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3DConnexion SpaceNavigator driver in v13

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Some of the above puzzles me. I just purchased a SN and after playing with the system prefs and VW 2008, I actually found it to be useful.

Things I found:

1) The SN definition of SPIN does not work. This is not an issue of any kind, but is interesting. The TILT works great.

2) If your drawing is in any position that does not have the ground plane level with the earth (bad terminology here, live with it), then as soon as you use the SN it changes the view so it can work. This is most likely related to the lack of SPIN control.

3) If you do not set the sensitivity down using the System Pref the thing is impossible to use. Twitchy as a cat on hot pavement.

4) The left and right buttons cannot be programmed in the Pref. The left button is the only one that works and it toggles between "Using 2D navigation" and "Using flyover navigation". You really have to pay attention at first as this info is at the bottom right of your window. It would be great if the right button could toggle between Plan and Top view.

5) When in plan view the left button does not toggle. This is a bit of a pain, but again a little training makes it a minor problem. When in plan view the button should take you to top view and allow you to use fly-over navigation or the right button should work as indicated above.

6) You can turn off the annoying blue LEDs. This is a good thing

7) You MUST really work with the system pref if you want this thing to work correctly. Some of the axes of rotation are good and some are just plain confusing. I spent a little time with a table with a set of chairs to get the hang of navigating.

8) I have a early 2008 Mac Pro with lots of memory. When using this thing one of my cores is just about pegged. Since I have 8 I don't consider this a problem. I could see a dual core system having a lot of issues with performance.

9) Not sure exactly what the Dominant button does in the Pref on the Application tab, but check it. Without it...ouch!


1) Smooth as silk in plan view and wireframe 3d view

2) Strange as heck in OpenGL. Sometimes it was smooth, other times I had no idea where I was until I stopped navigating.

3) In OpenGL a really strange twitch when you stopped navigating. OpenGL is also much slower to rotate or tilt. It must be some interaction with the graphics card.

4) Using Final Quality Renderworks was MUCH better than OpenGL. Remember I am only using a simple model. I will report on how it works with the 6,000 sf house we are working on later.

5) All other modes worked just fine. OpenGL seemed to have the most problems

6) One nice thing; when an object is selected, rotation is about the center of the object, otherwise rotation is at the center of the ground plan

That about does it for my comments.

The 3DConnexion Space Navigator PE works with VW 2008 and well enough to be useful. NNA has work to do before it gets to be really good, but I am going to use the thing. 7/10.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I said that I would report back after using the SN on a real project.

Here it is. I like it. I truly wish the OpenGL mode would work better. It still can be confusing and twitchy.

It has taken just a few days for me to reach for the SN whenever I am in any mode other than plan. I don't use it much in plan since I have a Logitech VX Revolution that handles zoom and pan extremely well.

I still give it a 7/10 until the OpenGL issues are fixed. When that is done, it will get a 9/10.

BTW, the SN makes navigating Google Earth a breeze.


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  • 1 month later...

So from the SP3 PR release...

"In addition, VectorWorks 2008 is now certified with 3Dconnexion's SpaceNavigator - a 3D mouse that can easily control and maneuver the 3D environment, which allows for a streamlined design process that increases productivity."

Can anyone with a SN confirm that the issues discussed in this thread have been resolved?

I do not see any SN bug fixes in this list

Edited by ljmunz
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In my first review I found a lot of problems (see above). Things have changed with the SP3 update. Generally speaking this are much better. I will go through the bullets from before:

General issues:

1) Spin still does not work, but Tilt spins the model so who cares.

2) The ground plan problem is no longer an issue.

3) The device is no longer twitchy. Much smoother operation in all modes.

4) You can't actually program the buttons, but now you have a lot of choices as to how they work. Good enough for me.

5) The buttons toggle modes correctly, most of the time. Sometimes you have to hit the same button twice to get a mode change.

6) You can still turn off the annoying blue LEDs.

7) The SN is easier to use and learn. I would say this issue is gone.

8) The Sn still pegs one CPU when in use.

9) The Dominant button in the preferences is not long a must use. It is not personal choice. Good fix.

Navigation Issues:

1) Still very smooth

2) OpenGL now works much better. You can still get some strange jumps, but they are rare now. Big improvement.

3) The OpenGL problem where the model jumps is gone.

4) Navigating in OpenGL vs FQRW; OpenGL now works

5) The problems with OpenGL are gone

6) When an object is selected, rotation is about the center of the object, otherwise rotation is at the center of the ground plan. This works the same as before.

Overall the the device works better. I now give it a 9/10. It will never get a 10/10 from me unless they come and personally interview me so it works the way that I think. Not likely.


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Guest jkelly
It will never get a 10/10 from me unless they come and personally interview me so it works the way that I think. Not likely.

I dunno, it depends, I visit Texas pretty frequently.

Although I suppose the interview is the easy part. :)


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Thank you for the in depth info Ronman, it's much appreciated.

A question for you... do you use the SN regularly while working in 2d/3d or just to navigate your project 3d? If you use it regularly, would you say it increases your productivity?

From 3dconnexion's website...

"Save time and resources by streamlining your workflow. Maximize your efficiency by going from an interrupt driven workflow, utilizing only one hand to an integrated process using both hands. Studies show that using both hands will optimize your productivity by 30%."


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I use it extensively for 3D work. I have yet to master the thing for 2D. I have a Logitech VX Revolution mouse that I have programmed to do some neat things (cmd-1, cmd-2, cmd-6, X, ruler [add shortcut], pan and scroll).

Your milage may vary, but the combination of the two works great for me.


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I still find it unusable (for now I just want to use it in 2D):

1) Too slow to pan and zoom, even with all speeds turned right up. Presumably I'm doing something wrong?

2) Redraw is atrocious to the point that if I'm panning quite a distance I can't see what I'm panning to because it doesn't show.

3) Seems you have to remove your fingers from the device completely when you want to settle on an area, otherwise it perpetually wobbles/pans around a point and never finishes the redraw.

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Thank you everyone, looks like I'll be waiting a little longer before purchasing a SN. Possibly SP4 or VW14? :(

Was really looking forward to purchasing a SN. I love the idea behind it, but I'm still a bit hesitant to purchase it if it's going to end up as a paperweight. I'm surprised Ronman & Christiaan have such a different experience with the device.

With some of the problems that still seem to be an issue even after SP3, it doesn't seem to be in line with 3Dconnexion's Certification Program...

Customer benefits of 3Dconnexion Certification

- Smooth navigation: no stuttering or jerky movement, no buffering

- Translation and rotation speeds are matched and fluid

- Applications behave as expected for the application class or genre

- Correct mapping of axes

- Smooth navigation in all supported model display modes

- Good performance with typical model sizes native for that application

- No crashes are caused by the use of 3D mice

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Anyone following this thread knows that I have been testing the SpaceNavigator (SN) extensively.

I did a lot of testing with SP3 and liked what I saw. Now I have been USING it and I am not a sad and unhappy camper. Here is why:

The driver works better when it works, but when it does not it is worse than bad. Examples:

1) When using the SN sometime you are placed in Top/Plan mode for no apparent reason. If you re-render OpenGL you are back where you were.

2) The SN causes your screen to be in an unknown state. If you are looking using the SN and to back to plan (cmd-5, KP-0) nothing happens. You appear to be in an OpenGL rendering but you are not. You cannot select anything you cannot scroll, zoom or move. The only way out is to re-render in OpenGL and then go to Top/Plan again. You may not see anything, but cmd-6 allows you so find your model. This is a MAJOR problem.

3) The twitchiness from from the SP2 driver has been replaced by random jumps to Top/Plan. This is not the same as 1) above this is truly strange as you can go back to OpenGL without any problems.

These three problems are really bad. My rating goes to 6/10, which is less than my original rating. I would rather have the SP2 driver than the SP3 driver.


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  • 2 months later...

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