raving ramblings of a fragmented mind

controller binding nonsense

I added a secondary game page where I document everything I play, daily. It won't be terribly interesting.

I've been thinking a lot about how each game handles controls, keybindings, etc. and what we usually expect (or, I specifically expect, I guess). When it comes to the Deck, eery game seems this differently - some good, some not so much, some don't actually do it at all and you have to come up with your control scheme. This is just going to be mostly incoherent rambling so bear with me.

First off I just want to say, screw Nintendo and PS2 era Sony for how they do their ABXY placement. Yes it's how they did it since basically the beginnning but. The way Xbox did it, I generally consider to be the "standard", because almost every other 3rd party controller also has buttons laid out that way. Controllers have been mostly homogenized into that same, similar layout at this point, the only real major difference being where the joysticks are placed (Xbox and 3Ps place the left joystick on the upper half of the controller, and the right joystick on the lower half. Everyone else keeps both joysticks on the same level, be it top or bottom.) - but you have your usual 4 face buttons, D-pad, double joysticks, bumper buttons, triggers, and Select/Start. I will only call them Select/Start. I refuse to fucking call them the "Options button" or "HAMBURGER BUTTON". That's STUPID. You're stupid. They will never be anything other than Start & Select to me.

Beyond that though, what action should you assign to each button? This question can't be answered because, I mean, I didn't specify a genre so it could be literally anything, Let's take first/third-person shooters as an example, since they are a pretty popular genre, and one I play a lot. This can include anything from your generic Call of Duties to your Deus Exes or whatever. I'll just lay out what I usually associate with each button:

A - The default for "confirm", naturally. But also, usually for jumping, or for interactions.
B - "Cancel". I used to consider this the "melee" button (Halo), but lately it has made more sense to me as a "crouch" button.
X - Reloading, interaction, (un)holstering when held down.
Y - Swap weapons, weapon wheels when held down, or jumping if A is already used for something else.
LB - Honestly? Hard to say. Could be anything - usually some special action exclusive to the game. Active abilities?
RB - For a very short time this was the "melee" button for me (Halo again), but now it's the same deal with LB where it's a catch-all for whatever unique mechanics the game has.
LT - Aim. Block, for melee combat.
RT - Fire. Swing, for melee combat.
Select - Pretty much the button for opening your inventory, or map, or equipment screen... It's a general game menu button.
Start - The "pause" menu. Where the more technical stuff occurs, like saving the game, or exiting to the main menu, options...
LS - Sprint.
RS - Crouch if something else is used for B instead.
D-pad - Item/weapon shortcuts. Maybe also other miscellaneous stuff like switching shoulders in 3rd person, flashlights, etc.

That's what makes the most sense to me. This is of course never exactly the case in any game because, again, everyone does things differently. Let's look at some of the weirder examples of what games do.

Prey. The Arkane game. That one has Steam Deck integration - that's awesome! Their default control scheme though, is... Um. Just- just look at it.

B for crouching and LS for sprinting are about the only thing that makes sense here. A for.. SWAPPING WEAPONS? Not even fucking jumping? Hey I just realized - Where's the fucking jump button? Oh. It's the right stick click. Yeah no, fuck that. Crouching has two different buttons though. Psychoscope has two different bindings as well for some reason, and X does not make any sense at all for such an action. Interaction/Reload is one of the back buttons?? That's horribly inconvenient. L2 for Psi powers makes sense, since you don't actually aim with any weapon in this game. L1/R1 for leaning makes sense, but I have not found it to be terribly useful in the game itself. Select/Start are for the menus, checks out. The left trackpad and D-pad do the same thing for some god forsaken reason - what's with all the duplicate bindings in this fucking layout?
What else did I miss? Oh. Right. WHY ARE THERE *FOUR* FLASHLIGHT BUTTONS?????? What fucking hidden power does the flashlight have that I somehow missed for it to require FOUR different buttons assigned to it??? This layout is a fucking mess. I don't think whoever made this has ever actually played a video game.

Here's a MUCH better layout. Everything pretty much makes sense to me here - RS click is for Psi powers. Note how I don't even use the trackpads or the back grip buttons here - you can use this on a regular cheapass controller! The game does not nearly have enough actions to justify the use of the extra inputs that the Deck includes. The back grips, while it's great to have 4 extra buttons, are also rather awkward to use and not something I'm used to after all this time. L4 usually gets reserved as a secondary Sprint button because I hate having to click the sticks so much.

Prey's set of actions is pretty conventional all things considered. What happens when we go to something, like, oh, I don't know... Red Dead Online?

Low res image shamelessly stolen from Polygon's article on a similar topic. I'm not sorry. This isn't even the full scope of controls anyway.

RDR2/RDO is a case of a game where there's TOO MANY interactions possible to the point where no matter if you're playing on a controller or a keyboard, everything is going to feel awkward.
A is for sprinting, like in every other modern GTA-like of Rockstar's. Mashing makes you go faster. That's fucking annoying actually, why do they still do that shit? I hate doing that.
B is for... reloading? Well that's new to me. At least it's still a face button and not something ridiculous like, I don't fucking know. Mapping it to the D-Pad. Nothing will ever be more ridiculous than 4 flashlight buttons I think.
Y for vehicle entering/exiting - yeah, that checks out for most GTA-likes.
X is for jumping. That's also the case in other Rockstar games. I still think it's kind of stupid. It shouldn't be X
The D-pad is a fucking mess. You have like twenty different possible actions there, strewn randomly. Whistling for your horse, aiming towards the sky (for what? is that a singleplayer thing?), the catalog, the Online menu, your satchel, first/third person switch, weapon zoom, iron sights, radar settings, area info, and a bunch of other crap are assigned to the D-pad alone. I'm not even going to talk about the horse controls. Fuck the horse controls.

There is a point where too many actions are a bad thing, and when you only have so many buttons to work with, you are going to end up with some REALLY weird shit. I'm not even gonna get into how Rockstar designs their games in their first place. RDO has maybe the worst menus of any game I've ever seen. There's so fucking many. There's an unnecessary 2-second fadeout in between each menu. It's so fucking frustrating. It doesn't feel good to play and yet I wasted 300 hours on it anyway.

I honestly don't even really have a point I'm trying to make here. I guess I just wanted to ramble about the troubles that you come across when you have the ability to change your controls at will, and making the generic dual-stick controller work with unconventional games e.g. consoles that *don't* have that, games of more esoteric genres, etc.

JUN-22-2024 1:50 PM #009

oh shit it's happening

Hey look. I finally did the thing... uh. sort of. It's still very unfinished but hey look!! The game log page is up, finally. This will take DAYS to complete unfortunately for me.

JUN-09-2024 5:43 PM #008

new shit

I updated the resources page to have a similar layout to this page.

Also a new page has been added to the hub! Possibly the last one, since it's a little more all-encompassing.

JUN-08-2024 9:43 PM #007


It's funny writing these things as if anyone will see them for the 5 minutes they're up before I nuke it off the site completely because I thought of a different idea. Will this blog entry be one of the lucky ones and survive???????

It's also funny how the first entry said I wouldn't put the blog in a separate page but then I fucking did that anyway 4 months later. I can't decide how exactly I want certain things to be visible on this website. Ideally I'd love to have people know that, hey, a new blog entry is here! But the logical way of doing that would require, I don't know, far more expertise in JS than I have (which is none), storing cookies so there's actual stored data to go off of (has the user visited this page since X entry was added, etc.) and. That's too much effort.

The other problem is - I don't know if anyone reads these. I have no way of knowing. I don't know if anyone even visits my website!! I have no object permanence and even if my viewcounter says it's at like 600,000 or whatever, I'll just assume it's always been like that! So making such a fuss about this is ultimately pointless and dumb if no one's going to see it anyway.

The other other problem is that me not having anything of substance to say on here is also still true. Sometimes writing a post strikes my fancy now and then but I never end up doing it because of... executive dysfunction among other things.

THe other other OTHER problem is I cannot make up my mind on HOW I want to do this. Being able to freely edit the HTML, and the way I generally update this site, means it's impossible to be consistent with how I do this. What if I end up having MORE to say immediately after making a blog post? Well I could edit it rather seamlessly and it'll be like the extra text was always part of the post which is nice I guess. And making a separate entry for every little damn thought I have would just make it a horrendous mess. But it still feels weird and wrong to do that!! But it's the only method that makes sense to me with how much I feel the need to revise what I say.

That was the last thought I had. For now.

JUN-06-2024 10:08 AM #006

Also this is what a reply would look like. Because that's also a thing I'm doing now, even if it seems COMPLETELY unnecessary.

JUN-06-2024 10:53 AM #006-1

At some point I also need to start considering WHAT I want to be doing with this site. I look at other ones around Neocities and, fucking hell, everyone's way better at this than me. My site is barebones in comparison. I'm not an artist - well, not a GOOD one, that is - so that also complicates things.

JUN-06-2024 11:36 AM #006-2


new "resources" page added, where i'll write about technical shit that frustrated me once due to lack of any real information on the internet. also i've skimmed through the other half of my liked songs and the music page now has a count of 117 tracks. more to come, maybe. also the comment section is back.

MAY-30-2024 --:-- #005


i haven't entirely forgotten about this site. i just haven't felt like doing much until now. the music page is up - technically it's feature complete but i've only skimmed through 50% of my music library so far. i am only picking very few ones that stand out to me at the moment - i'll start being a little less restrictive later on, maybe, after it's done.

MAY-11-2024 --:-- #004


the links, about and gallery pages are active. small adjustments here and there.

MAR-05-2024 --:-- #003


CLAIRE: when i decided to work on this again it was when i was too sleepy to do much of anything so all you get is a different looking index/main page. good night

MAR-03-2024 --:-- #002


hello again. welcome to something new but also still the same

i've decided to make the blog a thing that's just part of the main page - it was not important enough to have its own whole-ass directory, also i genuinely just do not have that much to say and weirdly i felt the pressure to have SOMETHING on there every day. older entries will be clumped together in a separate page still. other than that - look around if you want. this site is 50% being recreated from the ground up, 50% salvaged from the old assets. if i remember to work on this place, everything will be up and running again before too long.

FEB-02-2024 --:-- #001