My last post was a bit of a tease, so here’s the rest of the story:
A few weeks ago I was surprised and thrilled to hear from Peter Von Buskirk, one of the engineers behind the promising but sadly ill-fated Whitefusion/Bodielobus controller project. Email subject “I am back – Reviving the Trackball? ”
Peter, along with his brother, have launched a Kickstarter Project to bring an updated, PC version of the Bodielobus controller to life. You may recall that the Bodielobus controller was intended to bring trackball input to consoles, while this new controller will serve as the first true trackball gamepad for PC gamers.
Though the Bodielobus controller didn’t quite get off thew ground, I’m happy to see that Peter’s enthusiasm and dedication to the idea haven’t died:
I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of having both joystick and mouse input in the same device, especially in an era where many PC games lazily inherit console-oriented interfaces and menus. Hopefully, this idea will resonate with enough people to kick off the project, because Peter has greater visions in mind for the trackball concept, including console support and wireless capabilities.
If you believe in the trackball cause, I urge you to pledge a few bucks to the Trackball PC Game Controller Kickstarter Project. There are some nifty benefits as you increase your pledge amount, too. Remember, you only pay if the project is successful, so please show your support!
Heads up: I have insider info on a new trackball controller project but I’m not at liberty to spill any more details. In fact, I don’t really have enough details to make much more of this, except to say that the developer is legit and they are determined to make native trackball controllers a reality. This project could be started in a matter of weeks and I expect to have more details very soon. Stay tuned.
With the rumors that Valve is developing a “Steam Box Console”, plus their less subtle teasing of “big picture mode”, it appears Valve is hoping to heroically usher PC gaming from the office chair to the (much more comfy and social) sofa. So, it’s no surprise that Valve has filed a patent for nifty-looking convertible trackball controller to give couch surfers a practical point-and-click device.
The controller shown in the patent looks like a standard Xbox 360 controller, but with two bays where thumsticks would normally be located:
“A variety of modular input interfaces can be plugged into these sockets. Hardware specific to the input type of the modular input is contained within the modular input itself, and plugged in via an interface. This allows for dual analog sticks, a combination of analog and trackball, or further any combination of touchpad, directional pad, or additional components.”
Will Valve’s increasingly successful game delivery system does find its way into our living rooms? If so, here’s hoping that we can leave the mouse behind.
There is a tendency to confuse familiarity with superiority.
It’s been almost 4 months since I posted my hands-on review of the Logitech M570 trackball mouse. It was a highly favorable review with a couple minor complaints. Since then, the M570 has become my mouse of choice, and with the benefit of hindsight I’d like to address a few of my older observations:
“Feels a little light and small (for my taste)”
I’m glad I mentioned the word “taste”, because my taste has changed. Now, when I put my hands on my old MS Trackball Optical, it feels excessively bulky and “heavy”, overall. I’ve actually come to prefer the size of the M570. At the time of writing the review, I felt like the MS Trackball felt more substantial and less fragile. Now that old mouse feels almost clumsy in comparison to the M570.
“Although the molded shape fits my hand well, the position of the buttons and trackball seemed to be geared for smaller hands and took some getting used to.”
It’s true, the M570 took some “getting used to”. My biggest concern was that the size of the M570 would turn out to be a critical flaw; I was afraid, that my thumb would fatigue faster because it had to be slightly contracted to stay “on the ball”. Yet, there has not been a single case where that has caused a noticeable problem for me, whether gaming or working. I do wish the mouse was slightly longer, with the ball was positioned farther away, so that my thumb was more often in a relaxed/stretched position. Still, this has mostly become a non-issue for me.
“…the ball makes almost imperceptible noise and feels a little â€?roughâ€? when you roll it. Iâ€™d compare it to the sound and feel of rubbing one of your fingers on paper”
In the comments for the review, other members mentioned a similar issue. Some even claimed the culprit was a tiny piece of rogue plastic in the ball area – an unintentional leftover from the manufacturing process. A couple users removed it and reported the issue to be resolved, thoughI wasn’t brave enough to attempt surgery on my mouse. After a month or two of use, I noticed that this issue went away. Now my M570 is almost as quiet as the MS mouse.
Since I wrote the review I’ve noticed one major advantage of the M570 over my old MS Trackball: It glides almost effortlessly, only sticking when it is severely dirty (which is easily resolved). This is somewhat counterintuitive: My old MS trackball mouse feels “smoother” when I roll the ball, yet it requires more effort to get going; There is more resistance. The benefit of the M570′s ease is most noticeable in games, when I need to make very minor movements.
The M570 has really grown on me since I wrote the review. Compared to my old favorite, the MS Trackball Optical, the M570 has proven to be easier to use, more precise, and less likely to gum up. After 4 months of use, there is no question that the M570 has become my favorite mouse, and I continue to give it my highest recommendation.