Controller Mapping 101

I have gotten sick and tired of first person shooters that have terrible button mapping. So I decided to make a basic guide for developers that just don't understand how controllers are supposed to be used.

Here I have separated the buttons of the controllers into four different categories. The categories are as follows.


The Four Golden Buttons

The four golden buttons are the buttons that the player's thumbs and index fingers default to.

1. RT/R1

2. LT/L1

3. RS/R3

4. LS/L3

These buttons should only be used for the most important functions. Shooting, aiming, melee, and sprinting are usually assigned to these buttons.


The Two Silver Buttons

The two silver buttons are the buttons that you can reach with out taking your thumbs off of the sticks.

1. RB/R2

2. LB/L2

These buttons should be used for things that require you to be able to aim and move. This can include melee, jumping, and throwing grenades.


The Four Bronze Buttons

The four bronze buttons are the buttons that require you to take your thumb off of the Right Stick





These are low priority buttons. When a function is mapped to one of these buttons it has to be something that doesn't require aiming or movement. Reloading, changing weapons, jumping, and crouching should be assigned to these buttons.


The D-Pad

The D-Pad isn't very useful for First Person Shooters, because you have to take your thumb off of the left stick to use it. Use of the D-Pad should be limited in all First Person Shooters, especially for Xbox 360 games.



Below, I have graded two games based on control mapping alone. You may notice that one is slightly better than the other,



Halo Reach 9/10


This control scheme makes good use of the four golden buttons. My only complaint is that they decided to use crouching on the left stick. The left stick should probably be used for equipment since equipment includes sprinting.


Killzone 2 3/10


Killzone 2 has terrible button mapping. The D-Pad is over used, melee and aiming probably should have been switched, and crouching was assigned to a silver button. There are alternate control schemes that are better, but these are the default controls, which means that the developers thought that this was the best way to use the controller.



That does it for the tutorial. If you have any praise, constructive criticism, or nonsensical gibberish please post it in the comments section below. 

pfro's picture

fanboy??? I personally like Call of Duty. The only problem is drop shotting which is hard to do on the standard controls and I don't think dropshoting should even be doable.

brodyitis's picture


1. The only thing I like about Call of Duty is the controls, which you have to admit, are just about perfect.

2. What is drop shotting?

3. What type of fanboy am I? Do you mean I'm a CoD fanboy, a Halo fanboy, or an Xbox fanboy?

MyNameIsRobby's picture

I agree that CoD has the greatest FPS control scheme ever... but I dont own a Xbox so I cant say much about them!

Dropshotting is something more common among more hardcore players. The control scheme needs to be set to tactical on CoD so the crouch button is on the R3. It allows a person to go to crouch and aim and fire all at the same time! Is it cheap?? I think not since it does take practice and when you master it, it is a clear advantage... and since anyone can learn how to do it I wont hear any complaining!!

Any who nice post man!!

brodyitis's picture


So it's basically just going prone and shooting. Thanks man.

pfro's picture

fanboy of halo is a fanboy of xbox, like a square is a rectangle.

brodyitis's picture

I own a PS3 and love it too. I just don't like the controls in Killzone 2. Halo has excellent controls, which is the point of this blog post, so I used it as an example.

John Tarr's picture

I actually like the non-default Halo controls more; I think it's called Bumper Jumper. It puts jump on RB and Equipment on X. Jump is so essential on Halo, it's important to have it on a non-bronze button.

brodyitis's picture

@John Tarr

I think the best control scheme for halo would be Jump on LB, Equipment on LS, and move crouch to a bronze button. Which reminds me, why don't FPS games let you customize your controls?

TheSkwiid's picture

The perfect controls would be bumper jumper from Halo and tactical from COD combined so that crouch/prone is on the right joystick and jump is on the left bumper. 

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