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7 August 2010
Author: Giorgos Lazaridis
Men Of War Game Console

Worklog - First it was Empire Earth, Now it is Men Of War (August 7 2010)

I spent many hours perfecting my dogfight abilities!

One of the best RTSs

My favorite game ever!

I was a fanatic player of Empire Earth. So fanatic, that i played EE till the very last day that all servers were closed. What a disappointment. I loved this game not for the graphics neither for the effects, but for the gameplay. It had many different units with different characteristics, and i could plan different tactics to get my enemy down... I tried EE II and EE III but -as usual- the gameplay was sacrificed for the graphics and effects...

After trying many RTSs, i came across this "Men Of War" game... If you love RTS and you master micro-management, i strongly suggest you play this game. I will not tell you more about this game, as this is not the reason for this article, i will only tell you that this is the kind of game that i always wanted to play and yet did not know that it exists! You will find me there on-line with the ID "consilio_et_animis" (Latin: "By Wisdom and Courage")

What i plan to make? Well, i plan to make a MOW (Men Of War) console. It will be an extra PS2 keyboard, with some buttons anatomically placed so that i can click them all with my left hand. Moreover, it will have a small joystick. This is for direct controlling tanks and other units in MOW. Direct control is another feature that i love in MOW. Before this, i played 1942 the pacific air war (i think in the mids of 90s) which had a similar feature. You could plan a plane attack to enemy ground installations, but whenever you wanted, you could become the pilot of one of these planes and engage to a dogfight or a bombardment! Excellent feature. MOW names this Direct Control.

Direct Control is kinda tricky

During fight, you can either press the control button or lock direct control with the end button. With the control button, the DCM (Direct Control Mode) lasts as long as you keep it pressed. With the end key, you lock DCM, until the next time you press end again. And here is where the problem occurs... Using the control key is impossible to simultaneously drive the tank and use the mouse for the turret, as humans have only 2 hands with the fingers way to close to each other... With my right hand i control the mouse, with the left hand i drive the tank using the arrows... i need a way to press and keep pressed the control key... Impossible.

This is the mini joystick, i think from a PSP or something. The controller will automatically engage and disengage Direct Control with this joystick!

So, i used to lock DCM with the end key. But this way carries a great disadvantage: DCM may fail to unlock! There are many ways for this failure to happen. You may for example forget to press the end key, or you may click on the wrong key that is close to end. Sometimes it happened that i pressed the end key but the direct control was not released, either due to key ghosting or another bug... And that sucks! Minimum, you will loose a few valuable game seconds... That is exactly the reason why i decided to make this console...

This mini joystick will replace the 4 arrow keys, and so i will save 3 fingers! But more important, is the way that this joy will work! Each time you make a move with the joystick, it will also engage automatically DCM, and upon release it will automatically disengage DCM! For example, if i want to turn my tank to the left, i will push joystick to the left. The controller will first send to the PC the control key down to engage DCM, and then it will send the left arrow key down, and my tank will turn! When i release the joystick, the controller will send the left arrow key up to stop turning, and the control key up to disengage DCM! Isn't that just great?


It is natural for a man to love what he can master. My power-point in games is speed. I can play really fast and i have kinda good reflexes, and that is why i never played pac-man and instead i was a Samurai Shodown II pro. This is one of the reasons why i love Men Of War - for the player that plays faster and micro-manages more units in detail, has more chances to win. And speed is increased dramatically by shortcuts! I know that many people do not use keyboard shortcuts and they prefer instead to use the mouse for specific jobs (or simply cannot use shortcuts). In MOW for example, someone can throw a grenade either by clicking on the grenade button, or by pressing F1. Not using shortcuts is a major drawback for gamers. Knowing this, i always learn the shortcuts by heart before going into the game.

So, the console that i prepare, will have also -as you understand- the most common shortcuts that i use for battle. These are the shortcuts that i plan to use:

  • F1 - Select frag grenade
  • F2 - Select AT grenade
  • F3 - Select smoke bomb
  • F4 - Use rocket launcher
  • . - Change ammo (HE-AP) (i do not use the original shortcut)
  • / - Next machine gun (i do not use the original shortcut)
  • Control - Direct Control Mode
  • TAB - Highlight items
  • V - Highlight corpses
  • N - Navigation point
  • X - Examine
  • I - Inventory
  • S - Stop all actions
  • Esc - ... escape
  • C - Center active unit
  • R - Rotate
  • Space - Change infantry stance - Used also for towing units
  • 1,2,3 - Select group 1,2,3

  • These are the 20 shortcuts, that i have mark as extremely useful during battle.Pretty much huh? For the rest shortcuts i will use the keyboard.



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  • At 9 October 2011, 4:46:45 user Chris wrote:   [reply @ Chris]
    • This is such a great project. I am truly inspired. Very cool. Love the site too. Please never stop showing us your great projects.

  • At 18 June 2011, 14:06:48 user Stefan wrote:   [reply @ Stefan]
    • Hi there,can you make a code for PIC16F876A or simular of it,because I don't have that microcontroler used in the project. :(

  • At 14 December 2010, 9:16:38 user Kammenos wrote:   [reply @ Kammenos]
    • Well, "lol", as i always, say "Use all your abilities to win". After all, you can get yourself a customizable controller from the market. And then, i hope i meet you in the battlefield... preferably at the opposite team... ;) ;) ;)

      PS: This is not cheating. I don't use a bot to do something that i can't, faster or more accurate. I mean, hey, be wise and gather all the shortcuts that you need close. You can do that. You can customize your shortcuts... You can use the shift key, the control, double clicks...Everything. Is this so hard to do? Or do you miss the LED effect that i have???

  • At 14 December 2010, 8:28:25 user lol wrote:   [reply @ lol]
    • man you are such a nerd, go, get a wife children and a life.
      with this frankenstein like thing you have clearly an unfair advantage
      you super nerd hardwarecheater.

  • At 3 December 2010, 4:03:43 user Don wrote:   [reply @ Don]
    • Oops! Just realized I was reading the comments in backwards chronology! My bad! Sorry, nevermind my last comment!

  • At 3 December 2010, 4:00:56 user Don wrote:   [reply @ Don]
    • Just ran across your site! Thank you! Very informative! A note to Marc Leonhart (since nobody answered him; AND although I haven't studied all the specifics): I believe an input device like this could do anything you would like it to do. It is custom made. I'm sure it could be modified to any purpose!

  • At 17 November 2010, 5:20:29 user Kammenos wrote:   [reply @ Kammenos]
    • brannen. read the worklog. its a construction from a scratch.

  • At 17 November 2010, 2:22:18 user brannen wrote:   [reply @ brannen]
    • i think you used a xbox 360 controller and some hot keys from a key bord

  • At 29 October 2010, 4:52:57 user Antonio wrote:   [reply @ Antonio]
    • respect!!!

  • At 26 October 2010, 19:53:48 user Kammenos wrote:   [reply @ Kammenos]
    • Of course it can. But there are in the market remarkable shortcut consoles for this. You may be interested in this project, either if you want to DIY and for you the trip is more important than the destination, or because you want to do something that the market consoles wont do. In my case, i fit in both cases. The joystick for example is not just a normal arrow key replacement. Does much more that a normal game console cannot be programmed to do. But most of all, i just wanted to do it...

  • At 26 October 2010, 18:50:17 user Marc Leonhardt wrote:   [reply @ Marc Leonhardt]
    • So can a project like this be fitted towards Photoshop and Sai, since I draw with the right I want shortcut keys for the left. But need more button option.

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