I mentioned on Twitter that when it comes to PC-based video games, I have a keyboard/mouse control scheme that horrifies and mystifies everyone who learns about it, because it is so far deviant from the traditional “WASD” setup that people don’t know what to think about it. This of course meant I was immediately asked to reveal my heretical control scheme. I will do so now.
Basically, I do everything on the numberpad and the mouse and don’t use the primary keyboard at all. Also, I use these mappings primarily for first person shooters, as that’s my favorite type of game, although I also do usually map other types of games to some variation of this control scheme. Also also, I don’t claim this to be the best controlmapping scheme, merely the one that I’m used to; I’ve been using some variation of this since the Quake days 20 years ago. I will say WASD feels awfully cramped to me and I don’t know how it became the standard.
So here’s how I map my controls on the numberpad and mouse.
Mouse Button 1: Walk forward
Mouse Button 2: Walk backward
Mouse Button 3: Weapon selection (both by scrolling with the mousewheel and holding down and selecting with the button when enabled in the game (see: Crysis and Wolfenstein)
Mouse Button 4: Grenades (when enabled)
Mouse Button 5: Sniper zoom (when enabled)
General mouse movement: Free look
7: Strafe left
9: Strafe right
4: Lean left
6: Lean right
Enter: Fire secondary
Page Down: Use
8,5,2,1,3,-, pageup, home, end: Available for other controls the specific game might have, like sprint or map or inventory or health regeneration or whatever.
This works for me because it puts all the primary movement into the mouse and most of the secondary functions onto the numberpad. The mouse is all about looking and moving, the numberpad about shooting and occasionally ducking, leaning and jumping. Also the number keys aren’t staggered weirdly like the keys on the larger keyboard; they’re straight up and down and across, which for me makes them easier to use in a game situation.
As far as I know there’s only one other person in the world who regularly uses this setup: My kid, who naturally learned it from me, because she started playing video games on my rig. She, like me, is not sure why anyone does it any other way. I don’t expect other people to come around to our way of thinking on this, mind you. People use what they’re used to. This is what I’ve been used to for 20 years. It works for me.