What's the point of the 'Use mouse integration' setting under Virtual PC?

What's the point of the 'Use mouse integration' setting under Virtual PC?

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Amongst the many varied settings for a virtual machine under Virtual PC there is a 'Mouse' setting which most users do not use or understand.  The first confusing thing about this setting panel is that it is only enabled when the virtual machine is running, and has Virtual Machine Additions installed.  At all other times this panel is disabled.  The second confusing thing about this panel - is 'Why would you want to disable this option anyway?'  Most people install Virtual Machine Additions specifically so that they can have an integrated mouse (and other features).  The answer that I usually give people who ask me this question is:

'The cannon scene in Monkey Island III'


And after a moment of stunned silence I have to explain:

Monkey Island III has a scene where you control a ships cannon with you mouse and attempt to blow up a bunch of ghost pirates.  The problem is that this scene expects to have complete control of the mouse and breaks if integration is enabled.  Another reason why you would want to disable this option is for any game with 'edge scrolling' - like Command and Conquer - as with mouse integration enabled it is very hard to actually hit the edge.

Now for those of you thinking that this might be a gaming only problem - I have actually seen this problem with other programs that require complete control of the mouse - like 'Poser'.  It's just that I hit this problem most when I am trying to game.


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  • Here's another example. The mouse in Civilization III scrolls the screen when the pointer is near an edge. That introduces a nuisance when I want to close and Save State because as I hover over the Action Menu the screen is scrolling vertically at quite a clip, and when I come back to my game I will have to Center the map again. OK, it's easy, but annoying. Also, since I use dual monitors, when I move the mouse right to check an email or start an mp3 file, the Civ window starts scrolling horizontally. And just keeps scrolling until I hurry back to stop it. Of course, I have learned to bring up a Civ menu to freeze the screen. Annoying. So, bye bye mouse integration.

    Without mouse integration I have to use the Host key to get to the Action Menu or change a sound file, but I leave the Civ window just as I like it, and no more seasickness from watching the world go round.
  • um why would anybody want to run these games in a virtual pc? can we say slow?
  • Hi Eric,

    Actually - most of these games are perfectly playable. I would recommend that you read some of the gaming posts on my blog.

  • If the game crashes the host (probably due to software conflicts) I can keep playing in a guest while troubleshooting the host. I am in the middle of just such an episode now.

    I can save state. Civ III takes a long time to load. With Save State I able to continue play a couple of minutes sooner than with a game restart.

    I don't have to keep putting the cd in the drive to restart the game.

    I can play in a Window (Civ takes over the screen on the host). I can check email, read newsgroups, etc. in my preferred resolution while a game is in progress.

    I have a fast enough machine that there rarely is a noticeable effect on game speed with Civ III.

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