A bind is a reference for the game to understand what a particular key does. Almost every command in the game is inputted through a Bind of some variety. The keys the game uses for basic controls are bound to commands, and through these, the game understands the commands you input. When you re-organise your keyboard through the options interface, the game interface is re-binding keys for you.
For example, by default:
- "W" is bound to the command +forward.
- "1" is bound to powexecslot 1.
- "F7" is bound to "say <color black><bgcolor #22aa22>Ready! $$ emote thumbsup".
In the above example, note that "F7" has the $$ marker in it. This tells the game that it is actually 2 commands, separated by "$$", and that it's to execute them in order. You can change a bind through using the /bind command, or through Bind Files.
For a more in-depth study on uses of Binds, consult The Incomplete and Unofficial Guide to /bind.
Bind Files are simple, flat text files, which list a number of binds in a standardised format. This can allow you to load up multiple binds - or different sets of binds - for a character. You can even use load bind files as part of a bind, allowing you to have cycling commands, or even a rudimentary menu system through the use of binds.
The quickest way to make a Bind File is through using the /bindsave command. This will create a text file keybinds.txt in your City Of Heroes directory that includes every keybind on the current character. Then, you can load that using /bindload. For the most part, this is all you need to transfer a standard key configuration from one character to another. However, for more specific binds - such as power-specific ones, or binds that include dialogue or emotes appropriate to the character - this is often inappropriate.
If you want to save a file specifically for a character, or create a file out of game to load multiple binds at once with ease, you can use the /bindsavefile and /bindloadfile commands. These work almost the same as /bindsave and /bindload, except you need to reference a particular file. It is generally recomended that you create a "binds" directory in your City of Heroes game folder and use this for all your saving and loading of text files. You can then use the syntax /bindsavefile "./binds/nameFile.txt" and /bindloadfile "./binds/otherFile.txt" to access files easily in game. (The dot (.) directs the game to look in its own folder for the "binds" directory you created.)
Again, for more details see The Incomplete and Unofficial Guide to /bind