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Photon 10 April 2010 02:47

Keyrah A600 game review
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OK, on a whim I decided to have a gaming night and test the Keyrah in my newly sawed-in-half A600 case bought right here on EAB :)

Setup: see attached pic. (Yeah, this test made me fixate the 70s terminal keyboard key fire button properly. Good thing.)

Games tested:
- Gravity-Force (both joy and keyboard mode) for its unbuffered exactness (and also I'm pro at it)
- Pinball Dreams
- Turrican
- Hybris
- Giana Sisters
- Tried two versions of Aunt Arctic adventure (pixel perfect platformer) but TOSEC doesn't seem to have anything that works with Quickstart config. (Or maybe the loader fails with Turbo.)

First of all, the 'mod' (hate that word for simple things) was a sinch, I had to snip off an unused piece of the Keyrah board to make it slot into the joyports of the A600 case, and I had to snip off the floppy part of the case to access the 'F12' switch and let the USB cable stick out.

But apart from that, it all just worked. Joystick was recognized by WinUAE without any hooplah and ofc it's nice to Ctrl-A-A to reset WinUAE ;)

Test rig details:
WinUAE 2.01 on a fast XPSP3 PC, Dell 22" CRT in Fullscreen 720x480@50 Hz, gfx_nobackbuffers option. Keyrah tested in both a USB hub and a dedicated 500Hz overclocked USB port.

First tested in the USB hub. Knowing that the hub reads data "when it wants" it was no surprise to find that Pinball Dreams left a bit to be desires when it comes to flipper response. Fine, said I, and went on to test the rest with an overclocked USB port.

Knowing Gravity-Force, I have to say that I didn't notice much out of the ordinary. Both in keyboard and joystick mode it behaved much like in keyboard mode with my ace instant-response PS/2 keyboard.

Having said that, I would judge from this single game that PS/2 *is* slightly better for gaming performance. And that there is a further slight delay on the joy input. But it's hard to judge these tiny delays. I had no problems clearing levels regardless.

Pinball Dreams: Well, as we know even on real Amigas the flipper response is sometimes but rarely erratic (stuck flippers, sometimes a flipper sound is played without flipper moving). I would say that it's as good as my PS/2 keyboard, based on the fact I don't play it as often as Gravity-Force. I doubled my highscore after using the overclocked USB port (not saying much...) and I didn't get frustrated by the keyboard being the cause of any missed shots.

Joystick mode: I died after 8 levels of Giana and on the first level of Turrican (without having played either in a year, mind you)... I noticed a clear difference in fire response after modding (ie properly fastening) the tac-2 fire button. Unfortunately Hybris was tested before this, and either my shot timing was off or the fire button is to blame or Keyrah sucked. This was just a quick test and I had no other shooter to test it with.

I'd appreciate pro gamer input (like the guys on recordedamigagames.org) on this, since I rarely play games at all in WinUAE. This session was basically compared to a similar one in WinUAE some weeks ago "vs my brother" (on a PS/2 keyboard). :)

But for now I'd say:
- for typing/general use/coding/casual gaming: no problems! Go get one.
- for pro gaming, especially with joystick: use PS/2 keyboards and parallel/joyport-on-sound-card joysticks.

For myself, I'm going to keep this setup until the end of days. Any delay was almost unnoticable, and certainly the keyboard input is good enough for Gravity-Force. And that's saying something, since it's my favorite game on Amiga :)

Footnote: Setting a 100Hz mode instead of 50Hz *may* improve response (actuator to pixels hitting retina time), but not tested.

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