Microsoft Sidewinder Strategic Commander
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- 6 programmable buttons
- 3 shift buttons
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|Item Dimensions||9.2 x 10.3 x 3.3 in||9.3 x 10.4 x 3.3 in||7.35 x 6.04 x 2.13 in||9.1 x 11.2 x 3.5 in||8.6 x 9.2 x 4.1 in||6.33 x 5.33 x 7.63 in|
Used - like new (used only a few times then put it back in the box). Adult owned.
From the Manufacturer
Get ready for a revolution in strategy gaming. Sidewinder Strategic Commander brings your strategy game play to a new level by allowing you to move, deploy and command your forces faster and more efficiently. Its innovative map movement control lets you scroll and spin the map quickly and intuitively, and an ergonomic design puts customizable commands at your fingertips.
Top customer reviews
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It takes some time to work it, and a very old OS (WIN98 anyone? No? Ah, poo, my age strikes again...). But it was reworked beautifully with the ever-loved Strategic Command mapping software found online (GOOGLE IT!!!) which is free.
This works with windows 10, provided you don't kill it first like I did... and it IS worth it, even with the functionality redux.
One of the oldest, and perhaps ONLY multi-directional mouse substitutions for less than 100$ (left hand only, hahahahah, sorry right handers... :P ) on the market, this thing really did it all. It was created for optimal RTS capture, namely, those games who employed rotational maps (C&C Generals... and then... not much else...) but can be used for multiple purposes. So, that being said, the rub.
You have, or had, back in the day, six buttons that would light up as macro'd, per the software now ages gone, giving you an idea of which keys were macro'd. Well not to fret, gamers, they still light up, kind of. [funny button sequence as you load strategic command software, but that's about it]. You had a dedicated [record] function, before [record] was cool... ha... ha... nevermind. This button would map macro's on the fly, meaning that In-Game configuration was tons easier; tap record, record macro live on mouse/keyboard, tap key to bind it to, done (all before dual-screen gaming existed). Well, now it's just a button, cause Microsoft abandoned it, and the new mapping software did the best it could, so live with it.
The Strategic Command software also incorporates deadzones, as well as full-ish mouse functionality (about as clunkily as the x45 did mouse control, albeit 10 years prior to the x45's heralding, so who's to judge?), as well as mode functions, which are used with the "always-on" [mode] slider behind the (What is it with the freaking orange? [see Saitek x45 review]) red (queue missils?) record button. Yay...
Three shift buttons, plus three mode buttons, and six normal buttons, plus the record button losing all previous awesome to become the seventh button under all shift and mode buttons, equate to 63 buttons total, plus the move and rotate buttons. Sheesh, it's like the only way all these buttons'll be used is in the League of Legends International Tournament...wait...too soon? (Originally said Starcraft tourney, but my age hurt...)
You, lastly, have the zoom in/out buttons which are as they are.
Mobility during play:
Unlike the x45's unique ability to self-bond to it's station, before I killed the Strategic Commander, I had it "Command Stripped" to the desk so it wouldn't "drive itself" all over my desk during play... and you WILL find countless reviews stating that deficiency (enter the lightness of x55?)... how exactly does one remove command strips, again...? :(
Man, this is one amazing piece of hardware. The feel has some serious pop (playing with the broken thing while I write this review) centering better than my x45, even now! Mind you, this is a very aged machine, so much so that Microsoft has abandoned it completely, so when I say it "pops" to center, you'd better believe it! It conforms to the hand, or would better if my hand were smaller. The only qualm I had with the movement was that the base and swivel ground together during intense movement. Another qualm, this with engineering, was that this controller was built primarily to placate the digital era, not the analogue one. This means that the primary movement control set is generically four button; up, down, left, right. Sure, the new Strategic Command software seems more fluid than the last, in that, it appears to take axes more evenly, but trust me, this is not a mouse; it will not have the same control a mouse does, you will constantly argue with one set direction, as the pad adjusts to the possibility of another, e.g. you will move direct right for a clip, before the machine realizes you'd been hitting down+right, at which point it will move directly down. Haters will invariably say, I can move it to all points easily, but someone moving directly from a mouse to this WILL see a difference. While not bad, it may be kind of a trick to work the base correctly, provided you have command strips to keep it stationary.
That is NOT to say it doesn't shine, merely that it needs more loving than it has thus far received. HOW DO I REMOVE COMMAND STRIPS WITHOUT KILLING MY TABLE!?!?!?!?
I would love to have used it as a "Landing" thruster control substution for Elite Dangerous (E:D), as it has similar precision control to the x45, with better feel, for exactly that situation... but I killed the rotation gimbal somehow (it now always gimps to the right, regardless of direction moved, regardless of connection/reconnection to ANY usb interface... sadface). For new games like E:D and Star Citizen (When/if ever SC DOES come out [I hold NOT my breath]...) this would be a beautiful addition to any physical armament. For now, lacking the willpower/knowhow to remove said command strips without destroying my desk... It will sit next to my N52TE, which, while being marketed in the movie "Ender's Game" will never, somehow, stand up to the novelty or pure feel of something so intuitive and simple (simply perfect) as the Strategic Commander.
The unit however is fairly old tech and Microsoft doesn't support it anymore, drivers are mostly from 3rd parties now. Be sure this is something you are ready to deal with before ordering.
Functionally the device is a great concept, I wish Microsoft (or maybe Razor they are good at taking old idea like this and modernizing them) would pick this design idea up and make improvements to it.This could be a game changing (if you pardon the pun) MMO controlling device with just a few adjustments.
10 finger buttons (5 up 5 down) plus a scroll wheel next tot he index finger button. 6 thumb buttons (3 forward 3 back). Plust the shifting. Would be awesome
That would give you 1-10 at your fingers with a scroll wheel, tab / space / and whatever your interact key would be on the front thumb buttons and atl / ctrl / shift on the back thumb. WASD with the sliding of the unit and QE with the pivot.
and walla you just revolutionized MMOs congratulations...
It took me a couple of minutes to install the Commander on my XP system (USB), and I was programming the buttons shortly thereafter. Note: This does *not* replace your mouse or keyboard. It is a great addition to allow you to move your character around, perform things like crouch, jump, reload, lean, roll, hop, go prone, select weapon, emote, etc all from just 6 keys. It comes pre-programmed to allow you to move it forward and sideways to replace the keyboard directional keys (it does not "roll" on the desktop, rather, the top unit 'slides' (Forward, Backwards, Left, Right) on top of the stationary base. It also has a 'twist' function, if you desire that can be programmed as well.
Since it's designed for LEFT hand use, I found it took a short time to get used to it while mousing with my right hand (I keep the mouse for the LOOK functions and scope functions). It feels solid on my desktop and is easy to use. It does not slide around due to the rubber feet.
You can 'record' and program keyboard shortcuts on the fly (with the RECORD button), or you can use the interface program to program your buttons. Each button has a function along with three "shift" functions (the shift button is beneath your thumb). All told, it will handle up to 72 keyboard (macro) commands (arrows, scroll lock, etc) so you do not have to take your hand off the controller to do in-game functions. NOTE: This is not a "CHEAT" - it just allows you to move your hand faster and not lose your concentration. (You can also program multiple keyboard combinations as well as a one-button 'macro')
All in all, it's worth the money. You can switch from 3 profiles on the fly - and you can save and load mappings as well. For instance, you can have one profile as a gunner, one for a medic, one for a sniper, etc.
As it works well with BHD, I'd expect the same to be true for "Battlefield: 1942" and other 3D combat games. It comes with profiles for about 30 other games (2D strategy games like Ages of Empires, etc).
Retail price for this is about $60 (and I could never find one locally) but you can find it online for much less (probably less than half of the MSR price - I got mine for about $21 + shipping). I've been using mine for several days and I'm very happy with it. It definitely enhances the game.
I still had some issues but reinstalling would fix it. It was more stable after some time.
Most recent customer reviews
I bought my first StratCom in 2001, to use with strategy games.Read more