SpaceOrb 360 article by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti
Price:$ 70 to $100
Genre: controller
Release: Available Now
Lead Artist:
Publisher: SpaceTek IMC
Phone: 508-970-0330

SpaceOrb 360 Interview with Marcus Fusilier, Professional Game Master

Alfred C. Giovetti (AG): Thanks for being with us and sharing with us this great information on a brand new game controller called the Space Orb 360

Marcus Fusilier (MF): Thanks Al, I am happy to have this opportunity to speak with your readers, viewers, and listeners.

AG: Mike still cannot get the orb hooked up. One of your people called Mike, yesterday, but he got disconnected before we got his phone number and name and he never called back. Please help.

MF: It's similar to installing an external modem plus game drivers. I assume you are running Win95 Plug and Pray (it should bug you every time you reboot) or DOS?

AG: Which would you prefer online interviews or in person interviews.

MF: I prefer the interview to be online. I got lost in Maryland once.

AG: What types of things do you think are important in a controller?

MF: It should help you kick someone else's rear end, and allow you to play single player comfortably.

AG: What makes the space orb 360 special?

MF: It is a truly unique gaming device that works and is already shippping. We know it's cool because our competitors are copy catting our hardware /software solution. See the answer to #1, too.

AG: Do you miss the use of the serial slot on your computer, many of us use a modem on serial 2 and mouse on serial one and a printer on the parallel port. This would seem to make it difficult to play online games with the controller? I realize that you can have up to four serial ports, but the average gamer would get lost trying to make the complex modifications to the system?

MF: I have three serial ports on my system standard. Two on the motherboard (for mouse and Orb) and one on my modem. A parallel port has nothing to do with multiplayer games. I also have a netcard, too.

AG: How do you hold the controller?

MF: The axis are set to Vertical Orientation in my personal settings, but I hold it like a gamepad. Left hand for movement, right hand for buttons.

AG: Briefly describe how it works?

MF: You push/pull the ball to move, twist the ball to aim, and you hit buttons to blow stuff up....repeat as necessary, can be done in combos, too.

AG: What about durability, how long does one last, # of button presses, time in months, days, and years, etc.?

MF: I dunno. The Orb my office system came with is about 8 mos old. The one I have at home I've had since Aug of last year. I hardly play computer games so I'm not the person to ask. ;-)

AG: Are you hustling me? (grin) What is special about this, why would someone want to use it over a joystick or other controller?

MF: It's really cool. Please refer to my first response about kicking butts.

AG: What types of games is it good for?

MF: The contoller is good for 3D games. They are labeled 3D not because they look 3D, but rather because the movement inside the game environment is 3D.

AG: How about cost and availability?

MF: The Space Orb 360 sells for $99 maybe $89 depending on how many are sitting on the shelf. Computer City, Fry's, Babbage's, Elek-Tek, Cyberworld Online, AAFES, The Wiz, Tops City, Software Etc, and other stores with good sense to carry our product.

AG: What about compatibility - can all games and machines use it?

MF: No. We only cater to DOS games that are cool and Win95 DirectInput games (preferably via joyGetPosEx function). Examples: Descent I & II, GlQuake, Duke3D, Doom I & II, Indy Car II, Mech2, Hexen. If you want a list, go through our software configuration menus. They are listed there. You can customize the Orb on a per game basis.

AG: How can it help make gamers more competitive?

MF: Yes, especially for newbies and median players. They are usually mincemeat when they go head to head against vets using standard input devices. But, with the Orb, they cause a lot of people grief. There's also a plus. If you download and install our Gamemaster Customizer add-on, you can tweak up the sensitivity on a per axis/per game basis, and remap them, too.

AG: What are the best games for the SpaceOrb?

MF: Descent II for the 3dfx Voodoo, DOS Quake, and The Chicken Demo.

AG: Can I use the SpaceOrb in an online services or games?

MF: The best service is Kali, it's at over 126,000 users, cost only $20. That's the one I use all the time. Works with any IPX capable game on any standard Internet connection (i.e. not America Off Line). I've also tried out HEAT networks, really nice too.

AG: Where else can we expect to see the SpaceOrb 360 technology in the future, what other platforms and systems will it work with?

MF: This sector of our technology is new because games used to really be a waste of time and money. Most of them were boring clickers on flat terrain with little if any multiplayer. And multiplayer is where it is at as far as I am concerned. ASCII is licensing it for the Playstation, we are looking into NT. We've been shipping applications of the base technology for Unix, AIX, NT, Sun, etc... systems for graphics and CAD/CAM workstations for companies like Hewlett Packard, McDonnell Douglas, Ford....

AG: What is the GameMaster program? Who are they?

MF: It's an arm of Sales and Marketing. I'm one of the GM's. Basically, we're evil salesmen and women. If you don't buy an Orb, we'll send a rocket your way and splatter you all over the most convenient wall. We're professional gamers who signed endorsments contracts with Spacetec. The other members are KillCreek, Phoenix, and Dread.

AG: Will there be a USB version? What is USB?

MF: The engineer in charge of that project plays using a USB Orb online. Universal Serial Bus. It's a bus architecture that allows for 127 Plug and Pray USB devices to be attached/removed w/o a reboot, just insert the driver disk(s). All we need is a company to write us a huge check for an OEM deal and we're good to go.

AG: I heard you just won an award for the SpaceOrb...what can you tell us about the award.

MF: Which award? Jane has a pile of them with her records. The latest one the Orb was from Business Week and Industrial Designers Society of America for Industrial Design Excellence.

AG: Thanks a lot for the interview. We will have to have you come back again.

MF: Thanks for having me here again, Al. Yea, if I can find the place, I'll come back.

AG: With all this talk of kicking butts, I am glad we did not do the ultimate fighter interview at the same time. It is bad enough to get your butt handed to your in cyberspace, but in the real world it really drags. Well after the following messages, we will return with the next and greatest . . .


Al Giovetti, The Computer Show, volume 2, number 4, April, 1997, 05/29/97,Brian Del Rizzo, Boot, 95%.
Thierry Nguyen, Computer Gaming World, October, 1996,
Jim Burdick, Online Games Review,
Editors, Next Generation,
Space Tec's Space Orb 360 Web Site

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