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New(ish) to DCS, would love some control advice


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Hi all,

First some introductory background... I have loved flight sims since the 90s... logged way too many hours on the Falcon series, Jetfighter II, Aces of the Pacific, Jane's F-15, F-15 Strike Eagle II, Gunship 2, A-10 Tank Killer, etc., as a teen (not to mention Wing Commander, X-Wing, etc.).  Then there was that long period where nobody really seemed to be making flight sims anymore.  I remember seeing some really early clips of DCS back in, what, like 2000?

 

Anyways, I've been playing around with DCS and FC3 for a little bit... getting an Oculus VR was really the game changer... holy cow!  Tried playing with the touch controls, which was neat in a way, but most cockpits didn't have VR-interactive buttons, and grabbing the stick and throttle didn't really feel natural, so I dug out my Thrustmaster HOTAS-X, which is great.  So now the only real problem is so many commands require me to peep through my headset's nose gap at the keyboard.  OK, so here are my questions:

 

A) Seems like most modules have some decent bindings for the HOTAS-X, but not always too consistent.  I don't think I've actually found the 4-way hat to be bound to anything in any module that I've tried yet.  If you had a blank slate, how would you bind your HOTAS buttons for an authentic feel?

 

B) I've found an old X-Type 58 button programmable keyboard (pic attached).  It goes back to the PS/2 days, so I'm not sure I can still program it, but all the keys are bound to standard KB (although they go in alphabetical order rather than QWERTY).  Either way, given the layout in the link below (note that my device only has 18 keys across the top row, not 20), how would you bind your most-used commands to it?  You can actually edit the PDF, if somebody would be so kind as to do that and screenshot it.

 

https://xkeys.com/pub/media/wysiwyg/smartwave/porto/category/XK-60/XK-60PlanningGrid.pdf

 

Thanks in advance... I know it's a big ask to take the time to help me with my keypad layout.... I greatly appreciate any help you might offer.

 

Best Regards,
NB

xkeys.jpg

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a) for hotas controls, i try to bind them as close as possible to the stick and throttle layout for the plane in question. for other controls, i have a few x-key devices... which leads to...

 

b) that x-type looks a lot like the x-keys i am rocking, except for the pre-determined sections with the x-type. with x-keys, can put in blank spaces to create those types of sections. i really, really like the x-keys and keep ordering more of them.

 

i wanted to be agnostic with type of controls, and thus didn't want to go the replica panel route. then having a few x-keys around me, i feel like i'm reaching to where the control really is in the plane, which helps the immersion imo. also, i only play in VR, so how the panels looked weren't important to me.

 

i currently have an 80-key mounted in front, with an 8x6 block that handles the ufc/icp controls for differnet planes (and any other top-middle controls). a blank row above that block, then a block of keys on the top row i use for esc, space, active pause, and ejecting. mfd's sit on either side of this 80-key

 

a 40-key strip below the 80-key, that's blocked into 14x8x14 sections. the 7x2 block on the left is perfect with the f5, where there's a key for each pylon. a 3rd mfd below the 40-key to be my center console.

 

then on either side, behind my throttle and stick, are 24-key x-keys, landscape orientation. the inner column of each i have mapped to win/alt/ctl for that side, and use those as instrument layers. at bottom inside i have 2 keys bound for left and right shift. the shift keys are my action layers. so, like, the CMS countermeasures panel in the A-10, i'll hold the top-right windows key on the right x-key to reach my 'right-side forward' instrument layer, and then it maps out pretty well.. with the OSB buttons and toggles going as rows across the x-key. key press is toggle, for dials i'll hold left-shift for down, right-shift for up, etc.

 

last weekend is when i remapped the A-10C against this new scheme, and got every single mappable button in the cockpit assigned. even the CDU, where unmodified the right 3x4 block of the right 24-key is the 0-9 portion, hold left shift makes it the 1st half of letters, and holding right-shift is the 2nd half of letters. not like i'd ever use all the mappings even rarely, but i wanted to stress test my layout scheme before i started remapping everything. also it's been oddly intuitive for me to remember the layouts for different planes so far, since it's based on where instruments are in the cockpit. also, sometimes the controls line up nicely... like the 2 radios on the left in the A-10. Holding down Ctl on my left keypad is the front VHF, holding down Alt is the back VHF. Then the buttons for the controls are the same - just a different 'layer' for the second radio. same with like tacan or ils instruments that have the same controls but are just in different spots. having my scheme per instrument and then just having to push a different layer to get to them (like tacan on left vs right console)

 

i'm about to redo the side x-keys configs so i have 2 columns of instrument layers, left and right win/ctl/alt/4th-modifier-tbd on both keypads, with some new 80-keys to replace my existing 24-keys. then i'll be able to break it up even further. with 8 keys for my instrument layers instead of 3. and a 6x6 block of 36 keys for controls on each side, instead of my current 18. example, on right keypad, left-win would be top-inner instrument on right console (CMS panel in A-10), and then the right-win would be the top-outer (electrical panel). then i'll have a blank row, and dedicated blocks for F1-F12 and radio/spotify/time controls, instead of having to use shift layers for those like i do with my current 24s.

 

a bit of a long post. i've been geeking out over control schemes lately.


Edited by Monkwolf
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I try to bind controls as close as possible to a real HOTAS too. What's not there goes to the keyboard - but I use TiR.

With VR and entry level HOTAS you'll want to use almost everything there and for that sacrifice a few buttons as modifers on both sides - each one will double the options for the rest.

Depending on the module it can be easier or more difficult but start with basics (gears, flaps, comms, nav, nosewheel, radar, whatever...) and add more and reconfigure on the fly. It's pretty subjective - whatever works for you will be the best. Have fun and explore :thumbup:

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i3-10100F 3.6-4.3GHz, 16GB DDR4 2666, GTX970 4GB, SSD SATA3, Win10Home64, 27" LCD FullHD, T16000M HOTAS, customTiR

Aircraft: FC3, F-14A/B; Pack: Supercarrier; Maps: NTTR, PG

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Thanks for the replies guys!  I'll play around with it and see what I come up with.  I'm just not used to actually needing so many controls, as my prior forays into flight sims were more arcade-y (although that Falcon 3.0 manual was no joke)... but I think I'm going to love it.  It would be rad to build a cockpit... although the wife would probably have me committed.  😄

 

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10 hours ago, Monkwolf said:

a) for hotas controls, i try to bind them as close as possible to the stick and throttle layout for the plane in question.

 

Well, i don't. Since i fly multiple aircraft, binding them as close as possible to the original is creating a brain fart, certainly when not flown that particular airplane for a while.

I try to setup my controls for each aircraft as much as the same as i can. Makes things less complicated.

 

Win10 Pro 64-bit, i7-4770K @ 4.5 GHz, Corsair H100i, AsRock Extreme4, ASUS Strix 1080Ti OC 11GB, 32 GB DDR3 G.Skill 2400. Monitors: LG 27GL850-B27 2560x1440 + Samsung SyncMaster 2443 1920x1200, HOTAS: Warthog with Virpil WarBRD base & hegykc MFG Crosswind modded pedals, TrackIR4, Oculus Rift S.

Personal Wish List: A6 Intruder, Vietnam theater, decent ATC module, better VR performance!

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