Keyboard & Mouse (KB/MS) on the Xbox 360 (XIM2 / XIM360)

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Acert93, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    This post is mainly informational: If you are interested in potentially purchasing a Keyboard & Mouse solution for the Xbox 360 keep reading (see: Current State of the Project for information on adding your name to the "order demand" list).

    Many of your have heard of products like the SmartJoy FRAG for the Xbox and the XFPS 3.0 Sniper Plus for the Xbox 360. The nuts and bolts on those products is they aren't very good because they don't offer enough settings to adapt to the variety of game settings used to make FPS games "feel" right with a gamepad and often introduce a bit of lag. Some of the more notable adjustments made are auto-aim, adhesion and magnatism, deadzone and deadzone shape, look acceleration, non-1:1 X/Y ratios, and so forth. Between the lag and no good way to adjust for the huge variety of FPS input designs these products were only for those who absolutely could not suffer a gamepad.

    This began to change about a year ago. A group of guys piggybacked off the XFPS product with a secondard product called a "XIM," short for "Xbox Input Manager." Long story short: The XIM was a small chip that connected to the XFPS (+ 360 controller) as well to a PC where the XIM software offered more robust settings. A neat little device, but it had a large number of limitations as it worked through the XFPS product (hence lag and some other limitations). In recent months the XIM guys have released a new product (in a very, very small production run that is completely sold out--read more below though on this) called the XIM2.

    The XIM2 is an Xbox 360 controller with a modified chip inside the housing. This chip connects to all the input pads (buttons, triggers, analog sticks, etc) and routes them to the PC via a USB cord (so no more XFPS). So now the workflow is as follows:

    1. User input via KB/MS
    2. Input received on the PC
    3. XIM2 Software on the PC translates the movements
    4. PC&XIM2 Software send translated user input to the XIM2 chip in the controller through the USB cord
    5. The XIM2 chip inside the controller housing directs the input signal to the corresponding gamepad contacts
    6. The gamepad send the user input through the MS "handshaking" chip (which is required by all gamepads to work on the 360) to the 360 console

    The below diagram explains the process:

    [​IMG]

    Obviously this is a bit of an investment to get "proper" KB/MS support on the 360. MS makes it very difficult for unlicensed peripherals (hence the XIM2 using a standard 360 controller to piggyback on the handshaking chip) to be used on the 360; the fact games are NOT designed to work with a mouse makes the process more difficult. It has taken a bit of time for these guys to work around a lot of these issues but the first results and word of mouth is VERY positive. Of course you need a PC device, Keyboard & Mouse, and a XIM2 (about $150; XFPS products are about $90 in comparison, but those stink) for this to work.

    The "positives" to the XIM2 is that it is programmable and you have independant profiles for each game. But more importantly are the features. For example you can adjust the deadzone size and shape. Most games have a variable dead zone to accomodate the gamepad sensativity (or lackthereof) and centering issues. Yet less known is many games use variable shapes; for example Call of Duty 4 (CoD4) uses a circular deadzone and Halo 3 uses a square deadzone. The XIM2 software allows the user to adjust for these factors. Likewise many games don't use a 1:1 ration for X/Y movement so this can be adjusted as well. Look acceleration is also mapped through variuos exponents. There are also adjustments for smoothing, diagonal dampening, update frequency, and so forth.

    The end result is some games are nearly "PC perfect" (for example CoD4) and others are fairly close and workable (like Halo 3). As you can see with the below media the XIM2 (aka XIM360) works fairly well. The big thing to note is the player can do small, fine movements as well as fast, sweeping movements (something the XFPS adapters failed at).

    Halo 3 (here and here; http://www.bungie.net/stats/Halo3/FileShare.aspx?gamertag=DBLDREW]Halo 3 fileshare[/url])

    Call of Duty 4 (Xim1 footage)

    And seeing as this works through a PC, it can be even used with a Wiimote (Halo 2 footage with a Wiimote).

    Current State of the Project

    The first batch of 150 XIM2 "DIY" kits went out about 2 months ago (give or take). These kits required the user to solder the chip into a 005 model Xbox 360 Wired Controler. Feedback has been very positive. Unfortunately I didn't order one (I lack the tools and skills to assemble product). The XIM2 makers are looking at making pre-built models but there is no immediate date for availability.

    Currently there is an issue with the chip they are using and there won't be any new availability for it until early 2009 at the earliest. The developers are now at a crossroads: If demand is low they will wait for the chip to become available next year; if demand is high they are considering using a different programmable chip (and going back through the certification process and such) to get more DIY and/or pre-built XIM2s out sooner than if they waited for the previous models chip to become available again.

    IF you are interested in this project and would like to see more kits become available I would suggest:

    1. Read up on the project at the XIM website (www.Xim360.com); specifically browse the forums.

    2. IF this sounds like something you want to order ASAP, you can submit a post in their "Demand Check" thread. This thread is for interested buyers of pre-built kits only and is being used to determine if migration to a new chip is worth the effort. Pre-built units have been predicted to cost about $150. Please do not post in that thread if you (a) don't intend to purchase the product or (b) have questions about the product or (c) what to whine about how this is cheating. Use their other threads for that.

    What am I getting out of this?

    Nothing! They haven't even answered my PMs! Further, I don't know these people nor can I vouch for the product outside of what I have read on their forums from users and from the media I have seen.

    I plan to test the XIM2 and write a review of the product (I may have a taker for the review!). The XIM2 is kind of steep price for my tastes (will I keep it? I dunno to be honest... will I have a job in January? haha), but my criteria for a next gen console included things like HD via VGA, online gaming, games in genres I liked, and ... Keyboard / Mouse support (or similar/better product). Thus far neither Sony or Microsoft have delivered such a product for their FPS titles across the board. For a number of reasons (some being legacy, some being time related/comfort level, some being health related) I hate gamepads for FPS titles so I want to test drive this product. So if there is enough demand I may get to test out a product that gives me the last item on my "next gen checklist." So the only thing I am "getting" out of this if prebuilt kits become available (or if someone offers to help me assemble a DIY model) is the oppurtunity to test and use the product. If demand is low then I get to wait.

    I hope other 360 owners find this post helpful to one degree or another. I am sure for many it opens up the frustrating reality that the "purity" of their console FPS games, or at least the last facade of such, is crumbling away with the introduction of a functional KB/MS product. If you have any questions I will try to answer them, although the above contains about everything I know at this point. I have been following this product since early this summer and am hopeful to give it a test drive before the end of the year... and of course write about it and the implications of such a device on the market.
     
  2. wco81

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    Or, MS could just let developers support KB/M if they want and let someone make a simple plug adapter to plug in USB KB and mouse.
     
  3. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    :roll: Not a really relevant response wco81. MS is not, and will not, develop one. There is no point waiting for one. Heck, Sony allows developers to support KB/MS and even has at least one FPS title, UT3, that supports such (and offers online filters to separate gamers if they so desire; btw doesn't R1 support it too?). There is little motivation to sway MS away from a decision they overtly made. Based on Shadowrun, which they sent to die, they are very happy pitching the PC as the Mouse platform and the 360 as the gamepad platform.

    Dev kits support KB/MS from what I am told but they intentionally do NOT want mice on the 360 as a commercial product or supported by developers. No, Microsoft will NOT be supporting KB/MS in games on the Xbox 360. They even have a test case (the PS3) to justify not even broaching the topic. They have no motivation to support it; supporting such would "blur" their message and distinction from the PC, possibly further diminish the PC market, "alienate" certain users of their core franchises, and push them more toward the "hardcore" image when they are fighting to get a more casual image. There is no pressure from Sony or the PC market to support KB/MS on the 360.

    Of course you are free to customize and play as you see fit as long as it is a FF wheel, arcade stick, flight stick, buzzer controller, or whatever :razz: So you can wait for MS (or Sony in your case), but this is the here and relative now.

    Anyhow, "official" adapters aren't coming for the 360 so your post really doesn't apply to a 3rd party product that is addressing the issue.
     
  4. wco81

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    You wouldn't need this convoluted workaround if MS just didn't have a stupid policy, period.
     
  5. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Yes, but that's the way it is. There's no point arguing or complaining. What this thread offers is a (rather convoluted and power-hungry!) workaround so, for XB360 owners here and now who want to use M+KB, they have they option now, instead of just wishful thinking.
     
  6. RancidLunchmeat

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    To what end, Shifty?

    The games, in theory, are balanced towards the use of the standard interface.

    Even if this were to work, the only accomplishment I can see as a result is the use of games in a manner in which they weren't intended which will alter the experience either for you, or even worse, for everybody if used in a multi-player situation.
     
  7. infinity4

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    all it takes for MS to do, is a console update to undo all their work...
     
  8. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Specious Misanthrope
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    A MS console update that also breaks xbox 360 peripherals? It's using a controller as its link to the 360.
     
  9. sebbbi

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    Yes, the debug mouse & keyboard support is important for the console developers. It allows many of us to use the same game and graphics engine for our in-game editors and other tools during the production. Otherwise a PC port of the engine and game code would be needed. We for example have integrated our (multithreaded) game physics and game logic in our editor, and it allows the level designers to seamlessly test the level while creating it. Porting the whole game logic and engine to PC would require extra work (different texture formats, no low level access to the graphics chip buffers and it's shader core and threading differences).

    In the future we could see both MS and Sony more eagerly allowing the mouse and keyboard use in retail products, as user created content becomes bigger and bigger thing in the console world. It's much easier to edit levels with a mouse & keyboard combination compared to the clumsy game pad. If either one allows mouse & keyboard support first, the another is likely to follow. But I am not expecting this to happen this generation.
     
  10. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    AlphaWolf is right: the XIM2 "looks" like an Xbox 360 Corded Controller to the console. All input passes through the controllers own input points (and is restricted by the limitations therein) and is passed through the security chip to the console itself. This is one reason why the XIM2 will never be 100% identical to KB/MS on the PC in some games: due to the game input design and the restrictions of the controller some games are restricted. This is why games like CoD4 from all accounts feels just like the PC version but Halo 3 feels very close to a PC KB/MS setup but isn't perfect. The device isn't necessarily hacking the games but offering a different way to input movement through the gamepad/game design limitations.

    That said there are KB/MS movements that are rare on a gamepad user but quite common by PC users which when you watch via a spectator mode make it quite obvious someone isn't using a gamepad e.g. quick left/right/left/right/etc turns, gamepad users also tend to turn around corners differently. KB/MS users are more prone to use the mouse to keep aimed at an opponent (even using straif to move the opposite direction) whereas a lot of gamepad users I have seen will use straif to keep a target in their reticle. Maybe the most obvious is that gamepad users tend to go in "spurts" like left.... left... right... up... right, right, right... left, right... left... whereas a mouse offers a more fine grained sweeping mostions and fine adjustments. That said the really good gamepad players I have played with tend to break all these bad habits people pick up when first fighting a gamepad and their movements are more natural. Kind of like how a lot of newish KB/MS users end up looking at the ground/sky :lol: I do know people, oddly, who really prefer the gamepads and have the skills to back it up, but I do think there is an accessiblity advantage to mice as well as people with repetitive use injuries can use a mouse a bit better.

    Anyhow, the only surefire way MS is going to nail people is by specing them and then they run into the issue of nailing good gamepad users. And, not to mention, KB/MS setups for the Xbox/Xbox360 have been available since ~2002. MS has never bothered with any of these adapters before and with ~150 XIM2s out there I doubt they really care... seeing as they offer a slew of accessories that unlevel the playing field as it is. I think they are more interested in getting their own self-labeled "XFPS" controller (aka motion controller) to market...
     
  11. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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  12. Scott_Arm

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    Great. So now I have to worry about people with an unfair advantage online. My friend has some weird mouse controller for his PS3 and I view it as cheating.

    Edit: This is why I wish Microsoft had their own solution. Then you could have flags for game servers that allowed or disallowed mouse. You could keep a level playing field.
     
  13. assen

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    Because people would never log into a gamepad-only server with a hacked controller to wreak havoc? Yeah right...

    I find the whole affair disgusting, honestly. It's not like the PC doesn't get almost all of these shooters anyway... there is no legitimate reason for this more than it is a legitimate use for wireframe hacks, huge-shining-enemy-models hacks, aimbots etc. I hope MS view it seriously enough to try to combat it.
     
  14. Scott_Arm

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    I know some people would still abuse it, but I think most people would go for a true keyboard and mouse solution than some weird hack. At least the real keyboard and mouse can be monitored by MS. It's more an issue of limiting abuse.
     
  15. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    Scott, I understand your concern but I think in the scope of the current situation on the platform I think "cheating" and "unfair advantage" is a bit unfair. In the first case the mouse cannot input any movements that aren't technically possible with the gamepad. This isn't like the PC where the upper/lower limits for a gamepad and a mouse are different--a mouse going through the gamepad is limited to the same design limitations that gamepad hardware and software impose. For example a mouse cannot turn any faster than a gamepad being pushed all the way left or right as the gamepad will only accept a 0-255 range (iirc).

    As for an unlevel/unfair playing field... well, I was "brain storming" this for my review, but that may not happen any time soon so I will blurt my thoughts out here.

    The Illusion of the Level Playing Field

    The biggest complaint from console gamers about the introduction of Mouse & Keyboard (MS/KB) support is that it unlevels the currently level playing field for gamepad gamers. Whether the KB/MS devices as they currently stand make the playing field more unlevel than they currently are is debatable, but I the idea that the playing field over XBL is "level" ignores that huge variety of variables that influence the quality of gameplay people experience over XBL. Some examples.

    DISPLAY. There is a significant number of users still using displays that are 480p, or worse, 480i (I was using 480i until a month ago...) At these resolutions many games have unreadable text and the image quality is often very poor. You would think that at 640x480 that the Xbox 360 would either downsample a HD image or render at 480i with MSAA and high levels of AF--but in most cases this is not true. Thus users of such displays are at an unfair advantage in that objects on screen are often more difficult to identify (Of note, a couple early PS3 games only supported 720p and 480p resolutions so early 1080i sets auto-defaulted to 480p and offered no HD setting).

    But anyone serious about competitive gaming is going to buy an HD display, so playing field is level... right? Not quite. Until the last couple years a lot of displays had very poor response rates, well over 16ms (~60Hz) in many cases which often produced significant ghosting. But you have a 16ms display so this isn't an issue... except most manufactures use deceptive methods to measure response rates (iirc grey to grey) which offer a best case scenario not often met by actual experience. Further some older sets have fixed post processing/scaling which adds another level of latency between the image output from the 360 to the image display on the screen. Further a lot of LCDs, especially lower response rate units, are 18bit "pixels" and use hardware dithering to obtain "16.2M" colors. Most of these issues have been resolved in the last couple years but if you have an older HD display you may have a degree of latency that impacts gameplay as well as image quality issues that gamers with better/newer displays don't have to deal with. Of course there are always tradeoffs, for example 1080i displays are limited to 30 frames per second (60 fields) whereas a progressive display can hit 60 frames per second which can be a big advantage in a game, like Forza Motorsport 2 or VF5, which supports 60Hz. The verse is true of games that support 1080p output. Display resolution, clarity, and latency do have an impact on gaming. Latency in particular can diminish ones ability to compete.

    CONTROLLERS. The next step in the chain, after seeing the image, is the gamer reaction directed through the controller. I will have more to say about controllers below, but taking the standard Xbox 360 controller there are cabled and wireless SKUs. There isn't a big difference between the two (I believe the frequency of the device is high enough to mitigate any potential latency issues on the wireless controllers), but I have experienced a number of unfortuitous examples of my wireless connection being interrupted or the batteries going dead which caused lag or a disconnect. While minor, there is a small advantage to using a wired controller because your signal will never be disrupted by other wireless devices or be prone to a weak signal caused by dieing batteries.

    ONLINE. Now that the gamer has seen the gameplay image and responded through the controller the next step is sending the data to other users in the game--this is where the playing field becomes very unbalanced on the Xbox 360. The most blatant example is host advantage. A number of high profile games (e.g. Gears of War 1) offer a significant advantage to the host. Seeing as most Live games are Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and don't use dedicated servers this makes sense: the user hosting the game will experience the least amount of latency. This is a difficult topic to shoe horn games into as they use different methods to measure and predict user movement and how it relates to user aim (some older games only cared if you hit what was on the users screen, most current games seem to take the route of detecting to see if you hit where the enemy player was on the "server" regardless of whether the user hit something on their own screen). But the bottom line is that a number of games have significant host advantage over Xbox Live and since few games have dedicated servers there is no simple way to neutralize this.

    Yet even games that use dedicated servers do not guarantee every player is playing on a level playing field. There are the obvious examples like location (how far are you from the game server?) as well as proximity to a major backbone hub, both of which impact your latency to the game. And then there are provider limitations in that some people have very limited downstream and upstream bandwidth. Sure, in some cases they could buy a better internet connection, but in some cases this isn't possible. I have seen areas where providers are still capping 128kbps for upstream bandwidth--imagine how unfun (and unfair) the gameplay experience is when someone with a poor connection like this is serving a game! And there are always local issues that impact latency, like routers. If you are using a wireless router and wireless adapter you are adding another level of latency to your gameplay experience, not to mention possible connection issues due to interferance or whatnot (True story: In my former clan a gents daughter would absolutely ruin his online experience when she would load up her chatting software as it would drive his ping right through the cieling. Using a shared access point can really ruin your fun if it isn't setup correctly and/or when sharing with application hogs)

    Latency is a huge factor in how fair the playing field is in games. If I have a 20ms ping (or near 0 with host advantage) and you are in the 100-150 range I could have a handful of frames advantage in seeing what is happening in the game--this is a significant advantage. Unfortunately most games put you at the mercy of Xbox Live in regards to finding the best possible match as very few games have server browsers to search by ping. I don't know how many matches of Halo 3 with a mere 8 people have been nearly unplayable due to lag. No dedicated servers and host bandwidth (+ advantage) are a factor, but the inability to manually search for games with the best connection puts you at the mercy of the Live.

    AUDIO/HEADSET. Another factor impacting players experience and advantage is audio. A player with a small display with a poor integrated stereo unit (or worse, mono!) is at a sizable disadvantage to someone with a quality 5.1 sound system. Being able to hear players behind you is a big advantage! Of course you could buy a nice sound system, but not every user has the space or money for such an investment. Of course you can buy some cheap, and effective, 5.1 headphones for under $50--I love mine--but that introduces another can of worms: the Headset with microphone. While majority (>50% in my estimation) gamers on Live tend to have a microphone in games I play (Halo 3, Madden 09, Forza Motorsport 2) there is still a fair number who don't. Maybe it is because it is late at night and don't want to wake the family, or their headset broke (which is quite common), or their console didn't come with one. Yes, they could buy a headset to level the playing field, but that still requires the effort to purchase a product to improve the experience and their ability to compete--and being able to chat with your teammates is a HUGE advantage in any game. Of course if you just bought a 5.1 headphone set you cannot use your microphone! Unless... you buy the $150 Turtlebeach 5.1 Headset/Microphone product. I have never seen any numbers, but my limited experience is many gamers don't have their consoles set up to 5.1 audio devices for some reason (space, cost, console in a different room, etc) and the cheap/ease solution of headphones negates the microphone in most cases.

    CONTROLLER HACKS. Most of us here are familiar with the Dpad issues on the Xbox 360, and a fair number us have read how adding a small plastic disk or filing the edges of the controller housing resolves this to a degree. Of course most gamers aren't familiar with such so they suffer through games (like Street Fighter on XBLA) with an inferior setup. That may be a small hack that resolves a design issue, but it is an advantage (one that warranty minder consumers like myself have failed to employ). Yet where does one transition from a hack to a cheat, and where is the playing field made unfair/unlelve? Some gamers have installed electronic repeaters in their gamepads ala old school "turbo." Is filing the edge of the Dpad housing any more/less a cheat than a repeater? Both make the competitive playing field unlevel compared to the individual using completely stock equipment.

    ACCESSORIES. In my opinion accessories and peripherals is where the "level playing field" illusion comes crashing down. Consumers can buy, with Microsoft's approval, a large number of peripherals that give an unfair competitive advantage for online gameplay. A classic example is the Arcade Sticks (from Hori, Arcade in a Box, etc) which any veteran of fighting series like VF, DoA, SC, Tekken, etc will tell you: Arcade Sticks own. For $60 (or more) gamers can purchase a controller that is superior to the standard gamepad. Not enough? Hori even offers a version with Turbo (as well as a gamepad with the same feature).

    The same goes for racing games: having access to a nice racing wheel gives you a degree of sensativity and intuition that is difficult to have on a controller. Even though the 360 racing wheel is limited to a 270 degree turning radius you still have more practical degrees of registration than the ~1" motion of the thumbstick (although a company is now selling thumbstick accessories that elongate the pad for more finer input; on a side note they are offering thumbstick extensions for the same result in FPS titles). But at the end of the day having a wheel with pedals is an advantage. Of course it things is always some give and take, and this is no exception. You can turn left-to-right much quicker with a gamepad thumbstick in many situations compared to a wheel, but a lot of this depends on how the software is designed. PGR4, for example, has a lot of lock-to-lock steering mechanics that with the backside drifting is executed quite often (and no real way to tone down the amount of turn on the wheel); on the other hand Forza Motorsport 2 tends toward more fine movements so the lag from going lock-to-lock as quickly as a gamepad is less relevant so the advantage is squarely on the Wheel. Except, as fate would have it, Forza Motorsport 2 gives a number of aids to gamepads (observe the typical behavior with a gamepad, especially the tapping, and you will see why) skew the results. It was recently noted at the Turn10 forums that there are a couple gamepad specific aids that allow expert gamepad users to get better hot lap times--so now we are into this grey area where a wheel gives some advantages due to the superiority of the hardware but the user aids for the gamepad can, in some cases, skew the playing field. So is it fair, or unfair, to use a Wheel? Gamepad? I know people who hate Wheels because, while more realistic, they cannot perform as well. And others who think it is unfair that people can spend $150 (or now $100) and buy a peripheral to gain an advantage by using a wheel--so neither camp is always happy.

    You can extend this dynamic to dance pads, flight sticks, wireless headphones and mics, buzzer controllers (controllers without rumble too!), ad nauseam. There are a host of accessories that gamers can buy that potentially give them a competitive advantage and thus unlevel the playing field.

    The point is the playing field isn't level or fair. I bolded the word buy above to accent a point: if you have money and are interested in getting the best experience--and best advantage--there are ways to buy an advantage in online gaming. The field is not level--there is only an illusion of a level playing field. If you are on a small old 14" CRT TV with RF or S-Video input with mono-sound, no headset, and live in the boonies in Arkansas with a 768/128 DSL connection you won't have the same experience as someone playing in downtown Dallas or Chicago with Fiber and a 48" 1080p60 Plasma display, high end 5.1 sound system (or Turtle Beach 5.1 Headset with Microphone), and game specific accessories (like an arcade stick for fighting games).

    The playing field is unlevel because you can purchase a host of accessories and peripherals to gain a better experience. So where does the rabbit hole end?

    Of course this isn't so simple because what is an advantage to some isn't to another. The Wheel is a classic example, but there are other areas. For example there is a familiarity factor: some people prefer gamepads for FPS, and are GREAT with them. My best friend is someone like this. The reverse is true of many PC-raised gamers. FASA (r.i.p.) had noted that in their game it wasn't clear cut which was better as KB/MS were good at sniping and gamepads better up close. How much of this was a design issue and user aids and how much is related to the devices hasn't been spelled out, but it is worth noting that at least in this example a developer was able to allow gamepad and KB/MS users to play together. Other games, like UT3 on the PS3, offered a simple filter to allow segregation for those concerned about the unfair advantage. My bias is that KB/MS are better in general for FPS games as I think anatomically thumbsticks don't offer the same learning curve (I think mice allow novice gamers, the 30-60% window of gamers, to be more proficient faster and I think the top 10% of KB/MS users is superior to the top 10% of gamepad users, but this is my observation and it is limited.)

    But that opens up the ultimate can of worms: why aren't console makers allowing KB/MS on the consoles? MS spent a lot of time during their E3 2005 presentation about reaching 1 Billion consumers about the aspect of customization and tailoring the 360 experience to each consumer. Face plates, accessories, avitars, and so forth. With a host of peripherals on the market you have to stop and ask: why no KB/MS? The 360 has a HDD in most cases, HD support, online access. Toss in a KB/MS and it becomes a great platform for RTS and other PC centric titles bound to the mouse. It also allows old time PC gamers to make the 360 more familiar and fun. But for obvious political reasons, and no desire to tick off their 10M Halo users, they don't want to create the impression that the playing field is unlevel.

    Of course the playing field is unlevel, it always has been, but the illusion is a difficult one to break.

    Ultimately if you have the money you can buy an advantage over many consumers. It may be small (better display, faster network speeds, nicer peripherals, and so forth) but the advantage can be had. The XIM2 is no different: if you play better with a KB/MS (some people don't) you can pay for the advantage. Now there is some debate about how much of advantage there is as the games don't support KB/MS and are designed with the gamepad in view; likewise the XIM2 is limited by the input limitations of the gamepad and the expected input the game translates. Some games will be nearly PC perfect, others will feel odd. So it is difficult to call them cheaters for potentially having an advantage, unless we want to say every gamer with a nice TV wearing a headset on a fast net connection hosting the game a cheater.

    Ultimate, what I care about, is that I am having fun. I don't want an advantage, but I do want to enjoy myself and I don't want to deal with shaky thumbs (work related). Why can Joe Lucky have an arcade stick and John a wheel but I cannot have a mouse? Customization is in... as long as you don't interfer with the perception. It is fun to have a wheel or arcade stick but cheating to have a mouse. Why? For MS it is a political issue (Windows/Xbox segregation, keeping console fans happy) and console fans don't want anything to destroy the illusion that they have a level playing field on Xbox Live... even if they don't.

    It would be nice if MS brought their own solution, and they mentioned the XFPS in 2006 and 2007, but nothing has materialized. Until then you will continue to see gamers attempt to augment their gaming experience to enjoy it to the fullest, and in turn people complain because they don't want to play with people who don't play their way even if they could play the other way if they spent the money.
     
  16. RancidLunchmeat

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    Exactly my point above.

    And the rhetoric used to explain that things aren't currently balanced now, so making them even less balanced shouldn't be seen negatively is simply disingenuous.

    This is a hack, it's using the game in a manner in which it wasn't intended, for the express purpose of gaining an advantage over your opponents.


    It's disgraceful.
     
  17. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    It doesn't get all of them, plus (a) you need a PC that can run them (b) have to contend with the reality that due to MS's greed Live isn't integrated across platforms and hence you cannot play with your friends on the Xbox and (c) the Xbox has cannabolized many PC gaming markets, especially FPS.

    But I think a more serious point is that console gamers have no issue with all the other peripherals, even ones that give a distinct advantage, but when it comes to THEIR FPS they don't want anything to do with a KB/MS player. I have never heard console gamers tell people to go to the ARCADES if they want an arcade stick or go to the PC (or PS3) if they want a wheel. The only reason MS doesn't allow a KB/MS is a political issue, stocking the flames they fuel in gamers, and not a technical one.

    I find this an odd comment. The XIM2 doesn't offer any more INPUT than the gamepad--as it goes right through the gamepad inputs. The KB/MS is LIMITED by the controller limites, and in the case of WASD you get ON/OFF and LOSE your analog input from the left stick. Further, this isn't like a PC where a game may allow you to crank up your input way beyond where they may limit a gamepad realistically. Whatever "255" is on the gamepad analog stick is where the MAX mouse movement will be on the Mouse.

    The only difference is how the input is made, and it seems your point is that a mouse is better than a gamepad thumbstick for input... so why doesn't MS allow users to use an easy to support, and cheap, device that you consider so superior that it should be lumped together with hacks that alter the physical game??!!

    Btw, there is a legitimate purpose for using a KB/MS: Comfort, preference, and even injury/limitation.

    My honest opinion is that when cheats, like aim-bots and wall-hacks, are mentioned in the same breath as a KB/MS that all sort of objectivity has been lost. "YOU WILL PLAY THE WAY I PLAY OR YOU ARE A CHEATER." But of course you can have a $2,000 TV, 5.1 sound, wireless headphone, wheel, arcade stick, screaming fast net connection, and that is ok--just as long as you don't bring a freaking $20 mouse to play on!!!!!!!!! YOU CHEEEAATER! :lol:
     
  18. zed

    zed
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    Hopefully enuf ppl will complain then MS/sony do the only sane thing.
    Let all games have the option of keyboard/mouse.
    I know sony allow this but how many games are actually taking advantage? bugger all
    There are some games on the console I would like to try out, but wont eg resistence2 cause of the retarded controller experience.
     
  19. 1BFC

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    You know, I don't play console games precisely because I can't stand the controllers. It has nothing to do with competitive edge or anything like that. If I could use a KB/MS with a 360, I might become a buyer.

    With that out of the way.... here's how I view the entire thing.

    FAIR is the most often abused and used 4 letter word I know.

    Is it fair if someone lacks thumb dexterity and so can't use a "traditional" console controller and is "forced" to play against people without this problem?

    Is it fair if someone is playing on a 1990 RCA 19" TV vs a person playing on a 52" Samsung LCD?

    Geez, you can go on and on an on about what's "fair" or not, the examples are truly endless. Plain and simple, you will never even the playing field with this. Just let people use what they want and if a person feels they are disadvantaged, well... They can just stop playing? It's just a damn game....

    Also, don't we always hear how console gamers are just as "good" as PC gamers regardless of the controller used? Why is this such an issue?

    I'll use a favorite saying of mine here, "Run what you brung." You can't possibly expect to show up to any form of competition with equipment that's inferior to your competitors and still expect to win. Now, one person may find they perform just fine on so called "inferior" equipment, others may not. It's entirely a personal preference/choice thing.

    Less restrictions = better.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting post. The product looks like quite the challenge to produce.
     
  20. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    I find the anger interesting, especially when it fails to address (a) the current market situation where Microsoft actively distributes devices that upset the balance of online games and (b) the limitations of the device--that is, the device is limited to the SAME output as the stock gamepad AND the limitations the software sets on the input received from the controller.

    You cannot do anything with the XIM2 that you cannot do with the gamepad. In fact, you lose a number of things like analog triggers (they are on/off) as well as the left analog stick is no longer analog either (because it is normally maped to WASD or the arrows).

    And even IF (prove it!) the XIM2 offered an unfair advantage, you as a consumer should ask: why then is Microsoft not allowing people to game the way they like with superior hardware that would cost them $10 to make and they could sell at retail for $80??

    So my serious questions are:

    * Why is it console gamers don't call arcade sticks, flight sticks, guitars, wheels, etc DISGRACEFUL and CHEATS?

    * Why do console gamers feel happily buy arcade sticks, flight sticks, guitars, wheels, etc to enjoy their games they way they want but feel compelled to call others CHEATERS and DISGRACES for doing the same in other genres?

    I find the attitude not only closed minded but hypocritical--you can enjoy how you want to play, even if it is "unfair," just as it isn't a KB/MS. There are no riots due to people using Arcade sticks in SCIV or SF2. People don't moan in Forza Motorsport 2 when they find out I have a wheel. People don't post insulting comments about motives (you only want to cheat) or their character (your disgraceful) if I mention I use a guitar, flight stick, dance pad, or some other device to enjoy my games. Indeed, most gamers consider the issue open and close: If you like it, use it; if you don't, use the gamepad. End of story.

    But not only have you guys failed to explain how the XIM2 offers an advantage over a gamepad (and if it does, why gamers shouldn't have a voice in such if it is available... is it a good thing to use inferior equipment when a $10 peripheral is better??) you also shrug off the reality of the market in regards to peripherals and play balance. It isn't an excuse as RLM says, it is a reality of the market Microsoft (and Sony) are limited to and to a degree foster. Heck, I just Gell Tabz on my 360 thumbsticks--so I am now a cheater because I have an advantage over a standard gamepad.

    Or is it I am playing the way I want to play, am most comfortable with, and offers me the least amount of limitations (I have girly hands and some thumb issues)? Of course, not, I just want to cheat. :lol:

    Which isn't the case--because if it was, I wouldn't have told YOU about it. Cheaters want an unfair advantage--I want everyone to enjoy games they want to play them. My best friend (who is pretty darn good at Halo, at least before he dislocated his elbow a couple months back) prefers the gamepad and HATES mice. But he thinks it is cool I may be able to use a mouse. To each their own, he isn't worried about it.

    If people are so concerned with it being unfair because it is better, why not purchase the product? People purchase wheels and arcade sticks all the time, so why not the attitude: If it is better for me then I will buy it. (And the couch is no excuse because FRAGFX is a perfect example of the best of both words.)

    And a better question is: Why didn't MS just release a licensed KB/MS--true "play as you want" attitude they so boldly preach--with the handshaking chip to ensure only proper devices are used and identified and then allow a simple filter to be enabled to segregate gamepad users who do not wish to play with KB/MS users. This is NOT hard as the 360 already detects if you use a wheel for example and auto-loads the proper profiles for controls. And this couldn't be hacked (sans the XIM2 method) because using a KB/MS on a gamepad profile would really suck (see: XFPS Sniper, Smart JoyFrag, etc).

    IF MS had done this (and charged an arm and leg for a $10 peripheral) the XIM2 would have NEVER been created, gamepad users could be happy knowing they were alone if they wished, MS would have appealed to a larger audiance, and everyone could use whatever method of input they wanted. And all those brash gamepad users who taunt they could own KB/MS owners would get their day.

    But MS has fostered a certain attitude that benefits their corporate concerns and people really buy into the belief that it is good to tell people how to play if it is different from them, and that without a thought knee-jerk reaction that a device that has the same limitations as a gamepad (!) is the same as an aim-bot (!!)

    But I can smoke you in FM2 with my wheel and life is all good again :grin:
     
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