AU Diary: To Invert Or Not Invert

263224-terminator_future_shockDo you invert?

The often hilarious HardCasual catches up with that grizzled old relic of the gaming scene, the Inverted Y-Axis.

“They say soon people won’t even need the Y-Axis all together,” mumbles Inverted, his tone crescendoing, “Well that’s a bunch of hogwash. The Y-Axis is one of the two most important Axes of today. If not ever.”

Despite his defiance, it seems like the days of the inverted look are coming to an end. Every new game opts for "uninverted" - or Normal Look, as it's tellingly referred to - as its default control scheme these days. But it wasn't always thus.

I was never a flight sim player, but I remember playing the heck out of Descent when it came out. Keyboard control only, I should stress, my right hand contorted over the number pad, agile fingers maintaining my ship's pitch, yaw and banking motions. Pressing up to look down made perfect sense.

My first mouse look game was Terminator: Future Shock (pictured). The lessons I'd learned from Descent translated easily: of course moving the mouse forward would make me look down! That's how the human head moves, forward to look down, pulling back to look up. Quake followed and with every subsequent first-person game I played on PC, inverting that mouse was the only way to go.

Something weird happened when I got my Xbox in 2002 and I began playing Halo. I struggled with the analog stick setup at first, in part because it was a scheme alien to my PC heritage, but also because for some reason pushing up to look down no longer made sense. My natural instinct was to move the crosshair around the screen rather than feeling like I was shifting my head through 3D space.

Over the years the two control schemes conflicted. On PC I still inverted; on console I'd opt for uninverted.

Then during a break from PC gaming around 2005/06, I lost the ability to play inverted. Console gaming had rewired my brain. When I returned to the PC - and I distinctly remember it being for Shadowrun of all things - I couldn't play inverted any more. I tried... I really tried. After all, I'd been a PC gamer all my life, how could I let this happen?

But I failed. Today, I don't invert at all, on console or on PC. I'm normal now. At least, that's what I tell myself.

Do you invert? What was the game that taught you? And have you ever switched one way or the other?

Inverted Y-Axis Acknowledges Own Mortality [HardCasual] [Pic]


    1st person: no
    3rd person: yes

    Controller: yes
    Mouse: no


        Uh, David, so sorry to inform you but... I think YOU are the freak in this scenario. I don't know anyone else who has ever used an inverted mouselook, but about 50% of my console gaming buddies invert on a gamepad...

        Stay your ground Nathan, I'm exactly the same.

      Same here! I always play console FPS games inverted. On the PC though, "normal" it is.

      That said, I find I can adjust to non-inverted controls on consoles pretty quickly, but only if I have to (I'm talking to you, Silent Hill Homecoming camera.)

      YES I have supporters.

      My mouselook preferences haven't changed in all my years of PC gaming. I mean after years of your OS conditioning you to believe that when you move the mouse up, things on your screen go up, having it inverted for a game doesn't make any sense. Why put yourself through that pain.

      On the other hand, I think my controller settings have switched between normal and inverted a couple of times, probably in response to different games and genres. I blame Halo.

      haha I'm the other way around

      mouse: invertY, moving the 'counterweight' behind the camera
      controller normal: moving the gun/cursor

      haven't played a fps on the PC in a long while, I wonder if it'll feel strange because I've gotten used to non-inverted controls on console games.

    I used to invert then I tought myself the other way because when swapping the controller with a friend after each death for BF:BC it got really painful going through the option menu.

    I have to agree with above though, 3rd person I still find myself inverting. I think thats because I'm not the character and instead of looking up i'm moving a camera downwards behind the character to look up.

    I used to invert, but forced to play un-inverted because I was told that inverted was a gaming sin...

    Console shooters: yes
    PC shooters: no
    Flight games (Starfox being the first): yes

    What confuses me these days is camera controls; it feels to me that there isn't a real standard between games so I just get used to whichever way is the default. Granted though that controlling which way you turn to get a view of your character's backside isn't quite as important as which way you turn to shoot someone else in the backside, but that's an argument for another day.

    I invert, 100% of the time. Both mouse and controller.

    Who in the hell is ditching inverted controls? Silent Hill Homecoming didn't have an invert option for the camera and that annoyed me to no end.

    Come on it's not that hard to offer an invert option. If a developer leaves it out they're just being lazy.

    Always inverted, no exceptions

    I don't invert for mouse or controller look. I do invert for flight games though, but that's not really the same thing as look.

    The writer and first two replies all had different responses (mine is actually game dependent of all things) and for these reasons any developer that neglects to add the invert Y axis option is doing themselves a disservice.

    Always. Always invert. The reason is the head movement comparison you mentioned. Forward = Look Down. It's natural and thusly much more immersive than viewing the reticule as a mouse pointer on the screen.

    I had to give up on Metroid Prime 3:Corruption for that reason (among others). The reticule leaving the centre of the screen? When does that get fun?

    Console FPS inverted all the way, PC FPS balls no!

    PC flight\etc? Yes, same as console.

    ....which reminds me. How annoying is it when the first thing you do upon starting a game is invert the Y axis, only to have an intro scene (see Halo, Call of Duty 4, etc) set up your Y axis preferences?

    I never invert. My gf does and it drives me mad having to switch it over when it's my turn.

    Always inverted, console and PC.

    I do remember playing a console FPS once where I didn't invert because of playing life/life with a friend. It didn't take me long to get use to it, though I was a little younger then.

    I think I'm too old and set in my ways to change now! I just bought [email protected] though, so I might give it a go on SP.

    @David Wildgoose
    haha yeah why is it that all you normies think us inverted players are freaks anyway?

    Like you said, that's how the human head works, IT JUST MAKES SENSE!!! :)

    I've been inverting my mouse since around 1995, so it would require a LOT of "untraining" for me to switch to normal. I don't get anywhere near enough gaming times these days as it is, i'll be damned if I'm spending what little I do have, frustratingly trying to retrain myself.

    And I agree with other comments. If there's no invert option then developers are just being lazy. it's not that hard.

    Don't give us the "Tilt your head down" crap. You don't invert left and right, which makes inversion incorrect.

    I've had the exact same experience! When it comes to flying though it has to be inverted, if I don't I always seem to find the ground far too quickly...
    On a side note, I hate Warhawk's sacrificing the right stick to do silly maneuvers!

    Being a gamer from way back, inverted is the only way to play. think of it this way. All uninvented controller people should be shot into the sun.

    Quite simply try this trick. Look up and down. Now think of head as as a joystick. Which direction feels like you are pushing your head forward, and which way backward.

    Thats right. Your looking is naturally inverted.

    The jury rests its case.

    i play inverted and southpaw

    this is frustrating when lots of games don't support it nowadays. for instance i rented Dead Space and couldn't play it because the controls were unusable for me. here is a website for my kind

    also...inversion makes sense. pretend you are holding a gun, now make a movement as if you were aiming upwards... you are actually pulling backwards or downwards... the same motion as if you were using inverted controls.

    i also drive pallet jacks and forklifts for a living and they use inverted controls.

    don't flight sticks in planes use "inverted" controls??

    @Patrick Young
    Hahah shit you've got me there.

    With the majority of my gaming on a console controler I feel more comfortable with un-inverted, however I can just as easily play with inverted just takes a few minutes to adjust to the change.

    If only there were giant floating blocks on the roads that inverted your car's horizontal steering for a few seconds. Then everyone would be in the same boat. Somehow.

    A divisive subject is a good subject.

    I never invert except in flight sims. Anywhere else and it feels like I have my shoes on the wrong feet.

    Inverted y axis always struck me as a hold over from the glory days of the space sim (decent, wing commander etc). I made the switch with duke3d and never really looked back, but i'll be damned if the remove it from flying sims :P

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