How did WASD become the standard for PC Gaming?

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Jennie Bharaj


“Dennis Fong.” Wikipedia. Ed. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Mar. 2017. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

Gkikas, Kostas, D. Nathanael, and N. Marmaras. “The evolution of FPS games controllers: how use progressively shaped their present design.” Panhellenic Conference on Informatics (PCI). 2007.

Wilde, Tyler. “How WASD Became the Standard PC Control Scheme.” Pcgamer. PC Gamer, 24 June 2016. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

hello everyone this is Jenny Braj and you are watching my channel on video games and video game academics now if you aren't aware of me do follow me on Facebook Twitter on Instagram after this video but let's delve right into this topic shall we take a look at this keyboard right beside me do you notice the missing letters on this board well if you're a PC gamer you probably could these are the WASD Keys but what made the WASD Keys the standard for PC gaming the WASD Keys for those who are unaware are a set of four keys in a QWERTY or quartz keyboard the wns control forward and backward mechanics and the an D control the left and right mechanics the mouse of a computer acts as a turning mechanic for games that allow more free-flowing movement in regards to video games the WASD mechanics work the same way as the arrow key mechanics on your keyboard so why not use the arrow keys instead of the WASD Keys well ergonomically speaking because your right head is on a mouse your left hand is in control of the keyboard if using the arrow keys your whole body would be shifted towards the right thus making an uncomfortable gaming experience with your left hand on the WASD keys however your body is in center with your screen and it's just much more comfortable in general try out the difference on your keyboard and test it out for yourself the WASD keys and mouse app wasn't always the common norm though in 1997 Denis Fogg a popular quake player won the USA quake tournament by using the WASD in Mouse configuration this was quite the odd thing at the time because most gamers would only use the keyboard for their gaming experience but Fong said that by using the WASD and mouse setup his skill level significant increased and therefore so did the popularization of the WASD setup but even then it did take a couple of more years for the WASD configuration to become the standard to PC gaming but with certainty Fong was a huge influence to the WASD standardization especially for FPS games eventually through the WASD placement additional functions were added to these surrounding keys such as space for jump control for duck and shift for run but not everyone uses the WASD Keys PC Gamer dot-com asked valve co-founder Gabe Newell about his preferred config and he replied I personally don't like WASD as it takes your hand away from your typing home keys I always remind to ESC F other gamers prefer the s XE keys or the steam controller but what about you what key controls or what controllers do you prefer when gaming on a PC do let me know and tell me what I'm really interested and if you do like this video please give me a thumbs up it'll be much appreciated Cheers and keep on gaming

48 thoughts on “How did WASD become the standard for PC Gaming?

  • Welcome back, again 🙂

    I remember the transition from arrow keys to mouse+arrow keys and later wasd; In my circle of friends and acquaintences the shift happened around Quake 2, where we'd tell eachother of this weird new way to play shooters.
    It was especially odd considering that lots of people had used the joystick and were familiar with analogue technology, but didn't make the connection to using a mouse. You'd also occasionally see other experiments like using the rollerball mouse (some still prefer it).

    Another quirk to mouse gaming is the inverted Y axis and the related head-fuckery of getting used to the logic of it or the reversed and swapping back again (the logic is the same with flight controls, dragging your head back to look up and pushing your head forwards to look down).
    Some anectodal evidence suggests it slightly improves your reactions as you typically aim upwards (dragging the mouse towards you) to head shot.

    Yet another mouse quirk is mouse acceleration which speeds up your cursor movement, which works great for a desktop UI, but messes with your aim in shooters, effectively moving your crosshair further or shorter than you expected it to.

  • Halo my name is AZIZULLAH my cast is bharaj my kantre Pakistan call me 03116626721

  • The first default keys for moving was QAOP + SPACE or M for fire…. who had a spectrum know this….

  • Brilliant, very very very nice reference: kikas, Kostas, D. Nathanael, and N. Marmaras. "The evolution of FPS games controllers: how use progressively shaped their present design." Panhellenic Conference on Informatics (PCI). 2007.

  • Nunchuck and mouse all the way

  • 0:47 The Same With The Arrow Keys

  • Well, when I'm forced to use the keyboard, four fingers for movement instead of just one thumb, I still use the arrow keys, since I've played Quake back in the days.
    That's because W and S are not symmetrical on the keyboard, W is further left and therefore it is a little uncomfortable, but the Up-key is right above the down-key.
    Therefor I operate the mouse with my left hand when playing, the right one, when I'm working. I'm left-handed and like most left-handed-people in most task ambidextrous.

  • use arrow keys on laptop only guys

  • Im gonna show this to my friend.

  • I always bind to ABXY just so I can remind myself that there are those less fortunate than the PC Master Race.

  • i still think arrow keys is better

  • Hm… Great information and that's very helpful for me. You have answered my Question that, Why we ues WASD key's. He He He…. Thanks again

  • i'm dont type much… so i use wasd. when i type i just lift up my hand then put it down on a key. I NEVER LEARNED HOW 2 TYPE!

  • Great explanation of WASD. Thank you x

  • I'm still prefer Arrow Keys.
    As a kid, I got confused when a game had moving with something other than arrows, so I ignored it.
    And just always went with arrows.

    And i actually have no problem with Arrow Keys + Mouse

  • how did i get here????

  • small brain: wasd
    expanded brain: arrow keys
    A S C E N D E D : arrow keys in the numpad

  • Im a F2,1,2,3 so my thumb can access to space, c, v and f for items or abilities on FPS

  • What if you’re left handed?

  • i like xbox controller and wasd

  • Real gamers use 'ESDF'.

  • how do you play with asxe?

  • Is this a video for retards?

  • First video I found that I can use to explain what WASD is and how it works for parents and folks who have never played games or ever used a 3D interaction interface. Thanks for making it.

  • In fact, based on my personal experience of focusing the navigation and combat functions to specific hands, I tend to think my approach is magnitudes smoother, faster and more efficient. For me at least. And I really hate when games don't give me full keybind customization. Hopefully full customization becomes the standard someday, cause it's clearly not. There are too many hand sizes, keyboard types, comfort levels, experience levels and what not to force people into WASD. Let us customize to our comfort and familiarity so that the only learning curve is the game mechanics and details and NOT the navigation. 🙂

  • I mainly play MMORPGs. when I started on WoW in 2009, on a laptop, I used my left hand to hit 1 thru 5 and beyond, as well as modifier keys. and I used the arrow keys to move. This worked well enough for me. However, around 2102 I switched to using the mouse to move (holding down LMB+RMB) and instantly had better control and smoother movement. This is how I use my controls ever since. Enter action-combat MMOs and the whole things has gone wonky on me. I've been fortunate enough to play games that allow me to remap move forward to LMB (and do some other remappings). But some games — like Secret World Legends — lock down LMB and RMB and won't even allow me to remap them. I really don't understand how people WASD AND hit the 1 thru 5 and beyond. For me, compartmentalizing the different functions has been so easy for my hands and brain. 90% of all movement is with mouse buttons and 90% of all combat and UI control has been with my left hand. It's been VERY hard for me to figure out what to do with WASD on MMOs.

  • I'm a leftie,your acting like nobody is a leftie.lefties tend to use arrow keys

  • I've always used WASD for as long as I remember, it's just very comfortable and instinctive. I tried the ESDF configuration for a while but since I have small hands it's painful to use because I then need to stretch unnaturally to be able to hit shift/ctrl. To each their own.

  • Welcome back Jennie and good to see you again!!
    WASD are erased from my keyboard! 😀
    I usually play strategic and graphic adventure games, so the mouse is my best friend. But for action games I normally use WASD + mouse or my Xbox 360 gamepad.

  • I use Gabe Newell's setup too. In addition to being in the home position, there are more keys around the fingers that can be rebound without lifting fingers,

  • WASD is better than arrow keys not just because of the ergonomic reasons, but it also allows you to have a larger area of utility buttons for your thumb and the little finger. If you use arrow keys, pressing anything else is incredibly difficult, but with WASD, it's effortless to use both left shift and control for all kinds of shenanigans and space for (usually) jumping. Also, the rest of the letter keys around WASD are easily usable, making the selection of keys very comfortable for gaming. =)

  • It depends on the game. some games are better with wasd some are better with a controller. Mortal kombat and other fighters are better with a ps4. Others are better with an xbox 360 or one controller.

  • Hey girly!!! hope youre doing well!!

  • I started gaming on racing games, and would always shy away from wasd because they were so unfamiliar, until I was forced to use them in FPS'. It is still interesting to see how different racer developers choose either arrow keys or wasd for movement. 😀

  • I resisted change at first myself. Started with just the keyboard with Wolf3d and Doom after that. The idea of using a mouse at the time was odd and foreign. By 1995, we were playing Doom via Game Connection through local BBSs. CTRL for shooting and Spacebar for opening doors were typical if I remember right. I remember 1 guy who just wiped the floor with us. We asked how he moved so fast and he said he was using the mouse to aim. We thought he was crazy. As games began using the mouse, I typically kept with the arrow keys with my left hand and binding all other commands I needed to surrounding keys like Home/End/PgDn/PgUp etc. I think with the original Rainbow Six I finally gave in and tried something different as I heard about WASD. I hated it at first even though it was indeed more ergonomic and I no longer had to slide my keyboard over to better access the arrow keys. Got used to it and been using it since.

  • As a left handed heretic I still have trouble finding an optimal setup for my PC gaming. Tbh, I will just plug in a 360 Controller or just cave and use the standard WASD setup.

  • esdf is not a bad idea Gabe you madman. More keys to play with. No way I could unlearn wasd though.

  • I have actually been considering switching to ESDF for the purpose of getting my left hand in a better position to hit a wider variety of keys quickly, for games like ARMA 3 that use a lot more different keys in normal play than average.
    It'd also take my hand away from the capslock key which I often accidentally hit during gameplay, and don't notice until it messes up a chat message in my Steam overlay or in-game chat.
    It'd bring ALT into better reach of my pinky finger as well as the windows key which is used for the ACE3 mod in Arma 3.

  • 1:10
    Jesus, that's one hell of a claustrophobic keyboard.

  • You're making videos again 😀 Are you back for good? Or is this a temporary thing?

  • personally I prefer zqsd over wasd, but that's just me

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