When I first tried the Soulash demo a few years ago I had just been playing a bunch of Terraria which also uses WASD for movement but in a totally different way. And I bounced off the Soulash controls hard. It felt so awkward and my brain fought me every step of the way. But I really liked the rest of the game so I watched videos of other people playing, joined the discord and followed development from afar.
Since then I started playing other roguelikes like Caves of Qud and ADOM and got used to the movement schemes that are typically used in these types of games. And then I tried Soulash again but I tried to think of the movement keys differently and was able to get more comfortable with the default controls.
Not sure if I can explain it well enough but instead of just going by muscle memory I looked at the shape of how the WASD keys are on the keyboard and it made more sense to me:
A S D
So based on the direction you are facing W walks you forward and S steps backward, A steps to the left and D steps to the right. Q turns you to the left and E turns you to the right. When I thought about it that way I was a lot more successful with moving around in Soulash.
I’ve seen other people who are interested in Soulash having trouble with the sight based controls and wanted to see if I could explain how I made it work for me in case that helps anyone else. If you are in that boat then give what I described a try. Or you can switch to the direction controls in the keymap section of the game’s options. That might help too. Luckily there’s a free demo so people can see if it works for them.
One thing I can add to this is that it’s possible to skip strafe keys (A,D) entirely and just move forward as the arrow shows with W, and rotate the arrow with left (Q), and right (E), moving backward is only really needed for ranged characters.
It’s really worth giving it a try because that’s only 4 keys compared to 10 needed for directional movement / rotation, and there’s a lot of room for other hotkeys without moving the hand, like abilities or actions.