Possibly stupid video game question
September 17, 2021 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I recently acquired a bunch of games on PC. Yay me! Unfortunately I keep running into the same dumb issue. Seriously, it's really dumb. So dumb that googling hasn't helped.

How the hell do you pick stuff up? Is there some agreed upon thing that most games use and all gamers know so no one lists it anywhere in any of the settings? Just walking over the stuff doesn't pick it up. None of the buttons we're told to use do anything. This has now happened in two games (Titanfall 2? I think? and Control) and I feel like a dummy (possibly because I'm being dumb). Googling these things informed me that yes, I do want to pick up all this stuff the zombie monsters drop, but with the assumption that I knew how to do that. I do not. Apparently. God I feel dumb.
posted by schadenfrau to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
In some games, you need to hit a key to pick stuff up. This will almost always be explicitly shown to you, like "press E to pick up." It's usually, though not always, the same key used for general purpose interactions, ie a "use" key.

In Control, you just walk over/near stuff to pick it up.

If you're not picking stuff up in Control, that usually means your inventory for that item type is full. This happens a lot with the weapon/power mods, which - personally - I find very annoying. You can 'recycle' the ones you don't want to keep around, freeing up space for new things.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:12 AM on September 17 [6 favorites]


"E" is almost always the "use" button in most PC control schemes. But also most PC games have configurable controls and a screen in settings that tell you what the actions and keys are. I played Control on the console but to my memory it did have a controller screen in the settings that told you which button did what, and sometimes it is a bit buried in the settings.
posted by pazazygeek at 11:19 AM on September 17


I should add that many other games, not just control, use the "walk over something to pick it up" paradigm. Especially if there isn't an inventory management system, try that.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:27 AM on September 17


If you're not picking stuff up in Control, that usually means your inventory for that item type is full. This happens a lot with the weapon/power mods, which - personally - I find very annoying. You can 'recycle' the ones you don't want to keep around, freeing up space for new things.

IMPORTANT TIP FOR CONTROL: You will want to be very proactive about recycling the unused/lower-level mods you pick up. First, recycling rewards you with the in-game currency that's used for unlocking new weapons forms and upgrades. Second, it keeps your inventory slots open to pick up more mods so you can keep equipping stronger mods and recycling weaker ones. I spent my whole playthrough reflexively recycling any mods with a lower strength than my equipped mods (If I had a level IV combat mod, I would toss any matching mods that were III or lower) and always had space to pick up more stuff.

Another thing that I will suggest with Control: Although it supports keyboard and mouse, the control scheme is really built for a standard XBox/Playstation type dual-stick + 8-button controller (they make USB ones for PC), and it's a lot easier on your hands.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:40 AM on September 17 [5 favorites]


There are a couple of paradigms, and you're right - it's not immediately obvious which one is being used until you experiment:

1) Walk over thing to pick it up
2) Walk over *minor* thing (such as ammunition) to pick it up. Press key when prompted to pick up *major* thing (weapons, items, keys, etc.)
3) Press key when prompted to pick up everything

"Press key to pick up" requires you to be within a certain range of the item, otherwise the game won't prompt you to pick it up. It also requires you to be looking directly at the item (usually). You should be able to figure out which key to use by looking in the key bindings (at the menu screen, there should be a selection for Options or Settings, then pick Controls or something similar, and then it will be listed as Keyboard Bindings, Control Bindings, Keyboard+Mouse... there's not a good standard here). The key will usually be labeled as Use, Interact, or Pick Up.

Most modern games try to explain all of this in an introductory "tutorial" mission, so if you skipped that for whatever reason it can be difficult to suss out what you're supposed to do. If you're really stuck, game-specific wikis may also be helpful; most have some sort of "getting started" or "beginners guide" page, but as with all wikis you're at the mercy of whoever wants to spend their time writing that material. Searching "[game] wiki" or "[game] game wiki" usually brings it up as a top result. Most of these are hosted on Gamepedia or fandom.com (same site, I think).
posted by backseatpilot at 11:43 AM on September 17


Many of the games I play use right-click to pick things up, which on my old Mac trackpad is command/click. (Long ago, I set my trackpad to never right-click since it was doing it by accident far too often.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:07 PM on September 17


It's not a dumb question!

Often I have to go into game settings, look at keyboard settings and scroll through those to learn how to move around in a game.

Most games that use WASD to move, use E or CTRL or something to pick stuff up. That's the case with like Titanfall, for example.

Most games are also configurable as well, so you can change the key settings.
posted by MiG at 12:09 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


You should be able to figure out which key to use by looking in the key bindings (at the menu screen, there should be a selection for Options or Settings, then pick Controls or something similar, and then it will be listed as Keyboard Bindings, Control Bindings, Keyboard+Mouse... there's not a good standard here).

There isn't a good standard for the names but it is pretty standard for a game to have a screen where you can change key bindings in the pause menu. These screens are also a great quick reference for which key does what. I often have to refer to them even with games I'm experienced with.

Also, this is not at all just you, OP. Intentionally or not, games assume some familiarity with their conventions. It can be a catch-22 for new players.
posted by commander_fancypants at 2:38 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Just another tip on Control... I noticed that I often had more than the "allowed" amount of mods in my collection (e.g., the screen says 26/25), so you may need to break down a few in your inventory before you can pick up more. I don't know if that's a weird glitch or bug or what, but it happened to me periodically throughout the game and the DLCs.

IMO Control is fairly generous with giving you more mods to pick up, so if you tend to be a hoarder you may find that is less necessary here. (I tend to hoard, probably how I ended up in the scenario described above...)
posted by sm1tten at 3:12 PM on September 17


Some (most?) first person games also require you to put your targeting crosshairs over an object in order to get the prompt to pick it up.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:15 AM on September 18


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