Two hands, two mice, two weapons and two crosshairs

18th May 2005


I watched some cheap Hollywood action movie yesterday and the “hero”? had two guns and was walking/running down a corridor shooting people in the offices. It got me thinking could we do this in games? Would we want to and if we did how would we do it? Here's my draft solution.

Two mice

Firstly I think you would need two mice. How this would work exactly I don't know. The game would need to know which mouse controls which weapon.


The next point would be the player's movement. One option would be some pre-programmed moves, they could be simple or complicated. For example a keyboard shortcut would bring up a menu of these pre-programmed moves. You make you selection and your playing character begins its movement. This could be as simple aa walking forward until you can't continue then turn around and walk back to where you started. Perhaps you walk forward a few steps then crouch down and spin 720 degrees then stand up and the cycle begins again.

It would be nice if the player could have some real-time control over his movement and perhaps there are ways for this to happen. If the player overlaps the crosshairs and fires their weapon then the character begins to move in the direction of where the crosshairs overlapped.
Another alternative could be the secondary fire button, assuming it's on the mouse! A click on the right-hand mouse's secondary fire button turns the character to the right.

Angle of Vision

Unlike in real life where the player can simple move their head left or right, the player won't be able to see the crosshairs if they move off the normal screen. If the view was changed to 190 degrees while this double weapon feature is in use, then they should be able to see enough. I haven't tried a view of 190 degrees and it may be unplayable but the fun of independently controlling two guns may compensate for the horrible view.


I believe the gaming world is obsessed with graphics and physics, and there needs to be more time and effort spent on controlling the characters we play and how we and they interact with the world. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference. The best thing about Doom 3 was the feature that replaced the crosshair with a use icon/display when you aimed at a button etc.


  1. Joe

    Obviously it would be hard to get two mice set up and a keyboard so that they would work in the game without having to stop everytime and shoot. This is implemented somewhat in Halo 2 where each trigger controls a weapon in each hand. Run out of SMG rounds? Unload the plasma rifle in the other hand!

  2. The point it that it wouldn’t be “everytime”. I imagined a certain level in the game where the player gets a second weapon and uses this exclusively during this level. Once the ammo runs out, that’s it! I was just trying to add something new to gameplay. I admit it may not be fun to play but I would like the opportunity to try.

  3. Joe

    Oh, I see. In which case the idea seems a lot better! Of course the idea was solid to start with but the practicallity of it baffles me in some ways. One way to do it with one mouse I think would be to have each mouse button shoot a seperate gun and when it is held you can shoot and move that gun seperately perhaps. Left Mousebutton shoots left gun and you can spray bullets everywhere then switch to the right. If both buttons are held then the cross hairs remain stationary and the player looks around keeping guns trained in front of him. I think its an easier of way than expecting gamers to have two mice set up!

  4. I’m sure that there are lots of variations worth trying but I think you are right about expecting players to have two mice!

  5. anonymous123

    The Nintendo 64 game “Perfect Dark” has arm movement, and dual wielding. It’s an older version of dual wielding, you select first a one- handed gun, then switch to two of them like selecting another weapon. The system does not lend itself to wielding two different guns, unlike Halo 2, and you fire both guns with one button. The arm movement is done by holding down a button, and then moving the reticle with the thumbstick, somewhat like what Joe described. The downside is that you can’t move while doing the arm movement. So that is one of the problems to be addressed.

  6. anonymous123

    How exactly would you move with two mouses? Foot petals spring to mind, but that circumvents the issue, because not every one will have them. Also with thought to preprogramed moves, you would have to have pathfinding capability, because of differing and changing enviornments. And on a final note, you should have the ability to call off the moves at a moments notice, lest you fall into lava, or acid, or pools of pirranhas or a pit of spikes, so you don’t fall to death, and stagger back in relief. . . . .

    Wouldn’t this be a great time for a piece of Rhubarb Pie?

  7. anonymous123

    The clocks seem to be off. I am not posting at 12:00 in the morning.

  8. Put aside the movement for a moment. Let me try and clarify with a scenario. The player enters an area and automatically collects a second weapon, not necessarily the same weapon as his current weapon. There would be two separate crosshairs moved independently by the left and right mouse.

    Now for the movement, there are a few options that I see.
    The player is on a predefined path, perhaps a conveyer belt or other simple vehicle. The view doesn’t change and it simple becomes a reflex situation.
    The secondary mouse button (right) is used to direct the view. Pressing the right button on the right mouse moves the view to the right. The same for the left! This of course doesn’t address the vertical field of view but there has to be some compromise. It also means the secondary fire has been lost for the duration of the double mouse area.
    The relative positions of the mouse change the view. If the right mouse moves into the left-hand side of the screen then the view moves left. Once the right mouse moves back into its half the player continues moving in the direction last changed.
    If the majority of enemies were in the left-hand side of the screen then the view would shift slightly to that side.

    I feel its worth pointing out that the basic idea was just an attempt at adding something new to the gameplay and if a working system was developed and the various movement suggestions tested we might find that it was crap and unplayable. Of course we won’t know until somebody tries!!

    The system would have to be smart enough to recognise when there is only one mouse attached and change the input device etc.

    Lastly I think the time relates to where my server is located, which I think is in California.

    Keep those comments coming!

  9. Ade

    voice activated movement (is this thing on? I’m going to bed now..)

  10. voice activated movement

    How exactly would that work?

    I read recently about some pedals for FPS gamers. I should follow that up.

  11. Ade

    uhm, well, while holding two weapons, the only actions left besides shooting are moving: left right, forward (up), backward (down), crouch and jump. Simple commands through a microphone:P

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