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Product: Force Feedback 2
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com/sidewinder
Estimated Street Price: $109.00
Review By: Julien JAY

GamePlay

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Design, setup, force
3: GamePlay & Drivers

4: Conclusion

When you put your right hand on the lever, the base of your hand will rest on the large plinth while three of your fingers will hold the lever when the index reaches the main trigger. Your thumb will have two choices: it can either rest on the especially designed curved bump on the left of the lever or it can naturally control third buttons of the joystick at the same time: the hat-switch, the 3 & large 2 buttons without the need to move your thumb. When you’re playing your left hand will be generally put on the base of the joystick and will have access to four buttons plus the throttle. As the SideWinder Force FeedBack 2 is a smart device two small sensors detect the presence of your hand on the lever so force feedback effect are only powered when your hand hold the device: if you let go of then force feedback will stop instantly. As we love to test everything, we tested the SideWinder Force Feedback 2 with various games that were: 

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000,

  • Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2,

  • Microsoft MechWarrior 4,

  • Microsoft HellBender,

  • Microsoft OutWars,

  • MDK 2,

  • Microsoft Urban Assault, etc.

With all these games we used before with the Force Feedback Pro, we noticed a real improved handling comfort along with incredibly accurate move especially with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 & Combat Flight Simulator 2. When you play with the Force Feedback 2, the large and heavy base ensures a real stability of your device on the desk. Force Feedback effects are strong and realistic.

         

Drivers

       

To use the Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2 and enjoy all its benefits Microsoft provides the SideWinder Game Controller Software 4. First of all if you have a motherboard that uses a VIA chipset you’ll have to install a small free patch to make the Force Feedback 2 unit work properly. These complete  drivers let you test the unit by bringing a visual feedback on your screen each time you push a button. It also lets you test the force feedback effects to see if everything is fine. But the drivers also let you define the force feedback effects’ intensity for the lever and the centre: from weak to strong you’ll enjoy the benefits of a full customisation. When Microsoft says strong force feedback effects they really mean it since when you choose this settings your hand will be good for some rests after it was shaking in all senses. The drivers also let you tweak the inertia zone and movements’ amplitude degree using a very clear graphical representation for an unprecedented reliable setting.

     
    

   
Microsoft SideWinder Force FeedBack 2 Controller Software 4.0 while testing the forces & X, Y movement (click to enlarge)

 


Microsoft SideWinder Force FeedBack 2 Controller Software 4.0 while setting inertia zone (click to enlarge)

  

   

Like with previous SideWinder drivers you can select one of the build-in game profiles (20 are provided with the drivers) to play right away. Game profiles are used to adapt the joystick buttons to the game specific buttons’ assignments and actions. Once you’ve selected a game profile you can obviously edit it to change functions assigned to the buttons, add or remove shortcuts, etc. If ever the game you want to play isn’t listed in the built in profiles list you can create your own profile, using the profile editor.

              

   

   
Microsoft SideWinder Force FeedBack 2 Controller Software 4.0 Profile Selector & Profile Editor (click to enlarge)

  


Game Shortcuts Recorder (click to enlarge)

                

       

The profile editor asks you the name of the game and listed the buttons of the joystick: for each button you want to customize you’ll have to select it and push a keyboard key or a combination of keys that’ll be saved by the game shortcut recorder. You’ll be able to create 16 different shortcuts per game. When you type keys the key appears on the input screen showing you what you’ve just entered. But you can also program more advanced shortcut by enabling a permanent repetition or allowing or forbid other programmed actions to run at the same time. Each game profile is saved in a file so you can share it with friends or simply back it up. At any time if you feel lost while tweaking the joystick a complete HTML help file is here to assist you. The drivers offer a useful feature that sits in the tray area of your windows taskbar - with a small SideWinder icon you can open the game settings applet or directly select a profile for the Force Feedback 2 joystick without the need to lose your soul in Windows’ meanders.

 

 

<-- Design, Setup, Force

Conclusion -->

 

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