Rambling

Dark Souls Mouse Fix – Update to Beta 1.4

I did have some free time on my hands again and took the opportunity to tackle some of the bigger remaining issues of the mouse fix for Dark Souls. This is a major update and should remedy many gripes and problems some people had with the previous version. It has gotten a fairly well reception and I am pretty confident that from this point forward there are no issues left that could be considered major. You can find the latest version on Nexus here or on PC Gaming Wiki here.

Instead of just posting the change log as I normally do, I will summarize them in reasonable sections.

New Binding System:

This is a big one. The old binding system was very clunky and restrictive, because users had to manually select the key they wanted to bind from a predefined list of keys out of a dropdown menu. I was not a big fan of that system in the first place, but it was the only thing feasible I could do at that point in time. To keep that list manageable, I only included the most common keys. This was a problem because people are using a wide variety of keyboard layouts and languages, which sometimes prevented them from binding the keys they wanted. Another issue was that the old system did not properly support modifier keys, which had to be added manually for each option. This was overall one of the most requested features.

After I had thought about the problem for a while, I came up with a solution I am quite happy with. The new binding system allows you to bind any action to an arbitrary combination of keyboard keys, mouse buttons or the mouse wheel. Have you ever wanted to switch your magic spell with Space+W+~+MouseWheelUp? Now you can. Instead of manually selecting a key from a limited set of predefined keys, the new system works reactively. To bind an action, double left click the corresponding box. When the box turns green, press the combination of keys you would like to assign. The combination is set once any pressed keys are released.

You should be able to use almost any keyboard key, independent of the keyboard type or layout. The key names are dependent on the layout currently set in Windows. If you are using an English layout, the key names will be in English, while an AZERTY layout will lead to French names.

Bear in mind that the names the keys are getting in the GUI are sometimes not entirely correct. For example, both the left and the right control keys can be referred to by the same identifier, while keys like Page Up might refer to the corresponding key on the numpad. This is because the key names are generated dynamically by using a Windows function, which does not distinguish between certain keys and does not always lead to pleasant display names. However, this is entirely a cosmetic issue and the keys will get recognized in the game as they are pressed in the GUI.

A few additional notes on the binding system:

  • Each key pressed before another acts as a modifier for the next one
  • Any key can be used as a modifier key, not just ALT, CTRL or SHIFT
  • There is no limit to how many keys can participate in a combination. You can set a combination involving half a dozen keys if you want to
  • The order you are pressing the keys in is only important during the binding process to differentiate between bindings that involve the same modifier keys
  • To unbind an action double right click the corresponding box

There are some videos out there that show how the binding works in practice. For example this one.

Manual Targeting Option:

It is now possible to enable the switching of targets by flicking the mouse. After the keybindings, this was the second most requested feature. I honestly did not anticipate that so many people would prefer to switch targets by using the mouse instead of a dedicated binding.

Manual targeting can either be always enabled or specified by a hold or a toggle binding. Additionally, one of the things that always prevented me from using this kind of target switching was how easy it was to unintentionally switch targets. For this reason, I also added a Targting Threshold option, which determines how far you have to move the mouse for a target switch to occur. Take a look into the GUI tooltips for more information.

Non-Standard Bindings:

Added a set of non-standard bindings. It is now possible to bind Leap Attack, Kick, Dash Only, Roll Only and Auto Run actions to further enhance the customization of the controls. See the corresponding GUI tooltips for details.

There has been some considerable amount of thinking and discussion about whether to include non-standard bindings at all in the fix. I actually started a discussion about this in the main reddit thread when the mouse fix first came out, but it did not really gain much traction. The question was at which point something ceases to be a matter of controls and begins to just make the game easier. Especially with the Kick and Leap Attack, one might argue that being able to execute them well is part of the learning process of the game.

In the end, I decided to include them because they do not allow you to do anything that cannot also be done manually. Additionally, the actions are not that difficult to execute in the first place and most of the bindings could also be easily replicated without the fix, by using external tools such as AutoHotkey. I am personally also not a fan of context-sensitive bindings and it is nice to see that there are also other people out there who prefer to have dedicated bindings for rolling and dashing.

However, if you are a purist, feel free not to use them. PC Gaming is all about choice after all.

Miscellaneous:

  • Added a custom mouse cursor that should be more suitable for the game. The cursor is enabled by default but can be disabled in the GUI
  • Added audio feedback for certain status changes, such as loading of the mouse fix, reloading the config or changing the input mode
  • Multiple changes to the usability of the GUI, including a revision of the labels and tooltips
  • Added a complete initial default config that should be decently intuitive for most players that are not familiar with the game

These are just some little quality of life features to improve the overall experience. They should be pretty self-explanatory. The custom cursor is called Das Black and was created by a user named aroche. If you want to know how it looks, you can find pictures of it on his Devian Art page.

Major Bugfixes:

  • The GUI no longer loads a local d3d3.dll to prevent conflicts with certain mods/injectors, such as DSPW or SweetFX/ReShade (thanks to SeanPesce for his feedback and research on the issue)
  • The Auto Cursor will no longer enable the cursor and lock the camera when UI elements are shown that cannot be controlled with the mouse, such as subtitles or certain floating messages
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Auto Cursor to not recapture the cursor correctly after having switched out of the game

I am very happy that I got these fixed.

The first one was not only quite annoying, but also confusing to the user. Although not many people seem to use SweetFX with Dark Souls, Dark Souls PvP Watch Dog (DSPW) is a popular tool and I got many reports of people who had no idea why starting the GUI caused an error box of DSPW, which lead them to believe the mouse fix was incompatible with the it.

The Auto Cursor problem was probably the most severe ingame bug, as it could potentially lock you out from controlling your character in situations where that could actually cause you to die. Aside from some very rare situations involving keys opened by doors (see Known Issues), the Auto Cursor should now work correctly in all situations.

That is it for now. Aside from potential hotfixes, it will probably take a while before the mod is updated again. But as always, do not hesitate to provide feedback or suggestions. I will keep them in mind. Also, if more people are suggesting a feature, it is more likely that it will get implemented.

Have fun.

Origin Update For Mass Effect and Dead Space Mouse Fixes

I recently started to have a little bit more free time at my disposal again and used it to tackle an annoying problem that plagued the mouse fixes for both Dead Space and Mass Effect. The change logs for both games are as follows:

Beta 0.5:

  • The fix should now correctly work with Origin versions from any region

This might not look very impressive, but fixing this issue involved tackling a more severe underlying problem with Origin. Although the fixes were advertised to work with Origin, they would show an unsupported version pop-up for some users, while working fine for others.

Games are often available on a variety of distribution platforms, which usually all come with their own executable file of the game. This means that even if the versions are practically the same, the executables of say the Steam version most likely will have a different layout compared to the Origin or GOG version. A game can also have multiple versions on the same platform. This is most often the case for games that are distributed with certain languages that are only available in some regions.

While other game fixes work on a more abstract level, fixes like the ones for Dead Space of Mass Effect hook into the game and need to know the specific locations (i.e. memory addresses) of functions or data to hook into. If the addresses are wrong, the game usually just crashes. For this reason, every version has to be supported separately by a fix. This is often not trivial, because a fix might rely on several addresses which all have to be determined individually for every version. This also presupposes that I have access to every version in the first place, which is often not the case. Additionally, this process usually has to be repeated every time a game is patched.

Fortunately, the number of different official versions is often rather small and the chances that an older game gets patched are often pretty slim. By restricting a fix to only support the latest, fully patched version it is usually feasible to cover most — if not all — official distribution sources.

However, as it turned out, Origin does not like to play ball with this approach. While Steam usually only provides multiple versions if they actually differ from a content point of view (e.g. languages or censoring), Origin seems to always distribute technically different version for every region, even if they are practically identical. It is hard to tell how many regions Origin uses, but I saw different versions for Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, North America, Russia and more.

Because it is not feasible to support all of them, the updated versions of the mouse fixes now use a pattern matcher to handle Origin versions. Because they are usually very similar, it is possible to search for certain memory patterns in the executable, instead of specifying the addresses directly.

This should hopefully be sufficient to properly handle Origin versions for all fixes in the future.

Initial Release

Hi there and welcome to The Meth Lab. I’m a PC Gaming enthusiast and software developer, who occasionally creates fixes to solve problems in certain games. This is just a place to centralize information of stuff that I have done and where I might post updates on the status of projects.

I’m always interested in feedback. If you have a problem, a question or just want to chat, see the contact page on how to get in touch with me.