Splitfish FragFX Shark – Consumer MEMS controller
October 2010, San Francisco, CA - Splitfish Corporation introduced their new redesign of their FragFX controller called the Shark for the PS3 and PC. This wireless controller pair is designed for high performance, professional level gaming for first person shooter (FPS) games such as Call of Duty and the newly released Call of Duty Black Ops.
The redesign focused on several aspects power reduction, improved response time and adjustment to the ergonomics of the controller. In the area of power reduction, the new pair, wireless mouse and joystick, operate on one AAA battery each and can provide an average of 50hrs of operation and 500hrs of standby for one set. At the press release, they demonstrated with pre-production ergonomics of the controller. In the course of testing and modifying the design, button placement, finger grip location, curvature of the mouse and finger locations on the joystick underwent several iterations of 3D CAD and prototype modelling. The pre-production units demonstrated had the final ergonomic design fo the mouse and joystick, but not the final material finish and grip patterning as appear in the production product released in Nov.
The wireless interface is with a standard midrange radio connection but with a private protocol and data transfer. This allows very high speed packet based data transfer without interference with WiFi and cellular nets which typically operate simultaneously with the gaming consoles. The wireless connection to the USB2.0 port or either the PS3 or PC has a net response time less than 1ms which is the same or better than a wired controller. In order to maintain the high speed response and accuracy, there is no haptic response in the mouse or joystick at this time.
The mouse is a PS3 adaptation of a high resolution 2D mouse that has appeared in the PC space for years. The main features are very precise and responsive buttons for firing and fine control (300dpi+) for resolution, which makes aiming of firearms in the FPS environment much better than with a wing controller. The joystick is a 6 axis position controller that includes an accelerometer. This allows for the both the thumb joystick and the movement of the whole controller to help move the character in the game for a more lifelike and intuitive action. The joystick uses the Bosch automotive targeted 6 axis MEMS component with the integrated high resolution data converters. As this device was designed for the high power operation of the automotive environment, the firmware on the component had to be rewritten to accommodate output of the high resolution data stream and for the low power operation.
The mouse/joystick pair was tested by world leading Call of Duty professional game player ZDD. His attributes his game performance and his scores to the Splitfish controllers. Based on his feedback and scores, the controller is the default accessory and targeting device for the majority of the top 20 FPS game players on the PS3 platform. Unlike most PC gaming accessories for input which are in the $100-$200 price range, this PS3 & PC combo controller retails for $90 and has a small sized cousing the Piranha which has similar performance and response time and retails for $50.