I was reading a review of a new Microsoft gaming keyboard today and I noticed that it has extra highlighting for the traditional WASD keyboard layout most commonly used by first-person shooters (FPSs).
This interests me because I don't use WASD; I use a variant that I have almost never seen anyone else describe, namely, QWAS, with W for forward, Q/S for strafe left/right, and A for reverse.
It was a long time in gestation. I started out playing Doom with just the keyboard, like most other people at the time, but then I read - I forget where and can't find the reference - about using the mouse for looking and the keyboard, specifically the Z and X keys, for strafing, with Space, Ctrl and mouse buttons used in some combination for Use, Fire, Forward, Run, etc. I didn't find this combination especially easy to use, though, so it wasn't long before I stumbled onto the QWAS hold I use today. I do, however, find it puzzling that so few other people use it.
The reason I don't use WASD is because I think the layout is awkward for the wrist when the keyboard is centrally positioned, ready for touch-typing:
Moreover, since, like most men, my ring finger is much longer than my index finger, WASD means my ring finger on the A key is in an uncomfortable cramp-prone position:
When this is compared with the QWAS layout, the advantage in comfort and ergonomics - for my hand shape and keyboard positioning, at least - is clear: