Tuesday, January 5, 2010


What are Jesse keys? Jesse keys refers to remapping default keybindings to other keys that are more convenient, but less intuitive. The phrase originated from people's frustrated exclamations when they tried to play games on my computer. This is from when I was in school and my computer was much more public than it is now.

The canonical example of Jesse keys is the use of ESDF to move around instead of the standard WASD. There are many good reasons for doing it this way. For one, your index finger rests on the F, just like when you're typing. It also frees up your left pinky to easily hit the A key, and adds G, T, and V to the list of easily reachable keys. The major downsides are a brief moment of confusion when switching to a game that doesn't support remapping keys, and about five minutes setting up the keys for a new game.

There are other themes common to Jesse keys. For example, 'map', 'inventory', and 'quest log' tend to sit on M, I, and L, respectively. They are typically used often enough that I move them closer to the movement keys at the cost of the mnemonics.  (I usually move quest log to Q.  Why isn't it Q by default?  Because Q and E are almost always 'strafe left' and 'strafe right' in the standard WASD layout.)

The principle also extends to work. However, given the meta-key-laden bindings of an IDE, the typical remap looks more like moving 'run context configuration' from Ctrl+Shift+F10 to the one-handed Ctrl+Shift+A.  And instead of removing the old bindings, I leave them intact so that it's easier to use my computer without special knowledge.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.