Learning to play with a keyboard

Thread in 'Discussion' started by Sumez, 30 May 2016.

  1. So the other day I tried playing Tetris with a keyboard for the first time since "seriously" picking up TGM.

    Namely, I've been interested in getting into some of the Tetris games that actually have an active VS-"community", whether it would be Cultris or TetrisFriends or whatever the kids play these days. And while I've previously tried playing Cultris with a joystick setup, to make it more familiar to me, I feel that it would be better for me to not limit myself. The general concensus is that keyboard is a faster and more effecient way of playing, so I should learn it, right?

    My problem is that not only am I not used to playing high speed Tetris with a keyboard, I'm really not used to playing any video games with a keyboard at all, and controlling the pieces just doesn't feel intuitive in any way.
    It's really difficult to explain, but the keyboard just feels like a huge handicap to me, and I feel like grandpa trying to write his first e-mail with no idea where each letter is located. I tried a 40L sprint on TetrisFriends just to "benchmark", and I couldn't even get below 2 minutes, which is ridiculous. While I'm not exactly the fastest Tetris player out there to begin with, I can obviously handle a much faster game, and it feels really infuriating when what's holding you back is not the speed at which the pieces appear, but your own struggle with the controls.

    While the obvious route here is just "keep playing and eventually I will get it", I'm curious if anyone else here had the same struggle? I feel like most people came from keyboards and adapted to joysticks, not the other way around. Are there any training exercises I could use which could help my effeciency? Maybe a specific key setup that would be easier for me to adapt to? Or is the advantage from playing well with a keyboard so small anyway, that I might as well just forget about it, and hook up a stick to my PC?
  2. I don't know if it can help you but it's the way I played before having a joystick. My keyboard setup for playing TGM is W,A,S,D for the directions and J,I,O for the rotations.

    As for the "keep playing and eventually I will get it" I think it is the way it is. I had the same trouble at the beginning with arcade sticks. Now I play much better with joysticks than before, but I'm still better with a keyboard, so it seems to take time.

    I think if after a few days you don't improve your keyboard skill, it might be better to stick with your joystick. The fastest TGM players play with joysticks, so it isn't true that "keyboard is a faster and more effecient way of playing".
  3. No, it's essentially true that keyboard is better for the kinds of games that you play on computer. Playing without low/zero gravity means you get no stack interaction, which means that your movement hand input palette often varies more than 20G ARS (where you can manipulate the stack to limit input complexity significantly -- you can just DAS left/right to a notch and then manual lock a lot of the time). Playing without entry delay means you can't buffer anything, so you're just constantly hammering out inputs. Also, unlike TGM, these games allow diagonal drop, which in practice allows you to carry DAS between consecutive pieces moving in the same direction. On keyboard, this is a simple operation: keep the left/right direction held, tap hard drop for each piece. On joystick, it's either a weird joystick fidget (e.g., left, up-left, left, up-left, left, ...) or you need to map a drop key to the buttons. Attempting to play on the same 4-way gate as TGM without taking on some other sort of alternate key binding is accepting a limitation on the movement techniques available to you.

    Playing these sorts of games on joystick is seriously awkward and I would not recommend it. You might be able to work around it or get comparably fast in spite of the limitations, but they are limitations as far as I can see it.
  4. What Kitaru summarizes is the way I see it, though obviously he's able to go in depth and clarify way better than most other people would. :)
    Essentially I feel that trying to apply my TGM habits to a Tetris game designed with the keyboard in mind would just be a terrible compromise. In fact, my main reason for trying to pick up this, is a wish to spread out and get a broader impression of what Tetris is and how you can play it.

    I did try a "WASD" setup as suggested, but it feels even more awkward to me, as I instinctively really want to use arrows to control. But this is exactly one of my issues here. Since I'm not really comfortable with either setup, I don't want to make it a habit to play with an ineffective setup, but at the same time I would like one that I can adapt to easier. But since a lot of people do seem to prefer the arrows+z/x setup, I might as well stick to that.
  5. FWIW, I use arrows and ASD-spacebar for playing on keyboard (irrespective of game). I don't think there's any issue with which hand does rotate and which does movement, and I'd say given the choice of fighting two preferences or fighting one, you might as well make it easier on yourself.
  6. Muf


    Just to give an opposing view to @Rosti LFC, I started off playing arrows + zxc (space), and it severely crippled me when I moved to joystick. Granted, I was transitioning from SRS to ARS at the same time, so that didn't make things any easier, but eventually I took the plunge and taught myself wasd + numpad (on a full size keyboard) or wasd + iop (on a laptop) so that at least rotation dexterity would transfer to and from keyboard/joystick. I still have some residual atrophied SRS skill on arrows + zxc, but all my ARS muscle memory is movement left hand, rotation right.
  7. COL


    Generally speaking, learning on a cerain kind of controller is not harder than learning on on another. You become good on what you are used to use.
    That being said, learning to play TGM series on keyboard if you have sticks available is a waste of time. Since you'll have to learn again to use the stick for live events anyways and the transition is far from easy (trust me I've been there ;) ).

    Plus keyboard will ruin your TAP master sub 20G experience since there is no equivalent of Zangi Moves.
  8. I personally worry I might try to Zangi and instead break the stick. xD

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