For less Left-Hander Discrimination in Gaming!
I’m a southpaw! I do all kinds of things that require a certain degree of eye to hand-coordinated skill with my left hand. This includes using the computer mouse too. So I have the mouse on the left side next to my keyboard with my left hand using the mouse and left part of the keyboard and the right hand using the right side, incl. cursor keys and numeric keyblock.
With a standard keyboard we lefties actually have a slight advantage over right-handers when it comes to playing First-Person-Shooters or third-person-view games since we have a nicely separated block of keys that we can use for controls with the right hand where right-handers would need to use some obnoxious key layouts in the depths of the left side of their keyboard, in particular the notorious WASD keys.
[ad#gog_jaggedalliance2_box]If the game allows me I configure it to use the cursor keys as the main movement controls, i.e. Cursor-Up = move forward, Cursor-Down = move backward, Cursor-Left = Strafe left and Cursor-Right = Strafe right. Additionally I often assign important functions to the keyblock that lies directly above the cursor keys and to the numeric block if needed. Usually the End key becomes my ‘Use’ Key (where right-handers often use the Space Bar *yuck*). The home key is also often re-assigned but recently it is reserved for Windows Live in some games – another let-down!
My key configuration feels just natural for me and all important keys are in the close vicinity of my right hand while I use the mouse to rotate the camera around.
The more annoying it is if a game doesn’t let you change important key assignments or, worse, doesn’t let you to change any keys at all. This happened to me some years back with the game Scarface: The World is Yours. The procedure with that game basically went like this: I’ve installed the game, watched the intro, tried to change the default keyboard control assignments, realized that they cannot be changed at all, tried to play the game for a few minutes with the default keys, gave up because controls were too annoying, uninstalled the game (never to be seen again on my hard disk!). Radical Entertainment, F minus! sit down!
Yesterday I encountered a similar game: Constantine. I liked the movie despite that it received many negative critics. And because I like the comic-inspired horror theme and we almost have Halloween I said let’s give it a try. Well, what can I say … the game doesn’t allow the player to assign the cursor keys for movement controls. It’s not as bad as Scarface but still … what is the developer’s rationale for this lack? I believe it’s just pure ignorance. They obviously don’t have a single left-handed person in their development or quality assurance team!
Not sure how long I will continue to play this game before the controls annoy me so much that I loose interest.
All I can say is I’m glad to be a left-handed game developer! For some part we make better games! To hell with those triple-A developers that don’t even have a glimpse of an idea to think about flexible controls!