Trackball gaming

Obsoleet

Platinum Member
Oct 2, 2007
2,181
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0
Anyone here do it?

I had to buy a Logitech Trackman Marble due to RSI and / or carpal tunnel in my right side. I'm using it for work and only using the mouse for games. Its been a week of working with it and using it for personal use and so far so good. It's not that bad but been using a mouse right handed since roughly 1986. A long time.

I'm left handed so I decided to go for an ambidextrous trackball and finally start using my left side. Between being a trackball and using it left handed I figured I was doing maximum benefit for myself, both getting used to it and not just using a trackball right handed.

I mostly play League of Legends and Killing Floor, but can't imagine doing the same stuff I pull off in those games with this trackball yet. Any of you ever reach the point where you were as good with a trackball as you were a mouse?

Once I got used to the trackball and could use it without noticing it, I turned the sensitivity all the way up in Setpoint and disabled acceleration from day one.
 

Dankk

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2008
5,558
25
91
Any of you ever reach the point where you were as good with a trackball as you were a mouse?
Absolutely.

Welcome to the club, man. The Logitech Trackman Marble is the best gaming trackball out there IMO. I've been using one for years now. Haven't looked back. I play Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, and Battlefield with it, and I'm just as good as I was with a regular mouse, if not better. I feel like I have better accuracy with half the required muscle-movement. Infinite range of motion is nice too. You can do a 360-degree turn in a game with only the flick of your finger. No arm or wrist movement required. No picking up the mouse.

You made a good choice. It's a great trackball for shooters. My only gripe with it is that it's not so good for strategy games, or any games that require a scrollwheel. (For games that really need it, I use the "scroll keys" I programmed on my Logitech G105 keyboard.)

Like you, I've experienced some wrist pain using a regular mouse. One of my friends showed me the Trackman Marble and I decided to buy one for myself. Took me a month or two to get used to it (really weird re-learning how to control the cursor after using traditional a mouse for my entire life), but I've been using it ever since.

You may find it strange to imagine playing games like Killing Floor with a trackball, but just give it some time. It becomes incredibly natural.
 
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TidusZ

Golden Member
Nov 13, 2007
1,765
2
81
when I was like 10 years old my parents bought a trackball and since I had no money I couldn't go buy a mouse so I was stuck with it for many months. I was never able to get used to it personally. It was a lot different than the smaller ones though. My friend had a trackball mouse that was similar to that logitech one and I could certainly use it but I don't see how it could ever be as good as a mouse. I'll probably be in your situation in a few years though
 

frowertr

Golden Member
Apr 17, 2010
1,371
41
91
Been using a trackball for 15 years now. I couldn't imagine using a regular mouse for gaming. With a trackball, you can simply flick your thumb and spin on a dime in games.
 

TidusZ

Golden Member
Nov 13, 2007
1,765
2
81
Been using a trackball for 15 years now. I couldn't imagine using a regular mouse for gaming. With a trackball, you can simply flick your thumb and spin on a dime in games.
I think that's probably the 1 advantage trackball has and I didn't think of it before. Low sensitivity but still able to make huge move I guess. I still don't see how someone could use a trackball in some games though like starcraft.

I wonder if you could just improve your ergonomics and try using a high sensitivity mouse so you don't need to move your wrist/elbow too much.
 

Slacker

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
8,623
32
91
I have used Logitech trackballs since they first came out, hate regular mice.

I play world of Warcraft with a wireless trackman marble on my right hand and a nostromo n52te on my left hand, I have no use for the keyboard unless I need to chat.

Sit most people down with that setup and they would be lost, to me it is second nature.
 

Slacker

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
8,623
32
91
I made this pic of what would be my dream setup years ago, there is a thread here somewhere on it.

 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,746
792
126
I have tried both and mouse all the way for 99% of the stuff.

Another problem with the trackball is you are using one of your fingers that could otherwise be used for various mouse buttons.

The only time a trackball is used in most cases is with a laptop when you have little to no space for a normal mouse.
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,746
792
126
Been using a trackball for 15 years now. I couldn't imagine using a regular mouse for gaming. With a trackball, you can simply flick your thumb and spin on a dime in games.
Try increasing your sensitivity if you can't do that easily with a mouse.

Otherwise when was the last time you need to do a full spin for most games as at most a 180 may by needed to check out behind you?
 

splat_ed

Member
Mar 12, 2010
189
0
0
I have tried both and mouse all the way for 99% of the stuff.

Another problem with the trackball is you are using one of your fingers that could otherwise be used for various mouse buttons.

The only time a trackball is used in most cases is with a laptop when you have little to no space for a normal mouse.
Not always true... I used to use a Microsoft trackball where you used the thumb for the ball, fingers were for buttons. I liked that, as well as my old Logitech. Now use wireless keyboard but not seen wireless trackballs...
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,746
792
126
Not always true... I used to use a Microsoft trackball where you used the thumb for the ball, fingers were for buttons. I liked that, as well as my old Logitech. Now use wireless keyboard but not seen wireless trackballs...
Thumb is useful for the side buttons on the mice that must have thus you loose that with many types of trackballs where the ball is on that side.

In most fps games I use my thumb for the side buttons / movement as you can move easily while it's on the button without pressing it unless you need to, index for main button 1 / left click, middle finger for scroll button, ring finger for main button 2 / right click, and pinky for movement.

With your thumb used for movement or even worst if you get a middle ball version you waste that finger.

Sure in different types of games it doesn't matter as much where you don't need as many fingers at the same time but having another macro button is nice.

Not to mention my wrist gets a lot less sore compared to my thumb if I use a trackball for a long time.
 

Via

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2009
4,695
4
0
I have an odd style for my Microsoft trackball that I've perfected over the years.

I control mouse 1 and wheel with my thumb, mouse2 with my index finger when needed, and the trackball mostly with my middle three fingers unless my index finger is on mouse2, in which case only my middle and ring finger control the TB. I've never used the other two buttons for gaming.
 

Anteaus

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2010
2,448
4
81
OP, you can always try out a vertical mouse. I have a friend with a similar issue that does CAD work and he uses a vertical mouse.
 

BlitzPuppet

Platinum Member
Feb 4, 2012
2,460
7
81
Yes, I've been through 3 generations now....


The original (I think) cream colored trackman that had a middle mouse button, but no scroll wheel.

The 2nd gen gray trackman that had the scroll wheel but only two buttons.

The Wireless track man M570.

Loved them all, I haven't gamed with a regular mouse as far as I can remember....always been a trackball guy.
 

Gryz

Golden Member
Aug 28, 2010
1,551
203
106
I've used a MarbleMouse for gaming since 1999.

In 1999 I played Unreal (and later Unreal Tournament). The US champion was a player called OverToad. He played with a PantherXL joystick made by MadCatz. The PantherXL is an integrated joystick with trackball. I've owned a few, but unfortunately they broke down quickly (within a few months). And they were only for sale in the US. (I live in Europe, but used to travel to the US several times per year). I liked the joystick+trackball, so I had to find another solution. I've played for a few years with a Logitech joystick and MarbleMouse. But those sticks used to break often too.

In 2004 I bought a FighterStick USB made by CH Products. Awesome joystick. Virtually unbreakable. I'm using the same one for 9 years now (and have a new spare in my cupboard, just in case. Never wanna do without one again).

I am right-handed. Almost all joysticks are right-handed. That means I have to use my trackball (or mouse) with my left hand. That is a small handicap. Especially in online shooters. But I don't play online shooters anymore. I've played all my single player games with FighterStick+MarbleMouse combination. And that went fine. I used to play a lot of MMOs. High-end raiding in WoW (rogue, prot warrior). I configured the pinky button as a "shift-button". That way I had 38 real buttons at my disposal. I could do any sequence of abilities, while moving around like a madman. Definitely a benefit, imho.

You are lefthanded. You might be able to get the same aim with the MarbleMouse as you would with a regular mouse. (I can't as I'm right-handed, and that will always be a slight disadvantage). Even then, I think the benefits of a MarbleMouse are enough to keep playing. 1) Less fatigue/rsi/cts in your hand, 2) easy circle-strafing, 3) never have to pick up your mouse to re-position it, 4) easy cleaning, 5) no problem with assymetrical mice made for right-hand, etc.

BTW, I don't think I could ever get used to a thumb-operated trackball.
 
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CPX7700

Junior Member
May 24, 2013
4
0
0
I also use a Logitech Marble Mouse on my older PC and a Kensington Orbit trackball on my gaming PC. I have been trackball gaming for a long time and I am debating whether or not to purchase a regular mouse.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,946
1,077
126
I've been using trackballs exclusively for many years, but I don't like the marble (index finger ones). I like the ones with the thumballs. Since the originals are hard to find anymore, I use the Logitech M570 wireless version these days. Love it.
 

giantpandaman2

Senior member
Oct 17, 2005
580
11
81
I use a m570 far better than I can use a mouse. For sniping it's not quite as good as a mouse, but for quick motion and reaction shots it's perfect for me. Great for games like TF2 or 3rd person shooters.

I just wish Logitech made one with more buttons and on the fly sensitivity controls.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
462
126
I've used a MarbleMouse for gaming since 1999.

In 1999 I played Unreal (and later Unreal Tournament). The US champion was a player called OverToad. He played with a PantherXL joystick made by MadCatz. The PantherXL is an integrated joystick with trackball. I've owned a few, but unfortunately they broke down quickly (within a few months). And they were only for sale in the US. (I live in Europe, but used to travel to the US several times per year). I liked the joystick+trackball, so I had to find another solution. I've played for a few years with a Logitech joystick and MarbleMouse. But those sticks used to break often too.

In 2004 I bought a FighterStick USB made by CH Products. Awesome joystick. Virtually unbreakable. I'm using the same one for 9 years now (and have a new spare in my cupboard, just in case. Never wanna do without one again).

I am right-handed. Almost all joysticks are right-handed. That means I have to use my trackball (or mouse) with my left hand. That is a small handicap. Especially in online shooters. But I don't play online shooters anymore. I've played all my single player games with FighterStick+MarbleMouse combination. And that went fine. I used to play a lot of MMOs. High-end raiding in WoW (rogue, prot warrior). I configured the pinky button as a "shift-button". That way I had 38 real buttons at my disposal. I could do any sequence of abilities, while moving around like a madman. Definitely a benefit, imho.

You are lefthanded. You might be able to get the same aim with the MarbleMouse as you would with a regular mouse. (I can't as I'm right-handed, and that will always be a slight disadvantage). Even then, I think the benefits of a MarbleMouse are enough to keep playing. 1) Less fatigue/rsi/cts in your hand, 2) easy circle-strafing, 3) never have to pick up your mouse to re-position it, 4) easy cleaning, 5) no problem with assymetrical mice made for right-hand, etc.

BTW, I don't think I could ever get used to a thumb-operated trackball.
I play the same way. I play almost exclusively single player shooters, with a MarbleMouse & Logitech Extreme 3D combination. I wouldn't be competitive online (even if I wasn't old) but I find it way more fun, natural and immersive. And I too started with a PantherXL back in the 90s. I almost modded mine with a Microsoft USB mouse, which isn't really difficult, but since the stick had no twist axis I decided to go to separate trackball and joystick. I still miss the pinkie button.

I've often thought of finding a joystick I could comfortably use in my left hand to allow using a mouse with my right hand, but so far I've not expended much energy to try that. Sounds like Obsoleet could have the best of both worlds - although I don't like using the same controls at work and at play, from the larger chance of RSI.
 

Obsoleet

Platinum Member
Oct 2, 2007
2,181
1
0
Some pretty interesting posts for sure. I tried a few games of LoL tonight with my old Logitech G3, felt awkward to use a mouse at first even tho it's only been a week. But started getting pains in my wrist/arm and I think I'm going to go on a longterm hiatus from the mouse, at least a month.

In the meantime, using the Marble left handed. After I feel comfortable with that, I'm going to use it right handed for a month or so. Hoping to get good with the trackball in either hand, so I can move it to the right hand side when I play games. Using it on the left for everything else. Keeps me from having to remap my keyboard.
I'm pretty decent with the trackball already in both hands, tho not game-worthy.

The left hand trackball + right hand joystick idea is intriguing. Makes me want to plugin the old Logitech Wingman Warrior. :)

Has anyone had any extensive use with a Kensington Expert Mouse? That looks like a top competitor to the Logitech Marble. I'd give the Logitech thumb trackball a try, but I really want to start using my left hand since that would be more natural for me anyway. Not that I've ever used a mouse left handed.

I don't miss the scroll wheel while in Windows because I keep my right hand on the home/end/pgup/pgdown keys. I do miss having the scroll wheel and holding ctrl to zoom in and out though, not the end of the world I guess. Ctrl +/- does the same
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,950
3,288
126
I have been gaming with my cell phone for a very long time. I finally found an attachment that allowed me to attach a mouse to my cell phone. Trackball all the wat baby!!! Who Loves yaz????
 

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