Creating a Mouse, Part 1
The Mouse I Always Wanted
As you may or may not know, Nick “Tasteless” Plott and myself have been working with Ttesports to create some custom hardcore gaming gear. Tasteless is designing a headset, I am designing a mouse, and together we are designing a keyboard. This blog is the first of at least 2 blogs about the creation process behind the mouse.
Creating a mouse has been something that I have dreamed of doing for at least 10 or 12 years. When we first started talking with Ttesports and I found out that this would be a possibility, I became insanely excited. There were a few conditions on my end though…
Here’s a hard truth: most of the time when you see a branded product, the player/team/personality it is branded for had very little to do with its creation. Maybe its color-branded. Maybe there were a couple of choices and they just chose which they liked better. Maybe it was just decided completely for them at the needs of company.
This type of partnership wasn’t going to work for me. The mouse had to be designed my way. If I only get one shot at endorsing a mouse, it had to be exactly what I wish existed.
I’ve used (read, tried) a huge amount of mice from my beginnings in esports back in 1999-2000. Every mouse has flaws in my eyes, some more than others. I hate tons of buttons. The mouse is how you control the game. It has to be fluid, an extension of your brain via your arm. I play games on the computer, not on a playstation. I have a keyboard with enough buttons on it already. It can’t be too big. RTS games require small, fast movements. I don’t like moving a football sized mouse around on my mousepad. The price has to be right. I’ve bought so many $80-$120 mice that I used for a week and didn’t like that it makes me sick. There are a few other things as well, but I’ll get to those later.
Much to my surprise and pleasure, Ttesports was totally on board with me. I had to check. Certainly they just wanted to take one of their existing mice and change it slightly to fit my vision, right? Nope. But…it would have to have at least 7 buttons on it for the newbs, right?? Nope.
This mouse would be made from scratch.
Visiting the Taiwan Game Show
Taiwan (where Ttesports is based) isn’t too far from Korea, and as soon as a reasonable opportunity to fly myself and Tasteless down came up, they had us down. Ttesports does a ton for the Taiwanese scene, and as a part of this, had a really big and awesome booth at the Taiwan Game Show. In addition to myself and Tasteless going down, they had Byun and Creator from PRIME, as well as a bunch of local pros, including Sen. It was pretty cool being able to meet some of the StarCraft fans who showed up, cast a few games, and hang out. Ttesports has 2 actual stores that sell just Ttesports stuff down there, one of which is connected to a huge PC Bang.
Of course, we got a few little tours of the city (thanks again to Eric Brinkley!), and even got to go to the Thermaltake year-end party. It was pretty awesome, with all the divisions there, doing skits, and just having a great time together. The CEO and Vice President of all of Thermaltake even took the time to walk around and talk to everybody. It was a great time.
Despite all this greatness, the best part was most certainly when going to the Tt offices (which were right in the center of Taipei). It was a really cool office for sure, very open and comfortable, but it had a couple things that really stood out to me: the 3D printer and the progaming practice room.
Right inside their offices is a little room on the side, with a 3D printer in it. With all sorts of tools and pieces all over the place, it looked like a much used and well-kept workshop. Just getting diagrams of a mouse you are going to make is not enough. You need to feel it in your hand, make sure the shape is right.
In fact, here are two of the models that have been produced for my upcoming mouse so far:
(I’ll talk more about why I rejected these two in a later blog)
In another area of the building was a huge room, full of computers. A practice room. Of course, the pro-teams in Taiwan have their own practice houses often times, but Tt keeps a practice room at the office as well. It’s even got monitors on the wall for other players and coaches to be able to easily watch and analyze a player’s games. This is definitely not enough though, obviously. On top of that, they have 2 professional sound-proof booths for matches at the office. It can’t be overstated how helpful it is to play in a mock version of a future match like that. Just totally awesome.
After checking everything out in the office, a meeting began. 2 lead designers and the Ttesports head joined us at a big table to hear out our wants for the products. Input was given both ways on what would make a good mouse (especially about the button number!), but at the end of the day, they were ready and willing to go for exactly what I was pitching.
One of the best days of my life.
In the next blog, I’ll go over some more specifics, both in the designing process, and on the mouse itself.