Keyboarders Anonymous

Hello, my IP is, and I’m a keyboarder.

Welcome to Keyboarder’s Anonymous, a caring, loving environment for those quakers who still use the keyboard. Here you’ll find techniques to ease the pains of withdrawal should you choose to learn another controller, and tactics to even the field until you do learn something else.

Why leave the keyboard?

3D controllers offer some tremendous advantages to the Quake player, because of the game’s true 3D engine. They allow players to fire at targets above and below them, employ special tactics, lead targets better, and may even allow players to move their character faster (for example, a mouse player with a high sensitivity setting can turn faster than a keyboarder). So, what can you do? Better start off on the road to recovery and learn something else, because you’ll probably never be a truly great player until you do.  Take it from me, I used to be a keyboarder too.


So, you ready to switch yet? If you are, you’d better be prepared to suck for a little while. Changing from keyboard only to keyboard and mouse, for example, took me about two weeks to get to the point where I would play on a public server using the mouse. After about a month or a month and a half my play was back up to where I was before I switched.  From there it started to improve. Here are some tips to ease the transition to a better controller.

#1. Pick a Time and PRACTICE!

Switching will take at least two weeks. Time during which you will NOT want to play with your real name on a public server, because you will SUCK! What you’ll have to do is pick a time period where you won’t have to play well, like in a clan match or a scheduled duel or something, and go for it. Start by playing single player with your new controller for a while. Then try a public deathmatch server (don’t do mods just yet, that just adds complexity), probably under a different name (so you don’t disgrace yourself, try naming yourself Player, and use all white as your colors). Don’t be disapointed, expect to get rocked. Don’t worry though, you’ll be improving rapidly. You should really play for at least 2 – 3 hours per day during this period. The more time you play, the less time you’ll suck.

#2. Switch-hit if you Have to

If you absolutely must play well (in a match or something) during your transition period, you’ll just have to switch-hit. You’ll still want to use the keyboard in confined areas.
If you’re learning the joystick or SpaceOrb or something like that, you can just drop it and keep playing. Learning the mouse is more difficult. You’ll have to use a key config that let’s you use the keyboard and mouse together or separately. Myself, I use E and D as forward and back, and S and F for strafing. Mouse1 to fire and Mouse2 to jump. This way, I could play with the mouse, and if I wasn’t doing so hot, I could just let go of the rodent and use my standard config with the arrow keys. Doing this makes the withdrawal period longer, but it’s better than sucking it up during a clan match. Just remember, even if you’re not quite used to it, the mouse offers some VERY distinct advantages in places like this. Using it, you can aim up and down the ramps, where with the keyboard you’d just blow rockets into the ramp just in front of you.


Described on this page are some tactics that keyboarders can use to play more effectively against opponents with 3D controllers.

#1 The permanent down-aim.

One of the most effective tactics open to players with 3D controllers is the technique of aiming a rocket launcher at your opponent’s feet. This has the two-fold effect of making them alot easier to hit with splash damage, since the rocket detonates against the floor, and also knocking the target around, disorienting them and leaving them open for a second shot often before they hit the ground again. This tactic is also available to keyboarders, in a limited fashion. Try this: Drop the console and type +MLOOK. Grab the mouse and aim the crosshair at a point about 12 “game feet” in front of your character. Now let go of the mouse and run around the level happilly keyboarding. Just maneuver until your opponent is standing on the crosshair, and pull the trigger. The disadvantages to this technique are that it limits your effective range to the distance you decided to aim at. However, the range can be adjusted dynamically to a degree by jumping. By firing at the height of your jump you extend your range by at least half again what it was. You can fire in the middle of the jump to hit at different ranges. Also, if you pick up another weapon, you’ll have to hit your center-view key, or else it won’t be very effective. You should also note that going through a teleporter will reset your view to center.

#2. Countering the Deadly Circle-Strafe

Another deadly tactic used by mousers is the circle-strafe, in which they strafe around you in a circle, firing at you. Many players make the mistake of standing still and trying to rotate around and shoot them. This is not the way to go. There are only two real options available to you when someone is trying to circle-strafe you:

Charge – Don’t just stand there!  Run right at them, try to intercept their path on the circle and blow their head off up close. If their mouse speed isn’t up very high, they won’t be able to turn in time and they won’t even see you!

Seek a more level playing field – Mousers have the advantage out in the open. Run away and seek a more confined area. This will allow you to bounce your rockets off walls, causing splash damage just like they can, and more constricted areas are impossible to circle strafe around someone in.

#3. Know Where to Hunt

Certain terrains favor certain control devices. Wide open areas favor 3D controllers because they can get splash damage by aiming at opponents’ feet. Also, wide open, multi-level areas such as this one favor players with 3D controllers because they can quickly aim and fire at targets above and below them. A keyboarder would be at a HEAVY disadvantage here, unless they have 3 hands and God-like coordination. What’s a keyboarder to do then?  Choose your battles wisely. Just don’t fight in places like this, and hang around areas like the one below. No places for ambushes from above and below, and walls everywhere to bounce rockets off. In areas like this, keyboarders are even with 3D controllers, and maybe even at a bit of an advantage, because it’s easier to aim quickly in 2D than in 3D. This is where you should run to if someone is trying to circle-strafe you or is incessantly pounding your feet with rockets.

#4 Pick Your Weapons Wisely

Along the same lines as the last tactic, different weapons are also more or less effective depending on your controller. Rockets are obviously a mouser’s best friend. Grenade launchers are also more effective in the hands of a player with a 3D controller. However, the shotguns, nailguns, and the shaft know no bias. In fact, because a keyboarder doesn’t have to worry about vertical aiming (in a flat area, anyway) you may be able to use these weapons a bit more effectively.

#5 Countering the Jump/Fire Combo

Another tactic mousers usually use on the hapless keyboarder is the technique of jumping around constantly while using the height to fire rockets more effectively at your feet. This gives them some advantages, primarilly that it lessens damage if you do manage to fire at their feet, and makes them move eratically enough that direct hits are horribly hard. You can use this against them though. Use the Permanent Down-Aim to try to hit their feet while they are jumping. They’ll get launched a long ways away in a direction they weren’t planning on.  If you’re quick you can fire at their predicted landing spot for a quick follow up shot and hopefully another bounce.  If you’re quick, you can keep bouncing them around until they die! Be wary though, a quck-thinking mouser can use these impromptu rocket jumps to his advantage by firing down on you from on high.

If you have any suggestions for the tactics page, mail them to Darkwulf[CA]!


There has been a huge ammount of interrest lately about key configs and additions to .CFG files from mousers and keyboarders alike. I’m adding this section to help keyboarders neutralize some of the disadvantages to them inherent in the standard Quake config, and I’m adding a mouser’s config section so people who are switching can start with a config that’s easy to adapt to and do well with.

Configs for Keyboarders

#1 Turn Up Your Speeds

One large advantage that mousers have over keyboarders is the ability to turn faster. Keyboarders can turn just as fast as mousers, if you edit your configuration. In your CONFIG.CFG file, you’ll find a section that has the variables cl_yawspeed and cl_pitchspeed.  Turn this up a bit and experiment to find a value at which you can turn quickly and responsively, and yet isn’t too fast for your brain to comprehend.

#2 Use Dedicated Strafe Keys

A big handicap that many keyboarders have is using the Alt key to convert your turn keys to strafe keys. I myself played like this all the way up until I learned the mouse. Only now do I realize the folly of my ways. Using dedicated strafe keys, a keyboarder can circle-strafe, although it is quite a bit more regular and predictable than a mouser’s circle-strafe. Dedicated strafe keys also offers many other advantages, since you can turn and strafe at the same time.  Switching to this alone is fairly difficult to adapt to, so you may want to follow some of the tips in the Withdrawal section during the transition period!

#3 Don’t Use the Arrow Keys

This is another one that I wasn’t aware of in my keyboarding days, but now I see the logic of it. Using that are surrounded by other keys, such as I, K, L, and J, for example, puts your fingers near alot more buttons, which can be very useful, especially if you run alot of scripts. Alot of people like to assign a key to change to their favorite weapon, or do a quick rocket shot and change back to their original weapon. I’d say of all the tips so far this one makes the least ammount of difference, and may hurt a little bit if playing with the arrows is ingrained in your playing style, but some say it helps.

Configs for Mousers

#1 Set the Buttons Right

What the mouse buttons do is very important to your playing config as a mouser. I heartilly recommend setting MOUSE1 to fire. What more important thing is there in Quake?! MOUSE2 is open to a little debate.  I prefer jump myself, and that seems fairly popular. Some people say it should be forward.  This can work too, but I prefer to use the keyboard for forward and reverse, as this makes backing up alot easier. If you have a 3 button mouse, you can get crazy with MOUSE3. Some suggestions from page readers: quick rocket shot, switch to favorite weapon, rocket jump, grappling hook (for you CTF’ers), or some special bindings for any mods you play, maybe +GREN1 for TF players.

#2 Don’t Ignore the Keyboard Config

You can’t play Quake with just the mouse (unless MAYBE you have an Intellipoint, but even then I doubt it), so you have to set up your keyboard properly too. For optimum reach of all important buttons, and a good ergonomic hand positioning (assuming you use the mouse with your right hand) you should probably choose an inverted T shape of letter keys for forward, back, strafeleft, and straferight. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best way to go. I personally use E, D, S, and F. This puts my fingers within reach of the weapon numbers and a whole bunch of buttons for special bindings, and puts my thumb right over the spacebar, which you can use for a whole bunch of things. If you’re left handed, you may try the numeric pad for your directions, I bet that works quite well too.

#3 Use +mlook

I thought this was a given, but I’ll put it in here anyway.  This should really be #1.  This should really be on the Main page, because it is the most important thing in mousing. If you don’t set +mlook, so moving the mouse forward and back makes your aim go up and down, you’re doing it really wrong, and there is no point in using the mouse.

#4 Set the Sensetivity

The default sensetivity (about 3) is way too slow for effective play, as you will literally have to pick the mouse up and move it to the other side of the pad to keep turning, it’s that slow! Obviously this won’t do.  You should be able to do a complete 360 without lifting your mouse and moving it. This requires a sensetivity of at least 6 or 7.  I play with 8.5 personally.  Start a little low and work up though, it can be overwhelming at first.  Just remember, the higher the sensetivity, the faster you can turn in the game.

Your Counselor

Darkwulf[CA] is a caring nurturer, and a graduate of numerous 12 step programs. He is also a reformed keyboarder, and has used the keyboard and mouse, since August of 1997. He is a member of Clan Aberration, the University of Maine’s sole representitive in the world of Quake, and primarilly a Team Fort oriented clan. The server on which these and the clan pages reside is currently under his bed. He is a sophomore Chemical Engineering major. He enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, boating, golf, frigging with computers, and driving. Darkwulf[CA] is 19 years old.

Clan Aberration

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