Author Topic: Death of the Joystick?  (Read 4887 times)

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Offline Thor

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Death of the Joystick?
http://www.twitchguru.com/2007/05/10/the_death_of_the_joystick/

A thought provoking read (props for the mention of Freespace), even though the article ended positively with a review of a few current joysticks, it made me concerned for a few points

1) the lack of mainstream games...in all the traditional sim genres.
2) the "demise" of former big players in the joystick market.
3) Dumbing down of gameplay (i'm looking at you freelancer!)
4) the "winner" of the reviews was the old Logitech Force 3D Pro....its seemingly been around for years, as has the the Saitek X52...and while not sure, the CH products look like they are archaic

I haven't used a joystick with freespace in years, preferring my Wingman controller.  But the article is a reminder of the importance of the genre we all love, and how its fading is affecting the rest of the computer gaming world...

Thoughts and opinions...GO!
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php/topic,47038.0.html

Thread merge?


Anyhow, as was pointed out in theother thread, the writer seemingly doesn't know much about joysticks. The emphazis on the test has apparently been on ergonomy and button placement, not durability, quality, accuracy and other features that actualyl affect the usability of a stick in the long term much more than how it sits in the hand.

Logitech's sticks would be good if they all actually worked, but their quality control is abysmally random apparently. Some keep going long enough to count as viable products, some break up during warranty, and the worst ones slowly degrade right after the warranty closes up. :ick:

CH sticks may look archaic but they are good solid hardware, but relatively expensive. Saitek sticks are the best budget solution available at the moment AFAIK. Logitech... Steer clear if you can, you might get lucky with the stick but then again, you may not. There is a reason why they are cheapest of the bunch, although Saitek sticks are not much more expensive and are generally more reliable.


And about joysticks dying... not. It's just that the gaming trend doesn't have as much use for joysticks as some years ago, that's true. But as it was said in the article, trends change cyclically. Besides, MS Flight Simulator series is *not* alone as a game that needs a joystick. Take for example IL-2 Sturmovik series... I actually think it attracts more players than actual flight simulators, because it's a game where you have set objectives (to shoot the enemy down and protect your own), not just a simulator with the purpose of just flying around and oggling at pretty scenes... :nervous:
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Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
Ah Logitech, i could complain about how crappy the stick is but, this sums it up so succinctly.


http://afrotechmods.com/reallycheap/joystickthrottle/ghettothrottle.htm
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Offline Cyker

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
It's just a symptom of the current games market as they say in the article.

What's the last main-stream flight/space sim you've seen?!

It's only really the indeps that make games like that these days, but sadly most of them don't come even close to the SCP+MVP in terms of quality.

Can't take the article seriously 'tho - That guy didn't even review a Cougar damnit! ;)

And yeah, Saitek sticks >>>> Logitech in all areas, including the weird-looking department ;)

CH 'sticks are nice - Virtually indestructable, but they have the same problem as the TM Cougar in that moving between the up/down vs left/right axis is not smooth.

's one thing I love about Saiteks and esp. the old MS Sidewinders - They use a single spring, so you get perfectly uniform tension ALL the way round. Don't understand why other companies don't do that (It BETTER not be patents FFS!)

Thrustmaster are one of the biggest disappointments - Aside from the Cougar, they haven't made a decent stick in decades, and considering they were one of the best major 'stick makers in the past, it's sad to see them making bad quality consumer-grade sticks and competing at the level of cheap ****ty generic 'stick makers :(


I think I'll be keeping my SW3D Pro for a looong time....

 

Offline Chimp

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
I'll vouch for Saitek on the reliability front. I have my Saitek cyborg 3d Gold sitting in front of me in good a new condition. A good joystick can make all the difference in a game. Infact when i bought this joystick originally, i went back and played all the games that i could use it on over again.

I remeber one joystick of such low quality that the wires were too short for the stick, so that if you moved the stick to much to one side it would rip them off.

 

Offline Centrixo

Re: Death of the Joystick?
Before these major companies creating these joysticks, i bought a joystick, An old joystick about 11 years old now, it still works in perfect order, exactly as good as the day i bought it, the reliability is absoutly superb, maybe because i looked after it for such along time. it came from an old company long defunct, i am not not certain of the company because over the years the company logo wore off the joysticks plastic cover.

I also have a gamepad in red from a company called Esaix i have had this gamepad for roughly the same time. again i am not sure of the company.

People who critisise the other games because do not use joysticks are the one's who are scared to get out of their comfort zones and afraid to try new things. i love any space game that involves fighting. hell i have even played a space sim with a steering wheel at one point.
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Offline Dysko

Re: Death of the Joystick?
I also remember old, undestroyable joysticks... The first joystick I used with my 386 lasted something like 7 years (basically, all the lifespan of my 386 and my 486, that I continued to use even in deep 1998). Probably it would be still working, if my 486 didn't crash and had to buy newer PCs uncompatible with that.

And BTW, I couldn't use a joystick with only 3 buttons with Il-2 1946 and X-Plane...
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Offline Nuke

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
saiteks might be physically sturdy and things wont break off of it. but the deadzone just seems to be getting bigger and bigger on my x52. and im not liking it very much anymore. i know when i got it i was totally amazed but now i hardly get it out of the closet. i post the same rant in every thread so im sure weve all heard it. but it seems like they dont even care about the inner workings anymore, they use some off the shelf components, and focus entirely on the layout and apearance. seems like alot of them spend so much time reinventing the wheel in product development. rather id like to see the reverse, stop making the product look cool and work on the internals. ive seen the inside of the x52, its not top of the line worksmanship. sensors are always low in off the shelf models. the parts could be bought off mouser for less than 30 bucks. i dont want a stick made by a company that spends more money on the plastic moldings than more impotant components like the gimbals or the sensors.
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
I haven't actually noticed any actual deadzone increase in my Saitek Cyborg Evo, but the mechanical components have loosened so that the top of the handle now moves in a 1 cm diameter circle before the parts finally start to move the sensors. It doesn't matter too much when you get used to it, but it obviously isn't as good as new. Perhaps I should've added some kind of grease to the base around which the stick rotation moves about... :sigh:


I want a joystick made of steel with the handle forged into the form of Logitech Extreme 3D handle. It should have optical sensors for at least X,Y and twist handle and preferably also two throttles and possibly trim wheels. Preferably with a single gimbal spring system to center it, but anything goes if it works. :p

It should weigh about 2 kg, possibly with added lead weighs to the base to get the CoG near the table. Force feedback is not necessary, but if it is there, it should not increase deadzone of the stick or affect the movement in any way. Preferably the FF should be done with a hydraulic system, but if it's not possible, a system with high quality gears with minimum clearance is a must. :mad2:

Most likely I would pass the FF feature anyway. I have tried FF sticks and corresponding non-FF sticks and I gotta say I prefer the latter. :blah:
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
My 10-year-old Sidewinder 3D Pro is still going strong, and thanks to a member of the Descent community, I'm able to continue using it via USB.  I can't give enough praise for how well this stick performs. :)  (That being said, I also enjoy using my Cyborg Evo.)

What I find most puzzling about that article is its claim that the Sidewinder series wasn't able to be used in XP.  It's simply a matter of selecting Sidewinder Device from the game controllers menu.  My family's XP system has a sound card with a gameport, and I've never experienced any problems using my 3D Pro on it.

 
Re: Death of the Joystick?
Quote
What I find most puzzling about that article is its claim that the Sidewinder series wasn't able to be used in XP.
Hmm...that is bizarre, as I've been using my Sidewinder on several different XP computers and it hasn't complained once.  I've got one hooked up to the machine right now, as a matter of fact.

 

Offline Chimp

  • 23
Re: Death of the Joystick?
I also remember old, undestroyable joysticks... The first joystick I used with my 386 lasted something like 7 years (basically, all the lifespan of my 386 and my 486, that I continued to use even in deep 1998). Probably it would be still working, if my 486 didn't crash and had to buy newer PCs uncompatible with that.

And BTW, I couldn't use a joystick with only 3 buttons with Il-2 1946 and X-Plane...

Funny you say that, i've still got an ancient amstrad joystick from my 286. Now that thing was really a finger sized stick. Cream with two buttons. Used to play Dizzy games on it.

It still works, and so does the 286.

 

Offline Cyker

  • 28
Re: Death of the Joystick?
My 10-year-old Sidewinder 3D Pro is still going strong, and thanks to a member of the Descent community, I'm able to continue using it via USB.  I can't give enough praise for how well this stick performs. :)  (That being said, I also enjoy using my Cyborg Evo.)

What I find most puzzling about that article is its claim that the Sidewinder series wasn't able to be used in XP.  It's simply a matter of selecting Sidewinder Device from the game controllers menu.  My family's XP system has a sound card with a gameport, and I've never experienced any problems using my 3D Pro on it.
Ahh, you got one of Grendel's boxes then you lucky git! ;)
He and Koolbear are doing a second run... I hope I can get in on it!! :)

As for the compatibility, it seems to vary greatly depending on the thing you're plugging it into. I've had better luck with PCI sound cards vs mobo ports for instance.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
I also remember old, undestroyable joysticks... The first joystick I used with my 386 lasted something like 7 years (basically, all the lifespan of my 386 and my 486, that I continued to use even in deep 1998). Probably it would be still working, if my 486 didn't crash and had to buy newer PCs uncompatible with that.

And BTW, I couldn't use a joystick with only 3 buttons with Il-2 1946 and X-Plane...

Funny you say that, i've still got an ancient amstrad joystick from my 286. Now that thing was really a finger sized stick. Cream with two buttons. Used to play Dizzy games on it.

It still works, and so does the 286.

sounds like the machine i used to play elite on. they were built like bricks back then.

I haven't actually noticed any actual deadzone increase in my Saitek Cyborg Evo, but the mechanical components have loosened so that the top of the handle now moves in a 1 cm diameter circle before the parts finally start to move the sensors. It doesn't matter too much when you get used to it, but it obviously isn't as good as new. Perhaps I should've added some kind of grease to the base around which the stick rotation moves about... :sigh:


I want a joystick made of steel with the handle forged into the form of Logitech Extreme 3D handle. It should have optical sensors for at least X,Y and twist handle and preferably also two throttles and possibly trim wheels. Preferably with a single gimbal spring system to center it, but anything goes if it works. :p

It should weigh about 2 kg, possibly with added lead weighs to the base to get the CoG near the table. Force feedback is not necessary, but if it is there, it should not increase deadzone of the stick or affect the movement in any way. Preferably the FF should be done with a hydraulic system, but if it's not possible, a system with high quality gears with minimum clearance is a must. :mad2:

Most likely I would pass the FF feature anyway. I have tried FF sticks and corresponding non-FF sticks and I gotta say I prefer the latter. :blah:

i hear yea. id used machined aluminum for the gimbals though. industrial grade pots on direct shaft linkage to the gimal axes. maybe optical or hall sensors if you can implement them in a manor that doesnt require and gear linkages. geared linkages lead to gear wear and thus create bigger deadzones with use. springs, no. it pisses me off when people say they need bigger springs, infact take em out all together, instead use a variable tension clutch on the giblal axes so you can adjust it to the right tension to not move on its own. i dont need a spring to tell me where the middle is.

another thing, make its main shaft longer, like the stick in an airplane. then can put it on the floor and get a half a meter worth of range out of it. i never understood why people dont complain about only having 3 inches between your hand and the base, i want at least a couple feet. stup putting hats and thumb buttons at the top of the stick, they should be at thumb level. you know how many times i had to stop playing because my thumb started hurting.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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Offline Thor

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
crap i missed that other thread...mine arguably was better titled though  :P

and i miss the era gone by when gaming was exclusively the territory of the joystick.  best one i ever used was held in the left hand (complete with ergonomic shape) had a button for the left index finger, and then the control stick was operated with the right...it was for my Amiga 1000.  Somewhere along the line things went crazy and started sprouting so many buttons it looked like a Picasso keyboard.
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Offline Centrixo

Re: Death of the Joystick?
Funny you say that, i've still got an ancient amstrad joystick from my 286. Now that thing was really a finger sized stick. Cream with two buttons. Used to play Dizzy games on it.

It still works, and so does the 286.

that 11 year old joystick i got, it's strikingly similar to what you just said.

what i did with that was remove anything that would cause tension in the joystick, along with my steering wheel. i want presision control not the deadzone, so i have absoutle control over what ever (personal liking) so that means no springs or weights or other aids.
Would you like to have a piece of duct tape shoved up your arse? - 'Duct Tape man', Derelict.

"You never know what your going to find until you take a look" - Snipes, Fs2.

Terwin Castronenves:"Centrixo, your car is slow, bye bye" *zoom*.
Centrixo:*sigh!* Damn!.

 

Offline MarkN

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
Quote
  best one i ever used was held in the left hand (complete with ergonomic shape) had a button for the left index finger, and then the control stick was operated with the right

I have one of those. I think it was called a Logitech Stingray

 

Offline Dysko

Re: Death of the Joystick?
WARNING! CRAPPY PAINT ART INCOMING! :nervous:

I haven't found any image of my old joystick on the net, so I can't tell you which model was. I tried to draw it in Paint:

It had a button on the top of the stick, and 2 buttons on the top-left corner (which I tried to draw). It was smaller than 15 cm IIRC.
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Offline Nuke

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
those were the days, you only had 2 axes, but they were damn good. of course in the 286-386 era, there werent many games that needed more than 2.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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Offline Thor

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Re: Death of the Joystick?
mine wasn't made by logitech....i don't think...

Closest i could find was this guy....


except mine was covered in a grey squishy plastic, and had a black button and a black skinnier stick

I have also had an old wingman (which is what i first played Freespace with), twas the best joystick i've ever used, and sadly broke from to many DIVE! DIVE! HIT YOUR BURNERS PILOTS! situations


and am now currently using Wingman Extreme gamepad and occaisionally an Attack 3 (which i picked up for $10cdn) cause it handles somewhat poorly.

I can't believe my profile is still active... member since  July 25, 2002