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GibWorld Features - Mousepad Mayhem
Mousepad Mayhem
Author - Man1c M0g

Section 1 - Introduction

     So you're a power gamer with a lean mean gaming machine, a 21" Diamondtron monitor, a hard disk the size of Canada, one of those new super-accurate optical mice, and so many fans in your case you have to strap it down to stop it taking off.  What's more you have EVERYTHING tweaked to the max including, strangely enough, your printer, which you hardly ever use anyway.  Yet after all this work and expense there is something missing - your gaming performance is just slightly short of the mark and instead of players envying your skill, they just envy your PC instead.   What you need, my friend, is a new mouse pad!
      No, don't look at me like that!  I know your old foam-backed pad is probably a family heirloom, but if you really want to become more accurate with that railgun you will need to spend up to $20 on something more specifically suited to gaming.  Still in doubt?   Well, think of it like this - if you are entering into an off-road rally competition, would you use a normal car?  Of course not, you would use one that has been tweaked for off-road conditions, with more rugged suspension and a tighter turning curve.  The same analogy holds true for mouse pads, because one devised with gamers in mind will be far more suitable for that purpose than a cheap wedge of foam that you get free with promotions from mail order companies.   At first I was a little skeptical, but after using a few of the new 'mousing surfaces' myself I'd be so bold as to say that I'll never go back to my old one again.

Bring in the Padz!
     The three mouse pads I'm going to have a look at today are the RatPad, the Everglide Mousepad, and the 3M Precise Mousing Surface, which I shall compare against normal foam-backed products, and each other.  All of them have been out for quite a while (including the RatPad, which faced a lawsuit over being too similar to a competing product, but won the day eventually), and have their own unique fan base.  Being new to recent mousing surfaces and having them all of them in front of me, however, I will attempt to be as impartial as possible, seeing as none of the manufacturers concealed any bribes in the packaging :p.

Benchmarking!?!
     Well, its been done for nearly everything else, so why the hell not?  I'll be the first to admit that benchmarking a mousemat is a little inconclusive. Unquantifiable factors, such as fatigue, aim, hunger, interest, and a myriad of other variables can inadvertently affect my performance and therefore the perceived value of the product  (after all, have you ever had the exact same gaming experience twice?).  You should, therefore, use your own discernment and take my results with a pinch of salt.
     Now that we have that issue sorted out, its time to concentrate on the tests themselves.  For this benchmarking I will be playing 2 duels versus AI opponents for each mousepad - 1 game of Quake III Arena on Q3DM17 (railguns only), and 1 game of Unreal Tournament on DM-Morpheus with Instagib.  For both games I will use the same bot, medium skill level, auto skill adjust off, 10-min time limit, on the same level, and work out an average figure for both results. As is my custom, I will play to get the maximum amount of frags possible and not the highest accuracy, although the end result will measure both variables.  Just for the record I will be using the Intellimouse Explorer throughout this benchmarking, although I'd expect similar results using the mouse of your preference.


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So you've opted to be a beta tester and get games ahead of all your friends, but is it all that is cracked up to be? In this article we discuss the job itself, and the work it entails.

So you've opted to be a beta tester and get games ahead of all your friends, but is it all that is cracked up to be? In this article we discuss the job itself, and the work it entails.

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