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3D Game O'
Score: 90%
Developer: Sandio
Device Type: Controller


With most PC games, the only control you have is the keyboard and mouse. Since the vast majority of keyboards out there are actually Qwerty-style keyboards, you're relegated to a keyboard which was actually designed to slow typists down and a primative 2D pointing device that was created before 3D computer games existed.

Sandio's 3D Game O' introduces 6 degrees of freedom to your mousing hand, with the addition of 3 "3D buttons", which can be used alone and in combination to give you much greater control with your mouse... you might not need to use your keyboard anymore.


The 3D Game O' is not easy to get used to, but that stands to reason, since it does so much more than a typical mouse. Once I got used to it, however, I found that the programmability and the additional degrees of freedom really gave me more control over my games and applications, and reduced or completely eliminated the need for the keyboard.

The multiple degrees of freedom are achieved through the addition of something Sandio calls "3D buttons." These are circular buttons which act as "hat switches" or "D-pads"; you don't press them in, but push them in one of four directions, based on your desired effect. By locating two of these buttons on opposite sides of the Game O', new types of movement become fairly intuitive. Rotating left can be assigned, for instance, to pointing the left 3D button back while pushing the right 3D button forward. Clockwise rotation, similarly, feels intuitive when the left 3D button is pushed upward and the right 3D button is pushed downward. If you imagine holding a block out in front of you with your right hand such that your thumb is on the left and your middle finger is on the right side of the block, then you can see that to rotate the block clockwise, you would move your thumb upward and your middle finger downward. These same fingers performing the same action on the two 3D buttons on either side of the Game O' will produce this effect, as well.

In addition to being able to use the 3D buttons in combination to control new degrees of freedom, they are programmable and can be used individually for whatever you like. While reviewing Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, I made a profile for the game that mapped the individual pressing of the 3D buttons to different hot keys. Most worthy of note was mapping the right side 3D button's forward direction to my custom macro that greatly simplified my combat, as is explained in my Vanguard review. This allowed me to approach an enemy, begin combat and handle movement and combat all with my mouse-hand. Other than text and emotes, I ended up only using my keyboard for jumping. Truthfully, it would have been easy to move the jump functionality to the Game O' as well, but I didn't want my keyboard hand to atrophy and wither away, so jumping seemed a reasonable use for the keyboard.

The 3D Game O' has a removable plastic "platform" that gives your hand a place to rest while using the mouse, and allows you to move the mouse without having to "grab" it. I tried it with and without this platform, but I found that using the platform helps to reduce undesired accidental pressing of the side 3D buttons.

Another feature of the 3D Game O' is on-the-fly DPI changing. You can change the DPI to be 400, 800, 1600 or 2000 DPI, by pressing two buttons on the side of the mouse together. An optional audio indicator will provide aural feedback indicating the new DPI selection; an asian woman's voice speaks the current DPI setting.

  • Six Degrees of Freedom (6DOF):
    X Translation, Y Translation, Z Translation, X Rotation, Y Rotation, Z Rotation
  • Sandio Mouse Tutorial Movie
  • Multiple level DPI (400, 800, 1600, 2000), with Optional Audio Indicator
  • Avago 6010 Laser sensors
  • Standard 5-Button Mouse with 12 Additional Programmable Buttons
  • 16-bit Mouse Data Packet
  • Ergonomic Design
  • Superior Command of RTS, FPS and RPG Games
  • Includes SDK (allowing you to use the Game O' in your own application development)
  • 1 Year Warranty

Drawbacks & Problems::

The learning curve on the 3D Game O' is not trivial. In much the same way that ten years of driving a car - even as a professional race car driver - is not going to prepare you for piloting an airplane, years of experience with a mouse are not going to prepare you for 6 degrees of freedom with Sandio's 3D Game O' gaming mouse. You'll need to train for a bit, and get a "feel" for it, as well. It's not counter-intuitive, but it's not something you're used to, either. And, to further the airplane analogy, once you master it, the sky's the limit.

To compensate for this learning curve, the 3D Game O' ships with a tutorial program that allows you to manipulate a block in 3D space, giving you an opportunity to learn to use the Game O' outside of your games. Once you're familiar with the concept, you can move on to using the Game O' with the included drivers for Google's Google Earth and Sketch-Up programs. These programs offer a nice way to get some flight time in with the Game O', without the worry of scores or rules.

When you get used to the Game O' and start utilizing it in your favorite games, you'll want to either use one of the existing profiles (game/application specific control mappings) provided with the Game O's software, or create your own to your specifications. You might want to create one profile for a game, or you may decide to make a different profile for different characters you have in a game. Your control mapping for a Wizard character may be different, for example, from what you want for a Fighter character. This is left up to your creativity. Create as many profiles as you want, and select and "load" them before entering the game. (Or while in the game, if you forget.)

If you're not a fan of the use of keyboards in PC games or if you are missing your left arm altogether, I would highly recommend picking up a 3D Game O'. If you're looking for more freedom in 3D games, definitely check it out. If you're a professional gamer whose income depends on your gameplay, take the learning curve into consideration. I had to play with the 3D Game O' for a while before I got good enough with it for it to improve my game - and I was not in any high stakes matches.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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