GAMDIAS HERA Keyboard Software
These days, a gaming keyboard is defined as much by its accompanying utility software as it is its hardware. Cherry MX switches, backlit keys, and pass-through USB and audio ports are all well and good, but what else does the GAMDIAS HERMES Ultimate Black Mechanical Gaming Keyboard bring to the party?
Well, the answer is the HERA software, which is GAMDIAS’ all-on-one utility used to control most of their keyboards, mice, and other accessories. Like virtually all keyboard software I’ve seen recently, it’s not delivered with the keyboard, but must be downloaded from the GAMDIAS web site. And documentation? Hah! Documentation is for wimps. Figure it out. Anyway, launching HERA takes about 30 seconds, since the first thing the program does is read all of the existing settings out of your keyboard.
- Key Assignment
- Macro Management
- Keyboard Luminance
- Assign Sound & Timer
- Sound File Edit
- Timer Setting
- Muscle Memory
- Olympics (this tab was never enabled but presumably has something to do with online gaming)
Each set of macros belongs to a profile, and the ten possible profiles are listed at the right side of the window, where you can click on one to select it. Below the 10 profile buttons are three Profile Match areas where you can specify that a specific profile be loaded when a specific game is running; but note although you don’t have to have the HERA software running for macros to work (since they’re issued by the keyboard’s onboard CPU), you do have to have HERA running for the auto-profile feature to work. Last, at the bottom right corner of the window, is where you can set the hot key to switch profiles. The default is the Fn key plus a number, i.e. Fn+1 for Profile 1, and so forth.
Macro Management is where you record your macros. This is the centerpiece of the utility and provides an amazing amount of control. You can include emulated mouse movements and clicks in macros, control the timing of macro actions with millisecond precision, and, best of all, you can fully edit macros. Individual steps can be deleted, inserted, copied, and pasted. This is the first macro editor I’ve seen with full editing and it’s wonderful! My one complaint is that the custom menus the HERA software pops out can be a little fiddly to navigate.
Once you’ve created your macros, you can head over to the Key Assignment screen to bind them to keys. Click on the key you want, and then select from a popup menu of options. Note that macros are just one of the things you can assign to a key; there’s a good selection of utility functions, such as media controls, common Windows operations such as Magnifier Zoom In/Out, Restart, Calculator, and so forth; quick launching of programs, etc. The Blueprint function displays a brief overlay showing your active profile and all your key definitions at the upper left of the screen. This is useful but sadly macros are shown only as “MACRO” and not the name you gave the macro.
The HERA software has some other interesting added features. One is Muscle Memory, which keeps track of your keyboard usage. Some of the statistics are interesting, such as Omnipresence (the maximum number of keys hit at once) or Levied Pressure (the total amount of pressure received by the keys, presumably computed by multiplying the number of keys pressed by the activation pressure of each key. I wonder if this takes into account which type of Cherry switch is used?)
A Timer facility lets you set an arbitrary number of timers (with optional on-screen displays) that will display custom messages and/or play alarm sounds (which you can record and manage on a separate screen) when they expire. There’s a Sound File Edit tab that opens a screen of functions for recording sounds, and I guess you bind these to keys and can send them during online gaming sessions? It’s just a guess, because, again…no documentation.
The right control key is used to initiate on-the-fly macro recording. Press Fn-Ctrl (the three indicators lights at the upper right of the keyboard will begin to blink), then press the keys you want to record, then terminate the sequence with Fn-Ctrl again. The macro will be assigned to the next key you press and recorded in the current profile. You can of course subsequently use the HERA software to give the macro a meaningful name and edit it if you wish.
What? The key immediately to the left of the Ctrl key that looks kind of like a soda can with a straw in it? Well, that key is a complete mystery. I’d check the documentation, but, as I’ve been complaining, there isn’t any.
So, how does this keyboard work in day-to-day use and gaming?