23. September 2011 12:04

Cyborg ex Machina?

by richard


Cyborg is in the machine?  Well it would certainly appear so, or at least the Cyborg V.7 Keyboard is according to this image:

Many thanks to the guys at Square Enix for this.  Oh, and if you're not playing the superb Deus Ex: Human Revolution then get to it - it's one seriously great game.



9/29/2011 10:35:14 AM #

Will people still be playing FPS games with a mouse and keyboard in the future?  

The mouse is undoubtedly the star component in a FPS gaming setup; it's hard to think of a way to improve on the RAT7. The keyboard however, has not evolved to the same extent.

Many people prefer the arguably inferior degree of FPS control available using gamepads, to that offered by the mouse and keyboard; it's hard to see any shortcomings of the mouse, but the keyboard was never designed with gaming as its primary function.

More intuitive alternatives to the keyboard are available. One of them is an ambidextrous joystick like the Cyborg V.1; I've been using Saitek joysticks instead of the keyboard for over ten years now, starting with the Cyborg 2000. I've been through two Cyborg Evo sticks, and now I'm using the V.1.  

With the Smart Technology profiling software, it's easy to set a joystick up to emulate the functions of a keyboard; you can map the WASD keys to the sticks directional axis, and other keys to its buttons and POV hat. The V.1 is ideal for this, because it's got a shift button that effectively doubles the number of mappable keys.

I've got some profiles for FPS games, set up to make use of both the RAT7 mouse and V.1 stick; I'd like to know if it would be possible for me to send these profiles to give examples of how they can be used together. This could be of particular interest to UK consumers who purchase any of the Cyborg bundles available from GameShark, because the V.1 is included free as part of this package.


On a side note, could you tell me who the Saitek distributor is in New Zealand? One of the buttons on my V.1 is showing signs of wear (doesn't have the tactile 'click' that the other buttons have any more.) The stick's still under warranty, and I'd like to sort this problem out.

Diluted New Zealand | Reply

9/29/2011 12:38:36 PM #

Well it's a great question.  We know very well how hard it is to get people to accept alternatives to the keyboard and mouse and we honestly can't see them being replaced for a good long while - at least not for PC gaming anyway.

Distributor details for NZ are as follows:

Gamewizz Digital Entertainment
14 Canaveral Drive, Albany, Auckland 1330, New Zealand



richard United Kingdom | Reply

10/1/2011 8:17:09 AM #

Thanks for the distributor details...

As for the rest of your reply, I can see your point; once people have become proficient using a given controller - be it gamepad, mouse and keyboard, or mouse and joystick in my case - they will be reluctant to start again with an unfamiliar peripheral.

It would be hard to justify the expense of developing a new type of controller if you knew the majority of consumers wouldn't adopt it. Razer has recently released a new motion sensing controller called the Hydra; its future looks uncertain because it might not receive the support from developers and consumers it needs to be successful. It wouldn't be the first time a 'revolutionary' new product has failed to take off.

In your case however, there isn't any need to develop anything new; what I'm talking about is basically a new application for an existing product - alongside a mouse that has already proven ideal for FPS gaming. All the V.1 joystick needs in order to function in this role is a profile written in the ST software. Plus, a joystick is useful for games other than FPS titles - flight sims for example; the Razer Hydra is less versatile.

What advantages does a joystick and mouse combination offer over a mouse and keyboard? As an example, this is the control configuration I created for Bioshock.


RAT 7:

Wheel Up - Shotgun
Middle Button - Pistol
Wheel Down - Tommy Gun
Internet Forwards - Camera
Internat Back - Crossbow
Thumbwheel Anticlockwise - Grenade Launcher
Thumbwheel Clockwise - Chemical Thrower

X Axis - Strafe Left/Right
Y Axis - Move Forwards/Back

POV Hat Up - Hack
POV Hat Down - Reload
POV Hat Right - Next Ammo
POV Hat Left - Previous Ammo

Trigger - Jump
Button 2 - Use
Button 3 - Play Log
Button 4 - Wrench
Button 5 - First Aid
Button 6 - Crouch
Pinkie - ST Shift Function; while pressed, Buttons 1-6 activate Plasmids 1-6


Of course, a control setup that requires gamers to either scroll through available weapons and Plasmids or to move their fingers from the movement keys to press the right number or function key, is more intuitive than one that places these commands and more right at their fingertips...

I've also made profiles using this setup for Crysis, Dead Space, Borderlands, and Half Life 2, which I think compare favourably with those included in the profile packs available from this site.

What I'd really like to see in the Cyborg range, is a solid ambidextrous joystick that doesn't start to wear out within TWO MONTHS. As a comparison, a Cyborg Evo joystick used for the same purpose as my V.1 stick lasted two years. I know I'm not the only consumer out there who wants a decent ambidextrous joystick - there are left handed gamers for example.

In concept, the V.1 stick is almost perfect - what lets it down is its execution. I know I'd certainly buy a revised version with a better build quality, even at a higher price...

Diluted New Zealand | Reply

10/5/2011 6:44:12 AM #

There's one small quirk I've discovered while using the ST profiling software - on Windows XP at least. There's a maximum number of profiles that can be displayed when you click on the  controller icon in the Windows taskbar, depending on the monitor resolution you are using.

My monitor is running at 1440 X 900, for example, and the number of profiles that can be displayed on it maxes out at 37; exceed this number, and instead of popping up above the controller icon, the profile list begins level with the icon and extends downwards off the screen - making it impossible to select any.

I first noticed this problem a while ago, and fixed it by deleting a few profiles until the list was displayed properly again.  Today I replicated the problem by copying a few .pro files into my main profiles directory - the list displayed just fine until I reached 37.

If you were using, say, a separate mouse and keyboard profile for each game, this means at 1440 X 900 you’d have room for a maximum of 18 games before you ran into problems. On Windows XP at least; not having Windows 7, I can’t tell you if the ST software has the same limitation in that OS.

Currently, clicking on a profile made for a different peripheral - say for a joystick instead of a mouse - generates a message that says:

<profile name>.pro does not contain a profile for this device. The device has not been profiled.

Would it be possible to add a filtering routine to the ST software, given that it already has the ability to differentiate between profiles created for different devices? If you clicked on the mouse icon for instance, it would only display a list of profiles that had been created for that peripheral. In my case this would effectively double the amount of games I’d be able to store profiles to.

Apart from this minor issue, I can’t think of any improvements I’d like to see to the ST software in future…

Diluted New Zealand | Reply

10/5/2011 11:56:25 AM #

Good feedback - couple of points on this:

1. A single profile can contain information for multiple controllers (just open the profile that you created for the other device in the editor, make the assignments for your second controller and then save it).

2. You can place folders in the profiles folder which will then appear in the pop-up list.  This way you can organise by game type or whatever you prefer and this would then enable you to create a lot more profiles before you run into the issue again.

richard United Kingdom | Reply

10/6/2011 11:05:34 AM #

Thanks for the tip. With the ability to halve the number of profiles I need, and to sort them according to genre, monitor space shouldn't be an issue for quite some time...

Would it be possible to include a paragraph or two about these features, in the SST Manual in future versions of this software? I think a lot of users could benefit from this knowledge.

Diluted New Zealand | Reply

10/23/2011 8:31:23 PM #

My RAT7 was working flawlessly until I updated the drivers last night and now my profile editor crashes.  I've uninstalled, and reinstalled easily 10 times and nothing is fixing it.  HELP!

Brian United States | Reply

10/24/2011 12:26:18 PM #

What are the details of the crash and which version of Windows are you running?

richard United Kingdom | Reply

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