Author Topic: Sensor location on mouse  (Read 503 times)

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Offline Drace

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Sensor location on mouse
« on: Wed, 11 July 2018, 21:11:04 »
As a competitive gamer by profession (in FPSs), I've been thinking a lot about what could be improved in my peripherals. The main thing I keep coming back to is my mouse, not specifically "my" mouse but all mouses in general. Why is the sensor always in the dead center? It's so unintuitive and a pain to constantly keep yourself aware of the sensor's position to maximize your aiming accuracy. Most people just pick up the mouse and use it at that's the end of it, sorta "I move left, crosshair moves left, practice makes perfect". But there's so much at play here, the mouse is a relatively big object compared to the sensor and the precision you're asking from it, trying to think of the entire mouse as the point of reference for your crosshair movement is like trying to press small buttons with big fingers. You need to be aware of the exact position of the sensor to maximize the precision of your aim.

The thing that factors the most into this is something I'll call arcing, unless you're able to keep your mouse at the exact same angle relative to your desk (which is impossible), there will be discrepancies in how much distance different points on the mouse has traveled. That will make your aim inconsistent if you're using the entire mouse as your point of reference. But that's not all, the dominant part of your body when it comes to being able to make precise movements down to the millimeter are your finger tips. Being forced to used the center of your knuckles (that's the part of your body that most often lines up with sensor) as your point of reference robs you of the natural precision of your fingertips. Case example for this is using a pencil vs using a mouse to write in paint. The biggest reason using the mouse works so horribly isn't due to having to grip a huge object, it's simply because the point of reference is unintuitive. When you hold a pencil, the tip is close to your finger tips and it's very easy to discern where to tip is intuitively. That's not the case with mouses, the sensor is very far away from the finger tips. Try writing with a 3 finger grip while holding the pen at the tip, the center, and the eraser end and you'll notice the effect slowly deviates towards the way writing with a mouse looks like.

Point being, I'm 100% positive having the sensor located under the index finger would improve accuracy far beyond anything that the difference in performace between the PMW3310 and PMW3366 can bring. I'm not the first to have considered this, seen plenty of discussions about this, participated in plenty myself. Here's a snipet translated from a Chinese manufacturer talking about this.

---------------------------

Front mount sensor



The position of the sensor greatly changes the basic characteristics and behavior of the mouse. It was sent back to us by many domestic gamers as feedback of DRTCM 0 series. The DRTCM 15 utilizes the advantage of the new sensor mounting area and shifts the sensor mounting position conventionally installed in the center boldly forward, places it on the line where the player's right hand, index finger and thumb intersect intuitively And pursued quick mobility.

In addition, the benefits of front mounting dramatically alleviate the phenomenon of dragging the pointer at lift, as compared with the mouse placed rearwardly, in conjunction with quick cutoff * and lift-off distance adjustment functions of sensor reading information at lift.



Depending on the position of the sensor the playability will vary greatly even with the same action.



If you have a mouse now, imagine that the sensor is positioned at the tip of the hand and hold your mouse. I think that you will be surprised by the difference in pointer operation feeling. Yes, that sense is the basic operation feeling of DRTCM15.

source: https://web.archive.org/web/20100621235442/http://www.dharmapoint.com/products/DRTCM15

----------------------------

As depicted in the above, the DRTCM15 is the single example of a mouse I know of who places the sensor anywhere near the index finger.



Unfortunately this mouse isn't in production anymore, look around in chinese and japanese auction sites without luck too.

So if I want to go about testing this, does anyone know of any mouse on the market with this sensor position?

If not, I'd like to mod one but I've found that the mouses I currently own (other then the ones that I don't want to rip open just yet) have the sensor integrated on a large chip with everything else. I seen photos of mouses where the sensor was on a small chip of its own. So basically what I want to ask in this regard is if anyone knows of mouse that might have an interior layout that would make such of a mod... more simple?

If neither of the above feel free to jolt down your own thoughts on sensor position  :thumb:

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 02:43:11 »
Rewrote post:

An ideal mouse should have the sensor at the mouse's centre of gravity.
All your motions moving the mouse are basically pushing against that centre.
That is why mice had the with the sensor in the middle in the first place: because its position correlated with the weight. When the correlation is off, the user would have to compensate for drift by also twisting the mouse somewhat. The more the user has to twist (further away the sensor is from the centre of gravity × weight of mouse) the worse.

In old ball mice the heaviest part of the mouse was the ball. The ball assembly was also the largest part inside the mouse and the rest of the mouse was designed around it. Then optical mice just changed the sensor but not the mouse's shape, and I think many designers never thought about how that shift of weight changed the feel.

I think a mouse with the sensor and centre of gravity in-between those fingers intended for moving the mouse around would probably be a better device to use — but then you would first have to chose which fingers you would use to move it around with.

Myself I use almost only very light semi-vertical mice that have a "pen grip". I move these around not with my thumb and pinky but with my thumb and index finger or forefinger. For these, weight and sensor in-between those would probably be best.

But if you design a mouse for a claw or palm-grip between thumb and pinky, with no use of the other fingers other than for clicking then the best place for the weight and sensor would probably be in-between where the thumb and pinky are supposed to touch the mouse.

I think that unfortunately there are no "pen grip" with any premium sensor. If you find one, please do let me know!
The mice I use had been marketed on their ergonomics (angle of wrist). They also don't have very good alignment between weight and sensor placement.
« Last Edit: Thu, 12 July 2018, 04:24:13 by Findecanor »
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 06:16:02 »
Your index finger isn't doing anything but pressing a button, it's not guiding the mouse in any way shape or form, mouse movement is by wrist/arm movement and guided by your eye (i.e. hand/eye coordination).

You can adapt to almost anything, but as humans we adapt best when the things we manipulate are centered under the digit/limb being used to manipulate it, you grasp the mouse in your hand, therefor the hand is where it should be centered.  A steering wheel pivots on an axis between your hands, handlebars pivot on an axis between your hands. Joystics are centered between or under the finger(s) controlling it.

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Offline Drace

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 08:23:44 »
The point about center of gravity was very interesting. But sadly I can't really agree. Esport competitors usually have a mouse so light that the center gravity of isn't discernable on a flat table, unless you play with 2 finger and a grip so light the mouse ends up turning on it's own axis. Even then theyre so light and balanced the cable is more likely to spin the mouse on its axis then its center of gravity. But even for heavier mouses, the only thing this is bringing to the table is an aid to get a feel for the sensor's location to properly locate your point of reference. This so called aid is something that won't helpful anymore if the sensor's location is already in an intuitive location.

For comparative purposes, all the presicion tools I can think of dont have their center of gravity on their point of action, can you imagine how awkward it would be to use a tip-heavy pencil? If anything the center of gravity should be centered around the forces the user will apply to it to assure all forces have equal imact on the system. The point of action (the sensor in the mouses cases) is better off being in a spot that can be intuitive, such as having it be related to your digits or being on the end of the system. Them being in different locations is actually a boon, it allows the user to make anchored pivots (aka rotating the mouse along its center of gravity) for easily controlled and extremely precise micro-movement (if the point of action is in an intuitive location) exactly like how we use a pencil or any precision tools.

For pen-grip mouses, I know quite a few people that actually uses a graphic tablet as their daily driver. Ever tried it? It's insanely more accurate then any mice, even in FPSs without even giving myself time to warmup or to even get used to it it increased my performance by about 5-10% in a training mode. That's actually unconceivable for my level and absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately the increase in accuracy wasn't worth the tradeoff of smaller surface area, less buttons and theyre harder to hit, and the insane lift-off distance makes it impossible to lift while keeping the crosshair stationary. I have a lot to say on that topic but I'd be digressing.

As for the point of us not using the index finger when controlling the mouse, I have trouble seeing relevance of this. So you're saying since we use our wrist and arm to control a mouse, the sensor is better off being on the wrist or elbow? The point about using the index as a point of reference is just that, just for a point of reference to know where the sensor is without having to be conscious of it. You don't need to do anything to know where your finger tips are. Even per your line of thought, the fact it's the one clicking is a huge factor into intuitivity. Having the sensor follow the location of what's actually doing the clicking will make the mouse feel a tablet where you're actually pressing things with your fingertip.

And lastly, adapting isn't maximizing. Keep in mind I'm talking from a competitive mindset. Just because one can adapt to using prostethic leg doesn't mean he can win the 100m dash in the olympics. That's a very unprogressive way of thinking, there's always room for improvement to make things better. The smallest edge or improvement can make a world's worth of difference in the upper echelons of performance. Also the examples you provided aren't really helpfull references; they're all anchored tools. Meaning they don't actually move and using the anchor as a point of reference is easy as pie. To top it off the only one that can be related to a mouses case usage is the joystick, which offers a much lower level of precision. We want to look at superior things to make constructive observations. If none is available, we think of something new, innovation!

Forgot to point this out on the first post, interesting bit of info. There has been a case study in 1987 from microsoft where they deduced that users get "dramatically" (their choice of words) more accurate with their cursor control as they move the sensor closer to the tip of the mouse. 
« Last Edit: Thu, 12 July 2018, 09:02:01 by Drace »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 13:12:06 »
Your index finger isn't doing anything but pressing a button, it's not guiding the mouse in any way shape or form, mouse movement is by wrist/arm movement and guided by your eye (i.e. hand/eye coordination).
Ah, but that does not apply to a mouse with "pen grip", where I can rest the wrist on the mouse pad and move the mouse with the thumb and index finger only, although I more often use the thumb and forefinger.

There has been a case study in 1987 from microsoft where they deduced that users get "dramatically" (their choice of words) more accurate with their cursor control as they move the sensor closer to the tip of the mouse.
A report from that study would be an interesting read. Do you have the name of the article or of one of its authors that I could search on?
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Offline Drace

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 14:48:30 »
Sure thing, the best source I can find is a book speaking about the design history early computers and their peripherals. The thing is written off interviews with Bill Atkinson, Paul Bradley, Bill Verplank, and Cordell Ratzlaff. Big names that has innovated design in the early years.

http://www.designinginteractions.com/downloads/DesigningInteractions_2.pdf (Skip over to page 116-122 for the bit about the case study)

Here's some articles and people talking about the results of the study if you're interested.

http://shura.shu.ac.uk/973/1/fulltext.pdf (page 6, interview with Paul Bradley, disigner of the microsoft mouse 3rd gen)
https://www.ideo.com/case-study/a-hand-friendly-precisely-controlled-mouse (article that points out the results of the study at some point)
https://ask.metafilter.com/88166/Why-are-mouse-sensors-in-the-middle-of-the-mouse (forum discussion about the deviations from the results of that study)
https://books.google.ca/books?id=LeosrkjnlM8C&pg=PA210#v=onepage&q&f=false (statements in an 1988 magazine from PC mag, doesn't say much)


And for the index finger bit, it's also not true if you use a claw grip which is fairly popular in the competitive scene. But as i pointed out earlier I beleive it's a pretty moot point anyway.

« Last Edit: Thu, 12 July 2018, 15:12:28 by Drace »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 20:17:47 »
While my comment was primarily about a normal mouse, a pen grip doesn't invalidate any of what I said, it supports what I said. When we write we center the instrument between our fingers, your pen doesn't have a kink under it to center the pen under your index finger does it?


Regardless..
I read the study, especially the part you pointed out, yes, it says moving it forward helps accuracy, but you have to understand that at the time every mouse had a rear mounted ball on it  (from one of your links). Moving it to the center places it under the fingers as they recommended in the study. It didn't say it needed to be under the finger tips or the buttons, just that it needed to be moved forward and out from under the palm. Which again supports what I said above in that it centers into your hand and follows the aim of your hand/wrist/arm. If you hold a baseball while it sits on your desk, where it contacts the desk, is right about where most mice sensors tend to sit. Spin a mouse in your fingers, the sensor should stay relatively centered. I.E. it's centered in your hand.

Even if MS thought it was better to have it all the way under the finger tips, they certainly didn't make use if it when the tech allowed them too. Of all the MS mice I looked at, new and old, none had a truly front mounted sensor and some recent ones still use a rear mounted sensor, in fact the only MS mice I found with a truly front mounted sensor is the Arc mice, which don't really have a choice on sensor position. You would think if the MS marketing department thought there was an advantage to that sensor location they would have used it in their marketing material. The most damning to this whole idea is that none of the competitive mouse manufacturers have bothered to run with it. I'm pretty sure Razer (or any of the others) would jump all over something new they could use as leverage against Logitech.

I have a mouse with a front mounted sensor (G700), it's the only optical or laser mouse I've owned that I ever took note of where the sensor was located, precisely because of that arc you talked about, it  was too far forward. Was it an issue, no, but I was aware of it at times when doing something tricky in cad or photo editing, especially if I was sitting crooked, but it never bothered me in games.

And yes, I have used a pen mouse, I have a Wacom Bamboo as well as a Wacom Penabled Tablet.
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Offline Drace

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 12 July 2018, 22:38:48 »
For your pen example there's a very simple reason why it's methods for precision can't be applied to a mouse. You can easily get a feel for where the tip is simply because it's the only thing that touches the surface. Combinations of knowing it's close to your finger tips, angular pressure and arcing from anchored pivoting is all stuff that the brain uses subconsciously to discern where the tip is without even having to look at your pen. Your mouse however is a big flat surface, none of the above can be used to discern the exact location of the sensor with absolute certainty. The only thing you have to work with is an approximation. The average user won't see anything wrong with this as an approximation is all you need when using adaptive movement (meaning just moving towards the destination and making corrections on the trajectory as you see deviations). But when it comes to competitive gaming you can't keep track of how your crosshair is moving along as you move it; you need to precisely know where, down to the fraction of a milimeter, the sensor's position needs to be on your table and perform the motion as fast as possible in one swift motion. To achieve this level of pin-point accuracy you need a pin-point point of reference that deviates from what the sensors sees as little as possible. Approximating the sensor's location as being somewhere in the middle of a relatively huge object is extremely prone to error, there's no way to know for sure with absolute precision where that sensor is relative to your hand. Being aware of your sensor's location is the first thing any coach tries to drill into upper tier players trying to improve their aim even further, it's absolutely necessary in bringing your game to the next level.

As for what you said about the study, you're actually simply wrong. The study said they tried multiple variations with hundreds of handcrafted foam mouses and the improvements were shown as the ball was moved more towards the finger tips. The final product they ended up with was not a centered ball, it was 1/4 distance down from the front, between the middle and the front. And again as they stated, that was as far up as the internal mechanics allowed them to push it up without having to sacrifice other factors of the physical design, they had to compromise. And I don't know how you hold your mouse, but 3/4 of the way there is pretty close to my finger tips. I don't think anyone in their right mind uses a mouse with their fingertips on the absolute tip of the mouse, you can't even use the mouse wheel that way.

That whole discussion on modern mouses relates precisely to my opening statement of this thread. However, I don't believe throwing so much trust in companies having done the most optimal thing rather then the most profitable thing is a healthy mindset. I for one know nearly all companies behind gaming peripherals (mouse, keyboard, headsets, etc) have absolutely no idea whats best for 'competitive' gamers. They've never done any case study for what they do and just add flashy designs to whats already been made for office workers. Most of us go fishing outside of the gaming brands when gearing up unless its a sponsor thing, (zowie mouse, old bland mechanical keyboards that support ps/2, studio headphones like akg, etc etc). We're using gear not tailored for gamers, because the gear that's supposedly tailored for gamers is subpar. There's no one out there "actually" innovating for the upper echelon of performance because the market is too small. The R&D will cost money and they'd just be selling to the exact same people for the same price because no one will buy a mouse for multiple hundreds, it would ultimately be their loss.

I'd argue that what you experienced with the G700 is just the symptoms of re-adaptation. You're already used to a centered sensor so it's only natural that anything else would feel weird. The way I see it for the arguments I've been laying out is if you put 2000 hours of practice into a mouse with a sensor near the front vs 2000 hours of practice with a mouse with a centered sensor, you'll most likely see better results with the sensor on the front. I'd argue that the fact you took note of where the sensor is on your own is a good thing, in my opinion that just opens up the gates to greater precision.



Let me try to reiterate a bit. Mouses work well, very well, but they aren't perfect, far from it. Even the best players in the world don't even come anywhere close to getting perfect accuracy. Now let's look at this niche game called osu!, a rhythm game where the community evolved to using graphic tablets instead of mouses because they figured out it was the most accurate tool for the job. It's so much more accurate that its pretty much impossible to rank in the top 1000 with a mouse anymore. The top players in that game are very capable of reaching legit perfect accuracy with insane consistency, using a tablet however. This is where I'm coming from, seeing that us as human beings are able to reach that level performance except just not with a mouse is proof enough that's there's still plenty that can be improved in what's come to be our gaming peripheral of choice. The question however is what and how. Moving the sensor further up is my hypothesis and with that said I absolutely cannot take arguments like mouses are already perfect seriously, it's simply not the case.
« Last Edit: Fri, 13 July 2018, 07:39:18 by Drace »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 02:10:33 »
Thanks for the papers on the 1987 Microsoft mouse designed by IDEO. That was an interesting read.

Apparently, IDEO's mouse design was influential ... I had these mice so I took a picture.
200000-0

Apple later reverted to a central ball with the "puck mouse" that was completely circular. Their next mouse, the Apple Pro Mouse had an optical sensor but they put it in the middle. With the first Apple Wireless Mouse, they put sensor in the middle of the top half and Apple mice have had it there since.

I still believe in that correlation between centre of gravity and sensor position is preferable. Of course with a very light mouse that is less of an issue.
When the mouse contains batteries, then their weight would become an issue however.
I have noticed that many wireless mice have the battery compartment and sensor side-by-side close to the middle. A few of them have the compartment split with a battery on each side of the censor, and some even have one end of the battery/batteries over the sensor.
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 July 2018, 02:23:19 by Findecanor »
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Offline Coreda

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 04:08:23 »
For pen-grip mouses, I know quite a few people that actually uses a graphic tablet as their daily driver. Ever tried it? It's insanely more accurate then any mice, even in FPSs without even giving myself time to warmup or to even get used to it it increased my performance by about 5-10% in a training mode. That's actually unconceivable for my level and absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately the increase in accuracy wasn't worth the tradeoff of smaller surface area, less buttons and theyre harder to hit, and the insane lift-off distance makes it impossible to lift while keeping the crosshair stationary. I have a lot to say on that topic but I'd be digressing.

I honestly believe this has untapped potential for the gaming market, having switched to using it as my main desktop pointing device a few years ago (I had it for years prior to that but always only as a secondary device). Ergonomically it's just more natural and the stylus can be held in almost any sloped or perpendicular angle in one's hand.

For the lift-off distance it might depend on the brand/model but for the Wacom Intous4 (large) I use it's actually designed as a feature, in that the stylus for use outside of pressure-sensitive surface strokes is meant to hover above the surface to move the cursor rather than dragging the stylus along the surface. The side buttons can also be changed to become the left/right click while hovering as well (I press them with my thumb as it's the more intuitive grip imo), so effectively the lift-off distance is no longer measured from the surface but from however high you hold the stylus to move the cursor (in this case say between 5/16-1/2 inch or ~8-12mm) to the range beyond which it's no longer detected (around 5/8 inch or ~15mm).

If a graphics tablet maker like Wacom could produce a stylus that featured a scroll wheel (they already make an airbrush model with a petite version of one already) and at least three buttons (apart from one for the scroll wheel), in addition to allowing the hover distance to be adjusted I believe it would be an attractive alternative for some gamers. Would also make it more useful for general computing as well, and could be marketed for those looking for improved ergonomics.

For me the beginning of an ideal configuration might look something like following, based on my own grip usage (excuse the sloppy digital handwriting):

200004-0

Though I think I'd start with the minimum number of buttons with a scrollwheel and see how comfortable the ergonomics continued to be before adding additional. With the right positions I'm sure a layout could be honed for both grips, where the stylus could be rotated to instead have the primary buttons under the index finger and the scrollbar/extra button(s) under the thumb. (Or better still just create either alternate shells with different layouts).
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 July 2018, 06:13:59 by Coreda »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 05:18:33 »
One property a mouse has which a stylus has not is that it can be released and then gripped again without having to be picked up in-between.

I have never had a stylus tablet, but I have for a long time had an idea for a type of tablet stylus or pen-style mouse that would do just that.
I remember that when I was a kid I saw a short pen that stood up on its back like a weeble toy with the ballpoint up. I have been thinking of that, but turned around with the point down.

A pen that stands up that way is the Slända pen but it has a cone instead of a ball so it stands at a quite low angle.

The Penclic mouse is a pen-styled mouse that stands upright. The stylus itself is on a hinge on top of a small mouse base.
I tested the Penclic at a trade show once, and I was not impressed. Because the mouse is so much heavier than the stylus, the weight at the bottom acts like friction against the surface.

I also think the stylus would need a triangular cross-section so that your hand would find the correct grip (and buttons) easily, where as the Penclic is round.

The Penclic has a scroll wheel on the base. For actual scrolling I don't like scrollwheels at all. An old document viewer for Unix called "gv" uses middle-button press-drag instead: and I much prefer this method: Press button, hold and move the mouse: a line is drawn on the screen between the position of the first press and your current position. This line represents a movement vector, and scrolling is continuously relative to the direction and size of this vector. In other words, mouse-drag acts like an analogue joystick.
Or... you could use an actual analogue thumb-joystick on your left thumb to scroll.
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 July 2018, 05:30:33 by Findecanor »
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Offline Coreda

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 05:58:50 »
One property a mouse has which a stylus has not is that it can be released and then gripped again without having to be picked up in-between.

I have never had a stylus tablet, but I have for a long time had an idea for a type of tablet stylus or pen-style mouse that would do just that.

A pen that stands up that way is the Slända pen but it has a cone instead of a ball so it stands at a quite low angle.

Interesting concept. Have to say in use this aspect doesn't really cross my mind as the parallel to the behavior of regular pens is so close that it doesn't seem out of the ordinary to just leave it on the desk or in its included ink well (can be either vertical or horizontally placed).

Looking at the Slanda pen that quasi-freestands it appears to to require being on a certain angle to keep its balance, which in itself may still take a moment to adjust the pen to and I'd imagine required some additional weight on the nib end (just judging from the wide base). I suppose there's some advantage to leaving a pen semi-upright but not sure it's worth the trade-offs in those examples (edit: will say I definitely appreciate the Penclic's additional buttons, and it actually might be a decent middle ground for some).

If you ever get the chance I'd recommend trying a Wacom in mouse mode (distinct from pen mode which maps the surface 1:1 to the display) and which supports hover movement. I'd be curious what your experience would be like. The model I have is actually rather inexpensive when found used by now (heck even when I bought it a year after release I managed to snag it for around $120 for a large model with pen, which tbf it was a great deal given the excellent condition/size).
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 July 2018, 06:10:23 by Coreda »

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 09:13:43 »
It doesn't make sense to complicate the stylus , because adding moving parts would make it too bulky.


It made sense to have more buttons on the tablets and stylus IN THE PAST, because there's no touch screen to draw on.


But NOW, that they make big ips graphics tablets for $500,    You can get all the software shortcuts you need right on there.

Offline Coreda

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 09:47:58 »
It doesn't make sense to complicate the stylus , because adding moving parts would make it too bulky.

It made sense to have more buttons on the tablets and stylus IN THE PAST, because there's no touch screen to draw on.

But NOW, that they make big ips graphics tablets for $500,    You can get all the software shortcuts you need right on there.

So I understand obviously for non-gaming purposes the benefits of multi-touch and say a display like the Cintiq, but for gaming it seems impractical. Is one meant to simultaneously touch the surface, move the cursor, and click the available buttons on the stylus? Would be fine if the task involves for example an image editor (rotation/zoom/pan) or anything with a flat 2D plane for multi-touch scrolling since one has time to alternate either between the keyboard and the tablet surface or the stylus and the surface but for such gaming each hand is pretty much exclusively occupied by a keyboard and the other the primary aiming device. Unless you mean replacing the entire use of the keyboard with a pricey Cintiq... somehow, with some custom-made gaming control configuration secondary screen.

Seems to me embedding basic mouse-equivalent functionality into the stylus itself seems more reasonable for the purpose of replacing the mouse for aim/ergonomic reasons. Also the actual core of the stylus is rather thin to begin with for the standard Grip pen for example, it's the shell and grip which make up the bulk (same could be said for the airbrush variant which afaict is only modeled in that manner after its analog counterpart).

Offline Drace

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 11:08:01 »
You're missing the point tp4tissue. The change that was suggested was in the goal to make pen tablets marketable for gamers, saying the change isn't useful for artist is irrelevant since the change wouldn't be for the artists anyway.

As for the discussion of what would need to be done, although more buttons is an interesting step forward it's not the most glaring issue. Even with more buttons it wouldn't usable for 3rd person or first person games because of these more glaring issues. In the few douzen hours I've spent trying to make things work with a tablet in the past I was able to compensate for the lack buttons simply by mapping more things to the keyboard. Many people only play with left and right click on the mouse anyway. If anything I'd just like the clickers to be more responsive like a mouse click instead of the mushy gamepad feel they all seem to have. There's 5 main issues that contribute to pen tablets being unusable in 3D games, I'll list them in order of importance.

1. Lift-off distance takes the number one spot. Yes this a feature to keep track of where you are where using absolute positioning and I personally wouldn't be able to live without it when it comes to drawing. But you won't be using absolute positioning in these games, otherwise known as stylus mode. It simply doesn't work, it makes the camera spin at infinite speeds because these games anchor the cursor in the center of the screen and the tablet is continuously trying to move it elsewhere. We need relative positioning, like a mouse, so mouse mode for wacom tablets. Other brands like Huion don't even have a mouse mode. One of the most basic actions in 3D games is turning your view, then re-centering your pointing device. A good mouse has like 1-2mm of liftoff distance, so when re-centering you just have to lift it off the surface or simply tilt the mouse sideways and the cursor wont move while you re-center. With a graphics tablet, the lift-off distance is so high it's actually impossible to recenter without moving the cursor. To make matters worst, I've found through testing, with both wacom tablets and the one huion tablet i have, that the upper limits of the lift-off distance isn't consistent and can deviate from 5-15mm with every lift. Meaning it's impossible to even get used to it in any practical way. It feels like there's always a magnet pulling your cursor away when you try to re-center. The solution however is pretty simple, it can be solved through software. Either have a lift-off distance slider in the drivers, which is possible because I've seen people do driver mods that changes the lift-off distance of huion tablets, or just introduce a 3rd mode called trackpad mode where the cursor only moves when pen contact is made. Personally I'd rather the later but both would be usable.

2. Active area delimiters. Since we're using relative positioning, it's actually pretty hard to keep track of where the edges of the active region are on the tablet. Mouses have the edges of the mouse mat to use as reference. But graphic tablets have this weird standard of making the active region not use the entire tablet so you can't use the edges of the tablet as a reference. Solution, either make the tablet like a big mouse mat with the entire tablet being the active region (usb trackpads already do this, look em up), or etch a ridge along the active region on the tablet so we can feel it with the pen's nib and our hands while playing. Writing that out make me realize that this doesn't seem like it'd be that big of an issue, but trust me, this was one of the most frustrating things I had to deal with and it made things nearly unplayable.

3. The wacom pen. This is exclusive to wacom, in order for this to work the pen unfortunately needs to be battery powered or wired. The reason lies with wacom's technology, although it's very convenient for artists, poses a big issue for gaming. The buttons don't work outside of the active region. So like lets say a game uses hold scope (hold right click to scope in, let go to scope out), if you find yourself in the need to recenter the pointing device or accidentally leave the active region you will be forced out of scope. The trackpad mode suggested in the first point would help alleviate this, because it would allow you to recenter without being forced to lift outside the active region. But the risk of loosing input when accidentally leaving the active region is still present and that's something hard to swallow in a competitive environment.

4. Size of the active region. There all too small. The only model I'd even consider using the the Huion WH1409, but that's still smaller then your average gaming mousepad and it's the biggest on the market if we exclude the ones with displays. BUT, I theorize that with a graphics tablet you would be able to get away with higher sensitivities, with that in mind the size of the WH1409 might be enough. Remember, I'm talking from a competitive standpoint. I guess someone who plays casually will have enough with smaller active areas, but then would a someone who plays casually even bother investing in more accurate devices in the first place?

5. Useless features making things more expensive then they need be. Specifically speaking, pressure levels, tilt and on-tablet buttons. If huion can sell their WH1409 for 150$, stripping it of all artist specific features would make tablet suitable for professional gaming and worth the same price or less then your conventional gaming mouse. That is, assuming they make the proper changes to their drivers.

Honestly, if Huion could push a driver update that allows the trackpad mode I mentioned, I could etch a ridge around the active region myself and that massive tablet they have would already a pretty affordable thing that could be marketed to gamers. I wouldn't count on Wacom as of now unfortunately since they don't have big enough tablets and would have to change their trademark pen technology which most likely will never happen. Huion uses battery powered pens so they don't have issue 3, but i would have to run response time tests to see if their wireless technology is suitable for a competitive environment. On top top of that, I'd assume Huion would be more interested in untapped markets anyway given how well wacom is already doing with artists. They've already made a tablet for the osu! game I mentioned, which is basically their smallest tablet stripped of all artist features being sold for like 20$. A damn steal for something that outperforms 200$ mouses in the scope of it's targeted game.

Bottom line, if something is made that checks the 5 points I listed (or at least the first 4, I could throw money at this), it's something I might even start using in tournaments if the officials 'ok' it.

Edit: Also, something spec related. Tablets have much lower polling rates, 125hz on average, 250hz at most. It doesn't change anything when using absolute positioning, but with relative positioning it makes the sensor skip sections of surface area in rapid movements which gives extremely noticeable negative acceleration to crosshair movements. This issue that slipped my mind would be up there with #1 when it comes to competitive environments, but only like #5 for casual gaming.
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 July 2018, 13:03:10 by Drace »

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 13:00:14 »
Solution, either make the tablet like a big mouse mat with the entire tablet being the active region (usb trackpads already do this, look em up), [...]
If that can be done... Graphics tablets and touchpads are different types of sensing technology so they are not comparable. Some devices do integrate both though.

BTW, I have seen that there are "mice" for Wacom graphics tablets that are basically mice-shaped styli. Have you tried any of these? I wonder how they compare with optical mice.

Tangent: Logitech recently released a mouse and mousepad where the pad charges the mouse wirelessly. I find that  a bit backwards... I think it would make more sense to have the mousepad be the sensor for a passive "puck".
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Offline Drace

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Re: Sensor location on mouse
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 14 July 2018, 14:56:03 »
I'm pretty sure it's not impossible to achieve. The stuff outside the active region is just hollow plastic, no hidden tech. I'm fairly certain the only reasons tablets are made this way is so users can rest their hand on the tablet even while working in the corners. And for that exact same reason I think I'd rather have the etched solution.

As for the wacom mouse, it's mostly just the same thing but with more limitations. The reason tablets are more accurate isn't because of better sensor technology, it's simply because it allows you to be as precise as the tip of the pencil lets you be. Regardless of the sensor technology used, a big puck can never compare to that. For this same reason even if the penclic where to be done right it still wouldn't compare because it's a puck and not a pen tip.

As for those wireless charging mice, it's just a money thing. Wireless charging is a cheap plug and play technology, nothing changes on their end. Throwing money in R&D for developing a passive mouse and active mousepad with sensors is just money spent for relatively no reason given the possible alternative they chose. Wacom is the opposite, they already have tablets with sensors and passive pencils, making a mouse was just cheaper to shove the pen tech in a mouse body.

But yeah, just from the polling rate and surface area, an actual mouse is leagues better then a passive mouse on a graphic tablet. Plus, doing so takes out all the benefits of the pen.
« Last Edit: Sat, 14 July 2018, 15:03:57 by Drace »