WarMouse Meta, the 18 button mouse

January 2 2013

The WarMouse Meta, former OpenOffice Mouse, is an 18 button mouse recognized in 2009. It is fair to say it never penetrated any market due to its unique functionality. The mouse ships with a custom built software to bind OS or application behavior to the 18 Buttons (including double click), scroll wheel and joystick.

Engadget reviewed it in 2010 and were less than impressed. Short version, Joanna Stern holds it by its tail like an animal, followed by binding a button to load the Engadget website in Firefox (who would ever do that?) to later play a bit of World of Warcraft (as she likes running around from time to time in this virtual world). Long version can be found here.

In all seriousness, this mouse was designed to play world of Warcraft, but would off course allow other games too. Let us assume it worked really well for WoW (not really), the chance of success would still be very slim as Razer secured this niche when they released the Naga. They realized most gamers does not use their thumb to its full potential and added a grid of 12 buttons. This prevents the keyboard hand from using complex key bindings like Shift + Alt + T or mistakably hitting Alt + F4 while mashing those upper rows. However, adding 16 buttons on top of a mouse makes the WarMouse’s ‘behind’ a bit too crowded.

So why write about something that maybe should not have been created in the first place? Well, not too many of these were made and one would think the few survivors now live in a boxes or is getting wedgied by its relatives in the Buxton collection. This is not all true, because one of them are now traveling with air mail to the Swedish north! After receiving an email from eBay’s tracking function and landing a £30 bid there is now a very proud owner of one of these badboys.

For a few years it has being a privilege to be able to combine a fascination for devices with work and school projects. While learning to prototype with input devices it became more clear that they are just packaged components, hence not bound to specific media. Think, what you do with a game controller if you did not need to make a game? This also resulted in developing Kaliber with Jules.

If one thinks of the WarMouse as an off-the-shelf product it is quite possibly the worst designed mouse we never used. As a platform of multiple components it is a gold mine of potential applications and stupid experiments. If Kaliber recognizes it as an HID it could possibly receive around 30+ variables (positioning, buttons, scroll and both directions of the joystick). If it does not work it will be donated to Bill or someone with a severe condition of Polydactyly.

January 3 2013

Interesting device Adam. I’m curious to hear how it feels using it. Keep us posted.


January 3 2013

Yes, I will write something about it for sure. I am curious to see what data can be retrieved from it, but also how their software works. Even if I would be able to handle the device well I would not have use for all those binds, but I will give it a try. Back in the days playing MMORPGs it took a couple of weeks to figure out 40 odd keyboard binds without looking, but this was over a bigger area.

January 14 2013

Just received the WarMouse and it works straight out the box. Kaliber picks up three devices(!), with about 200 components. This is off course a misleading number since one ‘device’ contains about 170 characters mostly formed from a keyboard. What is great is that each physical button can be bound to these. Looking forward to play with it when settled in Eindhoven.

January 16 2013

Wikes, that is a lot! What kind of configuration software/panel comes with it?

January 17 2013
NightCabbage permalink

Hehe, I’ll just randomly join the conversation :)

Yes, an interesting mouse! I was always interested in the Meta. I always thought it was a bit “overkill” in that I feel they could have developed a better product if it actually had LESS buttons, and placed in better locations – otherwise it’s just too hard to remember what command is bound to which of the million buttons :)

Sadly the warmouse website is gone, and I believe so is the company that created it, so yes, this is now a rare item indeed.

I hope you enjoy using the mouse, and it’s 3 HID controllers (mouse, keyboard, joystick). It’s kinda nice seeing someone having fun with it after all this time :D

January 17 2013

@ Camille

I have not played around with the software yet, but it seems to have a pretty straight forward key bind function. You can see it in the Engadget video. Good that you mention, because I cannot record seeing a cd in the package (also I would not be able to use one on the Air).

@ NightCabbage

Feel free to do that. I think ‘a bit’ is an understatement. The mouse is bad in all normal standards of use. Even the build quality is lacking something. If they would of made less buttons it would just be any other mouse, which was most likely considered. This is how the internet works, right? You do something crazy, gets notices and then people forget.

I will be fun to play around with it for shits and giggles. Thinking multiplayer game sharing the same device where each player use the buttons of their side and the X pos and Y pos has some mechanic.

June 20 2013
TheGZeus permalink

I actually have two of these.
One from the first shipment has wonky buttons due to a manufacturing error, the other just kept switching programs from the custom one I had set for my ideosyncratic Linux setup (the Linux software was never usable or even sensible), so it wasn’t of much use in the end, either.

I do think the concept would be useful if done well, but useful != used, and without users, no sales, no reason to make it. Button mapping done in hardware is cool, but really should be done by plugging a keyboard into a device and recording the state, not by fiddling with in-betweeny software that assumes keycodes correspond to certain keystrokes… (they supported linux, allegedly, and linux has a vastly different keyboard system than Windows. X11 supports 7 modifiers and everything is remappable. Then there’s the console, which does have limited mouse support… I don’t know anything about OS X)

Want two more? I’d probably sell them… I’ve only kept them around as reminders to never be a first-adopter.

June 20 2013

@ TheGZeus

It is a shame you never found a use for them. Let us not forget that alongside the mouse and keyboard, Engelbart also showed of the Chord Key Set. Arguably it did only appeal to a niche user, much like the Warmouse. As mentioned in the original post, it is not a very usable mouse for day to day operation. However, it is quite a fun device to play around with for exploratory projects. It is less about the form factor and more about the amount of inputs.

Being an early adopter is always a risk. You win some, you lose some, but that is sort of the point here. If you invest money, time and effort you probably believe there is a chance of success. Backers of the Leap Motion probably feel the same.

I would love to get those Warmouses off you, but I am afraid I do not have the funds to do so at this point. Hope you find someone that can make us of them.

July 22 2013
jackc45 permalink

@ TheGZeus

I am a disabled gamer who struggles using a keyboard and was wondering if you could send me the “non wonky” Mouse you have in your possession.
Please contact me if you still have it or know where it went, I will even pay for it if you wanted.

This would help me greatly.

jackc45v2@gmail.com Skype: jackc45v2

July 25 2013
Ernest Ternovits permalink

I respectfully disagree with you. I have been using one for 3 years.and it is the best thing I have ever used. I am looking for another one and if anyone has one, I will buy it.
Ernest Ternovits

July 26 2013
jackc45 permalink

@ Ernest Ternovits

May I ask why you are searching for a second WarMouse Meta?

Has your first one broken?

I’m just wondering why you would need 2.

November 2 2013
Lars permalink

I’d love to buy one of them. In fact, I think most of my collegues (25 ppl) would have serious need for one. Where can I get one (or 25)?

November 17 2013
Christopher Craig permalink

I don’t know if this is a dead article but warmouse seems to have gone out of business…
I have one and it allowed me (a 1 armed disabled man) to finally be able to play PC games again…

Unfortunately I cannot get ahold of the warmouse software anymore…
After a computer crash, I’m unable to game anymore…

If you can, please help me!!
I can be reached at stoffer81@gmail.com
thanks, Chris

November 17 2013

I’m surprised and happy the discussion is ongoing. After writing with Jack there seems to be quite a few people interested in the mouse. Please, keep it going. I’m afraid I cannot help get hold of any, but I can give some advice.

- Create a search alert on eBay. It will mail you if the keyword is recognised in an auction.
- Look if Razor Naga can be an alternative. It does not have the same setup of keys, but it is a very good mouse.

Good luck and hope that helps!


November 18 2013
jackc45 permalink

@ Adam Henriksson & Christopher Craig

I purchased a Razer Naga a few months back and I have to say its a fantastic mouse, I am able to play 1 handed pretty well but It does take some getting used to just using a mouse to game.

I recently purchased a Logitech G600 to try out, It has yet to arrive so I cant yet say how good or bad it is.

I also use speech recognition software called Tazti (tasty) and this combined with the Naga is a great way of getting around not using a keyboard.

Voice Attack is another one seems to work just as well.

November 18 2013

@ Jack

That is fantastic! It is interesting that you are trying out different setups. How is the speech recognition working for you? What type of functions are you using it for?

The Razer Orbweaver and Tartarus are also interesting devices, but they both seem to be for left hand use only.

November 18 2013
jackc45 permalink

@ Adam

Well it works ok but my microphone is really cheap so it doesn’t always work, I am buying a new mic soon so that should help greatly.

At the moment I’m using Tazti with Planetside 2, Its quite effective for reloading weapons, crouching, jumping, switching weapons etc.

Basically you bind a key to certain phrases such as:
Bind the phrase “Reload” to the letter “R”

Very simple to use, also lets you create preset profiles.

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