Saturday, February 4, 2012

What is Mightier? The Mouse or the Controller?

If you've been following DUST 514 for any reasonable length of time, chances are you will have heard the cries of sadness from many EVE Online players over the fact that DUST 514 will not be appearing on PC at launch. "I don't want to have to buy a PS3!", say some. "Console players smell bad and only know jokes related to my mother!", says others. However, there's another group that actually have some merit to their argument. But who are they? They're the keyboard and mouse users. They claim that the humble keyboard and mouse is mightier than the controller native to today's consoles. So what is the difference between the keyboard and mouse (which I'll shorten to KB/M), and the controller?

The controller is designed with one purpose. Gaming. Modern controllers are built to be simple to pick up by new gamers. Each of the buttons is simply labelled and usually colour coded. They also have a benefit of having every single key easy to reach. Ever tried to reach any of the keys on the right hand side of your keyboard while playing an FPS? It's not easy without taking your hand away from the all important WASD (which for those that don't know, is your movement keys). One other feature they posses that is often overlooked is pressure sensitive buttons and joysticks. These really shine when driving vehicles or trying to walk slowly. With a keyboard it's either stationary or full speed ahead.

What about the keyboard and mouse? They were originally designed for using a computer. However, they have adapted well to games in general. They especially shine in RTS game compared to controllers due to the sheer number of keys you have available for hot keys. But what about for FPS games? An often cited benefit of mice over controllers is the sheer precision they have. This allows you to not only aim quickly , but also accurately aim. In FPS games, this is often the difference between life and death. They usually also feature greater customisability - you can usually (depending on the game) remap anything to anywhere you want.

So which one is better? As far as DUST 514 is concerned, it doesn't matter since you can use either of them. Yes, that's right. After sending away some emails asking for answers to important questions I was informed by CCP that the keyboard and mouse will have full support in DUST 514 on PS3.

But don't pop the champagne just yet. What does this mean for DUST 514? What happens when you throw both the KB/M and the controller into the same arena? Many players will point to a story that Microsoft was going to start a massive project to bring PC and Xbox 360 gamers together in the same game as a major part of the console. The story goes that they decided to shelve the project entirely when it turned out that average PC gamers would soundly beat even the best Xbox 360 players they had available. But where does the story come from? Turns out it's from HP's Rahul Sood (Founder of Voodoo. Just mind the plug for webOS at the end).

But is he right? From Joystiq's experience with Shadowrun back in 2007, he might not be completely right. Shadowrun, for those that don't know, was a game for both the Xbox 360 and PC that allowed you play cross-platform. According to them, the PC and Xbox 360 shared a similar number of victories in their play test sessions, despite the difference in input devices. They say that it comes down to is how the developer builds the game mechanics - the keyboard and the controller were on equal footing because the game play was designed as such.

So in the end what does this mean? It means that CCP needs to give me a beta key so I can test out both control schemes myself, because no other way is going to show me which one is better for DUST 514.

And to those that say "What about the PS Move?" I've never used it so I'll reserve judgement until I have done so. But from what I've heard, it's effectiveness also depends on how well CCP implements it and the particular scheme they use.

Update from CCP_Jian on twitter for those that don't trust our news still:


  1. And it's WSAD not WASD... isn't it. :)

    1. No I say WASD as that's it going top to bottom, left to right. But really it's the same thing.

  2. Whaaaat!? Can we get an official statement from CCP on this !? I love you guys and all but Ive seen things like this get removed quicker then they can get confirmed..

    My main question for CCP on this new Keyboard and Mouse news.. Will the Mouse work off the systems X and Y axis? If so there is going to be a huge deadzone when using the mouse, PC players are going to be extremely disappointed.. You can go out to your local Tech store or online and purchase the EagleEye or Tac 3 that will let you use a Keyboard and Mouse for any PS3 game, Right now.. But the Deadzone/lag of the analog axis is still used with mouse setup on these systems..

    Hopefully CCP is designing the mouse and keyboard program so it tracks the x and y axis better then just manipulating the analog axis..

    If this doesn't make sense, go to Bestbuy pick up the Tac3 or Eagle eye. Try it out on any PS3 shooter, get frustrated because you have so much deadzone and have to treat the mouse like an analog stick then return it with in 30 days... ; )

    Of topic I can tell you from someone that bought the PS Move purposely for Killzone its complete trash in multiplayer, its further from the twitch accuracy PC FPS fans would like to see..

    1. Nice statement above but I'm going to disagree with your Sharpshooter/Move statement.

      Now, they need to have a modal turn function like they did in S4 if they want it to be competitive imo. Never played KZ3, but I would assume it would handle the same. It doesn't have 'twitch' response but it sure beats using 2 tiny little joysticks.

    2. I was under the impression that dust was a ps3 only game neways....

  3. "Voice / Text Chat

    Using voice chat, DUST and EVE players will be able to communicate with one another in realtime.

    Text chat is of course supported too. The PS3 supports standard USB and Bluetooth keyboards right out of the box and so we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that players will grab their PC’s keyboard for use in DUST 514. Believe me, it’s far easier than trying to use a software keyboard to keep up in a chat channel. The keyboard will be usable for chatting only. There will be no in-battle mouse + keyboard support."

    That's from last year's september post on their page. Are you sure it'll support the mouse and keyboard? Don't get me wrong - that'd be lovely since I'm a PC gamer and my analog skills are less than satisfying. But that sounds unfair to the controller players..

    About Move.. I've seen people perform really crazy stunts with it on Killzone 3 multiplayer. Something you wouldn't be able to pull off with analogs. I'd love to see support for it(and for as many gadgets around as possible, for that matter).

    Can't wait for the release.. will pay for Plus to test it if required!

    Would love to hear the official statement on PS Vita release too..

    1. We got this information from CCP themselves. This is official confirmed thing now. For those that don't believe this is real news - wait for next CAST 514 where CCP will confirm that once again with us.

    2. That's cool.. You see - as a PC gamer I've gotten myself fine Razer peripherals and I'd LOVE to be able to use them in Dust. Now I need a big TV in the living room..! Cheers for great news, guys! Hope they'll be confirmed so CCP can't change their minds so easily. :D

  4. What am I going to set my keyboard and mouse on? I have my ps3 in the family room and I'm not the only one who uses it, ideas?

  5. hmm. its definitely a good idea I did decide to read it. it was worth the time.

  6. I have played both PC and PS3 and I can safely say that my PC-self would tear my PS3-self a new asshole if I was to go head to head... with myself. If the KB/M functionality is as good as it is on PC, then I'm pretty sure it's the vulcanic fumes that are at work here, because this sounds like a very, very bad move. And like Jokka said, it's also about praticality, the place where most people play PC is setup very differently to where most people play console games.

  7. If it feels the same as using the TAC 3 on Battlefield 3, then it is going to suck BAD. Hopefully for DUST they will make it feel more PC-like when using KB/M.

    1. Doesnt that just make it even with the normal controller? I mean i havnt played with a mouse and keyboard on PS3 myself, but a mouse and keyboard functioning the way it would on a PC would = quicker reaction times because mechanically it can be.... the ones like the TAC 3, which apparently are moulded to the Analog system seem to be the way it should be since its not giving an edge outside of skill, but merely filling a preference.

  8. Step #1 to killing DUST 514 implemented already? Personally its not gonna bother me if the game is good as ur not gonna know who is using what BUT i can already see the QQ and posting on the forums when ppl who constantly get raped will assume its mouse and kb when the player can just simply be better. Its happened before with the Move BUT the move is harder to use than a mouse and kb and has a steeper learning curve and is still not 100% like a mouse.

    Interesting to see where this ends up now, depends on how well KB + mouse is implemented but seeing as the majority of the playerbase will most likely be console players if ppl start to QQ about it and leave then my worst fear for the game which is having a consistent large playerbase so it doesnt end up like MAG wud be happening......

    1. i don't see that happening unless dust is just BAD... MAg is dead because it sucks... It's uneven. Sver always wins because the maps are unbalanced in favor of sver... the whole 3 Factions BS was just an idiotic idea... It should of just been like a normal GAme... where the match starts, U go to Red or blue determined randomly and just fight... Not dividing up the community into 3 parts... that is why MAG failed... AS long as dust doesn't do something stupid like that this game should do well.... about keyboard and mouse... its bout time a developer shows some real balls and lets all 3 control schemes fight it out and not flake out because some study says kb and mouse will always win... There are millions of gamers who insist they can beat Kb mouse players using their controllers... LEts give them a chance to back up those words...

  9. Honesty i could careless what controller you use whether it's a Move controller or KB/M, at the end of the day it breeds competition. As long as they keep the recoil across all three the same.Ill still play with my PS3 controller and whoop ass. Plus look at it from this point of view your more likely to attract pc gamers who don't normally play consoles because of the controller.

  10. KB/M support is a terrible idea in combat situations.

    Shadowrun is a terrible example, I pray that you actually watched the gameplay first...

    if you didn't here is a synopsis on the difference for you.

    In Shadowrun, the equalizing force between the two controller systems was the ease in utilizing powers. Powers were able to keep gameplay balanced by jumping through battles and disappearing when in danger. With the additional 3rd person view in the game, players were able to camp and hipfire was easy with a KB/M..

    Dust 514 is a FPS... Hopefully not a DC Universe game with guns -_-

    Also Icedslayer, the sleight appeasement to PC gamers will hurt the game as it is on a console and it will be console players playing it in the long run.
    Even free, if the gameplay gets ruined by this poor decision, then no one will play it.

  11. the question of who will win really comes down to 1 thing... will the game have "auto aim assist" for controller players while keyboard and mouse doesn't have auto aim assist. IF its anything like resistance 2 Multiplayer where all u have to do is just aim "that way" and it just locks on to somebody and hits them the controller will win... If its just a "little" bit of auto aim assist like halo then it will probably be pretty even... if its no aim assist at all for either... than kb and mouse will probably destroy everybody.... but that doesn't make the game unfair because there's nothing stopping anybody from throwing a keyboard and mouse into their PS3 if that's the best way to go... and some people absolutely destroy with controllers... i know people who use controllers for COD on PC and completely destroy most people who are using kb mouse... it really depends on the game... that microsoft study mentioned here i think was with Unreal tournament ... and game that just does not fit the controller... it really depends on the game...

    1. I suggest you visit our forums as well if you haven't yet!

  12. It's good to see a fairly balanced comment thread here. Frankly, the EVE player base over on the EVE and DUST forums is getting a bit tiring with regard to this issue. Obviously, the battle is over and CCP will be allowing it. But saying things like "KBM is the de facto control scheme for FPS games" and acting like there shouldn't even be a debate is frustrating. The correct statement is that KBM is the de facto control scheme for FPS games... on the PC. On the console, the controller is the de facto control scheme for shooters, and there's no shortage of console FPS players who enjoy it. It might provide less instant precision but it does create the most level playing field possible -- and really, KBM precision isn't all that realistic anyway. I believe the biggest issue is just that PC gamers haven't put in the time to get good at shooting with analog sticks. It is possible to do it well and there's a huge amount of ignorance coming from those who don't know this.

    The fact is that this vocal group is made up of EVE players who game on their PCs and we are talking about a console game. Giving them the advantage will be counterproductive to CCP's reasons for going console, which was to access a brand new playerbase. As an EVE player, I think it is fair enough for CCP to want to add new players who are fond of fast-paced shooters over time-intensive MMOs, but setting console players up for failure from day one is not going to be a winning strategy. There will just be too much of a disparity on the playing field between the KBMers and the target player base of controller players for them to bother sticking around and making DUST the success it deserves to be. Don't forget that the few EVE players with PlayStations will not make for a hit title -- we need those console gamers to ensure CCP keeps investing in the game for the long haul.

    I prefer the keyboard and mouse for gaming, and as I said I'm an EVE player. For me, the KBM option would be the easiest choice, but I'm not convinced it is the right choice for the game. This is where most gamers stop thinking and demand that what makes life easier for them is the universally appropriate course of action. To be clear I haven't settled on one side of the argument or the other and the reason this comment takes a fairly anti-KBM bias is because the pro-KBM viewpoint is somewhat overrepresented and usually in a way that lacks of due consideration.

    Of course, I do want to be able to use a keyboard for corp chat and the like. I can only imagine the disuse that feature would fall into without it. I'll probably be using my advantageous Razer peripherals to do so. And therein lies the biggest problem.

    1. This is how its going to go down:

      PC gamer sees someone aiming in right angles, and they shout "We got a console over here." And the consoler is then marked as a free kill by every PC gamer on the map, who will use him like a power up for when they need to increase their kill count.

      The mouse has more surface area to move on than an analog stick, therefore its much much MUCH more precise. This is not opinion.

      Playing a shooter with an analog stick could be compared to wheel chair basketball. Yes you can learn to play basketball in a wheel chair. Yes you can play wheelchair basketball competitively against other people playing in a wheelchair. What happens when you add standing players to the mix? The wheelchair players might as well be pee wee league.

      I don't understand how this is a debate. Console players wreck face on consoles because they are all agreeing to mutually gimp themselves with an inferior control scheme.

      Every PC\Console Cross platform shooter has failed because the PC Gamers have a hayday and all the consolers quit in frustration. Every. Single. Time.

    2. yesterday i played my very first rounds of dust514.

      granted, while the controls really didn't feel all THAT bad as i assumed, it was still a complete and total awkward way to play FPS.

      now, i think it is totally possible to play this game competitively with a controller, but you need to practise alot, just as people had to practise alot when they first started on kb/m. BUT, the very most of the playerbase are now used to years of practise with kb/m. now being "forced" to play with a controller, the usual gamer will likely disagree and stick to playing fps on the PC, where i honestly think it belongs, when kb/m is not an option on the PS3.

      its all about personal preference. so when a game supports both ways to play, and you notice that controller doesn't satisfy, why not just plug in your keyboard/mouse if it feels superior?
      there is really no reason not to, other then if you need an excuse for your terrible KDR.
      this of course assuming that any usb kb/m will work on the ps3... if i need to buy a whole new kb/m just for dust thats gonna suck xD

      btw saying that kb/m is superior in terms of mechanics>skill, thats totall bs - it is very well possible to nerf the mouse in a way so you can turn just as fast as when using a controller. the problem controller fanboys will run into is, they then will have way less victims they can wtfpwn because they just suck on a controller.

    3. "According to them, the PC and Xbox 360 shared a similar number of victories in their play test sessions"
      You kind of forget to mention that once the public got their hands on it the PC players were annihilating the console players so badly that the PC version had to be massively nerfed MULTIPLE times before the console players stood a chance.
      This is NOT obscure knowledge.

      Please don't lie by omission to make your choice sound more palatable.