PC Control Scheme to replace WASD?

#1 Edited by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

Alright guys, first of all, I love PC gaming, and I love using the mouse. It has so much more precision than any other gaming peripheral

One thing I feel that is missing from lots of PC games which has been in many other games since around 1997 is analog character movement. We're all still using WASD which is basically the same as the arrow keys we've been using forever.

What I'm thinking would be a good solution is this:

Get rid of the keyboard.

It works great for RTS games, and other tactical games, simply because you're not directly controlling a character on screen. But, for any game where you have direct control over a character, using WASD on the keyboard feels old and out of date.

The mouse is incredible for gaming, however, and as such has become more and more developed as time goes on.

My suggestion would be to develop a device with analog control to replace WASD, yet still keep WASD as an option for people who don't want to buy another peripheral.

I'd want to see something like a hybrid between an analog stick and a flight stick. Basically, something with buttons on or near the stick, so you can hit those buttons without taking your hand off the stick itself and so you can have an equivalent for Q, E, F, R, and other keys that are normally used in PC games. Also, instead of 8-directions, it'll be 360 degree movement that is much smoother like an analog stick, and more suited to moving a character.

What do you guys think?

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#2 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -
#3 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

The Logitech G13 meets a number of these requirements. However it's very much an underdeveloped device. The initial drivers didn't even allow for proper use of the analog stick's axes, and instead only allowed for four binary directions like a d-pad. And to this day there's still no deadzone option. We need a company that's not Logitech to make one of these. And don't even get me started on the key placement or count. It's barely a proof of concept and is in serious need of a redesign. But I still use it everyday.
 
edit: And since Dark Souls is a total shit port, I had to go into the device manager and disable the G13's joystick driver just to make the game recognize regular 360 controllers, and I haven't re-enabled it yet.

#4 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

@Ubersmake: The thing is, I'm not sure I could use an analog stick like that, without having a grip on something.

Maybe even if there was something like a nunchuck controller, but with a bunch of buttons on the back, that I could map for running, jumping, using items, reloading, etc, that might be okay.

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#5 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

If you need more than 8 directions to move, with 2 or 3 modifiers depending on the game, you're doing it wrong.

#6 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Terramagi said:

If you need more than 8 directions to move, with 2 or 3 modifiers depending on the game, you're doing it wrong.

Show me one game with more than one speed modifier key.
 
@Vigorousjammer said:

@Ubersmake: The thing is, I'm not sure I could use an analog stick like that, without having a grip on something.

Maybe even if there was something like a nunchuck controller, but with a bunch of buttons on the back, that I could map for running, jumping, using items, reloading, etc, that might be okay.

It's really not difficult to use the thumbstick at that angle. The weird part is forcing yourself to use the thumb when you have keys below your fingers. You have muscle memory for both the thumb and your fingers for movement, and they conflict at first. The shape of the grip could use adjustment though.
#7 Posted by themangalist (1736 posts) -

I understand the need of an analog stick, so it'd be cool if there's a keyboard with an analog stick right at the wasd place. I just think that q,e,r,f,c,x,z, shift, and the number keys are essential to any gaming experience.

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#8 Edited by believer258 (11922 posts) -

I've never come across a game where I feel like KB/M is the superior control scheme, but needs an analog stick. WASD works well enough for me on games that I play on the keyboard and I can't think of a solution that wouldn't feel awkward.

And I don't want to have to get used to another control scheme. I got used to the KB/M a few years ago and that took a long enough time, I got used to the Wii and that still sucks, I don't want any other gimmicky controller that doesn't provide any significant advantages beyond what I already use.

EDIT: I need to clarify that first sentence - I've never come across a KB/M dominated game where an analog stick would improve the experience. I've definitely come across games that play better on the keyboard and mouse. Like almost every FPS, ever, not to mention RTS games and such.

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#9 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

@Terramagi said:

If you need more than 8 directions to move, with 2 or 3 modifiers depending on the game, you're doing it wrong.

Show me one game with more than one speed modifier key.

Shift is typically run, Alt is typically walk.

Crouch is usually control, but sometimes C. I rebind those games.

#10 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

@Terramagi: It's not so much a necessity, since the developers design around it, I'd just prefer it... mostly for better looking character animation. Any time you play a 3rd person game on the PC and you're moving with WASD, the character just looks goofy as hell, and having analog movement would fix some of that.

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#11 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@believer258 said:

EDIT: I need to clarify that first sentence - I've never come across a KB/M dominated game where an analog stick would improve the experience.

Battlefield 3 is one of these games. Being able to creep with an uneven footstep sound make sit easier to sneak up on people. And lining up your shot between a sliver in the environment is much easier. Full digital movement tends to make you move too far in one direction or the other, even when feathering. However I would not want to drive with it. And rapidly looking around while moving always seems easier with keys since the "throw" is much shorter than an analog stick.
#12 Posted by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Vigorousjammer said:

@Ubersmake: The thing is, I'm not sure I could use an analog stick like that, without having a grip on something.

Maybe even if there was something like a nunchuck controller, but with a bunch of buttons on the back, that I could map for running, jumping, using items, reloading, etc, that might be okay.

Couldn't you use a PS Move Nav controller and map it to whatever you want with Xpadder or similar?

That might work, yeah. It'd be nice to have something similar to that, but with two triggers on the back of it though... this way I can have one for running and one for jumping, while still keeping my thumb on the stick itself.

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#13 Posted by believer258 (11922 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

@believer258 said:
EDIT: I need to clarify that first sentence - I've never come across a KB/M dominated game where an analog stick would improve the experience.
Battlefield 3 is one of these games. Being able to creep with an uneven footstep sound make sit easier to sneak up on people. And lining up your shot between a sliver in the environment is much easier. Full digital movement tends to make you move too far in one direction or the other, even when feathering.

But a) that's not something that would happen very often, b) if it does you're not frantically running from anyone, so c) you can crouch or go prone and get those minute movements you really need in less than half a second. You're probably going to be crouched in such a situation anyway, just to get a more accurate shot.

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#14 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Vigorousjammer said:

@rebgav said:

@Vigorousjammer said:

@Ubersmake: The thing is, I'm not sure I could use an analog stick like that, without having a grip on something.

Maybe even if there was something like a nunchuck controller, but with a bunch of buttons on the back, that I could map for running, jumping, using items, reloading, etc, that might be okay.

Couldn't you use a PS Move Nav controller and map it to whatever you want with Xpadder or similar?

That might work, yeah. It'd be nice to have something similar to that, but with two triggers on the back of it though... this way I can have one for running and one for jumping, while still keeping my thumb on the stick itself.

Just use a real controller in one hand if you're going to do this. They're light enough to hold with one hand while resting on your desk. I played Borderlands with half a controller and a mouse like that. I call it hybrid. And you don't need to use software like Xpadder if the game supports both controller and mouse at the same time (which a fewer and fewer do because developers don't think ahead). The problem with Xpadder is that it just maps the analog axes to digital keys, which totally defeats the purpose of having a stick.
#15 Posted by Jeff (3577 posts) -

Wii Nunchuk in left hand, mouse in the other. Problem solved!

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#16 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@believer258 said:

@MrKlorox said:

@believer258 said:
EDIT: I need to clarify that first sentence - I've never come across a KB/M dominated game where an analog stick would improve the experience.
Battlefield 3 is one of these games. Being able to creep with an uneven footstep sound make sit easier to sneak up on people. And lining up your shot between a sliver in the environment is much easier. Full digital movement tends to make you move too far in one direction or the other, even when feathering.

But a) that's not something that would happen very often, b) if it does you're not frantically running from anyone, so c) you can crouch or go prone and get those minute movements you really need in less than half a second. You're probably going to be crouched in such a situation anyway, just to get a more accurate shot.

A) It depends on your playstyle. It was pretty often for me. B) When frantically running, you use keys because of the shorter throw, like I said. C) They're not mutually exclusive, and crouching doesn't change your footstep pattern enough. Crouching does make you slower than walking, but everybody knows what crouched footsteps sound like. And you're often using both.
#17 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

So you want a nunchuck and a mouse? I don't see why that wouldn't work.

#18 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Canteu said:

So you want a nunchuck and a mouse? I don't see why that wouldn't work.


Lack of inputs. Unless you have one of those 15 button mice.
#19 Posted by Leptok (942 posts) -

Why fix something that isn't broken?

#20 Edited by believer258 (11922 posts) -

@MrKlorox said:

@believer258 said:

@MrKlorox said:

@believer258 said:
EDIT: I need to clarify that first sentence - I've never come across a KB/M dominated game where an analog stick would improve the experience.
Battlefield 3 is one of these games. Being able to creep with an uneven footstep sound make sit easier to sneak up on people. And lining up your shot between a sliver in the environment is much easier. Full digital movement tends to make you move too far in one direction or the other, even when feathering.

But a) that's not something that would happen very often, b) if it does you're not frantically running from anyone, so c) you can crouch or go prone and get those minute movements you really need in less than half a second. You're probably going to be crouched in such a situation anyway, just to get a more accurate shot.

A) It depends on your playstyle. It was pretty often for me. B) When frantically running, you use keys because of the shorter throw, like I said. C) They're not mutually exclusive, and crouching doesn't change your footstep pattern enough. Crouching does make you slower than walking, but everybody knows what crouched footsteps sound like. And you're often using both.

I still don't see a brand-new peripheral making much of a difference. But all right, personal taste.

@Jeff said:

Wii Nunchuk in left hand, mouse in the other. Problem solved!

Only two buttons? Besides, you could achieve the same effect with a 360 controller and get an additional d-pad, analog stick click, and select button. Or a PS3 controller and MotioninJoy. I guess now I'm saying that this is a possibility, just not one many people care about.

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#21 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@MrKlorox: I didn't mean a Wii nunchuck. Surely one could be designed ergonomically with enough buttons to perform adequately. I mean modern controllers have 12 actual buttons on them (not including the d-pad or guide button), My mouse has 6 buttons, including lmb/rmb/mmb. So I'm sure you could fit another 5 + the analogue stick depression.

#22 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Canteu: I honestly hope next generation's console controllers do something like this. Just split the 360/DS3 controller in half down the center so each hand holds a more complex Nunchuck; and instead of a mouse, you would be able to aim one of the nunchucks at the enemy on the screen like a lightgun for equivalent accuracy. I remember thinking this before the Move or Kinect came out and being massively disappointed when the final products were not like this. I guess now we have the Razer Hydra, but I haven't heard a single thing about it since it came out, good or bad.
 
edit: I think the success of Vita's "back touch" will tell us how likely it will be to get more buttons on the back of the controller like an L4/R4.
#23 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@MrKlorox: The thing is though, manipulating a controller face with your thumb, while only gripping the thing with the fingers of one hand could get kinda difficult, tiring or downright painful. I imagine designing something that can be gripped with half a hand while being moved about would be a nightmare to design.

#24 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

I'm almost always ok with not having analogue movement. I never really need it except in games like Skyrim, and that's just for the sake of the aesthetic more than anything. I like having access to the keys surrounding WASD.

#25 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Canteu said:

@MrKlorox: The thing is though, manipulating a controller face with your thumb, while only gripping the thing with the fingers of one hand could get kinda difficult, tiring or downright painful. I imagine designing something that can be gripped with half a hand while being moved about would be a nightmare to design.

I don't understand what you mean. Just grab two if your 360 controllers, pop the battery out to fix the weight difference, and hold one in each hand. It doesn't seem that much more difficult than two-handing a single controller except for being elongated which throws off the center of balance. Perhaps lengthening the handle part would allow for a better grip, but it doesn't seem too necessary.
#26 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@MrKlorox: What I mean is that you will be moving with the left hand, so you don't want to take your hand off the analogue stick to hit buttons. So basically they'd have to put the buttons on trigger grips or something for your fingers. Try holding a controller with just your thumb palm and knuckles. You'd have to hold it lightly so it doesn't depress the buttons, thus not giving you proper grip. I dunno man, just thinking out loud.

#27 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Canteu: I'm trying it now and I still don't seem to have the same issue. Perhaps it has something to do with hand size or the awkwardness of the controller having been designed for two hands. I still think that's an ergonomics bug that could be squashed with iteration. Do you still feel like you'll be accidentally pressing buttons when you hold a Move Navigation controller (or whatever they call their nunchuck)?
#28 Posted by kindgineer (2730 posts) -

I don't see the reason for removing WASD, to be honest. I love using my game-pad (generally use it more often when possible), but the WASD key manipulations work just as well. I think it's becoming habitual to press W+A to move NW and etc, that adding a stick would only restart and annoying process of learning with minimal (if any) improved results.

#29 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@MrKlorox: I've actually never held a motion controller so I have no idea. I suppose they have hard pressure triggers on the buttons to prevent that sort of thing. Also the weight of the rumble gyros probably aren't helping my little test.

#30 Posted by Dalai (7031 posts) -

@Jeff said:

Wii Nunchuk in left hand, mouse in the other. Problem solved!

Only if I can shake the mouse.

#31 Edited by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

@Canteu: I can see what you're saying about if there's too many buttons on the back. But also, just take a look at WASD, there's plenty of keys we use that are surrounding it (F, R, V, etc.) which force you to take your hand off of the movement controls, just like it would force you to take your thumb off the stick.

I'm sure they could curve a device in such a way for it to be ergonomically viable to have three buttons/triggers on the back, while still having a few face buttons on the front, not to mention a stick that can click in, so there's another button.

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#32 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -
#33 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@Vigorousjammer: Taking my index finger off the D key would only stop me moving to the right. I can still move forward. Taking your thumb off the stick stops you completely. No matter what I'm pressing, I will have at least 2 fingers on movement keys and the only thing that stops me moving forward is the 2 key. It's not really the same.

#34 Posted by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

Its a catch 22, no one wants to make a device that wont sell, and no one will support a device that doesn't exist.

This is where Microsoft has done amazing things with their 360 gamepad, they created the game pad for the 360, getting it into peoples hands. Then they added the ability to easly get input from the gamepad with direct input. They supported their hardware with the software, and supplied that software to every programmer who used directx.

#35 Posted by Green_Incarnate (1788 posts) -

@Jeff said:

Wii Nunchuk in left hand, mouse in the other. Problem solved!

I was thinking this exact thing a long time ago. Seriously, a control scheme like this is superior.

#36 Posted by SpartanHoplite (384 posts) -

G13 works just fine for me. Maybe Valve brings new stuff on the market.

#37 Posted by CommanderZx2 (134 posts) -

You probably want something like the Razer Nostromo Expert Keypad. It's a controller that has 16 programmable keys and an 8-way directional thumb pad:

#38 Edited by Vigorousjammer (2503 posts) -

@CommanderZx2:

Something like that, but with a little analog circle pad like on the 3DS would be really cool, I think.

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#39 Posted by rolanthas (242 posts) -

Some interesting solutions in this thread. I'll definitely give hybrid a try ( controller on one hand, mouse on the other ), though it'll be tricky since I generally use my left hand on mouse when gaming.

I really don't think Razer and Logitech's solutions work that well. They're essentially ergonomic keypads instead of proper analog add-ons.

But yeah, fingers crossed.

#40 Posted by Ares42 (2674 posts) -

While I haven't tried it I can't help but think that the combination of analog stick + mouse would be very disorienting. Some of the beauty with WASD + mouse is that it's simplicity + complexity. When you're playing a first-person game with K+M most of your attention is going into your mouse movement, while your keyboard movement is more of a second-nature thing. If there was more nuance to it I just think it would detract your attention away from your mouse movement.

#41 Posted by ds8k (412 posts) -

Using three fingers to control provides far more precision than one finger. I'll take WASD over analog stick any day because of that.

#42 Posted by WEB_War4 (111 posts) -

Replace keyboard keys with sticks, relearn how to type. Push in a direction for a letter.

#43 Posted by delny_dank (1 posts) -

http://www.gamegear.be/images/splitfish_frag_pro2.jpg

just get this i used it where i first got into pc. the mouse sucked but you can use any mouse with it. i dont really use it any more now ive got the keyboard down. and i just use a nostromo now. i only use the fragfx if it a third person game. digital moment when you can actually see your character just looks weird

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