AU Diary: To Invert Or Not Invert

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]


      • 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…

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • ….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?

  • 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 W@W 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.

  • 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??

  • 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 😛

  • Consoles… Yes

    PC… No

    and my friends fucking hate it when we’re drunk and gaming.. or controller swapping a game.. “fucking inverted freak!”

  • Mouse: Normal
    Controller: Inverted. Always.

    The first console game I played was Halo on the original Xbox at a friends house and my friend accidentally left it as inverted since the tutorial.

  • Depends entirely on the game. Generally, I don’t invert either direction, but some games default to inverting the controls.

    What really gets me, though, is when they invert left/right. Especially in third-person games. I generally use panning the camera left/right to steer in third person games. Inverting left/right for the camera controls is actually in terms of the physics of what is going on the correct thing to do. You’re moving the position of the camera to the right, so the field of view shifts left. That doesn’t make it any less of an absolute brain-melter for me.

  • I always play inverted on console, but as mentioned before with a mouse normal seems natural as the mouse moves like that the rest of the time. I usually use an Xbox 360 controller on PC and what realy annoys me, inverted or not, is when new games don’t support controllers, (I’m looking at you Blood Money) sure people say “keyboard and mouse controls are 1337” why do you want a controller, but surely they can just put the option in anyway in case some people disagree, the only time i find mouse is better is for RTS.

  • Only time i ever invert is in flying games, as it feels right to pull back on your toggle and have the nose of the plane rise. Any other games are just standard

  • I invert but none of my other friends or family does. Always find it hard quickly swapping after rounds of COD 5 on xbox to suddenly be looking at the sky not knowing whats going on.

  • As some have already said – inverted for flight sims only. For everything else it makes no sense to invert.

    Perhaps you can invert for 3rd person games if you want to train as a camera operator. But even then it gets a bit weird when you push in for that over the shoulder shooting view. Cause most are going to want to push right to aim right. But following on with the ‘I am a camera man’ analogy, pushing right on the stick should pan your view left (as would be the case if you pushed right on the tripod stick you had your camera mounted to).

    Nope. Non-inverted all the way. Where moving the ‘free-look’ stick up corresponds to shifting your view up. Left is left. Right is right. Simple.

    Cause when you invert this axis your forcing an analogy that doesn’t quite fit. And that’s true whether you’re pretending to be a “movie camera operator”, or that the 2nd thumbstick is “your head on a stick”. None of those fit upon closer inspection.

    Note: The “It’s like I’m flying an aircraft” analogy is perfectly fine but ONLY WHEN PLAYING FLIGHT SIMS!!!

  • I always get bagged for inverting. But it just makes sense to me. Ive been inverted since the days of old playing Quake. I can barely move on a controller unless its inverted its hilarious. Every time my friend hands me a controller the first thing i do is change it to invert. Invert FTW!

  • I have to use inverted for console shooters, and find myself inverting y-axis camera controls in platformers/third person games.
    I used to play inverted with a mouse too, my experience coming from Ace Combat on PS1 made me think that it was the way to go, but I somehow started using un-inverted and I still use uninverted today for a kb/mouse shooter.

    A joystick it just sorta makes sense to pull back to point upwards!

    • I get that people have grown up with inverted (I did. Playing FA18 Interceptor on the Amiga) and thus prefer it because it’s what they’re use to.

      But how exactly does inverted ‘make sense’ for anything other than flight sims? Could someone please talk me through it.

  • I bitterly resisted inverted controls for many many years. Then two things happened. The first was that i became a film student which meant I was operating cameras where in order to tilt down you have to move the handle up and vice versa. The second was that I played Deus Ex without realising that inverted was on. It just felt natural to me. But when I played The Orange Box the controls instantly felt strange and unnatual. To my horror the options menu told me that i was on normal controls and suddenly the inverted look became my preference for all FPSs.THE END.

  • I always invert.. ALWAYS..

    Im left handed, and use my mouse in my right..
    Ive come across lefties that swap their mouse buttons.. maybe we should be talking about those freaks…

    Just to add to my weirdness I used to use numpad for PC FPS’s as opposed to WASD..

  • Always inverted. Leaning/pushing forward to look down feels so much more natural and immersive. Interacting and moving as crosshairs on a flat screen really ruins the immersion for me.

  • Whats funny is inverted use to be the norm.
    Now, you have to go into teh settings and set it to inverted.
    Un-inverted has become the norm.

    But inverted mouse? Thats just weird!

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