How to not make KB/M a garbage and how to fix (Nier’s in particular) elementary mistakes repeated ad-nauseum in console ports (for over a decade)

Ok, I don't know why I'm even writing this, but I think my threshold of tolerance has simply passed certain point. At least it will feel good.

 

It's been over a decade of garbage KB/M support and so many ported titles are done with the same fundamental mistakes over and over and over again. It makes one's head spin. And it really requires extreme ignorance and/or laziness on the side of the people responsible. Those mistakes they do are not some super kb/m near-magic subtleties or programming techniques rivalling lockless thread synchronization. Those are pre-elementary mistakes of the size of a planet that – even for people that never saw a native first/third person PC game (or a PC) in their life – should become obvious after 5 minutes of googling. KB/M is not bad in ported games becuase of some generic "designed for console" misconception. It's bad because people responsbile for it don't use a single braincell.

 

Then we get beautiful game like Nier (or once Dark Souls 1) with that little cancer eating it from inside and the only thing we can think of is https://aww.moe/f3tisd.jpg or http://i.imgur.com/iWKad22r.jpg . And basically the only thing we can do along with complaining wherever, hoping someone would notice it and get a hint. At least DS1 was somewhat excused due to miracleous nature of it ever happening on PC, but … Nier ? 60 euro nominal AAA title ?

 

So without much further ado let's go over the issues Nier itself presents, and how to fix them (and I would be really greateful if some lone soul that happens to know people responsible for this … mess … could point this short novel to them). It's not black magic.

 

1a) No dodge mousebind or keybind (we will get to complete lack of mousebinds in a later point).

1b) Forced double-taps.

 

Holy. Bloody. Hell. This is special – even DS1 port didn't sink so low (and those that touched it before DSFix and DSMFix know how bad it was). In a game where a precise timed iframe is a fundamental key – they don't even provide a bind for it. Only hardcoded double-taps (imagine if you dodged by double-"tapping" your d-pad or analog stick). Who could think (?) that was a good idea is beyond me.

How to fix in Nier:

  • add an option to disable double-tapping so it doesn't get in the way randomly
  • add a keybind option for evade

 

2) analog stick deceleration (or if you want another term mentioned more often – negative acceleration) applied in 1:1 fashion to a mouse

 

For precise aiming or camera control an analog stick is well – a garbage. The sole reason that features (features from controller's perspective) such as negative acceleration or target locking exist to begin with – is to make this stick usable in some way for such functions, ease the frustration of aiming, and so on. All good.

 

From a mouse's perspective though – those are nasty misfeatures. Porting a game and then treating a mouse like an analog stick in literally 1:1 fashion is an elementary mistake that turn the mouse into a tool at least frustrating (and at worst borderline unusable – I'm looking at you pre-DSMFix DS1 again). In Nier, one way to bring camera control into some sane state (from KB/M persective) is to move all auto-adjusts to 0 and camera pursuit to max – this to some extent starts feeling like DS3. But the aforementioned issues obviously remain.

How to fix in Nier:

  • either turn it off for mouse input (no one will miss it really),
  • or add an option to turn all analog stick helpers off on mouse input (no intertia, no deceleration, and just in case – no acceleration either) – just the linear response that every self respecting PC game supports and a crushing majority of PC gamers expect

 

3) analog stick aiming applied in 1:1 fashion to mouse (top-down/mecha and platform sequences in Nier)

 

This is another issue mindlessly applied to our poor rodent. A stick doesn't move, a mouse DOES. That implies that what is natural for a stick (keeping it inclined to keep aim in such and such direction) is troublesome for a mouse (because it has to be constantly moving in such direction, often at speed going beyond stick's deadzone values). Is it unfixable then ? Naah, it's quite fixable actually: don't reset the aim direction when the mouse stops moving. And don't apply any deadzone to a mouse. Was it that hard ?

How to fix in Nier:

  • when you set firing direction during platform / top-down sequences – don't reset it when the mouse stops moving
  • (if applicable) don't apply a stick's deadzone to a mouse

 

4a) no ability to remap mouse buttons: left/right/middle/4th/5th

4b) no ability to remap mouse wheel up/down

 

I don't know – is it some sort terribly complicated enigma eluding people responsible for porting ? Does it require 300 mandays to implement working 12hr/day ? For crying out loud …

Let's pretend a little that we have that important evade bind available. And some people would want to have that under RMB, or 4th mouse button … yea. Good luck in Nier. Everything hardcoded.

How to fix in Nier:

  • in keybind menu – allow using keys and mouse buttons

 

5a) few hardcoded alt+ combinations

5b) no way to set modifier+key for functions (yet you get hardcoded alt+ ones)

 

Nearly every keyboard (not mentioning gaming ones with extras) has 100+ keys and among those 6+ modifiers. Nearly every mouse has at least 5 keys + wheel (not mentioning gaming ones where 10 is nothing special, where you can cleverly bind modifier keys if you want, and where the software itself often supports shift button(s) and/or alternate sets).

Now that we have outlined that amazing revelation, why do you hardcode ANYTHING ? What the hell ? DON'T. Let us keybind this as we see fit.

How to fix in Nier:

  • remove hardcoded key combinations
  • allow setting key combinations manually (e.g. rctrl + lshift + x) – at least with 1 modifier

 

6) No way to set more than one key to a function.

 

A picture is worth 1000s words, so let me show you the great complex feature that seem to be nearly always eluding you, dear developers:

https://aww.moe/45lfe5.jpg

(it doesn't have to be 1+2 columns, you can have for example …. 1+3 too ! crazy). Was it that hard ? Beyond the capabiliy of a console "porter" ?

How to fix in Nier:

  • see the picture above
  • add the missing column with secondary binds

 

7 (optional)) no way to attack always towards where you look at

 

A natural feature of KB/M is that we don't need workarounds like target locks. Providing you fix (2) above – giving us natural linear camera control – we can near instantly, naturally and precisely aim wherever. And it would be nice to be able to attack always in that direction. Essentially giving analogous behaviour to Dark Soul's target lock, but without irritating target lock itself.

How to add in Nier:

  • add a keybind that enables such mode (only for KB/M, as it generally makes no sense for controller – as it has no proper camera controls)

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