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Old 11-13-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
Moorfog
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Default Is there a happy medium beween controller and key/mouse setup?

I'm about to get back into PC gaming after about a decade of being out of it. Ordering a new GPU tomorrow that will allow for modern gaming and i'm pretty excited at the prospect.

The issue I am asking about, is that I see the control aspect of PC gaming as either controller or keyboard and mouse. After playing some games my current rig is able to do with the latter, I realize that while you can't beat the mouse, the keyboard has alot to aspire to sans amount of keys, and while I may be overly used to the last decade of console gaming, the keyboard and I have issues at the moment. Maybe it has to do with dusting off the cobwebs of the key/mouse system.

My issue is mostly with the lack of subtle movement with the wasd system. It's all or not. There isn't any slowly moving forward or running without holding another key, if there is that option. I've seen some "gameresque" key pads for sale, with 20 or so keys and a 4 way d pad on the side, I'm sure that you folks know the models i'm referring to. This seems perfect, but I wonder, having never tried one, how it actually works. I imagine, even with a stick attached, it's still that all or nothing input as opposed to the finer, touch sensitive analog stick i'm used to.

So, after all this rambling...is there a happy medium to these two opinions?

Thanks for any input you might have.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:51 PM   #2
Throckmorton
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There was once a mouse for your off hand that slid around and gave you analog movement control in games, but it fell by the wayside and we're stuck with WASD.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
Doom 4d
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I don't know of any games for PC that support simultaneous analog input and mouse control, but you can use JoytoKey to map WASD to N/W/S/E on your analog stick respectively.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:51 AM   #4
Evander
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Yes there is a happy medium that's better than than a gamepad alone or the kb/mouse combo. It's an ambidextrous flight stick for your left hand and mouse for your right hand.
Advantages:

- analog movement, good for FPS and driving games and others (obviously, flight games)
- don't have to worry about accidentally taking your hand off wasd and messing up your control/movement while you fumble to find your way back to the right position
- you feel more "in the game" when you move your arm forward and your character goes forward
- "rumble pad" available if you get a stick that supports it
- you can even use the hat tip for for games that are better off with a digital controller, such as Super Mario World on an SNES emulator

Disadvantages:
- not all games support joystick such as Bioshock and Doom 3 (maybe there are mods that can change that). You can fake it by remapping your keyboard keys to the joystick
- sometimes the default joystick settings for a game are stupid and you have to figure out how to change them correctly (for example, an FPS might by default use the X-axis to turn left and right instead of strafing left and right. You want the mouse for turning left and right
- sometimes a game has too many keys to be mapped to the flightstick. My suggestion is to buy a flightstick that has as many buttons as possible accessible without taking your hand off the stick (if you can find one that has a button or two for each of your four fingers plus several on the top for your thumb, that would be great). And also buy a mouse that has lots of buttons - at least 5. If you STILL need more buttons without taking your hand off the stick of the mouse, consider remapping buttons to your numpad that are accessible by right thumb that controls the mouse

I had a really old flightstick from 2001:
http://www.amazon.com/Saitek-JI3G-Cy.../dp/B000056Q0P
that I was using on a Win 7 64-bit system until this spring when I moved and had to throw it away to make room. I plan to get a newer and better one when I get the chance.

Examples of FPS games I've played with flightstick/mouse combo: F.E.A.R., Unreal Tournament, Star Trek Voyager Elite Force, Serious Sam, Killing Floor. Driving games are obviously much better with analog control - I've played games from the Need for Speed Series using the stick to drive and the mouse to navigate menus.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:00 AM   #5
Doom 4d
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evander View Post
- don't have to worry about accidentally taking your hand off wasd and messing up your control/movement while you fumble to find your way back to the right position
I had forgotten about using a flightstick, which is a good point.

On the note of wasd though, I think almost everyone who has ever really analyzed the way their keyboard is setup and tried to optimize their keybinding availability has already rebinded to ESDF (which gives you the physical orientation tab on F for quick location) or changed to an entirely different control scheme all together (like ZX strafing with forward on mouse, or A-Space strafing with forward on mouse and keeping fingers aligned in homerow-thumb on space). WASD has so many disadvantages and the only advantage that can be lobbied for it is that a lot of people are just semi-used to using it since it became the ubiquitous out-of-the-box control scheme for a lot of games, along with a slew of other horrendous keybinding schemes for that matter.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:23 AM   #6
Ben90
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While I agree the default keybindings are normally horribly unoptimized, you do lose easy access to the modifier keys when switching away from WASD. In addition, many lowend keyboards just don't handle non-WASD setups as well. The good game engines allow enough scripting that the loss of the extra keys doesn't really matter.

I do agree with you though that most users need to deviate from the default key bindings for best efficiency.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben90 View Post
While I agree the default keybindings are normally horribly unoptimized, you do lose easy access to the modifier keys when switching away from WASD. In addition, many lowend keyboards just don't handle non-WASD setups as well. The good game engines allow enough scripting that the loss of the extra keys doesn't really matter.

I do agree with you though that most users need to deviate from the default key bindings for best efficiency.
Well, you don't lose access to any of the modifiers but you are right about most keyboards not supporting high enough key rollover. The latter being an industry issue, but a significant one.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:20 AM   #8
JamesV
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Being able to slowly walk by using a thumbstick really isn't an issue at all. While it might be nice to creep forward slowly using a thumbstick, you cannot run forward and strafe with a thumbstick at full speed (you can't point the stick full forward and full sideways at the same time). With a keyboard you can run forward as fast as possible, and strafe as fast as possible, at the same time.

Thumbsticks however do rule when driving. Playing GTA, I play on foot with KB/Mouse, and when I get in a car, I switch to my 360 controller. But, alot of games have issues with using both a controller and KB/mouse at the same time, so you can't count on doing that.

If you are using a controller for a FPS, you are limiting yourself. If you are using KB/mouse for flight/driving games, you are limiting yourself. I guess the happy medium would be having all three peripherals, and using them for what they are best suited for.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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You know what's better than analog sticks for racing right?
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