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Part 1 - Basic Control: The Keyboard & Mouse

If you’re fortunate enough to already be comfortable playing Quake 2 with a keyboard and mouse then you can probably skip this part. However if you’re newer to 3D shooters then you probably aren’t using the keyboard and mouse for control in the game (maybe you’re using just the keyboard or a gamepad or joystick). Before we configure Quake 2 for the keyboard and mouse let me explain why you should be using it in the first place.

When you think of playing video games you usually picture yourself using some sort of video game controller. After all arcade games have joysticks, your Nintendo had a gamepad, why shouldn’t the same be true for your PC? For the most part your assumption is correct, but when it comes to 3D shooters (such as Quake 2) that isn’t the case.

It turns out that the most natural way to play a 3D shooter is with the mouse and keyboard. It allows for much quicker, natural, and fluid movements. Being able to react and move instantly in deathmatch games is critical and one reason why you must master the keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is used for functions like moving forwards and back, sidestepping, jumping, and changing weapons. The mouse is used in tandem with the keyboard for moving left and right, looking up and down, firing, and other functions like crouching. If you’ve never used the keyboard and mouse for control here’s how you set it up.


SETTING UP THE MOUSE & KEYBOARD
Before you actually setup Quake 2 for mouse and keyboard control you’ll need to decide which keys and mouse buttons will do what. The problem is that there’s no universal configuration that everyone can use. It’s really a matter of personal taste. However there are some standard configurations out there. The table below lists one of the most popular key and mouse setups (and it’s the one I use):

Keyboard
W move forward
S move back
A strafe left
D strafe right
spacebar jump
C change weapon


Mouse
Button 1 fire
Buton 2 crouch
move mouse
forward
look up
move mouse
back
look down

CONFIGURING YOUR CONTROLS IN QUAKE 2
Now we need to know how to setup Quake 2 for this configuration. This is actually a rather simple process. First startup Quake 2 and launch a new game. Next hit the escape button (Esc) and that brings up the main menu. Move the arrow down to options. Hit enter and a new screen appears. Move the arrow down to customize controls and hit enter. Another screen appears (like the one pictured below) that lets you customize the controls in Quake 2:

Customizing controls in Quake2

Using this menu is easy. Use the arrow keys to move your arrow to the control you wish to change. Let’s try changing a key right now. Move the arrow down to the move forward action. Hit enter and then press W. Quake 2 now knows that when you press "W" it should move your character forward. Notice that you can assign each function to two different keys or mouse buttons if you want. Although I should note that you cannot assign one key to do two different functions. For example, now that I’ve got "W" as move forward I can’t then assign "W" to attack.

Continue to setup your keyboard and mouse for our control setup. Backpedal is "S", step left is "A", step right is "D", attack is "MOUSE 1", jump is "SPACE", down/crouch is "MOUSE 2", and next-weapon is "C".

Once you have finished configuring your keys and buttons hit Esc. This takes us back to the options screen. Now make sure the following options are set to the appropriate values:

Always Run yes
Invert Mouse no
Lookspring no
Lookstrafe no
Freelook yes
Crosshair cross
Use Joystick no

 

Quick Tip
If you play with Always Run on be aware that people will be able to hear your footsteps. If you want to sneek up on somebody hold down the Shift key while you move, that will make you walk at a normal pace.

When you’ve finished changing those options hit Esc. Once you’re at the main menu you can hit Esc again, that will take you back to the game and the changes you’ve made will take effect. Try things out. Bet it feels weird, right? The main thing to remember is give things time. It takes awhile to get used to this control setup (but it will payoff later, I guarantee that).

One thing that may seem too erratic at first is being able to look up and down by moving your mouse forward and back. You can improve this by setting the sensitivity of the mouse. Go back to the main menu and selecting options. Go down to mouse speed and move the slider left and right by pressing the left and right arrow keys. I keep my setting just to the left of the middle. If things still seem erratic you can turn freelook off by setting it to "no." Our main goal right now is to become comfortable with using the mouse and keyboard. If that means turning of some of the special actions then go ahead and do it (just don’t forget to re-enable them when you get better with the mouse and keyboard).

Quick Tip
If you make a mess of your control keys just use the reset to defaults command in the customize controls screen.

The golden rule of using the mouse and keyboard: PRACTICE!!! It may feel weird or uncomfortable at first, but stick with it!!! Play with this control setup regularly, in fact I recommend you play through the game with it at least once. The more time you get using it the better off you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to customize your controls to something other than what I suggest. Whatever makes you most comfortable is what you should use.


Congratulations on mastering - or at least getting aquatinted and friendly - with the mouse and keyboard. Before we move on to basic deathmatch tactics, I'm going to explain how to effectively practice deathmatch skills by yourself in Quake 2. Click the link below.

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