::::: : the wood : davidrobins.net

A joystick, a trackball, and a gaming mouse

News, Technical, Media ·Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 01:38 EST (link)

A couple days ago, I bought a Logitech "Extreme 3D Pro" joystick; I'd "re-discovered" the '80s game TIE Fighter through some play-throughs on YouTube, but it was really painful with my Bluetooth laptop mouse, so I decided to go look for a joystick and bought one at Fry's. But when I tried it out it was still difficult to fly accurately. I figured I'd give it some time, but also try out a trackball and a gaming mouse, which I'd seen at the store and online when I was looking around. Based on reviews, I selected the Kensington SlimBlade trackball and Logitech G400s gaming mouse.

The Kensington SlimBlade was a beautiful device but the software and site left much to be desired. First, the slimblade.com site advertised on all the packaging materials just redirected to the Kensington main page. Downloading the drivers was a terrible pain; there was a download button on the page for the trackball that I eventually found, but it didn't actually do anything. I had to search the site with Google to find the correct download. Then, when I found the file, it wouldn't install—aborted half-way through. I eventually found it needed to be run as administrator; it didn't know enough to provide a manifest for elevation. Then it worked fairly well.

The Logitech mouse was easy to install, although the packaging was a bit convoluted, and it had some nice software to configure the many buttons to emit equivalent keypresses. Oddly, it came with some weights that could be inserted to modify the weight of the mouse. I guess that's a high-end gamer thing, since it didn't make much difference to me.

As it turned out, I ended up getting better with the joystick and decided to keep it and return the other two (very no-hassle at Fry's; although since they unpacked everything, which is reasonable, I needn't have went to the trouble to put it all back as it came). Part of the trick seemed to be not moving the joystick to the extreme upper left/lower right during calibration, but just a little way; that made control easier.