Optical Mice: Microsoft and Logitech

Innovation Where You Least Expect It, Continued

When we got the mice, our first thought was that they obviously applied to games. But, unfortunately, the truth lies elsewhere. The scroll button could have been good for two types of game - FPS and RTS. For FPS, they could have been given two extra functions like reloading and zooming, since scrolling is mostly used for weapon selection. For RTS games, it would have been good to use the mouse to move the card in all directions. But there are two major problems here: most games refuse point blank to recognize the extra axis, and that is that; and it is impossible to get the driver to allocate the axis to buttons upstream in Windows.

In FPS games, Battlefield 42 is one of the few games that recognizes axis settings. And even then, it works irregularly in games. No popular strategy game will adapt to it, including C&C Generals and Age of Mythology. Anyway, the notchless scroll button is hard to control when you're playing, especially as it's instinctive to use its click function in the heat of an action moment. Fortunately, scroll speed can be adjusted in the drivers and its gradual increase disabled. However that may be, this new scroll system is useless for FPS, and even limits precision.

Keyboard scrolling is best for precision in strategy games, so the mouse has no part to play here, unless the gamer is very used to keyboard scrolling. For other types of games, the mouse is no great problem, but no great advantage either.