Ever since the emergence of 1st person shooters, think Wolfenstien and DooM, a great travesty has been occurring. I’m talking about WASD: the keyboard layout to end all keyboard layouts. Every FPS game since then has included a WASD layout by default. Most gamers will tell you that playing keyboard+mouse, and specifically WASD+mouse, is THE best way to play. I submit to you that WASD is a bad habit, and that SDFC is superior in every way. Here’s the scoop:
WASD is almost perfect. It allows you to run forward and back (W and S) with your middle finger, while independently strafing left or right (A and D) with your index and ring fingers. You also have quick access to all the surrounding keys, which you can map to your most used actions. Tab, Caps, Alt, Ctrl, Space, several adjacent letters, and the number row are all close by. HOWEVER, by shifting the hand ONE space to the left of the natural Home Row position, with index finger on D instead of F, we lose instant access to at least 2 letters and 1 number, since the pinky finger has been moved OFF the main keyboard onto the special keys. But that’s not the worst part! What’s far more important, and for me far more puzzling as to why WASD was ever adopted in the first place, is that we’ve moved our index finger OFF of the index key. That F key under our index finger when in ‘Home Row’ position has a marker on it; an indent or nub or other tactile feature. It’s there to let you instantly find your place on home row without looking. It makes stretching to a far away number or letter (and getting back to ‘F’ quickly) simple and quick. By shifting off of the F key, we’ve made it a guessing game, and added the risk of landing on the wrong keys, toggling mouse look or the chat window or something else unintended, and ultimately getting us killed in the heat of battle.
That’s where SDFC (or ESDF if you prefer) the far superior choice. Not only are you bring your pinky finger back in to play on the main keyboard, but you’re extending your reach down the number row, and most importantly, your index finger gets to stay on ‘F’ where it BELONGS!
So cmon folks, give up your addiction to the obviously inferior WASD, and join the SDFC revolution.
p.s. There’s also a trend away from ‘qwerty’ keyboards in favor of ‘awerty’, where the Q and A have switched spots. This is where Devs come in: by clinging to WASD defaults, you’re possibly breaking gameplay for future computer users. SDFC (or ESDF) is unaffected by the A/Q swap, and should be the obvious choice for default settings.
p.p.s. Now, I realize that this rant is 25 years too late. The ship sailed with Wolfenstien and DooM. It’s far too late to get ppl to adopt an alien setup now… however, if you’re still young enough to learn new tricks, do give SDFC or ESDF a try. 🙂