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HIDSporb, the open-source Win32 HID Minidriver for the Spacetec Spaceorb 360

The Spacetec Spaceorb 360 is an outstanding 3d game controller which supports six axes and six physical buttons on an intuitive game device. It is a great deal of fun to use and was my favorite controller for first-person shooters for years.

Unfortunately, Spacetec fell by the wayside and the orb itself was unsupported for years. When Microsoft operating systems moved toward the WDM model for drivers, Spaceorb users knew they were in trouble; when Windows 2000 and XP required WDM drivers, we were simply out of luck--there was no support for the mighty orb.

After perusing some sample source code for windows drivers in fall of 2001, I decided that it might be possible to write a HID minidriver which would represent the Spaceorb as a HID-compatible gaming device; a few months and several hundred blue-screen-of-death reboots later, I was able to play Half-life with the orb... and any other game which supported DirectInput gaming devices followed suit. From suggestions garnered by testers of the driver, we added several features; in some ways the HIDSporb driver is actually more powerful than even the original Spacetec driver:

  • Completely redefinable axis maps, allowing any physical axis to control any logical axis
  • Togglable "Chording", allowing two buttons on the orb to select logical pages for the other four buttons, allowing the orb's six physical buttons to represent up to sixteen logical buttons
  • Selectable gain and sensitivity on each physical axis independently, allowing the user to tune the orb's response on any axis to their liking
  • Complete user-definable response curves, so that motivated users can completely define the response of an axis
  • "Precision mode" which allows the user to select a different response curve for axes when a button is pressed, allowing for spectacular precision when necessary combined with rapid motion when precision is not necessary


I am currently in the process of scrubbing the HIDSporb source code, so the source code is not currently available. I hope to have it available to the public soon.

Feel free to examine the project page (there is not much there yet!) at http://sourceforge.net/projects/hidsporb.

If you are interested, the current (initial-release) binary driver package is available from the project page, or linked directly here. The initial release package includes the binary driver, orbcontrol program, documentation, and game configuration files; total size is 615k (mostly due to the pictures in the installation guide).

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