What control scheme are you using?

Home Forums Previous Months 90 – March 2024: Wolfenstein 3D What control scheme are you using?

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  • Martli

    So the Wolfenstein 3D controls are quite customisable, which is pretty cool for a game from 1992 – I’m not sure how widespread a feature that was back then? Perhaps others can enlighten me. You can use keyboard, mouse, joystick or a combination of all three.

    This opens up the possibility of using something approximating modern-day WASD controls, which begs the question – what control scheme are you using?

    After playing around with different approaches in the Vanilla Wolfenstein 3D (ie, not ECWolf), I decided to do my main play-through with a slightly modified version of the standard keyboard-only controls (arrow keys to move, CTRL for fire, space for open, alt to strafe). My only modification was to change run from right shift to ‘Z’ as I wanted it on my left hand, and for some reason the game didn’t like me assigning Left Shift. Not sure why.

    Nowadays, I usually play old school FPSs with WASD controls, but the Wolfenstein 3D control scheme can’t quite achieve true WASD controls. It only enables strafing with a modifier. X-axis mouse movement is mapped the same as left and right on the keyboard, and you can’t map look to one and strafe to the other.

    This approach is a bit too janky for me, so standard approach it is! This is of course how I played FPSs back in the day, so it’s not a major deal for me and actually I quite like it for this game, makes me feel like I’m back in 1992 ;-).

    I plan to give joystick a go some time this month, so will report back on that. It’s not something I remember trying back in the day, so maybe it will be a big waste of time. I’m also playing around with ECWolf a bit to see what this game is like with true WASD.

    Anyway, this is a bit of ‘controversial’ topic, so I’m really interested to hear how you are all approaching it.


    For nostalgia reasons I’ve been forcing myself to use just arrows and no strafing (and PC speaker!)But soon I plan to use a modern port or patches to get WASD+mouse.


    I’m using default keys as well, arrows and control. It’s what we all used at the time and I find I can always slip straight back into it for all these old DOS shooters.


    A joystick sounds like an interesting idea @Martli. Do let us know how that goes.

    I play with the default controls and mouse – arrow keys to move forward/backward and mouse to turn and strafe (hold the RMB). I do not used the RUN key, but think I might have to for the harder levels later.

    The game manual actually recommends playing with the mouse (Hints and Strategies section).


    Classic controls here. I’ve tried playing with a mouse, but the control feels awkward, so I’ve came back to keyboard only


    I’m using default controls, keyboard only.
    I tend to switch between numpad and arrow keys depending on how I feel at the time. Also, on the machine I’m using, for some reason the left shift key doesn’t seem to have rollover, so unless I use right shift I stop running every time I press a few keys at a time.
    This basically means I’ve defaulted to the same control scheme I used as a kid, with my hands smushed together under the nav cluster.

    On the topic of mouse control for wolf3d, back in the day I always wondered how they recorded the demos for the game. If you watch the demos, they’ve got the precise, finely tuned movements of a mouse. But whenever I tried playing with a mouse, I found moving forward required a lot of stop/starting when the mouse reached the edge of the table and you had to pick it up and move it back, which the demos didn’t have.
    It’s only much later in life that I realised they must have used a mouse/keyboard combo!

    I’m playing an original, unmodified version, but my ideal scheme (if I’m ever not feeling too purist) would be for the left/right cursor keys to strafe, and the mouse to turn. As Martli has pointed out, I don’t think this is possible on my setup…


    Well I can definitely see a consensus forming here!

    The whole mouse/keyboard combo thing is interesting. Like you TigerQuoll I didn’t realise the ID shooters were intended for mouse/keyboard combinations until very recently. Everyone I knew back in the day played keyboard only. The hint guides Wesbat posted confirm that though, and I believe John Romero himself confirmed it via some tweets – apparently the arrow keys are because John is left-handed, so it’s sort of a reverse WASD:

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Home Forums Previous Months 90 – March 2024: Wolfenstein 3D What control scheme are you using?