Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Mousing Is Serious Business

Do you consistently use one hand for mousing when playing games?


No, I don't mean one handed when you're viewing porn, I mean do you always use your right or left hand to move the mouse, or do you swap?

I'm left-handed. Well, most of the time. You see, when I'm doing mouse-intensive tasks I tend to use my left hand for mousing. When I'm doing keyboard-intensive tasks, I tend to use my right hand for mousing (or stick to keyboard shortcuts and ignore the mouse altogether). When I'm using retarded WASD games that don't let you remap the movement keys, I tend to use the mouse in the right hand. When I can remap the keys, I'll use IJKL (because Vi is almost the best text editor) with the mouse in the left hand. Unless the game is hot-key intensive, in which case I'll use ESDF (with all the surrounding keys mapped to hotkeys).

So I swap mouse hands a lot. Let's just go with “left-dominant mouser”.

Have you seen the kinds of mice out there for right-handers? They're mainly like this one:

Razar Naga gaming mouse

The dominant features: curved to fit the right hand only, with a gazillion buttons under the thumb. What if you're left-handed? Well, tough luck. You get to use mice like this:

Dominant features: mouse design that is about 20 years old, with buttons under your thumb and pinky finger. i.e: a mouse you can't actually move without accidentally pushing buttons. The original Intellimouse (the silver case with red tail light, one of the first optical mouses available in consumer electronics stores) had a thumb button on either side.

IntelliMouse Optical, circa 2000
How far has mouse design progressed over the years? Meh … not much at all.

Every now and then, a company will realise that ambidextrous people don't use tentacles with suction cups to move their mouse with, and you'll get a neat design like this one:

Dominant features: mouse design that is equally comfortable left- or right-handed. Hardware button to switch between left and right configuration, buttons up with the fingers that actually click buttons, not down the bottom with the fingers that grip the mouse.

This, my friends, is the pinnacle of mouse design. No accidental clicks, the four extra buttons are tactile and raised so you can't accidentally click them instead of buttons 1 & 2, and you get that cool light (the red bits) which can be programmed to an entire spectrum of different colours depending on your usage. I have it switch between red and green for left and right handed use (i.e.: port and starboard).

Note, of course, that the G300 is designed for precision mousing. It's smaller than any of those Razer mouses, and much lighter to boot. Your index and middle finger sit over button 1 and 2, the top pad of your thumb sits in the groove of one side, ring finger and pinky sitting in the other groove, with the ball of your hand sliding on the desk (or sitting up in the air, depending on how you roll … or in this case, mouse). Coarse movement is achieved with your elbow and shoulder, fine movement involves dropping the ball of your hand to the table and pushing the mouse around with thumb & fingers.

That is to say, this mouse is ergonomically perfect. And it works just fine with Mac OS X Lion (buttons for Mission Control), though you'll need to plug it into a Windows box to customise it as I did for my left/right swap over.

TL;DR: I love the Logitech G300 Gaming Mouse. You should try it yourself at a bricks & mortar store (in Australia, places like OfficeWorks have lots of hardware available to touch) before you buy it. It's not really expensive by my standards, but then I wouldn't want to buy four similarly priced mice to find that I don't like any of them.

1 comment:

  1. I tried a five-button mouse many years ago, but I found that I could never remember what I mapped the extra two buttons to - and I couldn't think of many functions to map in the first place. Just finding a comfortable 3-button mouse (not too small, not too light, flexible cable) is hard enough.

    And despite me being a rightie, I do use my mice with my left hand for non-gaming purposes (if I'm not using a graphics tablet to begin with, again with the left hand). Among other things, this gives me parallel access to the return and cursor keys. However, I always keep my mice in right-hand configuration, so that I don't have to fiddle with buttons or setups if I need to switch hands or computers.