I like to play video games on my computer. One of the things that bugs me, though, is how the wasd keys became the standard movement keys in first person shooters and mmorpgs. To me, esdf makes a lot more sense, because that matches your normal hand placement for typing. "Fixing" that layout is always the first thing I do when installing a new game. Sadly, this is often a pain in the neck, and some games won't let you do it at all.

Is there an alternative keyboard layout you can install that will just switch these around, so the wasd keys fall in the esdf positions? And is low-level enough two work with DirectX/DirectInput, perhaps that works with the language bar for easy swapping back and forth?

  • And there I thought SU explicitly excluded questions about gaming. But anyway, good question. – Konrad Rudolph Jun 14 '10 at 7:19
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    @Konrad - ah, but gaming is only the 'why'. You could remove the game reference and still have a good question. – Joel Coehoorn Jun 14 '10 at 15:56

Assuming you are running Windows, Microsoft provides a solution that allows you to create your own custom keyboard layout which can subsequently be accessed via the language bar.

  • Do you know of anyone who's done this successfully. I've tried it before but only had mixed results. I'm looking more to follow a path than set a new one. – Joel Coehoorn Jun 13 '10 at 23:01
  • Unfortunately, no. I looked around for a layout that was already set up as you described, but couldn't find one. – Emory Bell Jun 13 '10 at 23:26

How about creating an AutoHotkey script? http://www.autohotkey.com

If a game does not allow you to remap, or you don't want to mess with remapping keys for every game, you can probably write a simple AHK script to remap keys, and run it before running a game. AHK also allows you to create powerful keyboard macros as well.

Tutorial: http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/misc/Remap.htm

Or maybe a key-remapper application will suffice? http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/KeyTweak.shtml (I tried looking at the original page for KeyTweak, but got a 404.)

  • Hot keys were too high-level. This worked for the game that originally prompted the question, but hasnt for most others. – Joel Coehoorn Jul 15 '12 at 5:10

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