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Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

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  • Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

    OK, I couple of days ago I put up a poll thread asking which you, the reader, think is the easier, better control system... it was completely a one sided, landslide win for the mouse and keyboard over the gamepad.


    I've been into gaming for most of my life, starting with my first TRS80 computer from Radio Shack back in the early 80's... when you had to have a tape drive for storage, and type in code from a magazine article to play a game... but we won't go that far back for this purpose. I guess all you need to know is that for over 10 years I've been a PC gamer, I've been using a mouse and keyboard for tactical games/FPS'ers since around the very first Rainbow Six game.


    As I mentioned before I bought a Xbox 360 about 6 months ago for sport games and racing games, I was still a diehard PC tactical gamer and refused to even put a tactical shooter on my console, that was sacrilegious, lol. I was closed minded and stead fast with that decision for a long time.


    Then after reading a number of great reviews and comments about Gears of War for the Xbox 360, I decided to pick it up and give it a test. I sucked and hated the controls, I was ready to give it up and go back to my steadfast anti-shooter on a console stance. Then I was invited one Saturday afternoon to play Gears of War online, and after 4 to 6 hours the controls felt better and I was doing alot better, not to mention the fact that I loved the tactical play we were using, so I picked up GRAW for the 360, then CoD3, then finally Rainbow Six Vegas. (After another month of playing tactical shooters on my console, my diehard, stubborn, opinion changed, and I now welcome FPS'ers/tactical games both on console and PC.


    But my purpose for this post isn't to sell you on console gaming, or even to change some of your diehard minds, which would probably never change till you experienced yourself.


    But, my new love for the console and the dreaded gamepad got me thinking.

    There has been many debates in the forums about which is better to play a tactical shooter with, a mouse and keyboard or a gamepad, I wanted to find out, so this is what I did.


    I have Rainbow Six Vegas for the Xbox 360, and I also have the PC version which is almost an exact port from the 360 version to PC. (Normally I would hate this, but the game was so good on console, I hoped the PC version followed in it's footsteps on this one, read my review if interested, of the PC version on the front page.)

    In Rainbow Six Vegas, you have a single player mode to play terrorist hunt, this is just you against a number of bad guys. Included is 10 nicely made maps, for my study I chose 5 maps that I knew well. I wanted to play the same way, with the same style in every mode. I think played each map 3 times, that 3 times 5 equals 15 games per mode.

    I played three modes... the first was on my Xbox 360 with my Xbox controller, the second was on my PC with the mouse and keyboard, and the third was on my PC with my Microsoft Xbox 360 controller which is compatible with Windows XP. (Should be noted that Rainbow Six Vegas for the PC has an option in there control settings to use the 360 controller, with the EXACT layout as the 360 console.)

    So thats 3 modes time 15 games, equals 45 terrorist hunt games!

    I was shocked and surprise at the results of this test. Remember that I've been a mouse and keyboard gamer for over ten years, only a gamepad gamer for maybe 2 months now.) I tracked my performance and kills for every map, taking the average kills per terrorist hunt, per the three modes I played, below is the results, then after-wards, why I think it happened...

    Xbox 360 with 360 gamepad:
    5 maps, 3 times each, average kills: 26 out of 30.

    PC with 360 gamepad:
    5 maps, 3 times each, average kills: 24 out of 30.

    PC with Mouse and keyboard:
    5 maps, 3 times each, average kills 19 out of 30.

    So what that tells me is that for one, the console with a gamepad is easier then playing on a PC. Second, R6 Vegas terrorist hunt is easier with a gampad then a mouse and keyboard.

    WHY?

    During my testing, I noticed a number of things within R6 Vegas...
    When playing with a gamepad the movements and look around speed is definitely slower then a mouse and keyboard, but the aiming sight is more forgiving with a gamepad.

    When using a gamepad, If I fired on an enemy he went down if he was in the general circle of the sight, but on the PC...the center dot in the general circle had to be on target. It takes a little longer to put the sight on target with the mouse, especially if there moving, and sometimes I would move the mouse to fast and over lead my target. (Now I guess you could probably adjust some mouse settings to get a smoother move, but I use a Razer Diamondback, which is supposedly made for gaming.)

    Below is a link to a video I made, this video was made out of scope of the study/test i did, because recording using fraps really effects the mouse and movement keys already... but what it shows if you watch carefully is when using a mouse, movement is smoother, and turning onto targets is quicker, but settling down with the sight on a target takes more time, and more misses.

    with the gamepad, the movements and the speed of direction look are slower, but putting the sight on target and pulling the trigger made more kills and less misses.

    I'd be interested in knowing if someone else with both R6 Vegas for the 360 and PC, comes up with similar results.

    But the overall winner in this contest, and I'm just as surprised as you, is the Game Pad. Why? (I'm sure many of you have opinions why, or how my study was flawed, but here it is anyway. lol.)

    http://www.tacticsandteamwork.com/Vi...20vs%20Pad.wmv
    Magnum |TG-18th|


    We stand between chaos and order, evil and good, despair and hope - we are the Thin Blue Line, and we will never be broken.


  • #2
    Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

    I think the deciding factor really is coordination. I know lots of people who play with a gamepad just like it was a mouse and keyboard for me. Some people have a really hard time with a mouse and keyboard. It's just a different style.

    I personally really enjoy a gamepad for everything but an FPS. It's way more ergonomic and easy on the arms and hands.


    - -

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    • #3
      Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

      Originally posted by Magnum50 View Post
      When using a gamepad, If I fired on an enemy he went down if he was in the general circle of the sight, but on the PC...the center dot in the general circle had to be on target.
      I don't quite understanding your description of having an easier time targetting on the console than the PC. What you say here makes it sound like the console version (and the PC version when it detects that you're using a gamepad) of the game gives you a handicap. You say that you register hits on the console version whenever your target is within the general circle of the sight, while you register hits on the PC version only when your target is centered on the center dot. That sounds like the console version requires less accuracy on your part than the PC version. While that makes it easier to hit targets, it doesn't mean that the gamepad grants you better control than the mouse. If you're more with the mouse because the PC version requires better accuracy on your part, then you can't make a direct comparison of performance and kills in the way you do here.

      But, I'm not sure if this is what you're describing, since you say that the PC version is a direct port of the console version--so that sounds like any handicap would be preserved. But, that would be something easy to modify during the port. I guess it's just not clear what you're describing here.

      Edit: While I don't play console games (the latest console I own is a PS one), I have noticed, when watching my brother play resident evil on the PS2, that there is a handicap of this sort on console first person shooters--at least, on resident evil. In particular, I notice that you register hits on targets even if your crosshairs aren't on target. That is, you'd register hits in circumstances where it seems that you wouldn't on a PC first person shooter where you're firing and your crosshairs aren't quite on your target.

      If it's the case that console first person shooters give you this sort of handicap, then it's not surprising at all that you might perform better on the console version of a game than the PC version. What would be surprising is if the gamepad intrinsically gives a user better control in a first person shooter than a mouse and keyboard. But, that you perform better on the console version because of a handicap wouldn't show that it is. Indeed, it appears to show that the gamepad is worse; hence, it would be a good reason to impliment the handicap in the first place.
      Last edited by sordavie; 12-23-2006, 11:49 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

        Yeah, console games usually have some form of auto aim - the reticle doesn't have to be dead center on the target in order to get a hit. So, it's not really that you're better with a gamepad, it's just that the makers of the games realize that it's more difficult to aim with one and adjust the gameplay accordingly.

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        • #5
          Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

          not only do console games have auto aim, but the AI is usually programmed to be slower to respond and less accurate. It's not a scientific test.

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          • #6
            Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

            Interestingly, Unreal Tournament, back in 2000, had just the sort of feature that I suspected first person shooters might have. It would automatically turn on auto-aim (with no way of turning it off) if one was using a gamepad, and, apparently, the only way to turn off the auto-aim feature is to use a mouse/keyboard. So, it's not quite just a matter of console versus PC. At least some of these games grant a handicap based on whether it detects the user using a gamepad or mouse/keyboard; and that goes for either console or PC:

            While the PC version is heavily centered on online play, Unreal Tournament for the PlayStation 2 offers multiple multiplayer options. Aside from the standard four-player split-screen, you can also use an i.Link cable to connect two PlayStation 2s together for two-player action. When using the Dual Shock 2 controller, the game controls roughly like other console first-person shooters, with one stick used to move and one to aim. When you let off the aim stick in this version, though, your view quickly snaps back into position - it would have been nice if this were a configurable option. Also, some players might not find a suitable control scheme, as the game only lets you choose from a few preset configurations rather than allowing you to configure the controller to your liking. Also, when playing with the controller, you're given the gift of auto-aim. Pushing in your aim joystick causes you to center on the nearest onscreen foe. Beyond that, the game even takes aim for you, allowing you to hit enemies who aren't even close to your targeting reticle. Upping the difficulty setting seems to lessen the effect, but there is no way to disable auto-aim short of using a mouse.

            Unreal Tournament is the first US PlayStation 2 game to take advantage of the hardware's USB ports. You can jack in a keyboard and mouse and play the game just like you'd play the PC version. While the keyboard can be configured in several different ways, the mouse support only lets you use two buttons and the mouse wheel, and the only alteration to the mouse's configuration you can make beyond adjusting the sensitivity is setting which button is fire and which is alternate fire.
            (Italics my emphasis) -http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/unrealtournament/review.html?sid=2644360&print=1
            My guess is that a lot of first person shooters that have gamepad support have this feature.

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            • #7
              Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

              Dude, don't read into my post as some attack or something, I wondered, did a study, and shared the results... not trying to convince anyone that a pad is better, just sharing my opinion...


              I noticed that with the mouse, especially a razer diamondback like mine, which is made to be sensitive to movement for a faster move, aim, and fire...is also the handicap, because then you have to settle down the mouse first then fire otherwise you'll miss.


              With a mouse you kinda have to pixel hunt to get the perfect shot, unlike the gamepad...


              I've done plenty of real shooting in my life, unfortunately real shooting at real people, and IMO after my testing, the gamepad represents a more truer feel, because in real life at close distances you don't aim you point and shoot.


              Now in distance shots of course you would aim, breath, and squeeze.

              But look at games like SWAT4, and the Rainbow Six series, most of the combat is close quarters, so you wouldn't have the time to search for the sweet shot, you would point and shoot.
              Magnum |TG-18th|


              We stand between chaos and order, evil and good, despair and hope - we are the Thin Blue Line, and we will never be broken.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                I don't think anyone read it as an attack. I think everyone read that you drew the conclusion that the gamepad grants better control in first person shooters based on the study you did. Then, people replied that this conclusion was not justified because of certain variables you didn't seem to account for in the study. You set people up for a surprising conclusion with this and the other thread, but when the reason for that conclusion came out people saw that the reasons didn't justify the conclusion and didn't find it surprising at all. And then, people tried to explain that to you. That doesn't mean anyone took it as an attack. :) And, you certainly shouldn't take any of this as a personal attack either. I frequently have to remind my students that in a debate we attack the arguments not the people behind the arguments. If everyone kept that in mind on internet forums, we'd all have an easier time. hehe

                Your conclusion now doesn't look to be one about the superiority of gamepad control, but one about a more realistic representation of aiming a weapon. Whether that's so or not, I don't know. But, I don't see how statistics kills is evidence for that either way. Whether it's a truer representation of really firing a weapon in close combat isn't the big surprise you led us all to believe. Neither the gamepad or mouse are good representations of shooting a real weapon. So, even supposing one is better, it wouldn't be surprising that one is better at doing a poor representation than the other. I don't think anyone believes that the mouse/keyboard is the ultimate representation of firing a real weapon, and I don't think that even you believe the gamepad is a very good one.

                The surprising conclusion would have been the one you seemed to originally make--that the gamepad gives us better control over our in-game characters than the mouse/keyboard. And, this is what people were replying to.

                I'm further not sure what you mean when you say that the mouse gives the user a handicap. The handicap that people have been talking about with the gamepad is programmed in to the software, which allows you to play the game with an input device with less than desireable accuracy. I just don't see how that's comperable or relevant to the handicap you suggest the mouse has when you say:

                I noticed that with the mouse, especially a razer diamondback like mine, which is made to be sensitive to movement for a faster move, aim, and fire...is also the handicap, because then you have to settle down the mouse first then fire otherwise you'll miss.
                That sounds like a negative handicap--one that hurts you rather than helps you. The handicap the comes with a gamepad helps you do better in game by allowing success while being less accurate with your controls. Indeed, some of us found it surprising that you were shocked at the results of your own study. Afterall, when you play with the gamepad, the software helps you out. Hence, the better scores when using the gamepad. But, again, what we want to point out is that better scores can't justify the conclusion that the gamepad is a better controller than the mouse/keyboard for first person shooters, because the reason that you got the better scores is a handicap rather than one input device being a better controller than the other.

                The reason many people prefer the mouse/keyboard over the gamepad, I suspect, is because many people don't like the idea of the auto-aim handicap. They want as much control over their in-game character as possible. And, the mouse/keyboard are superior in terms of an input device that gives you as much control over your in-game first person shooter character as possible. People are less concerned about whether they're getting a realistic representation of firing a gun while playing a first person shooter in front of their computer or tv. (I guess duck hunt with the nintendo gun is a more realistic representation of firing a weapon than any modern first person shooter with a gamepad or mouse and keyboard.) Note that it's just the opposite with sports games. The mouse/keyboard is a clunky input device for most sports games, and the gamepad is superior. But, again, nobody really cares about how realistic it feels. Nobody thinks that pressing a button on the gamepad is a better representation of throwing a football than pressing a key on the keyboard. The gamepad is superior for sports games because it provides better in-game control. And, this is exactly the reason that people feel the mouse/keyboard is superior for first person shooters.

                So, it looks like you've changed your conclusion. I don't see how this new conclusion--that the gamepad feels more realistic than the mouse/keyboard or that it represents firing a real weapon better--is supported by the evidence in your study. How does better in-game success translate to more realistic feel?
                Last edited by sordavie; 12-24-2006, 12:46 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                  Playing COD3 on the old XBOX I noticed that there was a touch of auto aim. A little crutch for the inferior gamepad and a little boost for the more run&gun console gamer.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                    Nice post Magnum. Like you I refused to play FPS on my 360, but I have learned to be proficient at it now. Your test is interesting, and I am glad you seem to be enjoying it. As for auto-aim etc, the games mentioned above do not use this feature.



                    A good man stands up for himself. A great man stands up for others.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                      Originally posted by Usarion View Post
                      Nice post Magnum. Like you I refused to play FPS on my 360, but I have learned to be proficient at it now. Your test is interesting, and I am glad you seem to be enjoying it. As for auto-aim etc, the games mentioned above do not use this feature.
                      Remember that autoaim doesn't necessarily move your crosshairs over the target for you. 'Autoaim' is just the general term for a handicap the software gives one allowing them to regularly register hits without having to manually place the crosshairs precisely on target.

                      From Magnum's description of registering hits with the gamepad so long as his targets were in the general circle of the targeting recticle, it sounds like the software does grant this handicap when using a gamepad. Compare this observation with his observation that it's much harder with the mouse since he has to place the center of the general circle on target in order to register hits.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                        Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                        Remember that autoaim doesn't necessarily move your crosshairs over the target for you. 'Autoaim' is just the general term for a handicap the software gives one allowing them to regularly register hits without having to manually place the crosshairs precisely on target.

                        From Magnums description of registering hits with the gamepad so long as his targets were in the general circle of the targeting recticle, it sounds like the software does grant this handicap when using a gamepad. Compare this observation with his observation that it's much harder with the mouse since he has to place the center of the general circle on target in order to register hits.

                        I certainly would not debate this. I played CounterStrike Source far to long, and know the difficulty in placing the reticle properly. I will say though I don't see any aiming help in a game like GOW. If you miss, you miss.



                        A good man stands up for himself. A great man stands up for others.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                          Originally posted by Usarion View Post
                          If you miss, you miss.
                          Hehe. That's certainly true regardless of what anyone says. Nobody thought that was false.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                            There really wasn't any aiming in your video. You were just setting up and letting them move into your crosshairs. But the few times you actually had you re position your crosshair, I noticed that with the gamepad you weren't doing so well. The part where you are shooting guys coming up the stairs you can really see the lack of control you had.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mouse vs GamePad... my study...

                              Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                              I don't quite understanding your description of having an easier time targetting on the console than the PC. What you say here makes it sound like the console version (and the PC version when it detects that you're using a gamepad) of the game gives you a handicap.

                              Yes, you read his writeup right, consoles, and I guess that game when using an xbox360 controller, give you magic bullets that will hit your target regardless of aim when you are in the general direction of the opponent.

                              That, by itself, is why I like FPS games on PC over console. I like my aim to matter.

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