Author Topic: Premium joystick recommendations  (Read 4959 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline newman

  • 211
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
X-65 seems kind of nice and all, but the force-sensing thing makes it good for modern fighter jets only. It would feel totally out of place for any WW1 or WW2 based sims - I really don't see myself flying a hawker hurricane with a force sensing stick. And I don't really want to have a separate stick for every game. Another thing I don't like about it is that the stick doesn't move at all. They tried this on an actual F-16 and based on pilot feedback reverted to giving the stick a bit of motion because it's far more intuitive that way.

I guess the stick might be a good buy for anyone who's not interested in "old plane" sims at all. Modern fighter jet and space sims ought to be fine with it. But I still kinda prefer my G940. It works great, it's built really well, it's the only HOTAS with force feedback, and it comes together with pedals and everything for a lower price than most of the other high end sticks. I've heard some "inversion bug" comments on it's precision, but I honestly never encountered any problems.

I was considering the Warthog, simply because the stick is awesome even before you plug it in - the way it looks is a work of art. In the end, the higher price without the pedals rendered really high when I factor in the price for third party pedals made me go for the G940. That and some rumors that it had some problems with x58 chipset mobos leaving some people with dead throttles. Not sure if they fixed that.
You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til ya understand who's in ruttin' command here! - Jayne Cobb

 

Offline Nuke

  • Ka-Boom!
  • 212
  • Mutants Worship Me
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
apparently only two fighter jets use force sensitive sticks anyway. so im not buying the "authentic feel" line of reasoning (unless you were a hard core f16 or f22 fanatic).

also if youre an anally retentive configuration geek, id stay away from saitek. apparently its profile software isn't very good. ch has some impressive software, and the warthog (at least from the reviews) has really good configuration software too. and they both have their own scripting languages, where saitek does not.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 02:53:41 pm by Nuke »
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.

Nuke's Scripting SVN

 

Offline Mikes

  • 29
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Mhhh not sure about the force sensing, but the Warthog I tried at the store definitely moved. It was a joy to move it actually :P LOL.

 

Offline Nuke

  • Ka-Boom!
  • 212
  • Mutants Worship Me
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
the warthog is rather impressive, it has no potentiometers. the joystick uses a vector hall sensor. the throttles use hall sensors. and theres another axis which also uses a hall sensor. no potentiometers, therefore nothing to wear out. even the original x53 used hall sensors, but implemented them in a way that creates a monster deadzone. the vector hall sensor is actually reminiscent of the sensor system on a legendary stick, the ms sidewinder precision pro (and ff model as well). it used an optical sensor. the gimbal was essentially dumb, it didnt couple to any potentiometers and could just move freely in its socket. the vector hall sensor works the same way, but instead of an optical sensor and some leds, a hall sensor and a neodymium magnet performs the same function.

honestly if i didnt own ch gear id want one of these so bad. even then i still do, because its doing well in every joystick review that ive read. id hate to have to rewrite all my ch profiles though. i wish ch would come out with an official stick mod to up the joystick resolution, but its not like i dont have the skills to do it myself, it just wouldn't work with my ch profiles (same boat as going to the warthog). i could always get away from proprietary config utils and use ones that can work on any stick, like ppjoy+glovepie, not one of those key mapper only utils that dont let you remap axes.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 05:24:41 pm by Nuke »
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.

Nuke's Scripting SVN

 

Offline Cyker

  • 28
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
It may have issues if you have an unshielded subwoofer next to it tho' :lol:

Hall probes are much better than the horrific pots they used in the original Cougar tho', but I still prefer the optical sensors in my 3D Pro (Which still haven't skipped a beat :D)

If you don't mind doing a bit (okay, a lot) of DIY, there are still some very good Suncom sticks floating about on ebay; My brother bought one and has been doing a USB+Hallprobe conversion on it (Plus adding some extra functions!) in his spare time.

Turns out there is a small cottage industry for USB HID input boards; Some of them even support macro programming! :eek:


The Warthog is a good stick but you still need gorilla hands to use it and it is really really expensive :(

Still, it is a million times better than the Cougar which, despite being made of metal, was fragile as heck (All the non-metal bits would break if you sneezed at them and the pots would crud up so fast you'd have to clean them out every month or so if you actually used it frequently!). That and the gimbal was the most unbalanced PoS I've ever used; Smooth circles and diagonals were near-impossible to do.

The 'hog uses a saturn ring similar to the 3D Pro which gives much more even motion and is, frankly, the best way of doing it (Second best is Saitek's way; Has better centering but really poor longevity as the plastic pressure plate wears out quite quickly)

 

Offline Nuke

  • Ka-Boom!
  • 212
  • Mutants Worship Me
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
i do know a bit about micro controllers. vusb looks prety straight forward software implementation of usb. so pretty much any attiny or atmega with enough ram/flash can run it. avr usually come standard with 10 bit adcs, but id just use i2c sensors instead, as some of them have some serious bit depth. also frees up pins for driving button matrices.

i disagree about saitek's spring mechanism, there was no way to differentiate between x and y with that thing. id always get axis bleed, but that deadzone is what really killed saitek for me.

one thing people dont really know about ch is that their real buisness is designing joysticks for industrial applications as well as grips for actual aircraft. they sell some pretty nice industrial grade hall sensor gimbal sets and if you dont mind a little bit of panel work you could probibly build a nice stick.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 05:37:19 pm by Nuke »
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.

Nuke's Scripting SVN

 

Offline Thaeris

  • Can take his lumps
  • 211
  • Away in Limbo
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
It may have issues if you have an unshielded subwoofer next to it tho' :lol:

Hall probes are much better than the horrific pots they used in the original Cougar tho', but I still prefer the optical sensors in my 3D Pro (Which still haven't skipped a beat :D)

If you don't mind doing a bit (okay, a lot) of DIY, there are still some very good Suncom sticks floating about on ebay; My brother bought one and has been doing a USB+Hallprobe conversion on it (Plus adding some extra functions!) in his spare time.

Turns out there is a small cottage industry for USB HID input boards; Some of them even support macro programming! :eek:


The Warthog is a good stick but you still need gorilla hands to use it and it is really really expensive :(

Still, it is a million times better than the Cougar which, despite being made of metal, was fragile as heck (All the non-metal bits would break if you sneezed at them and the pots would crud up so fast you'd have to clean them out every month or so if you actually used it frequently!). That and the gimbal was the most unbalanced PoS I've ever used; Smooth circles and diagonals were near-impossible to do.

The 'hog uses a saturn ring similar to the 3D Pro which gives much more even motion and is, frankly, the best way of doing it (Second best is Saitek's way; Has better centering but really poor longevity as the plastic pressure plate wears out quite quickly)


Wait, 3D Pro, as in the fairly ubituous Logitech stick? I thought that the Extreme 3D Pro (points for lame name, no matter how old the stick has had that name...) had a potentiometer to relay position information, not an optical sensor. If that's not the case, and the stick actually has an optical sensor to track position, I guess that makes it all the better the low cost stick...
"trolls are clearly social rejects and therefore should be isolated from society, or perhaps impaled."

-Nuke



"Look on the bright side, how many release dates have been given for Doomsday, and it still isn't out yet.

It's the Duke Nukem Forever of prophecies..."


"Jesus saves.

Everyone else takes normal damage.
"

-Flipside

"pirating software is a lesser evil than stealing but its still evil. but since i pride myself for being evil, almost anything is fair game."


"i never understood why women get the creeps so ****ing easily. i mean most serial killers act perfectly normal, until they kill you."


-Nuke

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
I'm also using CH Products joysticks. They indeed make industrial and real aircraft sticks, and it shows in their gaming stick designs. As far as I'm concerned, they entire set is perfect, especially for flight sims. They're also built like a rock, my set is used, but it doesn't show much wear. There's a bit too many buttons for a "normal" space sim, but that's not really a problem. You'll be surprised how many obscure functions you'll find yourself using if you'll map them onto an easy to reach button. I've started managing my shields, utilizing glide in all sorts of weird maneuvers, cycling weapons instead of linking them at the mission start, etc. after I've got the full HOTAS set up. Not to mention I've gotten it working with all sorts of games, the oldest being WC3 (though I couldn't get the throttle to work, so I mapped two buttons to acceleration and deceleration). The CH control manager is a great mapping tool, not to mention it's 100% compatible with all their controllers. So, this is my recommendation.

 

Offline Mongoose

  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
  • This brain for rent.
    • Minecraft
    • Steam
    • Something
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Wait, 3D Pro, as in the fairly ubituous Logitech stick? I thought that the Extreme 3D Pro (points for lame name, no matter how old the stick has had that name...) had a potentiometer to relay position information, not an optical sensor. If that's not the case, and the stick actually has an optical sensor to track position, I guess that makes it all the better the low cost stick...
No, 3D Pro as in the original Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro, a stick that has a die-hard following.  My own one is still going strong after all these years.

 

Offline Thaeris

  • Can take his lumps
  • 211
  • Away in Limbo
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Dragon, you silly goon, one can never have enough buttons on a stick. However, the Combatstick probably gets closer to the ideal with as many functions as you can program into the buttons. My 3D pro has the hat slaved to lateral thrusters while most of the other top buttons are used for weapons cycling, while the throttle and many of the lower six buttons handle additional targeting and thruster functions (don't forget the countermeasures, either).

As far as CH goes, if you had unlimited funds, I'd love to see the kind of stick you could put together from their industrial catalog, I mean, just look at this thing!:

http://www.chproducts.com/files/chproducts/brochures/AG_1-12-12_low-res.pdf
"trolls are clearly social rejects and therefore should be isolated from society, or perhaps impaled."

-Nuke



"Look on the bright side, how many release dates have been given for Doomsday, and it still isn't out yet.

It's the Duke Nukem Forever of prophecies..."


"Jesus saves.

Everyone else takes normal damage.
"

-Flipside

"pirating software is a lesser evil than stealing but its still evil. but since i pride myself for being evil, almost anything is fair game."


"i never understood why women get the creeps so ****ing easily. i mean most serial killers act perfectly normal, until they kill you."


-Nuke

 

Offline redsniper

  • 211
  • Aim for the Top!
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
... It sounds like the stick was designed for people with GORILLA HANDS which I don't really have. Now I've also seen that can pretty easily be solved by slapping a chunk of foam on the handrest, but I'm worried about reaching up to all those thousands of hat switches at the top and bumping the wrong one or something. Are they especially sensitive or do you have to be pretty deliberate with them? I'd like to use them as buttons if I could, for targeting and countermeasures and stuff. Second, I really like twist handles, which this stick doesn't have, and I don't feel hardcore enough to want to buy rudder pedals. Will that little joystick nub on the throttle work well enough as a third axis?

HATS and RUDDERS
"Think about nice things not unhappy things.
The future makes happy, if you make it yourself.
No war; think about happy things."   -WouterSmitssm

Hard Light Productions:
"...this conversation is pointlessly confrontational."

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Dragon, you silly goon, one can never have enough buttons on a stick. However, the Combatstick probably gets closer to the ideal with as many functions as you can program into the buttons. My 3D pro has the hat slaved to lateral thrusters while most of the other top buttons are used for weapons cycling, while the throttle and many of the lower six buttons handle additional targeting and thruster functions (don't forget the countermeasures, either).

As far as CH goes, if you had unlimited funds, I'd love to see the kind of stick you could put together from their industrial catalog, I mean, just look at this thing!:

http://www.chproducts.com/files/chproducts/brochures/AG_1-12-12_low-res.pdf
You mean Fighterstick. Combatstick has somewhat less functions.
Also, by "too many buttons", I mean "more buttons than the game has bindable functions". :) Or exceeding OS limitations, to which a "single device" CH HOTAS comes close to. Classics generally don't use 32 buttons, 9 axes and 2 POV HATs, and even newer games rarely do. Also, if you had more buttons, the system wouldn't be able to stick them all on a single controller, which is required for most older games.

 

Offline Davros

  • 29
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Mhhh not sure about the force sensing, but the Warthog I tried at the store definitely moved. It was a joy to move it actually :P LOL.

thats because its the X-65 that doesnt move not the Warthog.

 

Offline Davros

  • 29
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Also, if you had more buttons, the system wouldn't be able to stick them all on a single controller, which is required for most older games.

Behold the majesty

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
This gamepad just doubles as a keyboard. I meant "real" buttons, recognized independently of keyboard. Also, by "single controller", I meant that system understands it as a single device, not that it actually is a single controller. Of course, you could map buttons to keyboard keys, and I do that sometimes, but it's not the optimal solution if you have an alternative (most games can map controller buttons independently of keyboard).

 

Offline Nuke

  • Ka-Boom!
  • 212
  • Mutants Worship Me
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
i like to map buttons directly to keyboard keys in the profile software. the point is i can install a game and with as little in game configuration as possible use my existing maps and jump right into the action. if i get a new game and it comes with a key map insert that really simplifies the process of making a map. i also take advantage of default axis or button mappings in the game. freespace defaults the x and y axis to joy x and y, but i like to yaw with my pedals so i map those to x axis and x on the joystick gets mapped to r. also the first 8 buttons have defaults functions, so i just move those buttons to the places i want them in the profile. if profile software doesn't let you remap buttons and axes like this, it obviously sucks.
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.

Nuke's Scripting SVN

 

Offline Nuke

  • Ka-Boom!
  • 212
  • Mutants Worship Me
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
so today i felt an uncontrollable urge to poke around inside my ch fighterstick. opened it up and examined the mobo. it was a modest sized mobo, 1/2 to 2/3 the size of an arduino, most of the space used up by modular connectors. there are only 3 ics on it, some smd resistors, a single electrolytic capacitor for decoupling no doubt (mrobibly some smd caps as well to filter the high freq stuff), and a 6 mhz oscilator (common speed for usb devices). one chip was a 74HC138, a 3-8 line decoder. this just takes a 3 bit address and this is used to pick which one of a set of 8 pins will be active (active low in this case). these are usually used for selecting one chip from a bank, but in this case looks like its part of the button multiplexor. you need a 5*4 or a 7*3 scan matrix to address all the buttons on the fighter stick, and you save a large number of mcu pins using this ic. i presume you could do it with 6 pins instead of 9 or 10, assuming its wired as a 7*3 matrix.

the second chip was from ti, a tlc1543c. this chip was kind of a surprise to me. it was a 10 bit adc, with 11 channels and a serial output. again reducing the pin count on the mcu (also eliminating the need for an mcu with its own adc). this chip has more resolution than the config software (and the joystick calibration dialog) reports, and i suspect the mcu is scaling the value to 8-bit, that or this is done is the drivers. the header connecting to the axes had way more connections than it needed. i would assume that this is the standard mobo used by ch, if i took apart something, say the throttle, id bet id find the exact same mobo.

i didnt id the mcu being used. it was a chip in a 14 pin dip socket, and a label covered up the markings. this was probibly a firmware identifier. the chip is probibly from pic or ti, avrs seldom come in this package (tiny84 is about it), and not with hardware usb. id love to download and disassemble the firmware (thus allowing me to hack other sticks, or the drivers to let me configure 3rd party sticks), but these chips usually come with protection fuses that prevent that from happening. this chip, being the only one in a socket (the other 2 chips are surface mount), leads me to believe that they use a different firmware for each stick. should point out that the chips are pocket change and the headers on the mobo probibly cost more than they do, and aside from any claims to ip this board probibly cost less than $20 to make (thats what i could make it for, not counting the savings of mass production).

despite the overall quality of the stick in general. why were these things so ****ing expensive? i mean the whole stick is injection molded plastic. the hats and buttons, all off the shell stuff. why the **** are joysticks so ****ing expensive! this stick was $150 when i bought it 3 or 4 years ago. i mean the technology hasn't changed in decades. i can understand why the warthog costs so much, milsepc switches and metal construction, hall sensors up the wazoo and large cuircuit boards. but the ch sticks, as good as they are, are somewhat overpriced for the technology contained within.

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.

Nuke's Scripting SVN

 

Offline Thaeris

  • Can take his lumps
  • 211
  • Away in Limbo
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
I think with joysicks, the primary driver is demand for the product. Even if the materials are inexpensive, marketing the product at a truly fair (to the customer) price is not going to keep your company afloat. Lack of demand for the product also means that manufacturers will make features seem like premiums so they can justify the cost. So, unless you know you have the infrastructure to continue to market low-cost, high-production sticks (like Logitech), which potentially also have a high turn-around with respect to lifespan, you market "high(er) quality" products which you will sell less of but at a higher unit cost.

I guess the issue is now, why not try to produce a truly great stick that doesn't cost $100 or more, and delivers all the performance you want with respect to materials? I guess that if more flight sims come back around, maybe you'll see that. Until then, it is what it is, I suppose.

...Here's a thought. Back in the day, everyone had flight simulators for sale, and there were lots of joysticks. But back in the day, computers, software and hardware alike, were all very expensive. And that trend remained fairly constant over the notable age of the flight sim (oh, the 90's...), and even when the flight sim became a very weak force in the gaming/simulation field, the hardware never really adapted from its former costs... The quality and marketing never really changed because it either did not have to, or because the new lack of demand did not let it do so. CEO's practice economics, not courtesy in engineering.
"trolls are clearly social rejects and therefore should be isolated from society, or perhaps impaled."

-Nuke



"Look on the bright side, how many release dates have been given for Doomsday, and it still isn't out yet.

It's the Duke Nukem Forever of prophecies..."


"Jesus saves.

Everyone else takes normal damage.
"

-Flipside

"pirating software is a lesser evil than stealing but its still evil. but since i pride myself for being evil, almost anything is fair game."


"i never understood why women get the creeps so ****ing easily. i mean most serial killers act perfectly normal, until they kill you."


-Nuke

 

Offline Nuke

  • Ka-Boom!
  • 212
  • Mutants Worship Me
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
i did some googleing and aparently all ch controllers all use the same mobo. so my task is clear: design a drop in replacement for the mobo. i can even make it oshw so that anyone can download the plans and build their own. first thing i need is an mcu with a usb interface. this usually comes with the mcu, but any mcu can be used with a software implementation like vusb. i will likely use an avr here, as im familiar with its operation. the other requirement would be a better adc. you need more bits, an avr comes with 10 bit adcs typically, for most people thats enough. but not for me. i need 12 minimum to be "happy". an ic like the ADS7828, a 12 bit adc with 8 channels. or if you want more bits theres the 14 bit ADS7871. and im sure theres others which are probibly preferable. all the headers would need to be pin compatable with the ch headers. which typically have more ports than they can use. but im lazy and have a tendancy to take on projects more frequently than i can finish them.
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.

Nuke's Scripting SVN

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Premium joystick recommendations
Regarding costs, I think that the high quality plastic isn't very cheap, and they most likely don't use the cheapest electronic components around, instead of going for more expensive, but more reliable ones. Not to mention development costs, since there isn't much market for joysticks, the overhead needs to be quite large for the stick to actually earn money. Those controllers are very well designed, and I guess it took quite some time and money to create CH CM, the firmware and the drivers. And don't forget they're made in US, no cheap Chinese labor, Chinese plastics or Chinese transistors. CH stuff wouldn't have a reputation of lasting forever if they didn't use high quality materials. So I guess high cost is kind of justified here.