Challenging the Controls

There are many ways to control your virtual alter-ego in yet another arcade shooting game: mouse and keyboard. Whoa, that’s a lot isn’t it? Yet many casual players (and even those who call themselves hardcore) totally neglect configuring game controls. They are rushing towards that glowing red “New Game” button! Who cares about the controls?! Leave ‘em at their defaults, the developers know better how we should interface with their game.Well, unfortunately this is a total bullcrap. Default controls are sometimes pretty much far away from being perfect, I mean THAT far. And after struggling through the game with totally uncomfortable controls many players just quit playing and blame the game instead of simple configuring the controls to their likes.What are controls? What a stupid question. Here is a smart-ass answer – controls are physical interface between you and the game. Sort of. It means that this is how you tell the game (or your character) what you want it to do for you. And if it is a shooting game – you probably want to tell it immediately and exactly what do you want it to do right at this moment. Or even a moment ago. Because it’s generally all about action – shooting stuff, evading stuff (occasionally), e.g. your reflexes are at action. And if you are in arena shooter like Crimsonland and trying to aim with keyboard, then my friend you are in deep poop.Fortunately, Crimsonland does not have keyboard aim set to defaults. But anyway, you can imagine what it would look like. If you don’t know what Crimsonland is – shame on you. Go to Google and check that great game out.So, what kinds of basic types of controls do we have for our shooting fun? Well, there are 3 major:
Oh, well, there are also some games that supports joysticks and gamepads, but that’s a rarity and does not really refer to cool shooting games I’m talking about – mostly arena shooters.Majority of fun shooting games support keyboard and/or hybrid modes – thought they are not always called like that to be honest. Shooters with mouse-only controls are very rare(well, except the point and shoot ones), and sometimes really challenging. Some games also limit their controls to keyboard only – it sucks. Especially if there is a gameplay possibility for hybrid.So, what can we do with this stuff? Let’s see hybrid. This is the best one – mouse + keyboard, so you can move/shoot with either. If evading is very important in the game, you set movement to mouse. If accuracy is critical, you set aiming to the mouse. I prefer mostly movement on keyboard and aiming/shooting on the mouse. But we are all different, and some may find easier to move with keyboard – like those freaks who were playing Raiden all the time in their childhood. Everyone should pick a set of controls to his/her own taste, and relevant to the gameplay.As I said earlier, some games have keyboard only controls. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it is ok. In these cases you don’t really have any choice but to adapt and get used to the controls. Also, some games offer exotic possibilities like dual mouse support. For example, Crimsonland could be configured in 2 player mode to use single mouse for both players to aim. That it sure fun, hehe. You should try it.Configuring controls properly has very strong relation to your surviving in the shooting games, and your kills per second ratios, so don’t forget to test some variations, whichever works for you best and use the best one.

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