PC Gamers: What keyboard bindings do you use?

I’m usually more a console than a PC gamer (for non-casual games, at any rate), but since I’ve got a lot of downtime waiting for my little bundle of joy to arrive, I’ve been going through my Steam account and playing some stuff that I haven’t really gotten around to before.

I picked up Psychonauts in the most recent Humble Bundle sale, and so far it’s… almost fun. The storyline is cute and the gameplay is right up my alley, but the controls are killing me. You control the camera with the mouse, which you don’t seem to need to do constantly, but you do need to do occasionally. The default settings have you moving around with the arrow keys, using Q and E and X for some actions, space bar for jumping, and a left click for hitting. That seems like WAY too much moving around on the keyboard to me, and I had a lot of trouble with it. I’ve changed the defaults so that the most common actions so far (I’m only 45 minutes into the game all told, since I keep quitting in frustration) are set to the 1 and 2 key, which is better but still a struggle.

So, for those of you who spend more time playing computer games than I do, any tips for finding a control scheme that works well? Anyone else pick up Psychonauts and have a good setup going? Do I need something other than a mouse and keyboard to play most non-casual computer games (I stumbled a bit with Portal at first, but got the hang of it pretty quickly)?

Q and E as actions would leave me to expect a typical wasd key setup for movement, not the arrow keys. Maybe the arrow keys work too, but try wasd, that would definitely be the prefered , imho.

I don’t know about this particular game, but many PC games support game pads. You can hook up a wired x box 360 controller to your PC or a wireless one through a USB adapter. There’s also software available that will let you use a ps3 or Wii game pad, as well as let you bind keys to game pad controls for those games without native game pad support .

I use a Nostromo and then bind the most used keys to that as appropriate. I have a profile for, say, Diablo III that allows me to use the various spells, stand in place and fire the primary attack, use a potion, etc etc. When I used to play WoW (with an earlier version of the Nostromo) I used to set up macros that were bound to key presses to do a series of attacks with pauses in-between. I also have a profile that has the standard ASWD movement keys bound to the little thumb thingy on the side, so I can move with just thumb presses and have stuff like a mouse wheel on my offhand and various buttons for other stuff. Basically, I couldn’t do without it anymore…muscle memory and all that. When I’m on the road and don’t have the thing I find myself having a lot more trouble playing the various games I enjoy.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. I think the current Nostromo I have (that works with the virtual Windows 7 client I use for gaming) was like $59.00 at Best Buy. It’s infinitely craft able and the configuration interface is dead easy to use and program. And you can save your configs as a series of macros for whatever game you like to play.


WASD is also available for movement, which would be preferable (in my opinion) if the mouse clicks were the main action. I think that’s how Portal’s default settings work. However, the Psychonauts default setting would have you using arrows/ WASD to move, space to jump, mouse to punch, and Q/E for special powers. I feel like I would need at least one extra hand to make that work (But I am a total spaz, so there’s that to consider).

Your second idea is an interesting one, though - we have wireless PS3 controllers that have USB charging cords. I’m going to have to do some googling to see if I could use that.

Let me save you the hours of research it took me to find the solution a couple years ago:

Motionjoy, a program that adds drivers and allows the computer to interface with a Dualshock 3 controller connected by USB charger or bluetooth dongle.

ASDW for movement, QE to rotate: this means I can move and/or rotate with both kbd and mouse.

Most frequent actions in the first five numbers.

My Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys get a ton of work, from less-common actions.

Not sure why you’re finding that awkward. Try this layout for your fingers.

Left Hand:

Middle finger W & S
Index D (Flicking to E when required)
Ring A (Q when needed)
Thumb rests on the Space bar.

That also leaves your pinky free for the Shift and CTRL keys (which you’ll find a lot of PC games also use.

I will back you on the awkward camera controls. Moving your character is a lot more natural in Psychonauts with a gamepad. Must dig it out, never played it for ages. Don’t think I finished it.