consistently had over the life of Drauger OS is that our on-screen keyboard, Onboard, does not display when you click in a text box using a controller that has been set up in software using usb-scanner. This is due in part to 3 reasons:

  1. usb-scanner makes your controller emulate a real mouse and keyboard, so Onboard will not understand when a controller clicks on a text box, versus a real mouse or keyboard.
  2. usb-scanner simply translates your actions on the game-pad to something that can actually interact with the computer. It does not have the capability to understand that you are clicking in a text box. While Onboard can, that presents our third issue:
  3. Even if these two apps could understand what was going on, the risks of having a bug where the on-screen keyboard is displayed, even if no game-pad is connected, is very high.

To counteract these 3 issues, we are in the middle of developing a new app, called game-board, that will provide an on-screen keyboard specifically for game-pads. It will be able to tell when you are clicking in a text box so that it can display itself, and will provide a faster typing experience than your traditional on-screen keyboard used for controllers.

Furthermore, usb-scanner will be re-worked to integrate with it in such a way that it does not depend on game-board, but does leverage it’s capabilities when it’s available. game-board will also be made not to depend on usb-scanner so that if someone would rather, they can use game-board with another app if they prefer.

Finally, game-board is being written in Python. This will provide high performance while still maintaining transparency and configurability within the code. And, thanks to the pynput and inputs Python libraries, game-board will also support not just XBox controllers, but also PlayStation Dual-Shock controllers as well. In fact, it will support and work with most controllers as long as they have two analog sticks, or something similar.

It is our hope that game-board will be an easier method of typing using your XBox or PlayStation controller, and will prevent the hassle of having to use a separate keyboard and mouse.

Please feel free to test out our code! A new repo for game-board will be available on our GitHub in the coming days. Once we feel confident it is in something of a semi-working state, we will put an alpha version of the app in our apt repos for more people to test.

Sincerely,
Thomas Castleman
Lead Dev
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