After the video introduction of Shortcut, a new take on the gaming keyboard, from former Fnatic LoL man Luis ‘Deilor’ Sevilla we jumped at the chance to have a chat about the project.
Esports Insider: So an exciting intro video with a keyboard that looks like it’s from the future…how long have you been working on this and what prompted you to do so?
Deilor: It’s a fun and fascinating project, but it’s been intense. After my final days with Fnatic in August I was considering my next move. I was pondering a few different options, such as esports consultancy, but I went with this because I saw it as something that could have the greatest impact on the largest number of people.
“We shouldn’t accept a mediocre tool just because it’s been with us since we were born. With today’s technology and human body knowledge we can create a keyboard designed to fulfill today’s tasks and needs at a level never before possible”
What I said when I left Fnatic was that I wanted to help to professionalise esports. In every activity or sport you need the proper tools to be able to perform. This isn’t the current status in gaming. The keyboards that are used right now were designed decades ago. Esports professionals need the proper tools at their disposal to be able to do their job properly and to the best of their abilities.
Esports Insider: In what way will it lessen the likelihood of injury and enhance performance? Do you expect teams to begin investing more in looking after their players and ensuring they stay fit, and moreover players investing more in taking care of themselves, in 2017?
Deilor: We need more space for the mouse and the shape of the traditional keyboard, specifically the position of the main playing keys, makes our wrists go through unnatural and damaging movements. Time and time again this isn’t healthy or advisable.
For gaming it’s an inefficient layout, but we’ve designed our Shortcut gaming keyboard in consideration of these problems and to limit these negative movements. We’ve reduced the distances and placed a focus on smoother and more natural movements.
There are numerous other factors at play of course. It’s far from clean cut; everything from the type of seat, the height of the seat, how the player sits, if they use armrests or not and how much pressure they put on the table for instance all make an impact. This is why we sent out questionnaires and have recruited some players to help test out all of these facets.
Of course, it’ll take some time to get used to but if you’re a hardcore gamer I think one week is feasible. This is only because of the ‘unlearning’ process.
Esports Insider: How can the community at large help, what has the response been like from those you asked?
Deilor: With the first form we sent out I received over 2600 responses. On the second we saw over 1600. I also had a lot of offers to help from everything from design to electronics; I didn’t expect the level of interest so fast.
We made it open source because it makes more sense. If the development was closed, we’d severely limit the product. We’re potentially developing Shortcut with thousands of people which should result in a far stronger product. We may lose some control but it’s developed far faster, and having the potential end users involved in the design the end product is going to be better.
Esports Insider: What is the projected timeline with the Shortcut project? Will we see a prototype that people are able to try out anywhere this year?
Deilor: The first prototype is out, we shipped the first a number of weeks back for testing and play to our competition winners.
“I was pondering a few different options, such as esports consultancy, but I went with this because I saw it as something that could have the greatest impact on the largest number of people”
We’re working on a closed Beta with 50 or so testors, and in a month or so we’ll have an open Beta and by early summer we hope to present the initial product.
Esports Insider: Will you be getting any players or team ambassadors on board? Have you spoken to many pros about it so far?
Deilor: It’s a solo project and I work closely with a small team. My original idea was to have an incredibly high end keyboard for the cream of the crop gamers and the top teams. But then we changed tact, realised the open source opportunity and wanted to have the product reach as many people as possible.
“Due to the open source nature of Shortcut, users can adapt it to their needs. Those that have limited mobility and issues with moving fingers for instance, they can take this design and refigure it for what their needs”
Another interesting aspect is that due to the open source nature of Shortcut, users can adapt it to their needs. Those that have limited mobility and issues with moving fingers for instance, they can take this design and refigure it for what their needs. It doesn’t just have the capacity to change esports and gaming.
As far as teams are concerned, this was first and foremost designed for professionals so I’ve spoken to professional players and down the line, once it’s past the prototype stage, my aim is to bring it to the top teams globally.
Esports Insider: You’ve previously worked at Fnatic as Head Coach. In your opinion what can organisations do to better ensure the lifespan of both their players and rosters?
Deilor: In League of Legends, the schedule needs work. Another key aspect is the grassroots development of youth talent. In football say you play for a local club, then at a regional level, and onwards and upwards. You have coaching the whole way, a long, long time before you are anywhere near professional.
In esports you’re essentially thrown from an online, probably your own bedroom, environment to something else entirely. This is a major transition and it’s hard to cope with. Suddenly you have teammates around you, a coach in front of you and potentially a number of fans too. This is all without the added pressures of social media, building a presence and being ‘in the limelight’.
In League there is also little in the way of knowledge in how performing affects your body and mind. So how to prepare is another area that needs investment, especially with the intense schedules that exist for esports pros.