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I just got a new Logitech I-Feel Mouse. It's... interesting.

The key point of this mouse, aside from being a really nice USB optical mouse, is that it can let you "feel" Windows.

Yes, now you too can feel the SLIME that windows REALLY is. (j/k)

This feedback is not tactile in the sense of "I feel it in my fingertips," but more like bumps or short vibrations, depending on the theme you have. One feels like you're scrolling the wheel, with short bumps. Others make it feel like a toy that just vibrates softly. One makes it feel like there's crap on your desk (I don't like that one).

The feedback is provided by a small motor contained in the mouse. It's fired whenever you pass over a GUI Object, such as a button, a menu item, hyperlinks, icons, window borders, anything that is a standard Win32 GUI object (which means it doesn't work with anything nonstandard, like mIRC buttons, or the buttons in AIM).

Unfortunately, this doesn't affect the motion of the mouse, so you don't get cool springy action when dragging things, but it does add another (if a bit annoying) dimension to your mouse. Whee.
As a side note, 30 minutes after I got the mouse, I turned the "feel" feature off. I haven't turned it on since. (ed May 11, 2001)

The Logitech iFeel mouse really comes into it's own when playing games, I personally found the windows effects quite repeditive. I've, so far, tried it with the following:

  • Soldier of Fortune: In-built iFeel support but it feels like a hack and slash job. You can feel the sub machine gun fly but it's nothing worth £40 for.
  • DemonStar: Freeware old school top-down shoot 'em up game off the immersion (the name of the technology used) website. Pretty fun for 10 minutes. You can really feel the difference as your weapon gets upgraded and plug away at the enemy.
  • Black & White: Quite good support built-in. You can feel the villagers (oo-er) and many of the effects in the game.
  • Half-life: Via the immersion patch you can really see what the iFeel mouse is capable of with half-life. You feel yourself walking along, you feel the weapons fire off (and they all feel very different) and you can even feel the ground shake as bombs go off around you. Almost worth the £40 on it's own.

I'm sure as more and more games support the technology the better it will feel. Soldier of Fortune was dissapoinitng and I could live without it in Black & White. However, it really did add another dimension to playing Half-life and was excellent fun. It does need much more support though. I doubt the technology will ever become standard issue in mice as it makes quite a loud noise making it unsuitable for office environments. However, I can see it being popular with gamers.

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