12/08/2004 @23:56:46 ^03:13:57

Well, shit, I don't know.

Have you thought of taking up sewing?

Why your keyboard layout SUCKS

A few poor, misguided fools have, following reading updates on this very site, started playing games of Doom of their very own! I'd like to now tell you why you suck at it. It's mainly due to the default keyboard layout.

The problem with the default is this: The arrow keys are nowhere near the change-weapon keys, and... wait, what am I talking about. Why are you on the arrow keys at all, maggot? Use the fucking mouse already!

Seriously I started off with keys - none of that arrow keys shit for DOS gamers, but a version of the keymap from the BBC Micro classic Exile - and I thought it would be enough. But one day, much later, a few months after I'd switched from the original DOS version (on my Risc PC's 486 card) to the native RISC OS port, I switched, and my ability to play the game increased threefold overnight! Good eh? Use the mouse!

So your right hand is on the mouse. Your left hand should be on the strafe keys, near to the keys for changing weapons, and switching to the map or whatever. In practice for most people this means a straight translation of the arrow keys to a similarly arranged set of keys on the left of keyboard, the most obvious being W, A, S and D.

My keymap evolved slightly differently, as it came from Exile, in which Q, W, P, L and space mean go left, right, jump/fly up, crouch/crawl/fly down, and fire, respectively. In Doom this translated into turn left, turn right, go forwards, go backwards, and fire. My left hand was already near the weapon change keys and tab. My left little finger was permanently holding down left shift, to run. My left thumb was on the default strafe on key, left alt. The only other common key, the use key, i set to "[" (on a BBC keyboard this is @, and in Exile it means accelerate) I put strafe left and strafe right on A and S, below the turn left and right keys which I'd use more often.

But I'm not telling you to use keyboard only. This is about the mouse. The major advantage is that is allows you to swing to an aiming angle of your choice instantly, instead of having to hold down a turn key and wait for the fixed speed of turning to get there. You set the mouse buttons to fire and run forwards. This transfers the primary game functions: the turning, on your left hand, and the forward and fire functions, on your right hand, to the mouse. The middle button sadly can't be set to run backwards without hacking the source code. Besides my mouse's middle button is a scroll wheel and doesn't press as a normal button easily enough.

Since you're now turning with the mouse, your left hand is on the strafe left and right keys all the time, allowing quick and easy dodging of incoming fire. I set the use key to D so to open a door my index finger jumps off S for a second and presses it. I don't actually do that much backwards running so I moved the the back key from its useless position on L to Z. Thus I can do a quick backwards jump by moving my index finger down off S. You might prefer X, I don't know. In PRBoom I have autorun switched on all the time so the shift key becomes useless. I kept left alt as strafe for reasons I will go into later and for completeness I moved the run forwards key from P to E.

Okay I wrote all that off the top of my head. Let's put it in a table to sum up. I've split the table into sections, primary functions on the mouse in your right hand, secondary functions on your left, and others that are pretty redundant but I put them in for completeness.

Turn leftmove it leftQUSE MOUSE
Turn rightmove it right, duhWMOUSE
Move forwardsright button or move forwardsEMOUSE BTN
Move backmove it backwards (NO SHIT!!)Zor maybe X
FIREleft buttonSPACEBOOM!! clickclankclonk
Strafe leftmove left+strafe onAUSE KEYS
Strafe rightmove right+strafe onSKEYS
USEdouble click middle or rightDKEYS
Strafe onmiddle buttonleft altrarely needed, unless you strafe50
RunMOVE THE MOUSE FASTERshiftforget this key and leave always run on!
Always runn/a#put it on a key you never press & leave it!!
sel.weaponscroll wheel if in zdoom (fuck off)1-9the shotguns are the best, you noobs

Right. If you've got this far let me explain some design choices. Okay, there weren't any design choices, this thing just sort of evolved. Anyway there are some reasons.

Okay, after an inordinate amount of time trying to get the table to look right and deciding that it's probably this old version of galeon/mozilla that's messing me around, I've decided that's enough. I hope this update has helped you. If so you can paypal me--- oh fuck off. Just play the damn game. It's better than the new one that comes out tomorrow.