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Bloody B188 Light Strike Keyboard Review

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Key Dominator Utility

The Bloody keyboard utility software is called Key Dominator. With this utility you can define macros and assign them to any of the keys on the cursor control or numeric pads, as shown in the image below; you can also assign macros to the number keys 1-6 on the main keyboard. For any definable key you use a pop-up menu to select from a number of pre-defined functions (generic Office functions and such) or assign macros that you create. All macros are stored in the keyboard’s memory and you do not have to have Key Dominator running to use loaded macros.

key_dominator_macro_numpad

The top bar of the utility contains five buttons: Ultra Core, Button, About, Oscar Macro, and Super Combo. To the right of the buttons are a joystick icon (that controls “No Detection” mode; more on this later) and a light bulb that controls the lighting features. The latter offers three choices: On, Off, and “Neon Glare System”, which strobes the EL backlight between blue, teal, and green for a few minutes at seemingly random intervals. The 8 gaming keys are always blue and are unaffected by the Neon Glare System, although you can adjust their brightness as well as turn them on and off.

The Ultra Core and About buttons open advertising screens, but the oddly-named Oscar Macro button takes you to the heart of this utility: macro definition. And here I must say that this utility shines. While Bloody offers a number of standard pre-defined functions for things like Office work and standard file manipulation, the macros are where the real fun is: in addition to key strokes, macros can contain defined or recorded pauses between each step as well as absolute and relative mouse movements that will work with any mouse. A limited programmability feature lets you define, control, and query two separate “variables” (A and B) as counters for simple looping and branching inside a macro, and best of all, macros are fully editable: you can easily insert and delete steps inside an existing macro.

Once a macro is defined, you can return to the main screen to assign it to a key. There doesn’t seem to be any pre-set limit on the number of key strokes or other actions in any individual macro.

key_dominator_macro_record_variables

Macros you define are grouped into one of three profiles: Standard, Gaming2, or Gaming3. There are several options for how you select a profile, some of which– such as Shift driver free as shown below– have non-obvious modes of operation. But after playing around I finally figured out that the colors associated with each profile refer to the color of a tiny Bloody hand icon that floats partially off-screen (until you mouse over it, whereupon it slides into view). So for Shift driver free, you switch profiles with Fn and the left or right arrow key, and look at the color of the partially on-screen hand icon to verify your profile selection. You’d think this would be described in the documentation, but…

key_dominator_manage_profile

…documentation for this utility is spread across two downloadable documents: Bloody Oscar Macro II Manual and Bloody Super Combo. While the manuals seem complete and are copiously illustrated, they are obviously written by someone who’s not a native English speaker, and the resulting tortured syntax and off wording (see “shift driver free”) can sometimes be impossible to follow. Also, the manuals seem to describe features that don’t exist in the software I downloaded from Bloody’s web site, and completely ignore other features like profile selection. In fact the word “profile” doesn’t occur in either manual.

key_dominator_button_closeup

Clicking the joystick icon at the top right of the utility window opens the dialog below. It seems to be designed to assign a group of macros to a specific game, automatically load them when the game is launched, and then quit the Key Dominator utility. The idea here is to apparently bypass checks made by online games that prohibit the use of any sort of “assistive” software.

Which would be nice if I could figure out how to add a game to the list, but I couldn’t; and the use of this feature doesn’t seem to be documented anywhere.

key_dominator_no_detection

I’ll present my final thoughts and conclusion about this keyboard in the next section.


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