Bloody Key Dominator Utility
The Bloody B840 keyboard’s utility software is called Key Dominator. With this utility you can define macros and assign them to the main number keys 1-5, highlighted in red on the main screen of the utility, as well as any of the keys on the numeric pad and cursor control keys to the right of the main keyboard (you select the latter keys by clicking the subtle red arrow at the lower left of the macro list in the screen shot below). 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.
The top bar of the utility contains six buttons: Ultra Core, Button, RGB Animation, About, Oscar Macro, and Super Combo. The RGB Animation button opens a panel for configuring this feature, but since the B840’s LED backlights are a single color– orange– the keyboard has no RGB capability and the controls in this section of the utility do nothing. It’s odd that Bloody doesn’t disable or hide this button when the utility is used with a non-RGB keyboard.
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 flashes the lights in random patterns for a few minutes before settling down to steady on. Remember, each horizontal row of keys is a fixed color– these are not RGB LEDs.
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. The Bloody B840 Light Strike keyboard has 160K of onboard memory for macro storage, and there doesn’t seem to be any pre-set limit on the number of key strokes or other actions in any individual macro.
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…
…documentation for this utility is spread across two 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.
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.
Bloody also provides a Key Response utility that purports to show the performance advantages of the optical key switches. In testing alongside a standard mechanical keyboard– you set the two keyboards up with a bar covering both space bars, and use the bar to press both at the same time– the utility did seem to show a response advantage for the B720 keyboard (this is the “Target PC” test):
I’m not sure what the “Knock PK” test is, but all I ever got it to do was complain that “This PK is invalid”:
I’ll present my final thoughts and conclusion about this keyboard in the next section.