Microsoft Strategic Commander in the test: Mixture of mouse, trackball and joystick
USB is the trump card and this is also evident in the Strategic Commander. Microsoft completely dispenses with an adapter in order to be able to connect the SSC to the old COM port. As soon as the supplied program CD has been inserted into the CD-ROM drive, a setup routine is automatically started which, thanks to Plug & Play, recognizes the SSC and sets it up accordingly. The setup program guides you through all operating steps. Everything is explained, from plugging in the USB connector to configuring the software. Finally, a video that you can see in the preface to this article even explains the controller. The software only had slight problems when it recognized the SSC while using another USB joystick at the same time, but these are easily solved.
The configuration program offers around 30 pre-defined profiles that can be should activate each time before starting a game. From Alpha Centauri to Earth 2150 to StarCraft, ready-made settings are already included. You can download more from the relevant homepage in the future. Profiles you have created can also be exchanged with friends without any problems.
Of course you are not limited to the profiles provided by Microsoft. It isboth possible to adapt the numerous predefined game profiles according to your own wishes or to create completely new profiles. You have the option of assigning a wide variety of key combinations to one of the SSC keys. In addition to the standard characters, the software also supports special functions, such as a time delay between the key combinations. This is often required for online games, since time delays have to be planned in constantly.
Furthermore, as already mentioned, the Strategic Commander can be moved freely in the Y-axis, in the X-axis and rotated by 45 ° in the Z-axis. Here, too, it is possible, in the event that the strategy game does not directly support the SSC, to assign these axes either the arrow keys or any commands to be defined.
A 'Record' button is allowed also the simple recording of keyboard commands in the game. These can be easily assigned to the individual finger buttons. Simply press the 'Rec' button, then the button that you want to reprogram, enter the key commands and finally the 'Rec' button again. It couldn't be easier.
But the navigation through the 72 different functions has been simplified even further. A light-emitting diode is attached under the six buttons as well as under the 'Rec' button, which shows which of the buttons has been programmed. If not all buttons are assigned in one of the three profiles, they will not light up. This makes handling easier, especially in the dark.
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