bit-gamer.net

Why I don't use WASD

Posted on 24th Jun 2010 at 10:18 by Paul Goodhead with 104 comments

Paul Goodhead
When I was younger I shattered my left forearm while skateboarding. It was a full on bones-sticking-out-of-the-skin kind of moment and it took two plates, eight screws and a couple of hours of surgery to get my arm back together again.

To make things worse, during its journey towards the outside world the sharp end of my broken bone severed a number of nerves; specifically the ones responsible for the feeling and movement of my fingers. Essentially I was left with little feeling or movement in my left hand thumb, little finger and ring finger.

Over time the bones healed and the nerves did their best to knit back together but I'm still left with reduced dexterity in my thumb and a lack of feeling in my little finger.

I'm not claiming this is any kind of problem in everyday life, it's not like I've got some sort of deformed claw for a left hand, but it has affected the controls I use in FPS and RPG games. It's something that always seems to draw a comment

Take a basic game such as Counter Strike: Source as an example. The controls are ones most bit-tech readers should be familiar with; the W, A, S and D keys control movement with the mouse buttons responsible for fire and alt fire. Other controls such as jump, reload and walk are handled by keys close to the central WASD keys.

Why I don't use WASD
The 'WASD' controls have become the de-facto standard for game controls. Click to enlarge.

My control set-up on the other hand is slightly different. Firstly, movement needs to be split between the mouse and the keyboard; the right mouse button is forward, Alt Gr is backwards and left and right strafe are comma and full stop respectively. I use semi colon to reload, M to walk and N to duck. Shift is use, spacebar is jump and forward slash is sprint (though CS:S doesn't use it). Alt fire is bound to Mouse 4 and Mouse 3 (roll wheel click) is spare - in CS:S it's bound to a grenade macro, in TF2 its set to call MEDIC.

So how did I settle on this inside out control scheme? In truth I don't know for certain, it just kind of came about as I worked out what I could and could not do. It wasn't a case of planning out my controls to be as competitive as possible back then; it was more to do with maximising comfort and minimizing frustration.

There were a few distinct problems that I had to work around though and the whole control scheme grew up as as i changed it to tackle each one. Firstly, my fingers would get tired quickly after the accident, hence forward movement migrated to the mouse as holding down W constantly made my hand ache.

Secondly, with a lack of feeling in my little finger it was difficult to distinguish between Caps Lock, Shift and Ctrl, meaning I'd walk when I wanted to duck and vice versa. I needed my little finger to perform one task and one task only as it's not tactile enough to feel different keys. Hence in my control scheme its only job is to sit on Space. Crouching and walking is now delegated to my ring finger (N and M)

Why I don't use WASD
Having an alternate control set up makes sharing computers a nightmare

Thirdly, my thumb doesn't bend so it doesn't sit on the space bar naturally when using WASD. Bringing my controls down to centre around the comma and full stop keys takes my thumb out of the game completely, which is a disadvantage (I've got less fingers to allocate controls too) but one I try to get around by using more of the buttons available on the mouse.

These controls aren't necessarily perfect for every game and I struggle when a game has lots of controls that I have to try and cram into my little corner of the keyboard. I also miss out on having easy access to any macro keys on my keyboard as these are usually on the far left of the board.

In the back of my mind I know that these controls were only absolutely necessary when my hand was much worse than it is now. It's entirely likely that these days I could use WASD with a bit of practice. Habit is a strong thing though, and this scheme is now so ingrained in my muscle memory that its just plain strange to use anything else.

I'd be interested to hear whether anyone else uses a particularly strange custom control scheme and why they do, I'm sure there must be others out there for whom it is necessary.

Image credit: Flickr user JerryLuo0520

104 Comments

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The_Beast 24th June 2010, 11:26 Quote
default setup for me in almost all cases
Leitchy 24th June 2010, 11:26 Quote
I use the cursor keys, num 0,1,4,5,2, ctrl, shift, return, page down up delete etc. I however have no excuse to not use WASD, and how I came around to using the cursor keys? Who knows!
yakyb 24th June 2010, 11:32 Quote
depending on the game i some times like to bind [F] to Grenade

but other than than default generally
CardJoe 24th June 2010, 11:34 Quote
I used to used the Cursor Keys until quite recently. I think the last game I played that way was the original FEAR when it was released - WASD just didn't seem sensible to me. I only changed when I was bullied into it by friends.

The reason I stayed with cursor controls was simply that, when I first got into 3D shooters, namely Quake, the default controls were Cursors, plus PG-Up and PG-Dn for looking up and down. I just wasn't comfortable using mouselook for starters.

Later, when I had started to use the mouse, I still stayed with the Cursors for movement, then Ctrl for duck, Num-0 for Use, Shift for Jump and End for reload. That was mainly because I'm very clumsy and I have very big hands - I don't need to stretch to reach those keys and the gap means I didn't fumble.

Nowadays though, I'm just a vanilla WASDer.
Jamie 24th June 2010, 11:44 Quote
I use a PS3 controller.
Bob1234 24th June 2010, 11:49 Quote
Back in the early days, this being Doom/Quake, before mouse look, I used to use the numpad 8462 to move, space to jump, A to fire and SD to strafe left and right.

Worked wonders, also gave you complete use of both hands for the keyboard.

Curse you mouse look!!
isaac12345 24th June 2010, 11:54 Quote
About 5 years ago, I used to play Unreal Tournament with the cursor keys. But I changed to WASD when one day I lost really badly in a Counter Strike Tournament and felt quite embarassed about it.
I might just try your control scheme, Paul, to see how it feels.
Teelzebub 24th June 2010, 11:54 Quote
I always set the A to the C and the shift to the R just find it more comfortable that way.
Bungletron 24th June 2010, 11:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe

The reason I stayed with cursor controls was simply that, when I first got into 3D shooters, namely Quake, the default controls were Cursors, plus PG-Up and PG-Dn for looking up and down. I just wasn't comfortable using mouselook for starters.

One of my old school friends played like this on Quake and was epically good at deathmatch, again roughly the same reason (we used to play Doom and I believe that cursor keys was the default setup, but I am certain that by the time Quake rocked up WASD was also bound by default, I have certainly been WASD since Quake). Weird thing was he was right handed but played with a normal MS intellimouse southpaw, a bit like the Hendrix of Quake, very odd.
[USRF]Obiwan 24th June 2010, 11:56 Quote
I use the cursor keys, num 0, 1,4 num 0,1,4,5,2, ctrl, shift, return, page down up delete, home and end. The reason for this, I'm lefthanded, my mouse is on the left side of keyboard. AND in the yesteryears all the arcade joysticks where left handed and buttons right handed. So kinda taken over from that
RTT 24th June 2010, 11:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe


Nowadays though, I'm just a Joe Average WASDer.


FIFY ;)
CardJoe 24th June 2010, 11:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTT
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe


Nowadays though, I'm just a Joe Average WASDer.

FIFY ;)

I hate you I hate you I hate you.
bpdlr 24th June 2010, 12:06 Quote
A guy once applied to join a guild I was in (I think it was for Aion?). He said he'd lost an arm in an accident but had taught himself to use just one hand to control games, and was adamant that he'd got to the stage where most people didn't notice his disability in-game. It's amazing how the human body can adapt.
Fizzl 24th June 2010, 12:22 Quote
I used to be an ESDF man (means your hand sits on the home keys and you have more buttons in reach). Right click to jump, space to crouch (makes duck jumping and crouching endlessly behind cover easier). I have these because I started playing FPS before WASD was the norm (and think it's a better setup).

However these days I have a Belkin n52te and a g9 so rather than remapping my keys for every games I have the controller and mouse button positions moved to convert the standard WASD to how I like it.
Zoon 24th June 2010, 12:28 Quote
I actually use ESDF myself even today. This harks backs to Tribes, which defaulted to ESDF.

Its not hard to transition to the right by one key, and it gives you a whole other set of useful keys around it.

I jump on my mouse side button, reload on scroll click, and W and R become lean, where the developers bother to implement it these days. A is usually to activate zoom, and space to crouch.
Cabe6403 24th June 2010, 12:40 Quote
I use WASD but I tend to customise the key surrounding it away from defaults to my own settings depending on the game
yakyb 24th June 2010, 12:41 Quote
anyone use a nostromo or similar?
impar 24th June 2010, 12:43 Quote
Greetings!

Movement - Cursor Keys
Fire - LMB
AltFire - MB4 (aka mouse back button)
Jump - RMB
Duck - RCtrl
Run - RShift
Use - Enter
Reload - BackSpace
Melee - Num 1
FlashLight - Num 0
Talk - End
Grenades/Special Moves - Insert/Home/PgUp/PgDown/Delete
Narishma 24th June 2010, 13:02 Quote
Have you ever thought about switching the mouse and keyboard? Since you seem to have trouble only with some fingers on your left hand, using the mouse with that hand would free the other one to use whatever key layout you'd like.
Evildead666 24th June 2010, 13:10 Quote
Back in the 8 bit days it used to be QAOP and Space to fire/Jump
You could use the Alt key (or whatever was there back then) as alternate fire if needed.

Nowadays just WASD+Mouselook.
EvilRusk 24th June 2010, 13:11 Quote
Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a way to use your feet. Sure, it sounds odd, but if you have limited use of fingers, your feet are just going to waste. That's a good few extra buttons you could have!

Anybody use that mind control thing? Was it by OCZ or somebody?
neonlights 24th June 2010, 13:15 Quote
oh wow this setup is like mine. i'm not sure how the setup for me came about i think it was in the days of doom or quake. all my fps buddys always say that i have a wierd setup.

right mouse - forward
left mouse - shoot
m - duck
, - left strafe
. - right strafe
/ - backwards
; - reload
left shift - walk

these have always been my keys for any fps game.
Material 24th June 2010, 13:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narishma
Have you ever thought about switching the mouse and keyboard? Since you seem to have trouble only with some fingers on your left hand, using the mouse with that hand would free the other one to use whatever key layout you'd like.

Nice idea but I'm right handed and that would leave me aiming with my left hand which would both drive me mad and get me killed...a lot.
TrickOn 24th June 2010, 13:17 Quote
I've always used the cursor keys, it made sense when I first started out and it's just stuck.
Saying that playing bad company 2 is attrocious as every time I react and try to sprint (which I always set to enter) I end up opening the squad screen.
There's been only a few times when I've noticed hardcoded key binds in games (and no others that I can name) but for people who play unconventionally it really does ruin a game. But these dev's don't seem to realise that lots of people are unconventional - HCI out the window is the order of the day.
Farting Bob 24th June 2010, 13:20 Quote
When i was a wide-eyed child looking in amazement at glorious games such as doom II i used the cursor keys for movement because, ya know, its got arrows on them. Its what they are for!
But ive since migrated to WASD'ing, although i could easily switch to cursor keys if for some reason WASD wasnt an option (my previous keyboard was a dirt cheap no-brand thing and one day my 'A' key stopped working, which made things rather difficult).
impar 24th June 2010, 13:22 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrickOn
There's been only a few times when I've noticed hardcoded key binds in games...
Dead Space is atrocious.
Hard coded keys and lousy mouse movement.
javaman 24th June 2010, 13:25 Quote
On my laptop I played morrowind with a kind of weird set up. It involved using the touch pad since I didn't always have a mouse with me so I adjusted the controls into 2 different ways depending on mood.

from memory the set up was using w,a,s,d to move with my thumb on the pad. The Alternate method was arrow keys with thumb on the pad. Double touching the pad was set to activate and if w,a,s,d was used for movement the right click to attack and with arrows left click was attack. Apart from attack my other hand was free to hit any key needed and being morrowind I didn't need to attack as much as in an fps so really it was a lazy one handed way of playing.
Skippylee 24th June 2010, 13:26 Quote
Lol Alex, and I thought I was the only one with weird keys!! Here's what I use for L4D. Quite similar to you.

Forward = /
Back = Alt GR
Strafe left = ,
Strafe Right = .
Fire = left mouse
Alt fire = right mouse
Reload = '
Use = middle mouse
Crouch = m
Walk = n
Health pack = l
Pistols = k
Main Gun = ;
Pills = j
Spray = #
Zoom = Mouse button 3

The reason for this goes back to when I used to play Doom2. There was no real mouse controls back then, so I used the cursor keys to look up/down and left/right with my right hand and the left used the keys as mentioned above, to walk forward/backward etc. When I started to play Quake1, my right hand moved onto the mouse but the left stayed put.

I have tried WASD, but I just can't get used to it! They say "you can't teach an old god new tricks", well in my case that's true.
lacuna 24th June 2010, 13:27 Quote
I used cursor keys up until I got Farcry I think. Amazingly I managed to finish Half Life and the expansions without using strafe at all -I had the cursors set to forward, backward, left and right. No idea how I managed to do that now but it seemed right at the time
CardJoe 24th June 2010, 13:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRusk
Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a way to use your feet. Sure, it sounds odd, but if you have limited use of fingers, your feet are just going to waste. That's a good few extra buttons you could have!

There are systems. They are mostly rubbish.

http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/2007/06/03/gwsystems_fragpedal_classic_review/1
Quote:
Anybody use that mind control thing? Was it by OCZ or somebody?

The OCZ NIA? We had it. I spent three weeks using it and trying to get it to work. It was unreliable, unusable and pretty goddamn terrible, to be honest. It was less about mind control and more about waggling your eyebrows and sitting in awkward positions - a result we still had even when we had the designer on the phone helping me learn how to adjust it with hidden driver functions. It was terrible and, in the end, we decided it wasn't even really worth covering.
Grimloon 24th June 2010, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
anyone use a nostromo or similar?

Yep, I use my n50 for MMOs but I don't find it responsive enough for FPS gaming. I'm tempted by the N52TE though.
sp4nky 24th June 2010, 13:48 Quote
I have the Belkin n52te (previously called Nostromo) but I only use it for WoW. The problem I have with using it for FPS game is that it's difficult to use the movement keys at the same time as jumping, since Button 15 is normally set for jump.

One of these days - probably tonight, if I remember - I'll get around to changing the key settings.

As an aside, does anyone that uses the n52te actually use the scroll wheel on it?
mi1ez 24th June 2010, 13:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
Back in the 8 bit days it used to be QAOP and Space to fire/Jump
You could use the Alt key (or whatever was there back then) as alternate fire if needed.

Nowadays just WASD+Mouselook.

I was trying to remember this keymap all the way through the article. I use something similar on the rare occasions I play a racing game with the keyboard. makes more sense to me!
Altron 24th June 2010, 13:54 Quote
Another WASD'er here. I used cursor keys when I first started gaming becuase it seemed more logical than WASD, but then after awhile I bought a new game or something (Half Life or RTCW?) and didn't bother to change the keys from WASD, and I liked it.

I might try ESDF though. I can definitely see the advantage of having keys to either side.

I use my pinky on Ctrl, ring on A, middle on W or S, index on D, and thumb on spacebar. My first stop shopping for keybinds is on E. In HL, "E' was the default key for "use", so I got used to pressing it quickly. If I play a FPS and there isn't already something important on "E", I put something important on it.

I have a MS Sidewinder mouse, and I really should get around to using the macros. On my old PC, I had the two back/forward buttons macro'ed to select different Spy disguises in TF2, but I never worked out the kinks, and haven't installed the software on my new PC yet. I also tried to bind them to two Warcraft 3 item slots (WC3 is not re-mappable, and the default keys to use an item are numpad 784512, while most hero hotkeys are concentrated on the left side of the keyboard, so there is no convenient way to get to the item slot keys without moving your hand)
DarkFear 24th June 2010, 13:57 Quote
Numpad for racing games (Wheel/Controller just never appealed to me)
Everything else ESDF

Also, my first thought when I read the title was "Yeah, you probably use a DVORAK keyboard..."
Ross1 24th June 2010, 13:57 Quote
I managed to have a fairly bad wrist injury which required 5 surgeries ( http://i.imgur.com/MojBv.jpg ) ... however luckily enough I can use a mouse and type fairly normally now.
Controllers are a little worse, i can play with them for an hour or two before things start to hurt.
Agent_M 24th June 2010, 13:58 Quote
I remember starting out using the arrow keys in old games like doom and then i had a game that was WASD as defult and i guess i just switched rather than bothering to change the controls.
I'm left handed and use WASD with my right hand, with my palm resting on space and my thumb on CTRL. on rare occasions i have set it up as IJKL for movement but then i loose out on using my palm to jump and mashing space is too much fun :P
chimaera 24th June 2010, 13:58 Quote
I've found a couple of games that the cursor keys will work where WASD won't (for example in a 'say' dialog or with the scoreboard up.

As such on my Saitek n52te My keybindings are set relative to the WASD configuration but with those four keys replaced by the cursor keys.
Skidd 24th June 2010, 14:04 Quote
Well I dont know about you guys but I find being a lefty a bit of a dissadvantage nower days, hard to find left hand mouse and such.

I use the numpad on the keyboard and the mouse in the left hand basically. Any other lefties out there use this sort of control method?
Matticus 24th June 2010, 14:11 Quote
Just boring WASD + bindings for the surrounding keys depending on games. I very rarely hit the wrong buttons with my little finger because I can't tell which is which, it is usually because I am playing a few games on and off around the same time and I usually leave their defaults on unless they start to annoy me.

Oh and obviously mouse look.
Unknownsock 24th June 2010, 14:11 Quote
Can't really say its weird but i use EDSF rather than WSAD, solely because i ran out of buttons with WoW.
I ocassionally try to switch back for FPS games that don't have a toggle crouch button but it never works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sp4nky
I have the Belkin n52te (previously called Nostromo) but I only use it for WoW. The problem I have with using it for FPS game is that it's difficult to use the movement keys at the same time as jumping, since Button 15 is normally set for jump.

One of these days - probably tonight, if I remember - I'll get around to changing the key settings.

As an aside, does anyone that uses the n52te actually use the scroll wheel on it?

I have one of those, i tried for several months to get used to it, and failed. Couple of hours with a keyboard and it felt so much easier again.
Why?
-Theres not enough buttons to use WSAD/EDSF along with other keys.
-The arm rest is uncomortable, and i think i have pretty much average hands.
-The joystick is pointless, i used this for wow, but never really mastered strafing.
-The space bar is in the wrong place..

Although i do agree that generally pressing buttons is alot faster.
Pete J 24th June 2010, 14:12 Quote
Another WASD user for the most part. I used to use the cusror keys but changed a few years ago when games got a little more complex (sprinting, changing ammo, quick switch to Gravity Gun etc.).

One thing I seem to be unique on is using the middle mouse button to reload - all the primary shooting controls are already on the mouse, why not do that as well?
dynamis_dk 24th June 2010, 14:14 Quote
Mines a little crazy i'm told - no specific reason why i use it other than i have for year and it works for me....

TAB = Duck/Prone
Q = Strafe Left
W = Strafe Right
E = Back
A = Activate/Use
S = Scores/Objectives
D = Zoom/Secondry
Z,X,C = Flash/Nade etc (game dependant)
SHIFT = Run/Walk
CTRL = Meele
SPACE = jump
MOUSE LEFT = Fire
MOUSE RIGHT = Forward
MOUSE WHEEL = Weapons
MOUSE SIDE LEFT1 & 2 = changes game to game (ie Care pack on MW2)

this is with a soltek keyboard and razer imperator mouse..

make sense lol
borandi 24th June 2010, 14:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narishma
Have you ever thought about switching the mouse and keyboard? Since you seem to have trouble only with some fingers on your left hand, using the mouse with that hand would free the other one to use whatever key layout you'd like.

Nice idea but I'm right handed and that would leave me aiming with my left hand which would both drive me mad and get me killed...a lot.

It's quite easy to pick up - within a couple of weeks.
dynamis_dk 24th June 2010, 14:17 Quote
Edited this as i didn't see if you comment it adds it to the topic - doh!
kornedbeefy 24th June 2010, 14:17 Quote
Another vote for EDSF. It puts more keys in my reach. However I use the scroll button click feature for moving forward and the E key for sprint/run. Don't know why anymore but after many years I've gotten used to it. I've tried going back to keyboard for movement but hated it.
Javerh 24th June 2010, 14:23 Quote
Leftie with IJKL works fine.
Redsnake77 24th June 2010, 14:32 Quote
I had my left hand smashed up a bit by an enthusiastic drayman throwing two barrels at me at once, so have a slightly twisted middle finger and reduced sensitivity in my index finger. Combined with small hands anyway, when I finally returned to pc gaming (about 2 years after the accident) after being a reprehensible consolite for too many years I coudn't use the keys for movement without getting really bad cramp and hitting the wrong keys with those two fingers too often. Luckily the game that got me back into pc gaming was Privateer for which I'd bought a joystick, and with it came software to map keys to the various joystick functions, including bands for the X and Y axis', and twist. So I map wasd to the x, y axis', q and e when leaning to left, right twist, weapons 1 to 4 on the hat, sprint - trigger (1), jump - middle button (2), crouch - left button (3), reload to left wing button (5), grenade to right wing button (6) right button (4) depends on the game. You also use a button to shift all the others allowing you to map two functions to each if there are a lot like in some RPGs so I use the trigger which lets me use my thumb on all the others so you go from 10 to 18 functions plus direction and lean.

Also my best mate lost an arm, so with basic controls, he can use the hat for mouse look, and I plug in the steering wheel and map weapon cycle up, down to the pedals for him. This only works on certain games though, as the game has to recognise either the pedals as a seperate controller, or recognise all the buttons on the joystick to allow the mapping software to handle the pedals. It can take a little while to set up, but once it is the control map are saved in profiles which can be activated at any time, and one profile can be used for several games.
Zero_UK 24th June 2010, 14:33 Quote
I use both. Some games I use cursors, some I use WSAD
Grimloon 24th June 2010, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
One thing I seem to be unique on is using the middle mouse button to reload - all the primary shooting controls are already on the mouse, why not do that as well?

Middle mouse gets redefined to use, right thumb back is reload, forwards is melee. Started using that after the first time I needed to strafe right and reload simultaneously - just not feasible with the default key mapping.
Material 24th June 2010, 14:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippylee
Lol Alex, and I thought I was the only one with weird keys!!

Good to know I'm not the only one, it was actually me that wrote this blog post though, not Alex
Xir 24th June 2010, 15:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRusk
Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a way to use your feet. Sure, it sounds odd, but if you have limited use of fingers, your feet are just going to waste.
Friend of mine built a foot-mouse after a car accident, his right hand was just shaking too much to mouse with.
A large X-Y table with pickups from a non-optical mouse and large lightswitch style buttons. Worked well.

I felt pretty weird moving to this "new" WASD over "old" cursorkeys.
Switched when I started to run out of keys around the cursors though ;-)

Pre-mapped keys can be a real pain if you're playing on a non-american layout (like my QWERTZ-keyboard)
bogie170 24th June 2010, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
depending on the game i some times like to bind [F] to Grenade

but other than than default generally

Snap! F grenade, Q sprint, Alt Duck, X prone, Z lean left, C lean right, E use, Shift Melee.
AllNight 24th June 2010, 15:54 Quote
WASD movement
Space crouch
E jump
Capslock use
Shift walk
R reload

Then qtfgzcvb ctrl and alt get binded to misc things

Z is often prone and in games where walking (silent) isn't used alot shift is run
Kúsař 24th June 2010, 16:05 Quote
Now that's wound, oh man, you're a real killer. Compared to you I had only a flesh wound - as some sharp shrapnel left 15 cm long cut in my arm. Luckily nerves and muscles were intact, only skin was cut through. At least now I know how muscles looks like and that I'm not a cyborg.

As for controls - I use 'A Z "left shift" X' - default controls in Terminator: Future Shock. Somehow I'm comfortable with these controls - it's enough even for games like Op. Flashpoint.
Mankz 24th June 2010, 16:08 Quote
WSAD but have C as crouch and Ctrl as prone, with the knife/melle as middle mouse
barrkel 24th June 2010, 16:32 Quote
QWAS for me. The angle is better. I even wrote a post on my blog about it:

http://blog.barrkel.com/2008/10/wasds-little-known-alternative-qwas.html
Jack_Pepsi 24th June 2010, 17:08 Quote
Your customised configuration hurts my head Paul.
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 24th June 2010, 17:44 Quote
Customized configuration OK what ever makes you feel comfortable but....... You typed this article using a standard keyboard right? I think your just making an excuse for getting pwned by 11 year olds in COD MW2.
Amon 24th June 2010, 17:59 Quote
http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/3748/quake3.png
This picture was made a long time ago (2003?).
In 1998, Quake 3 Arena was what converted my to EDSF. In almost every possible case of any game, EDSF is superior to WSAD. The problem is spending 5 to 10 minutes for each new game to map out an efficient configuration and, as you mentioned, impossibility of sharing controls. Playing all of those aircraft simulators from the DOS days is responsible for my playing all games with an inverted mouse Y-axis (aircraft pitch is inverted).
s3v3n 24th June 2010, 18:04 Quote
Like others I started using ESDF when I started playing Tribes, and continued to rely on it when I played Infantry. Those games required a bunch of keybinds, especially Infantry. In Infantry I have every key between 1/q/a/z and 5/t/g/b bound, and use them often during battle. This is in addition to the 5 mouse buttons.
rickysio 24th June 2010, 18:10 Quote
As like you, except with even more frequency, I've shattered the bones in my left forearm thrice.

As a result my left arm doesn't like to lie flat AND perpendicular to the keyboard, so I have to use QWAS as my control cluster - Q for left, W for forward, A for back, and S for right. :(
EdwardTeach 24th June 2010, 18:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
Nice idea but I'm right handed and that would leave me aiming with my left hand which would both drive me mad and get me killed...a lot.

I am left handed, and I use the default set up - i.e control mouse with my right.

I am about the opposite of ambidextrous - you should see my hand writing when i use my right! but I am fine gaming like this, just got used to it I guess. I would imagine you could get used to it pretty quickly as well.

I think many lefties use the mouse with their right, not only are all games set up with this default assumption, but most workplaces, university computer labs, internet cafes etc etc all set up like this as well.
spectre456 24th June 2010, 19:12 Quote
i can use WASD but since my hands are big i only use them for singleplayer games if i'm too lazy to change em.

For multiplayer or any game i feel like switching the default controls for, i use the arrow keys in conjunction with the six keys above the (pg down, pg up, home etc.) and some of the num. pad keys.
Fizzban 24th June 2010, 19:20 Quote
Back when I first got my very own PC I started off using the arrow keys (Cursor). But it was a stretch to hit the keys around it. So I moved on to the number pad to play games. But again, I didn't find it comfortable. So I moved onto WASD set up and haven't looked back since. Must be 10 years since I used anything other than WASD (on the keyboard, still use pads for racers).
Sloth 24th June 2010, 19:27 Quote
Anyone else use scroll wheel to fire? I use it from time to time and game to game, particularly one with primary and secondary keys, or when I can work up a good keybind.

Counter Strike: Source got me really started on it. Weapons like the dualies which aren't automatic but which fire as fast as a person can click can be somewhat exploited by using the scroll wheel to 'click' at very high speeds. With one quick stretch of my middle finger I can fire up to eight shots in a split second, effectively making a shotgun pistol. It also helps control bursts with automatic weapons, but unless you can use a macro/secondary bind to retain LMB functionality you lose any way of constantly holding down a key to spray.

Razer's little macro thing is very nifty for simply spoofing the scroll wheel as being LMB and just keeping all games as LMB, but then you can't really scroll anymore on web browsers.
ZERO <ibis> 24th June 2010, 19:42 Quote
I have used arrow keys since Jedi Knight II.
I usually play cs:s or ns but here is what I am using (logically the arrows are obvious)
[numbers on keypad]
0 = use
1 = crouch
4 = buy menu
7 = flashlight
2 = reload
5 = voice chat
3 = spray tag
pgdn = map
shift = walk

Everything else is on the mouse.
_Metal_Guitar_ 24th June 2010, 19:52 Quote
I used to use the forward and backword arrow keys, along with delete and page down for strafing. Home and end were jump and crouch respectively. It was weird and my friends were like 'WTF?!', but It made my hand at such an angle that using all the keys around Enter was natural and easy for my pinky.

But then I got a new keyboard, and the delete, home, page down area was squished up and it was useless. So I had to get used to WASD. I bought an Eclipse 2 a while back and WASD just stuck with me even though I could of gone back.

And gaming mice FTW!
Invictus. 24th June 2010, 19:56 Quote
I remember when i used to have all my controls around the arrow keys.. up = forwards etc. enter = use. Then i suddenly changed to WASD and found it much easier as everything isnt as cramped (in the case of mouse to keyboard space)
Chocobollz 24th June 2010, 20:23 Quote
I use the same standard keys, except for the WALK and DUCK, I need to change duck button from the standard left-ctrl to "c" key because I'm not very good with my pinky finger. And for the Walk button, well, I never use it because like I said, I'm not really good with the last two fingers, so in most games, I'll just run and shoot like a Rambo :p Well, I don't really have to worry though because I'm pretty good at headshots; most of the time, my headshots rate are within 66-85% :-)
impar 24th June 2010, 20:32 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
Anyone else use scroll wheel to fire?
Used to. But then it started to lose some grip.
Switched to mouse button 4 (aka mouse back button), using the thumb.
frontline 24th June 2010, 20:36 Quote
Cursor keys for forward/back and strafe left/right, plus the cursor keys have to be isolated on the keyboard. I have never been able to get used to having the main movement keys immediately adjacent to other keys.
13eightyfour 24th June 2010, 20:43 Quote
Just a WASD user myself although i have been thinking it would be cool to be able to use the pedals from my G25 in FPS games.

But i dont think any games allow pressure sensitive input? For instance what im thinking is:

Accelerator- lightly pressed = walk forwards, Full down = run forwards.
Brake - Move backwards.
Clutch- Crouch.

I dont think it would achieve anything, but with a multi button mouse i could play single handed (my left hand doesnt like resting on a keyboard regardless of the buttons its covering)
Unicorn 24th June 2010, 20:56 Quote
I tried ESDF for CSS and BF2142 for a period of about 6 months and 9 months respectively. Ultimately, I found that after years of playing with WASD, I was still making keying mistakes here and there with the ESDF setup after months of use, so I switched back to WASD, which I am more than comfortable with. I don't adapt to change in my gaming setup very well. If you changed the resolution on my mouse by more than 100DPI I'd notice, and be noticeably inaccurate as a result. Same goes for my monitor resolution, it has a big impact on how well I move and how reactive I am in most games, especially BF and CSS.
Redsnake77 24th June 2010, 21:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13eightyfour
Just a WASD user myself although i have been thinking it would be cool to be able to use the pedals from my G25 in FPS games.

But i dont think any games allow pressure sensitive input? For instance what im thinking is:

Accelerator- lightly pressed = walk forwards, Full down = run forwards.
Brake - Move backwards.
Clutch- Crouch.

I dont think it would achieve anything, but with a multi button mouse i could play single handed (my left hand doesnt like resting on a keyboard regardless of the buttons its covering)

That's where the Saitek software is really good. You can greate multiple bands for each axis. For example 1-50% would be W, and 51-100% would Shift+W to run. It works on the pedals for the steering wheel too, I just found it a pain having so many cables around all the time.
KayinBlack 24th June 2010, 21:45 Quote
I've lost almost all the use of my left arm, and I really enjoyed this! We need to press for the losing of hardcoded keys, and just so you know, I got a SteelSeries Merc Stealth to fix my issues. I even had to outfit m case with hardware to deal with it...

Nerve damage sucks.
Bede 24th June 2010, 21:57 Quote
I've had minor nerve damage in my index and middle fingers on both hands before, severed nerves that (luckily) repaired themselves over 3-4 weeks so I sympathise with anyone who has permanent nerve injury.

As for control schemes, I tend to bind Q to 'knife' as it's a button I can reach very quickly when someone pops up in my face on BC2 or cod6 ^^
Hugo 24th June 2010, 22:45 Quote
I dictate, just like I used to with my typewriter. That's what a secretary is for, right?
Fractal 25th June 2010, 03:31 Quote
I use the Dvorak keyboard layout, which obviously spreads WASD out quite a bit. I mapped all the normal keyboard controls to the number pad and mouse with my left hand (although I'm right handed). Works really well actually.
Zurechial 25th June 2010, 04:22 Quote
My story is similar to Joe's in that I used the arrowkeys for years when I was younger, in the Quake/Duke3D era, for the same reasons, but my situation changed over time.

I'm right-handed, but my father was forced into left-handedness by a serious injury to his right hand in his early 20s, so our computer desks at home were always built to be left-handed and I grew up using the mouse in my left hand during my 'formative gaming years'.
I quickly got used to mouselooking, but I still used arrowkeys for movement with my right hand even when I got my own computer & desk, and I remember doing so right up to about the time I was playing Jedi Knight 2 : Jedi Outcast.

I used to have my force powers bound to the ins/home/pgup/del/end/pgdn keys and would use those for Gunsmith-like ninja gameplay back then with easy access.
Then one day I think I got sick of rebinding keys in shooters to my left-handed controls and decided to put the mouse in my right hand switch to WASD.
At first I found it really annoying, because it meant remapping the force powers in JO to awkward-feeling letter-keys around WASD like Q, E, R, etc. but I got used to it over time.
The upside of it is that these days I'm comfortably ambidextrous with the mouse & keyboard. I can switch between them happily as needed. :)

These days, I play WoW with complex keybinds for PvP and the like, with nearly every key using modifiers (via macros with shift, ctrl, alt) for alternate actions.
On my Death Knight for instance this is my current setup:
WASD = Movement
1-5 = Main Attacks
6-0 = Other convenient abilities
Q = Utility cooldowns (Blood Tap, ERW, etc )
Z = PvP Trinket
X = Sit (Important for RP :D )
E = Defensive cooldowns
C = Runic Power attacks
R = Snares, Grips, Taunts
F = Self-heals
V = Interrupts/Silences
T = Pestilence
G = Extra spec-specific cooldowns (Vamp Blood, etc )
B = Minion summons
H = Presences
N = Presences (Alternate)


And that configuration carries over to similar/comparable abilities on my other characters, though it tends to be more complex on my Warlock! :D

In shooters these days I use a fairly typical WASD configuration, though for a long time (prior to HL2, or thereabouts) I kept crouch on left-shift and sprint/run on ctrl.
I usually stick 'Reload' on MOUSE4 as I find the 4th button very handy to reach on my MX518 (but Mouse5 never gets used, ever) and I usually bind Melee attacks to R on the keyboard instead, which I think is a holdover from the first shooter with melee attacks that I actually played significantly, which was F.E.A.R.

It's interesting to see how much people vary in their preferences with these things!
Lockinvar 25th June 2010, 05:04 Quote
I havn't used the actual arrows since doom, but in the haydays of marathon 2 and then through the thief series I used the numberpad - it had more buttons. It took me years to figure out that if I used WASD I wouldn't have to constantly move the keyboard into a skewed off-center position.
Lockinvar 25th June 2010, 05:05 Quote
Also I knew bloke with one very very little arm who played counterstike passably at University, even perhaps better than most. But I've no idea how me accomplished it.
Shadowed_fury 25th June 2010, 05:30 Quote
Mostly WASD for me. For jumping I use both space and mouse wheel down (depends on jump). Wheel up for grenades in CSS, and knife melee in others like mw2.
- -mw2
F = flash
G = another grenade key

I never switch weaps with scrollwheel, in any game, never got used to it. always use the numbers, and quickswitch. :)
l3v1ck 25th June 2010, 05:52 Quote
I use: (and I'm using Far Cry as an example)

WASD
c = crouch
v = lie down
f = use item
left shift = run
g = grenade
space = jump
mouse 1 = fire
mouse 2 = reload
scroll wheel click = toggle scope etc
scroll wheel move = zoom in/out with scope
numbers = weapon selection

I can reach all these with either my little finger or thumb while my index and ring fingers are on A & D, with my middle finger on W or S as required.
perplekks45 25th June 2010, 08:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
I use a PS3 controller.
You forgot the [ sarcasm ] tags... I hope.

WASD ever since Quake. The last game I played with cursor keys must've been either Doom or Wolfenstein 3D.
modfx 25th June 2010, 09:15 Quote
i use default keyboard in CSS but bind my G5 like so:
MB1 - fire
MB2 - scope
MB3 - voice comm
SCR up - primary
SCR down - secondary
MB4 - knife
MB5 - grenades
Tilt scroll wheel left - Ventrilo PTT
modfx 25th June 2010, 09:17 Quote
oh and same applies for any other fps :)
WildThing 25th June 2010, 10:21 Quote
I too used to use the arrow keys and its surrounding buttons. I liked the spacing between the keys, whereas with WASD, all the keys felt too close together and I would often hit the wrong key. I also hate the way the W is not directly above the S!
However, as some have already mentioned, I got tired of having to rebind every key for every new game I got, so now I use This. I find it very comfortable and it if I need to type, I just slide it out of the way and pull out the keyboard.
dispie 25th June 2010, 10:40 Quote
I hate the standard setting the wasd are not on the edge of your keyboard so you can't rest your hands

and i got a wave keyboard for better and faster typing so those keys are just not handy

i mostly use the arrow bottoms and all around
up down left right
ctrl = jump
number pad 0 = reload or special
number pad 1 = crouch
del = open
page up = zoom in
page down = zoom out
rest is on my mouse with 8 keys

or i use the number pad

but it changes with the game what works best
Aragon Speed 25th June 2010, 10:44 Quote
When I first started to play games there was no standard KB layout that everything used, and looking back I think that some of the early game layouts were almost deliberately designed to be counter intuitive. ( I don't expect they were, but some sure felt like it.)

So I designed a layout that suited me and that made sense to me.

Cursor keys for movement as that was logical, up arrow goes forward, back arrow goes back, etc.

Then there was the next level of movement which needed to be accessed almost as much as the main movement keys, but needed to be separated as they did opposite functions and in a frenetic "I'm gonna die if I don't get my ass outta here' moments I didn't want to be catching the wrong button by accident. So crouch was bound to the right ctrl key, and jump was bound to the KB 0 key.

Next up was the run/walk key. Whether it was a state toggle or if you had to hold the key down to keep it one one state (i.e. hold down the key to run, release it to walk) it needed to be easy to get too, but in a comfortable position to keep a finger on without getting the dreaded hand-ache. So the right shift became the defacto key for that.

For quite a long time that was my default set-up (and still is today actually). As games have progressed so I have added extra keys in to accommodate their functions. The large main return key gets used for activating game objects or for getting on and off ladders (depending on which I will be doing the most of during the game), the numpad 1 key is used as weapon reload, the numpad '.' key is used to swap between weapon fire modes or to holster a weapon (again depending on the game). If there is a flashlight it gets bound to the num pad 4 key. Inventory opening if it is important gets bound to the del key, but if something else is more important (Like casting spells in oblivion for example) needs to be close at had then that key is used for that and the largish tab key is used for opening the inventory (A long way away, hence it uses a large key to be quickly found and thumped without having to look down at the KB) because invariably any game that has you doing something like casting spells does not make it imperative to open your inventory mid-battle.

Zooming in for sniper mode weapons is bound to the backspace.

Any other controls are bound on a game by game basis as I find out what I am using the most and need quick access to.

Nowadays a few of the controls have been moved to the mouse for ease of use, like weapon zooming is now on the mouse wheel and spell casting is now set to my thumb button on the mouse, but I still keep the KB versions as backup because I seem to be hard on mice and I can never be sure when the mouse wheel will stop working correctly for example.

There are exceptions to this rule though as some developers think it is still cool to make certain keys not reconfigurable, for example I like playing Just Cause 2, but I play it rarely as the controls cannot be reconfigured how I would like them. Thus I am forced to use the standard wasd setup the game has and after half an hour I start to get cramp in my hand as the keys seem way too close together.
DbD 25th June 2010, 12:00 Quote
lefty: RDFG + reverse mouse fire buttons.
Gives access to the most buttons with my right hand + reversing fire buttons means my fastest finger (i.e. index) does primary fire.
badje 25th June 2010, 20:17 Quote
I use different keys in different games, for example in counterstrike is use the arrow keys, some numpad keys, the control, shift, enter, slash forward delete and end keys.
For another game i use ESDF
thehippoz 25th June 2010, 20:30 Quote
ha joe your like me.. I can do both but I really like the arrow keys over wasd
Risky 25th June 2010, 20:30 Quote
Haven't played much FPS for a while but I did have a related issue when I had been suffering from some tendon/RSI type thing from the aptop I used at work and then bought a joystick for X2 and the trigger placement such that the rest of the fingers on my right hand weren't gripping anything and I was getting a lot of pain and stiuffness after gaming.

I fixed the joystick issue (taped a wine cork to the stalk as a support) but I decided that as a contract developer I'd be out of pocket if I (though I'm most definitely not ambidexterous) just in case I got the same trouble again.
havoc06 25th June 2010, 21:15 Quote
All my gaming friends and coworkers ride me like a greasy used bike on my PC control scheme. Strangely enough, one of them actually linked me to this article (as opposed to the traditional auditory rebuking and chastising). Anyways--I played a butt-ton of Duke3D & Quake, and I sort of absorbed my current control scheme vicariously through both. Despite the hate, I do pretty damn well at FPSes.

Right Mouse Button: Forward
Left Mouse Button: Fire
Middle Mouse Button: Alt Fire
Mouse Thumb Button: Last Weapon

Left Alt: Strafe left
Space Bar Strafe right
A: Jump
S: Backwards
D: Use/Interact
Z: Crouch
C: Grenades
X: Health (when applicable)
Left Ctrl: Special (spin mini-gun in TF2, aim down the sites in COD)

On a closing note: games that refuse to let you re-bind every key have special place in hell reserved for them. Appropriately, Hellgate London's already there. >:(
tupera 25th June 2010, 22:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
anyone use a nostromo or similar?

I'm a full-time nostromo speedpad user. I haven't touched a keyboard in years! I have no problems in FPS games, in fact, FPS games are what led me to use a nostromo...I don't know how people can use keyboards, they're too awkward for me.
Zeali 27th June 2010, 01:30 Quote
I've changed my controls from default to more quake like. Quake the last used weapon is kinda useless and most important is to have qertfg open for your favorite weapons and it reflects to my binding style where qertfg are usually reserved for game specific bindings.

WASD = normal
CTRL = altfire
SPACE = crouch
Shift = Walk/Run/Prone
CapsLock = prone(if game has walk also)
ALT = use
R = reload
T = last used weapon
Mouse1 = fire
Mouse2 = jump
Mouse4 = knife
Tyinsar 27th June 2010, 05:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidd
Well I dont know about you guys but I find being a lefty a bit of a dissadvantage nower days, hard to find left hand mouse and such.

I use the numpad on the keyboard and the mouse in the left hand basically. Any other lefties out there use this sort of control method?
Me too. I find having to remap the keys in almost every game to be a pain - but it sure beats the alternative.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardTeach
I am left handed, ...

I think many lefties use the mouse with their right, not only are all games set up with this default assumption, but most workplaces, university computer labs, internet cafes etc etc all set up like this as well.
Not me. What bugs me is that I've seen an entire computer lab set up to be "ergonomic" - but for right-handers only :(.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
...We need to press for the losing of hardcoded keys, ...
+1
yakyb 28th June 2010, 11:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kornedbeefy
Another vote for EDSF. It puts more keys in my reach. However I use the scroll button click feature for moving forward and the E key for sprint/run. Don't know why anymore but after many years I've gotten used to it. I've tried going back to keyboard for movement but hated it.

that makes sense actually i may try this out
woods 29th June 2010, 14:50 Quote
I've never used a keyboard, because I've always had the computer set up in the living room I always use a joypad
Cadillac Ferd 30th June 2010, 03:04 Quote
Pretty interesting read. I have a friend whose left hand aches after a few minutes of WASD gaming. His solution was to use the left half of an Xbox 360 controller held in his left hand with the traditional mouse setup in his right hand. The 360 controller has the joystick (to directly replace WASD) and three buttons (the joystick click, the shoulder button and the trigger) to map to whatever he'd like.

Obviously this wouldn't work too well in games that require more than the movement/aim controls and the few buttons available on the mouse/controller but it certainly works well enough for him to play TF2 and CS:S effectively.
tugboat 10th July 2010, 03:23 Quote
Ok, new to this part of the world so first, hello everyone.

there is another alternative that I have been using for the last 5 or 6 years. I use a Saitec X52 flight controller and a mouse.

Before you laugh, know that I am and always have been a clutz trying to use all these damn keys all at once in a good FPS game. I do know how to type though by no means a speed typist, 30-40wpm on a good day.

The Saitec X52 controller comes with programming software that lets you program "all" of the buttons, pot switches, rotary switches, stick and throttle to emulate any key press and most can be programmed for multiple key presses. I have profiles for all the FEAR games, Crysis games, BF: Bad Company 2, FarCry 1 and 2, and a couple of others. I currently use a Logitec MX 1000 cordless laser mouse left handed for directional control and most of the mentioned games allow the use of the 3 main buttons and mse wheel for what ever you wish to assign them.

So basically the joystick itself becomes Fwd, Back, step left and step right. between all the other buttons and the mouse, I rarely ever have to use the keyboard for anything. You do have to go in sometimes to the game options and reassign some of the default keys but it's not a big deal. Believe me if I can figure it out anyone can.

Anyway, anyone that has one of these controllers and would like to try it, let me know how we can arrange it and I can provide a couple of profiles to try. It's good to be able to be moving while stepping right or left and firing while selecting your next grenade and toggling crouch or run.
Redsnake77 10th July 2010, 10:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tugboat
Ok, new to this part of the world so first, hello everyone.

there is another alternative that I have been using for the last 5 or 6 years. I use a Saitec X52 flight controller and a mouse.

Before you laugh, know that I am and always have been a clutz trying to use all these damn keys all at once in a good FPS game. I do know how to type though by no means a speed typist, 30-40wpm on a good day.

The Saitec X52 controller comes with programming software that lets you program "all" of the buttons, pot switches, rotary switches, stick and throttle to emulate any key press and most can be programmed for multiple key presses. I have profiles for all the FEAR games, Crysis games, BF: Bad Company 2, FarCry 1 and 2, and a couple of others. I currently use a Logitec MX 1000 cordless laser mouse left handed for directional control and most of the mentioned games allow the use of the 3 main buttons and mse wheel for what ever you wish to assign them.

So basically the joystick itself becomes Fwd, Back, step left and step right. between all the other buttons and the mouse, I rarely ever have to use the keyboard for anything. You do have to go in sometimes to the game options and reassign some of the default keys but it's not a big deal. Believe me if I can figure it out anyone can.

Anyway, anyone that has one of these controllers and would like to try it, let me know how we can arrange it and I can provide a couple of profiles to try. It's good to be able to be moving while stepping right or left and firing while selecting your next grenade and toggling crouch or run.

Yeah at last, one other like me, I use a Saitek ST290 Pro and a Logitech MX Revolution which is also programmable. I use a standard template with the bands on X, Y for wasd , and spacebar, then tailor the others, I must 20 plus profiles. I also use MS Publisher to print out the controls:D PM me if you want a copy of either templates.
b5k 10th July 2010, 12:09 Quote
It's amazing that WASD is the defacto standard for movement still. When I started playing FPS games with real life friends (I'd been doing it on my own for ages!) they all stuck with WASD. I pointed them towards ESDF or further in (I know players who use YGHJ) to give them better keyboard position and key control.

Needless to say they all found it immensely useful and still utilize ESDF or others to this day.
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