Mouse gesture

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In computing, a pointing device gesture or mouse gesture is a way of combining pointing device movements and clicks which the software recognizes as a specific command. Pointing device gestures can provide quick access to common functions of a program. They can also be useful for people who have difficulties typing on a keyboard. For example, in a web browser, the user could navigate to the previously viewed page by pressing the right pointing device button, moving the pointing device briefly to the left, then releasing the button.

Contents

History

The first pointing device gesture, the "drag," was introduced by Apple to replace a dedicated "move" button on mice shipped with its Macintosh and Lisa computers. Dragging involves holding down a pointing device button while moving the pointing device; the software interprets this as an action distinct from separate clicking and moving behaviors. Unlike most pointing device gestures, it does not involve the tracing of any particular shape. Although the "drag" behavior has been adopted in a huge variety of software packages, few other gestures have been as successful.

Current use

As of 2005, most programs do not support gestures other than the drag operation. Each program that recognizes pointing device gestures does so in its own way, sometimes allowing for very short mouse movement distances to be recognized as gestures, and sometimes requiring very precise emulation of a certain movement pattern (e.g. circle). Some implementations allow users to customize these factors.

Some video games have used gestures. For example, in the Myth real-time tactics series, originally created by Bungie Software, players use them to order battlefield units to face in a desired direction. Another game using gestures is Lionhead's Black & White. The game Arx Fatalis uses mouse gestures for drawing runes in the air to cast spells. Several Nintendo Wii games take advantage of such a system. Ōkami uses a system similar to mouse gestures; the player can enter a drawing mode in which the shape they create (circle, lightning bolt, line, etc.) performs a function in the game such as creating a bomb or changing the time from night to day. Another example is Silver where basic mouse gestures actually map attack moves and such in real-time combat.

The Opera web browser has recognized gestures since version 5.10 (April 2001) but this feature was disabled by default. Opera browser also supports mouse chording which serves a similar function but doesn't necessitate mouse movement. First browser that used advanced mouse gestures (in 2002) was Maxthon where highly customizable interface allowed to assign almost every action to one of 52 mouse gestures and few mouse chords. Several mouse gesture extensions are also available for the Mozilla Firefox browser. These extensions use almost identical gestures as Opera.

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