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    Good Flight stick, how critical?

    I have been trying DCS for a while now, but I only have a crappy old flight stick. I can fly but it’s not that great. There are no ThrustMaster warthogs available, the ones overseas would take just as long if not longer to get. I like flying RC helicopters but with COVID I thought I would get back into flight sims. Problem is Microsoft came just at the wrong time for me, that program looked cool but when I saw DCS I said, now that’s for me. But it’s just been too hard without a proper Flight stick setup, I’m thinking of packing it in. I’ve been trying to buy a good stick, but I refuse to pay 1200 for something that sold for $450 or less a few months ago. Too bad I really liked this game. Advice anyone. To me it seems I need a good throttle with a stick, I just can’t land right, I can get the plane on the ground but not smooth, landing on a carrier even harder, refueling forget it.

    #2
    I'd recommend waiting a month. Looks like anything decent is marked up to 3x its value at the moment, likely due to the fact the DCS A-10C-II just released last week. I expect things will return to normal, at least with regard to HOTAS prices, pretty soon.
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      #3
      A better HOTAS definitely helps with the ability to be far more precise and smooth with it. Makes some difference to landing, and a massive difference to the more tricky stuff like AAR or close formation flying.
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        #4
        Originally posted by Mr_sukebe View Post
        A better HOTAS definitely helps with the ability to be far more precise and smooth with it. Makes some difference to landing, and a massive difference to the more tricky stuff like AAR or close formation flying.
        Tell me about it, using a keyboard to control throttle, seems like I’m always behind the ball.. I’m hopping in a month I will be back flying RC. I’m more outdoor type. I guess I’m done. Too bad, it’s a great program, I was looking forward to getting on multiplayer. Looks killer!

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          #5
          I have fun with my Logitech Extreme 3D Pro,
          what model is your "crapy old flight stick"?

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            #6
            Originally posted by randomTOTEN View Post
            I have fun with my Logitech Extreme 3D Pro,
            what model is your "crapy old flight stick"?
            Just a old Logitech, I don’t even know what model. It does ok, just doesn’t have a throttle or any buttons. Like I said, I can fly, and it’s ok, but just ok is not good enough for me. So I started looking for a better setup, seems there is only a few choices, ThrustMaster, Virpil, VKB, Winwing. I’m sure you can make some of the others work. But why spend $200 when it still will be “just ok” buy quality from the start. I just came at a bad time, too many people stuck at home with Microsoft flight. I will just wait, maybe I will look in a few months. I was hopping to get some ideas here, something I didn’t see or know about. Thanks for the help!

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              #7
              Have you checked on ebay for used stuff?Me personally I wouldn’t be too focused on the prominent big names like warthog etc.
              True, quality has its price , yes, but if the alternative is throwing in the towel completely, then probably any HOTAS or even standalone USB Throttle plus Stick is easier and more fun to fly with than keyboard plus Stick.
              There are sometimes good deals to be had for used stuff and you certainly don‘t need to shell out north of 400$ to get a starter combo to get you going into the multiplayer game AND have some fun.
              I use an old throttle and even older joystick without fancy extensions or ten million castle switches and still have tons of fun.

              Regards,

              Snappy

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Snappy View Post
                Have you checked on ebay for used stuff?Me personally I wouldn’t be too focused on the prominent big names like warthog etc.
                True, quality has its price , yes, but if the alternative is throwing in the towel completely, then probably any HOTAS or even standalone USB Throttle plus Stick is easier and more fun to fly with than keyboard plus Stick.
                There are sometimes good deals to be had for used stuff and you certainly don‘t need to shell out north of 400$ to get a starter combo to get you going into the multiplayer game AND have some fun.
                I use an old throttle and even older joystick without fancy extensions or ten million castle switches and still have tons of fun.

                Regards,

                Snappy
                It’s a good thought but a cheap stick is still going for Twice the price they went for a few months ago. A friend has a ThrustMaster T-flight (stick & throttle) he let me barrow while he was gone for a week. It was ok, better than what I have, but still some things about it that was not good. He uses it for space flight games, I don’t care for those. And paying for something I won’t be happy with is just a waste. Like the first response said, a month or so things will probably be different. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to buy the highest price hotas on the market, hell thats the problem, if I was willing to shell out $1,200 I could have a warthog this weekend. But I don’t want to buy stupidly. High or low quality. I was just looking for ideas for a good quality setup. I can fly right now, and because of the poor stick, I am not enjoying this great flight sim. I don’t think a different cheap stick will change that.

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                  #9
                  Here's my advice.
                  Use the stick you have and wait for the prices and availability to improve to the point you get the hardware you really want, at the price you're comfortable with.
                  If you're new high value hardware isn't going to be much of an improvement. You need to build the skills first, and I don't know the condition of your stick, but if it's at all functional it will be good enough to learn basic maneuvers and weapons with.


                  It's probably the same with RC Helicopters (I was a fixed wing guy decades ago). There's really no point rushing into a expensive aerobatic model if you can barely hover. If you have a functioning helicopter and can't find a high quality one, that cheap model will probably be good enough to learn the basics. And you can probably have fun with it until the better models get restocked.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by randomTOTEN View Post
                    Here's my advice.
                    Use the stick you have and wait for the prices and availability to improve to the point you get the hardware you really want, at the price you're comfortable with.
                    If you're new high value hardware isn't going to be much of an improvement. You need to build the skills first, and I don't know the condition of your stick, but if it's at all functional it will be good enough to learn basic maneuvers and weapons with.


                    It's probably the same with RC Helicopters (I was a fixed wing guy decades ago). There's really no point rushing into a expensive aerobatic model if you can barely hover. If you have a functioning helicopter and can't find a high quality one, that cheap model will probably be good enough to learn the basics. And you can probably have fun with it until the better models get restocked.
                    You are absolutely correct, with RC Helicopters. As a guy that can throw one around a bit. I can say with full confidence if you can’t do it with a blade 250 you can’t do it with a Goblin 700 so why spend the $3,000 to get a goblin 700 decked out.

                    DCS is a little different, I can fly, land, dogfight, bomb targets. But I can’t stand using the keyboard to do most of the cockpit work. Example - you have 4 bandits approaching at 12 o’clock, you need to lock one up and get into the fight before they are on you, I have to scroll through using keys on the keyboard to get the planes locked, then select a weapon again on the keyboard etc.. by then I’m dead, falling from the sky. Because I looking down at keys and not on what I’m doing and what’s going on.

                    Bottom line is I don’t enjoy this game having to use a keyboard. if I had to use a keyboard to fly RC I would probably not like it either.. thank you for the advice, I do appreciate your point of view.

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                      #11
                      By the way, here is my Goblin 700
                      Attached Files

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                        #12
                        You say,
                        Originally posted by JTAnimal View Post
                        I can fly, land, dogfight, bomb targets. But I can’t stand using the keyboard to do most of the cockpit work.
                        And you also say,
                        Originally posted by JTAnimal View Post
                        To me it seems I need a good throttle with a stick, I just can’t land right, I can get the plane on the ground but not smooth, landing on a carrier even harder, refueling forget it.
                        These are all motor skills that require few button presses. Perhaps trim and flaps (gear is a single keyboard press so no problem). Carrier landings and AAR are skills you admit need work but require none of the work flow you describe on the keyboard. Neither does dumb bombing, air combat with heat seeking missiles, or air combat with guns. I specifically mentioned "basic maneuvers and weapons with" and your response is to immediately escalate to 4 vs 1 beyond visual range fight. You see the RC helicopter analogy?
                        "You should stick with the Blade 250 you already own." "Okay, but what if I want to do the inverted backward flip inverted hover?" "But you just said you need to practice regular hover"

                        You can also likely bind the major HOTAS functions you use to the joystick, but you probably don't yet know which ones to use, or how to bind them.
                        Try finding the model of joystick you have, there are likely profiles for it already. I wouldn't suggest using them directly, but more for getting ideas of what kinds of control schemes are possible. Perhaps you can post your joystick here as an image. I bet somebody could identify it.
                        Last edited 10-07-2020, 04:54 AM.

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                          #13
                          Don't pay the prices you see now. My guess is the major retailers will restock for the holidays and things will come back to down (to reality).

                          So, be patient. DCS is worth it.
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                            #14
                            I use a Futaba 10 and a spectrum 11. I have considered using it, as I use that for sim practice for heli. But it’s just not the same as using a joy stick.

                            I think we’re getting off point, me also.

                            Thanks for the feedback, it is a real cool flight sim..

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Am I reading that right? You're using your RC heli transmitters as a joystick for DCS?

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Yeah, don't pay a market up like that. That's just terrible. Just be patient, give it a little time and prices will stabilise.

                                For stick recommendations, the Saitek X56 or Thrustmaster TWCS are probably the best entry level HOTAS. $200-300. CH HOTAS is decent, but very antiquated and they never updated it ($200). Thrustmaster Warthog is probably the only ''mid range'' that exists right now ($400ish). After that you get Virpil and VKB as high end choices, with a growing variety of swappable grips (up to $500 for the stick, throttle is separate $400). WinWing is in the same quality category but more expensive I think. Beyond this you get into really custom controls like cyclics etc, or commercial sellers (the quality isn't any better but the prices are vastly higher cause they sell to aviation companies)

                                @randomTOTEN
                                You can get a USB adapter for many transmitters, intended for practicing on PC. They use the same kind of sensors as game controllers, so it wouldn't surprise me if Windows just sees it as a generic device. I've never tried to use one for that, but I can see how it's possible.

                                -edit
                                Don't get the X52. They're poorly layed out and the stick and throttle are tethered together. It's a pos.
                                Last edited 10-07-2020, 09:19 AM.
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                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by JTAnimal View Post
                                  I can fly right now, and because of the poor stick, I am not enjoying this great flight sim. I don’t think a different cheap stick will change that.
                                  I agree, and I totally wouldn't buy such a new joystick or HOTAS right now because the prices are simply ridiculous, if not outrageous.

                                  In my opinion, the current market situation actually works in favor of the smaller, high-quality vendors like Virpil, VKB and Winwing. At least for Virpil Worldwide, their prices seem exactly the same as they were a few months ago, before the FS hype. They're not trying to capitalize on the global shortage, they're just selling their stuff for the standard rate. Granted, that rate is steep, and they can't deliver off the shelf, so there's a wait. But I would much rather pay good money for a very good product and wait until they're ready to ship, than pay insane money for a more or less standard, off-the-shelf product, and still wait several weeks.

                                  Disclosure, I do have a Virpil base with a Warthog grip and in my opinion it's simply fantastic. I also got the Virpil Mongoos Grip and I think it's okay, the price is fair, but I do prefer the Warthog grip.

                                  The point is, for probably the same rate as a run-of-the-mill Warthog, right now you could get top notch equipment from the high quality vendors, and delivery times may even be comparable.

                                  But I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that this off-the-shelf price-insanity will go away soon, so that more people can enjoy this wonderful hobby for a more reasonable price.

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                                    #18
                                    I looked into Virpil and if I’m reading everything correctly, buying a throttle and stick I would pay about $800 and then another $400 in import fee’s. So it looks like waiting for a hog is the only thing to do. It’s too bad the price gouging that’s going on right now. And please don’t say supply and demand, the only reason there is a high demand is people are stuck at home. If it wasn’t for this virus thing, I wouldn’t have even seen or started playing DCS. I won’t overpay for a ThrustMaster of any kind. It’s better if I stay focused on home remodeling projects, not as fun but keep me busy. I hate TV!

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by JTAnimal View Post
                                      Example - you have 4 bandits approaching at 12 o’clock, you need to lock one up and get into the fight before they are on you, I have to scroll through using keys on the keyboard to get the planes locked, then select a weapon again on the keyboard etc.. by then I’m dead, falling from the sky. Because I looking down at keys and not on what I’m doing and what’s going on.
                                      I feel your pain.

                                      While this is far from a good stick - but just as a left field thought - have you considered (or even heard of) Voice Attack?

                                      In short, it's software that allows you to give audible commands and assign keystrokes to it. I have it set up so I can say things such as "Fence in", "Select Sidewinders", etc and it will go through and press keystrokes that will fold the wings.

                                      There is a free profile (Baileys Voice Attack profile) I believe it's called that already has a mountain of commands available ready to use with Voice Attack that will reduce the time required on the keyboard.

                                      While it's not a HOTAS replacement by a long shot - and it's not going to help with your throttle control - it may just remove enough keystrokes when in battle to help lower the disadvantage you have to buy you some time as a low cost alternative. (And unlike buying another cheap joystick at 2x the price that you won't want in a few months time - VA can be used for a mountain of different things outside of DCS as well that you might find handy). :-)

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Adam View Post
                                        I feel your pain.

                                        While this is far from a good stick - but just as a left field thought - have you considered (or even heard of) Voice Attack?

                                        In short, it's software that allows you to give audible commands and assign keystrokes to it. I have it set up so I can say things such as "Fence in", "Select Sidewinders", etc and it will go through and press keystrokes that will fold the wings.:-)
                                        Wow thanks Adam! That’s a good idea, I will look into it, I did not know that. Thank you.. maybe could work for a stop gap. I did buy a head tracker, so I didn’t have to use the keyboard to look. That’s one improvement. I will look into voice attack.

                                        Can you believe they had a head track in stock and shipped quick, what a novel concept :doh wish ThrustMaster would get a clew. I work construction, when we have a lot of work, we work overtime

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