Playing With Inverted Controls

Another “meh” video from Freddiew:

But it lets me touch on the point that I didn’t think “inverted” controls was that much of a hot button issue.

In first person flying games I always go inverted.   First person shooters I pick standard controls though.

Real helicopters and planes have inverted controls right? What do you guys prefer?


30 responses to “Playing With Inverted Controls”

  1. This doesn’t make sense. I thought on video games, inverted controls made them work like a real aircraft. Doesn’t matter though, because yanking back on the cyclic like that would cause the helicopter to pitch backwards hard and lose altitude anyway. Dipshit needs to have his left hand on the collective pitch lever to control his altitude. And they shouldn’t be in the left seat. Unlike an airplane, the right seat is the command seat in a helicopter, so that you can maintain your right hand on the cyclic and operate the radios and other instruments with your left hand.

    These guys are fucking clown shoes.


    2. NikonMikon Avatar


      1. While my statement was meant to be mostly tongue-in-cheek, do you think it’s possible to make a video that isn’t real, but is realistic? If you see a gun-related mistake in a video/movie/tv show don’t you shake your head and say to yourself, “that’s stupid/ridiculous”? How about when an actor cocks an already loaded firearm for the dramatic effect that the sound has? That has to be one of the most common gun-related faux pas on screen. I know when I see that I think to myself, “that was wrong.”

        1. I don’t. When I watch gun related things go wrong on screen, I don’t care, because most people don’t. People with knowledge of firearms use are the lowest common denominator when it comes to movies and videogames.

          Besides, the safe handling of firearms would prevent some really good movies from existing, like Boondock Saints.

          1. Besides, the safe handling of firearms would prevent some really good movies from existing, like Boondock Saints.

            No one ever mentioned anything about safe handling; realism is the subject. As was pointed out in the article, if the Boondock Saints just finished shooting up a room full of people with their 92F’s, there would be no need to cock the hammer back; it would already be cocked. An even more egregious error is the one about pumping the shotgun after already firing it several times – all you’re going to do is eject a perfectly good, unfired round. I’m not concerned about gun safety in movies or tv, but they could try a little harder to be accurate about things. I can remember watching an episode of Law and Order on DVD, and before entering a room, Benjamin Bratt’s character raised his handgun and a very audible “click” was heard (as he apparently cocked it in preparation to enter the room). He was carrying a Glock. I had to replay it to make sure I was hearing correctly as I shook my head wondering how the hell he made a hammer cocking sound from a Glock.

            I would think that any firearms enthusiast would be interested in seeing firearms, and how they operate, portrayed accurately in films. Maybe I’m just the exception though, with too big an eye for detail and a desire for accuracy.

  2. I’ve got (very little) time in a Cessna 172, but in the video game world I prefer the controls non-inverted. For me the difference is the axis we’re pivoting on. In an aircraft, the pivot point is the center of the craft, actually behind me. In a game, it’s out in front of me. Aircraft: I’m changing pitch of my body, by realigning the entire craft in the direction I want to go. If I want the entire aircraft to now point upward, I’d pull back on the stick as if the craft and the stick moved as one. In the video game I’m pointing to where I’m looking, not moving. Since I tend to hold the controller at an angle approaching vertical, pushing the stick forward (actually sort of up in this case) is where I expect to look/go.
    I tried to explain it in terms that made sense. Who knows if I did.

    1. For me the difference is the axis we’re pivoting on.

      Obviously it works for you to use the non-inverted option in the video games, but your reasoning is unsound – you’re still pivoting on the same axis. In a Cessna Skylane, the limits of the center of gravity (which is where you’re pivoting) should be anywhere from slightly in front of, to no more than about ten inches behind the pilots seat, so you’re pretty much pivoting where you’re sitting. In the game, you’re pivoting the character’s head – same axis though, pivoting somewhere about the base of the head.

      1. I was just reading over this again and notice that I said “Skylane” when what I meant was “Skyhawk.” The Skylane’s CG envelope should be similar; it’s just a slightly more robust airplane.

      2. I totally get what you’re saying, but there are two factors that differ for me – one is the distance from me to the tv; i.e. that pivot point is eight feet in front of me. Despite the fact that I know I’m supposed to be ‘right there’ I just can’t see it that way.
        The other is that as I briefly mentioned above, I hold the controller vertically, not flat in my lap. Push ‘forward’ on the controller stick is technically pushing ‘up’, since the controller is basically standing on the spades.
        If I was using a flight stick attached to a table or something it would most certainly be inverted, or it wouldn’t make any sense to me.
        Oh, and I’m actually pretty close to your dad’s age – he has me by six years, apparently. :)

  3. LOL @ Josh… Why so serious?

    1. Well, I was being semiserious. But you know how we, as gun enthusiasts, see a gun-related mistake in a movie and facepalm yourself and go “that’s ridiculous.” I do the same thing with aircraft-related mistakes.

      I’m sure any of us who saw the George Clooney movie “The American” cringed when he called the Mini-14 that he built an “M14” and then stated that it had a muzzle velocity of 360 mph. I did the math, and at that speed, a 55 grain bullet would have about a third the muzzle energy of a .22 long rifle round!

      1. I haven’t seen that film, but I was mystified at what I saw from the trailers, that he was building out a mini-14 “sniper” rifle.
        Why not just buy something off the shelf, preferably something in the same caliber as what either the local constabulary or local organized criminals are known to use, to sow some additional confusion as to who carried out the killing.

  4. Ernest Young Avatar
    Ernest Young

    Yeah, I use inverted controls too, got that from my father (he uses inverted controls), and he used to fly helicopters in the USARMY, and he flew freight (on planes) for 9 years. If there was EVER an authrity to go to on video game aircraft inverted controls, it’s him.

  5. Funny, I was just thinking about look inversion this morning.

    I think it comes to age. As a slightly older player (mid-30s) I grew up playing flight sims. My wife did the same thing. Her younger brother (27) grew up on FPS games. I NEED inversion, he HATES inversion.

    I can’t go back and forth.

    1. Ernest Young Avatar
      Ernest Young

      Yeah, my father is 46 and he’s always played video games (mainly combat flight sims, and submarine games (Eg: “silent hunter” franchise)). But he really only got into console gaming about 5-6 years ago. He ALWAYS uses inverted controls (even for aiming in FPSs). I hate that, but I DO definitely agree with inverted flight controls (also, I love the roll and pull system older games used for planes (unlike this crap were you just push to the left and the plane automatically pitches and yaws)).

    2. I don’t play video games much at all, but I absolutely can’t play without the controls being inverted. It is completely counterintuitive to me. Maybe it does have something to do with age. I’m 31, and can remember playing Microsoft Flight Simulator on Windows 3.1 (we’ve progressed a little since then!). It also got me thinking – I grew up on a farm, and with the hydraulics for a loader or a backhoe arm, pulling back on the control always pivots it up. Same thing with a pulled implement or the deck of a lawn mower – to bring it up you pull back on the hydraulic control. I can’t imagine a remote controlled robotic arm that would work the same way. It seems to me that “inverted” should actually be the standard control. And it makes me wonder what happens if one of these kids who grows up spending way too much time playing video games and plays them with the regular controls gets a job someday where he has to operate a piece of machinery that uses the real world standard controls!

      1. I can’t imagine a remote controlled robotic arm that would work the same way.

        God damn it! That should say, “that wouldn’t work the same way”

  6. christian Avatar

    The only time I ever use inversion is for flying games, such as Ace Combat. Otherwise I hate inversion with a passion. Why in the world do you want up to be down and vice versa. It really comes down to what setting you used when you first started playing.

    And I found the video quite humorous. Guess I’m also a ‘fucking clown shoe”.

    1. Guess I’m also a ‘fucking clown shoe”.

      They’re “fucking clown shoes” for the critical factual mistakes made in their video. With both hands on the cyclic control like that, whether the aircraft’s nose pitched up hard, and it started moving backwards, or it pitched down hard, and it started traveling forward, it would rapidly lose altitude and crash. They were doomed either way; can’t blame it on inverted controls.

      As I explained earlier though, in the real world, the controls for machinery – and robotic arms I would expect to follow the same convention – to pitch up you pull back on the control. It’s really the gaming world that has it confused.

  7. Inverted for me – grew up on flight sims. I think camera work is the same way with tilt.

    1. Damian Castillo Avatar
      Damian Castillo

      Here is a though on Inverted controls. I will focus on non aircraft controls since an aircraft does operate with inverted controls in real life and therefore most flight sims use the same setup.

      Let’s look at controlling a ground troop with inverted controls. Does it make sense?

      Here are my thoughts. Most FPS on Consoles require you to have two analog sticks to move your character. The left stick controls where you look and the right stick moves the character.

      Let’s think about what the left stick is doing, since this is the one that can be adjusted to inverted or non-inverted. If the stick represents where you look. What happens to your head when you look up? You tilt it back, not forward. So if the left stick is controlling your vision, it would also lean back just like your head would in order to look up. Therefore, it’s inverted.

      Picture the knob on the left analog stick to be a miniature head. If you wanted to look up, you would pull your head back which brings your eyes up. If you wanted to look down, you would tilt your head forward, which would move your eyes down.

      This is why any hard core gamer would tell you that inverted controls are the most natural.

      That’s my take on this and I think the majority of gamer’s would agree. The head on the analog stick represents your real head and the movement it would make in order to view the surroundings. You lean back to look up and you lean forward to look down.


  8. What-do-I-know-anyway? Avatar

    I’ve been told that I play games “the wrong way.” I guess this means I play inverted? You play how you want to, I’ll play how I want to… whoever gets the head-shot wins- what’s the big deal?

    On the topic though… when I rotate the controller back, that is what I expect the character in the game to do. I am playing a first person game and I want to control the person’s actions- not the world around the character…

    1. …when I rotate the controller back, that is what I expect the character in the game to do.

      That’s too logical for young video gamers, apparently.

  9. Johnny Come Lately Avatar
    Johnny Come Lately

    Lighten the fuck up already.

  10. I’ve actually had this problem in games a lot when they require both control for flying vehicles and for a human character. Inverted makes perfect sense for the flying vehicle because I am rotating the axis of the vehicle. When I think in terms of physical human movement, I don’t want to rotate the human, I want to move the point of aim within the plane.

    Just like real life, when I control a vehicle, I have to translate the controls input into the desired action for the vehicle. When I am moving my own body, I just make it work without needing a translation. I don’t think “Oh I need to rotate my eyes to point upwards by making them spin backwards.” That part just naturally happens on it’s own when I want to look up.

    1. Damian Castillo Avatar
      Damian Castillo

      You are not moving the point of aim in a FPS game. You are moving the characters head. Therefore, inverted is the natural control. You lean your head back to view something high and you lean your head forward to view something low. You are controlling the character in a FPS game, so the analog stick represents the characters head movement when looking at the environment.

      You don’t lean your head back to look down and you don’t lean your head forward to look up.

  11. I play FPS games, primarily on the PC (but on a console at a friend’s house sometimes), and I *always* invert the y-axis. I used to play with an uninverted y-axis (for about 6 months in college, when I started playing FPSs). My friends, who were MUCH better at Halo than I, swore on a stack of Bibles that switching my y-axis would make me “faster.” I tried it, and hated it at first, but got used to it. (I got faster, but I think that was from playing more, not the stick orientation.)

    Honestly, all this stuff about “what’s more natural” goes out the window after about six hours. No, really — I challenge anyone here to switch their games to the other inversion policy and stick with it for 6+ hours of the game (doesn’t have to be all at once). Your expectations and “instinct” will reverse themselves, and you’ll be just as quick and accurate as you were before.

    To compare it to something outside of gaming, let’s talk about the controls on a car. When you want to slow down, do you think “move foot from gas to brake, press, harder, harder, that’s enough” or do you think “slow down?” I know that for me, it’s the latter — and some reflex takes care of the rest.

    As long as the motion you’re making is disconnected from the physicality of the event (like pressing the brake pedal, or using your thumb to make an onscreen dude look up or down), your brain will learn to compensate. And it will do it faster than you believe, AND when it’s done, the whole thing will get packed into your subconscious and you’ll never notice it again.

    Until, of course, you and your friend switch controllers.