XRoar emulator ctrl/alt/f1/f2 keyboard config for CoCo 3

NOTE: This information requires XRoar 1.3.1 or later, as earlier versions had an issue remapping the Control key on Mac.

The XRoar emulator added support for the CoCo 3, but by default, the new CoCo 3 keys (alt, ctrl, f1 and f2) do not work for me — at least on the Mac. The author, Ciaran, pointed me to the “kbd-bind” configuration option. This allows remapping a host computer key and passing it through to the emulated machine. In my case, I want to do the following:

  • F1 key – F1 key on CoCo 3
  • F2 key – F2 key on CoCo 3
  • Left Control – CTRL key on CoCo 3
  • Left Option – ALT key on CoCo 3

The XRoar manual has the following information about kdb-bind:

-kbd-bind hkey=[pre:]dkey … Bind host key hkey to emulated key dkey.

When binding keys with -kbd-bind, if the emulated key dkey is prefixed with ‘preempt:’ or ‘pre:’, this binding preempts translation; useful for modifier keys. Interpretation of hkey depends on which user-interface toolkit is in use, and it might be useful to run with -debug-ui 1 to see what the toolkit calls your host keys.

Special values for dkey are: ‘colon’, ‘semicolon’, ‘comma’, ‘minus’, ‘fullstop’, ‘period’, ‘dot’, ‘slash’, ‘at’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘space’, ‘enter’, ‘clear’, ‘break’, ‘escape’, ‘shift’, ‘alt’, ‘ctrl’, ‘control’, ‘f1’, ‘f2’.

– XRoar manual

The “hkey” is the name of the key you are trying to remap, and I think it may be different between Mac and PC. By running xroar from the command line with the “-debug-ui 1” option, the terminal will print out keys as you type inside the emulator. I did this, and press the keys I wanted to remap.

% xroar -debug-ui 1

(...stuff omitted...)

sdl.key press   scan=224   sym=400000e0   mod=0040   unicode=0000   name=Left Ctrl
sdl.key release scan=224   sym=400000e0   mod=0000   unicode=0000   name=Left Ctrl

sdl.key press   scan=226   sym=400000e2   mod=0100   unicode=0000   name=Left Option
sdl.key release scan=226   sym=400000e2   mod=0000   unicode=0000   name=Left Option

sdl.key press   scan= 58   sym=4000003a   mod=0000   unicode=0010   name=F1
sdl.key release scan= 58   sym=4000003a   mod=0000   unicode=0000   name=F1

sdl.key press   scan= 59   sym=4000003b   mod=0000   unicode=0010   name=F2
sdl.key release scan= 59   sym=4000003b   mod=0000   unicode=0000   name=F2

Above, I can see that the “hkey” for pressing my Mac’s left control is “Left Ctrl“. My left option key is “Left Option” (spelled out, and not abbreviated like Ctrl was). F1 and F2 were simply “F1” and “F2“.

I went with Control and Option on the left side, since I have duplicates of those keys on the right side of my keyboard. I can remap just the left ones for CoCo 3 use, and still have the right ones for XRoar interface use.

NOTE: You could remap any key — like make F5 turn in to the CoCo 3’s F1, or whatever.

To remap those keys, I can pass the option in from the command line like this:

xroar -kbd-bind "Left Ctrl"=pre:ctrl -kbd-bind "Left Option"=pre:alt -kbd-bind F1=pre:f1 -kbd-bind F2=pre:f2

Or, I can place the following entries in the xroar.conf file:

kbd-bind "Left Ctrl"=pre:ctrl
kbd-bind "Left Option"=pre:alt
kbd-bind F1=pre:f1
kbd-bind F2=pre:f2

I actually made a special xroar.conf entry so I could get a customized CoCo 3 with RGB monitor:

machine coco3rgb
    machine-desc CoCo 3 RGB
    machine-arch coco3
    tv-input rgb
    kbd-bind "Left Ctrl"=pre:ctrl
    kbd-bind "Left Option"=pre:alt
    kbd-bind F1=pre:f1
    kbd-bind F2=pre:f2

If I run XRoar using the command line, or with those entries in the xroar.conf file, I can now boot in to the CoCo 3, and hold down my Left Control+Left Option then go to Hardware->Soft Reset and get the hidden CoCo 3 easter egg photo:

Though, the border color does not match that of a real CoCo 3, I don’t think.

I hope this helps someone else trying to use the XRoar in CoCo 3 mode with those four special CoCo 3 keys.

Until next time…

2 thoughts on “XRoar emulator ctrl/alt/f1/f2 keyboard config for CoCo 3

  1. L.+Curtis+Boyle

    You are correct – the border of the 3 Amigos should be white, not green. Older versions of VCC had this problem too when performing soft RESET.
    (I think it is fixed in current versions of VCC).


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