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Greetings all,

 

As flight simulators become more advanced, the keyboard user interface is becoming ever more crowded with commands. We would like more players to join our community, but an awkward user interface can aggravate the already steep learning curve barrier. At the same time, we hope to make the avionics more sophisticated.

 

To help resolve these conflicting requirements, I'm writing a proposal for a different keyboard command layout to be used in the future:

 

http://www.waves.utoronto.ca/~pavacic/lomac/keyboard/newkeys3.zip

 

This evolved out of the "F-15 avionics" sticky discussion, where it became apparent that the Tab "lock target" key would not be sufficient for manipulating multiple TWS bugged targets, but I decided to start a separate discussion, since the subject involves padlock, communications, view controls and many other non-avionics-related themes.

 

I'm interested to know if any important commands were missed in this proposal, so feedback is welcome.

 

Thanks for your interest,

 

-SK

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Feedback transplanted from the "F-15 avionics wishlist" sticky discussion, regarding reserve of keys to be used as microphone switches for Ventrilo or TeamSpeak during multiplayer:

 

It recognizes 'chord keys' yes ... such as Shift-alt-control etc, and it will certainly use combinations of up to two of those plus a regular key. The problem is that when you're speaking to someone it needs to be quick, efficiant and convenient.

 

Agreed. The trick with Ventrilo or TS as regards to this proposal though is that these are not Lock On but rather third-party software, which the user must ultimately configure him or herself, together with the corresponding microphone key(s). We can't really assign these as defaults in the proposal, but rather just ensure sufficient space is available, then allowing the user to re-map whatever they want. e.g. If I were using TS without HOTAS I might re-map such communications keys to KP+, KP- and KPEnter, but since not everyone uses TS, it may be better to assign keys to some redundant or replaceable functions (e.g. a "fourth" throttle axis for KP+-), rather than keeping three unchorded keys unassigned by default.

 

-SK

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  • 2 weeks later...

How are the real F-15 controls set up?

 

I know in Falcon 4 the SP patches have added such features as the TMS switch, pinky button, dogfight mode/missle mode, etc.

 

It really streamlines the controls and makes the complex avionics much easier to control.

________

vaporizer shop


Edited by DayGlow

"It takes a big man to admit he is wrong...I'm not a big man" Chevy Chase, Fletch Lives

 

3700x - 32gb ram - RTX3080 - Windows 10

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How are the real F-15 controls set up?

 

Aargh... The more I ask about this, the more people I get into trouble for helping. Security... :(

 

From what I've found though, F4 can take such an approach more easily than Lock On, because it models only one aircraft. The F-15 controls are quite different in detail from F-16 (no Dogfight or Missile Override switches), let alone Warthogs, MiGs and Sus. It's challenging to produce a "unified" layout for many different aircraft with the available keyboard controls.

 

Thanks for interest!

 

-SK

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How are the real F-15 controls set up?

 

Aargh... The more I ask about this, the more people I get into trouble for helping. Security... :(

 

From what I've found though, F4 can take such an approach more easily than Lock On, because it models only one aircraft. The F-15 controls are quite different in detail from F-16 (no Dogfight or Missile Override switches), let alone Warthogs, MiGs and Sus. It's challenging to produce a "unified" layout for many different aircraft with the available keyboard controls.

 

Thanks for interest!

 

-SK

 

" Challenging " is a understatement...

but given the amount of complexity of each aircrafts controls and avionics,

wouldn't be better to have a unique keyboard set for each aircraft?

We practically have to self tutor ourselves as it is when trying out a

different craft.. (imaging my frustration when for years, simming with US

aircraft only, then to give a Mig or a SUE a shot... I have to relearn everything anyways..!)

 

I'm sure this has been hashed out before, but I thought I throw in my two

cents...

Thanks,

Brett

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We practically have to self tutor ourselves as it is when trying out a

different craft.. (imaging my frustration when for years, simming with US

aircraft only, then to give a Mig or a SUE a shot... I have to relearn everything anyways..!)

 

Indeed. Same thing often happens when moving from one sim to another. To some degree, differences in controls are inevitable, but there should be some important, frequently-used commands that are common to all (e.g. "G" for "Gear").

 

A more serious problem that I noticed during testing is that as more features and flyables get added, the new controls for these features ended up wherever there was unoccupied space left on the keyboard, which may be inappropriate (e.g. Alt-KpDel for "missile padlock" - very difficult to perform with one hand in the heat of battle). I thought it was time for the new list of commands to be re-prioritized, with a vision of how and when they are used, taking into account helicopter controls for v1.2.

 

Thanks for interest!

 

-SK

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or bite the bullet and have custom controls for each plane. We already have the dropdown menu for different modes, how about a 'all' and every plane dropdown menu. That way with the ground attack planes you can have the release controls mapped out, but radar aren't needed, vice versa for the air superiority planes, etc.

________

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Edited by DayGlow

"It takes a big man to admit he is wrong...I'm not a big man" Chevy Chase, Fletch Lives

 

3700x - 32gb ram - RTX3080 - Windows 10

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or bite the bullet and have custom controls for each plane. We already have the dropdown menu for different modes, how about a 'all' and every plane dropdown menu. That way with the ground attack planes you can have the release controls mapped out, but radar aren't needed, vice versa for the air superiority planes, etc.

 

Hmm.. If I understand correctly, how would you then handle potential future multiroles, such as F-16 and F/A-18?

 

-SK

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From NewKeys3.doc

(5) Move the "Designate Target" key from Tab to Enter.

(6) Make the Backspace key "Undesignate Target".

You should look at the idea of making the UNdesignate key also the Enter key.

On my current simple sidewinder I've 1 button that Designates and UNdesignates. The TDC skewing with cursor arrows would designate the target on the Radar screen by proximity of the next target to the TDC cursor.

 

I would prefer Backspace as the target switching button as it's very close to the TDC arrows and the Designate/Undesignate.

 

The TAB key is for me the preferred method to access the Comms menu - that may be the IL2 experience talking though but I like the close proximity of TAB and F1, F2, F3...

 

What ever happened to Capslock? Rapidly toggling between sim speeds A16, A8, A4, A2 and A0 would be cool.

or CAPSLOCK sets it at A0 and CTRL-CAPSLOCK toggles the sim speeds A16, A8, A4, A2 and A0.

I don't know if LOMAC is mapped with CAPSLOCK taken into effect.

 

=== separate but related ===

On a wider level, how would we introduce the new user to the idea of buying a joystick. In reading the provided LOMAC documentation, there was no introduction to joysticks. And especially recommended key mappings.

 

Another pathway that you see with graphics cards is the bundling of software with the vidcard. A revenue stream that might be of value is LOMAC with a joystick. Some OEM revenue wouldn't be amiss.

ZoomBoy

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Indeed. Same thing often happens when moving from one sim to another. To some degree, differences in controls are inevitable, but there should be some important, frequently-used commands that are common to all (e.g. "G" for "Gear").

-SK

 

Going for the common "g" key is understood, and I also understand for the user without a HOTAS programmable, this can be quite the "pain" if it

gets too complex...ie.. all ctl+alt keystrokes are for A-A modes..

All ctl + shift is for A-G modes...etc.

 

this makes me think, how about a editable XML table that a enduser

can edit for the their keystroke customization desires ... with of course

lomac understanding it....

Thanks,

Brett

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Of course, the keys should be re-located by the individual user to whatever is desired (it was originally planned to have this saved in a text file). This proposal aims for a default "newbie" layout, so that people picking up the sim for the first time are not turned away by a difficult user interface, or the expectation they will adjust it to their own mode of play before they've even decided if they like the game. The hardcore users who are likely to regularly require more advanced wingman functions than are mapped to the easy-to-reach Ins-Del-Hom keys are better suited than newbies to take things into their own hands by editing the keymap.

 

You should look at the idea of making the UNdesignate key also the Enter key.

 

The default Enter, Tab and Backspace key functions in the proposal are designed to support realistic TWS modes that I think will need to be supported in the near future (see the "F-15C Avionics Wishlist" thread; after some research, I determined that at least three separate keys were necessary). Specifically, the user needs to be able to designate the same target more than once to step forward through modes, so the "designate" key cannot also be the "undesignate" key. Enter and Backspace are intended to work together with the cursor keys, and are based on the behavior of real-world "TMS-forward" and "TMS-aft" switch functions:

 

"TMS-forward actions change submodes from RWS to SAM to TTS to STT. TMS-aft changes the submodes back in the same sequence as TMS-forward. For example, if a pilot designates a target and puts the radar in the SAM submode, a subsequent TMS-aft will return the bugged target to a search target and the radar will revert to CRM RWS submode. TMS-AFT in STT will place the radar in TTS if a secondary target is being extrapolated, or SAM if there is no secondary target. TMS-aft from TTS will place the radar in SAM, and TMS-aft from SAM will place the radar in CRM RWS."

 

(from the F-16A MLU1 manual)

 

The Tab key in the proposal is based on the "TMS-right" function:

 

"If the radar is in CRM TWS with multiple tank targets but no bug, a momentary (less than 1 second) TMS-right will upgrade all tank targets to system track files and the closest system track file in range will be bugged. Subsequent momentary TMS-right activation's will step the bug to the next system track file that is closest in range."

 

Note that for this "TMS-right" function, the cursor keys are not required to be nearby at all. I like the way that during normal typing use of the keyboard, the Enter, Backspace and Tab keys naturally correspond to the "forward", "backward" and "jump to next" functions described here. These three keys are also usually larger and sometimes have arrows or different colors than other keys, helping to both set them apart from others and associate them together with each other. I also needed to take into account many other targeting systems, including the MiG-29 air-to-air modes, the A-10's Maverick targetting and the Su-25T's ARM targetting and felt I couldn't make it all work with any fewer than three "powerful" keys.

 

The point that you make about the Tab key being close to the F1, F2 etc. keys for wingman commands is a very good one, but after already giving up the six Ins-Del-Hom keys to wingman shortcuts, I felt justified in making the wingman menu less accessible, if it allowed me to make TWS avionics more accessible. I also liked the four dots on the colon key, which made me imagine four wingmen in flight. I agree the colon key is harder to find and use in a hurry, but then I find that the entire wingman menu interface is awkward to use in a hurry, and an inevitably look-down operation anyway. Hence the shortcuts on Ins-Del-Hom.

 

One key I might recommend considering as an alternative for the wingman menu is the tilde (~). It is also close to the F1 F2 keys, and it's relatively unassigned in the proposal - it's reserved as a comms key for use with third-party applications like Ventrilo and Teamspeak during multiplayer, or to record voiceovers during track editing. So, in single-player mode, it does nothing, and it might make sense for the single player to re-map the wingman menu key here. I'm not sure it's the best default position though, because IMHO convenient microphone control is needed even more strongly in multiplayer than the wingman command menu is needed in single-player. I think the proposal should accomodate both types of play as far as possible with a unified default layout, and then let user tweak according to their specific mode of play.

 

Thanks for feedback,

 

-SK

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2 points I'd like to cover

 

1) Comms Menu - We also need to look at the colour of the Comms Menu. Frankly in a light blue sky(which is the most common), white text does not stand out and I think we waste time trying to decipher it.

Red is a necessity to capture the eye. And it would be useful to grey out comm partners that are not available at the beginning of the mission(AWACS or Tanker or wingmen3+4 on a 2-ship flight)

 

2) If you've got 3 keys for wingman quick commands, rather than assign single emergency commands to them, I think it should a 2-key combination for the action to be done.

What that does is centralize for the new user control of his wingman and his flight. And avoids him having to learn 6 different keys all by himself with no response back.

 

The further down, the less importance it is.

DELETE (wingman)

_______ F1 Cover Me

_______ F2 Authorization

_______ F3 Complete Mission and return

_______ F4 Rejoin

_______ F5 Toggle Radar (with verbal response of current state "Radar On" or "Radar Off")

....

_______ F9 Stores

_______ F10 Formation (less urget ones here with submenues

 

INSERT (Flight)

_______ F1 Cover Me

_______ F2 Authorization

_______ F3 Complete Mission and return

_______ F4 Rejoin

_______ F5 Toggle Radar (with verbal response of current state "Radar On" or "Radar Off")

....

_______ F9 Stores

_______ F10 Formation

 

 

HOME(Other comms)

 

 

So I want:

the new user to learn only 3 important comms keys,

he'll get a verbose reponse,

at the same time learn all the available options,

He gets the direct thrill of making a tactical choice (wingman or whole Flight)

we get a flatter menu system

 

Ideas to ponder

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

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1) Comms Menu - We also need to look at the colour of the Comms Menu. Frankly in a light blue sky(which is the most common), white text does not stand out and I think we waste time trying to decipher it.

 

This I agree with...

 

2) If you've got 3 keys for wingman quick commands, rather than assign single emergency commands to them, I think it should a 2-key combination for the action to be done.

 

Hmm, I have difficulty agreeing with this. Moving the existing wingman command shortcut keys back to where they were in Flanker 2.0 was one of the motivations for this proposal, and the whole point of the existing "shortcut" keys is to avoid any menus or multiple-key combos.

 

What that does is centralize for the new user control of his wingman and his flight. And avoids him having to learn 6 different keys all by himself...

 

If I understand correctly, it does not prevent the user from having to, it prevents the user from being able to... Even if it's only two steps, simply putting a menu on the screen is a disruptive event that disables a large part of the user interface and distracts the user's attention. That can be extremely awkward in a combat emergency when you have to turn on ECM, go to missile padlock view, dump chaff and/or flares, arm weapons, etc. Even the proponents of "verbose response" have only ever proposed it as an option.

 

Further, what natural function could we then assign to Shift-/Ctrl-/Alt-Ins, etc.?

 

Unsure,

 

-SK

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Moving the existing wingman command shortcut keys back to where they were in Flanker 2.0 was one of the motivations for this proposal, and the whole point of the existing "shortcut" keys is to avoid any menus or multiple-key combos.

Sorry I hadn't read deeply enough in the docs to see the wider questions you had been dealing with.

That can be extremely awkward in a combat emergency when you have to turn on ECM, go to missile padlock view, dump chaff and/or flares, arm weapons, etc.

We need to be hard-nosed about the 7th important emergency combat button. How does the current system handle that?? Like turning off Radars or having an AWACs declare? My DELETE (wingman) very flat menu + INSERT (Flight) very flat menu handles that 7th to 10th emergency better.

 

Further, what natural function could we then assign to Shift-/Ctrl-/Alt-Ins, etc.?

Maybe we should assign UNnatural commands to that KeyRegion that are going to only pop up with new add-ons. The unique moves or modes that are only going to occur for just 1 model. Like the Korbomite? maneouvre with the Flanker

 

Things to consider

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

- Some missions [needs update]

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We need to be hard-nosed about the 7th important emergency combat button. How does the current system handle that??

 

You mean "Kill auto-pilot"? V1.1 is introducing a "reset auto-pilot modes" function for the Su-25T, mapped to Alt-9 for now. There is also an "Autopilot override (press and hold)" key mapped to Alt-Tilde, which is used a little differently and is really intended for reprogramming the autopilot rather than disabling it. I don't think either of these types of controls, an emergency key or a press-and-hold key, should be mapped to chorded Alt-combos, so the proposal moves them to "K" and "U" respectively.

 

Like turning off Radars or having an AWACs declare? My DELETE (wingman) very flat menu + INSERT (Flight) very flat menu handles that 7th to 10th emergency better.

 

I'm afraid I don't follow - What is the "7th to 10th emergency"? I've only numbered nine emergency and eight wingman functions in the proposal.

 

There's a couple of other issues. Having a "flight" key is understandable, but a single "wingman" key raises a lot of ambiguity about how the simulator will decide, "which wingman?" The player may have up to three. Will this key always command the first wingman? The last? Different wingmen in turn? If one wingman dies, which one will take his place in responding to this key? What if the wingmen have different payloads, or the wingman controlled by this key is still alive, but has run out of weapons, while others still carry? Such questions would have to be decided, then the command logic would have to be programmed, then it would have to be tested for a myriad of different situations, then documented so the user would know what is going on when the "wingman" key is pressed and it doesn't do what was expected, then the user would have to read the documentation, and finally remember how it works in combat.

 

Rather than introducing an ambiguous separate "wingman" key, the proposal removes the ambiguity by assigning a separate shortcut for each wingman (2, 3 and 4). It does this by using the assigned "flight" short-cut together with the chord keys Shift (wingman 2), Ctrl (wingman 3) or Alt (wingman 4).

 

The question then is about the "flatness" of the menu. To analyze this properly we really need to tabulate all the wingman functions present in Lock On to figure out the best way to organize this… At first glance it appears the "flatter" menus would not reduce a 3-key menu to 2 keys, but rather a 4-key menu to 3 keys (e.g. "Wingman2 - Attack - Bandits").

 

The exception is probably the "AWACS" queries, but the proposal already maps separate shortcuts for these according to the mode of the user's avionics. For example, if the user is in NAV mode ("1"), press Ctrl-1 for a vector to home base. In BVR mode ("2"), Ctrl-2 vectors to bandits, etc. It's a lot to remember, but I think once someone has learned it, they will be frustrated if they ever have to use a menu again. An advantage of using multiple one-step keyboard shortcuts instead of "flatter" menus is that shortcuts can be more easily programmed to HOTAS or reassigned to different keys by the user - menu options are less flexible.

 

Maybe we should assign UNnatural commands to that KeyRegion that are going to only pop up with new add-ons. The unique moves or modes that are only going to occur for just 1 model.

 

Hmm, this sounds like DayGlow's idea. I don't like it. IMHO having the same key perform radically different functions in different aircraft is a certain recipe for awkwardness and confusion, and we should pursue it only as a last resort. I don't think we are yet approaching that necessity and would rather assign keys by importance and relative need for ease of use, rather than by cramming things wherever there is available space (which is what makes the v1.1 layout so messy now). Grouping keys together by function also makes them easier to learn. If we are going to need a function for any aircraft, we should foresee it as soon as possible and reserve appropriate space, not just any space.

 

What do you think of the proposed AWACS shortcuts?

 

-SK

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Having a "flight" key is understandable, but a single "wingman" key raises a lot of ambiguity about how the simulator will decide, "which wingman?" The player may have up to three.

 

My bad. I'm afraid I made a false Falcon 4.0 assumption. In F4 you have Wingman(Pilot2 only), Elements(Element 1 is Pilot1+Pilot2 and Element 2 is Pilot3+Pilot4), and Flight(Pilots 1->4). Pilot4 is not your wingman but wingman to Pilot3 and you can't order him directly. But you can order the Element2 to do a task. An assumption like that would have to go through a major logic reconfiguration as you said rather than a mere remapping of Keys.

 

The exception is probably the "AWACS" queries, but the proposal already maps separate shortcuts for these according to the mode of the user's avionics. For example, if the user is in NAV mode ("1"), press Ctrl-1 for a vector to home base. In BVR mode ("2"), Ctrl-2 vectors to bandits, etc. It's a lot to remember, but I think once someone has learned it, they will be frustrated if they ever have to use a menu again. An advantage of using multiple one-step keyboard shortcuts instead of "flatter" menus is that shortcuts can be more easily programmed to HOTAS or reassigned to different keys by the user - menu options are less flexible.

 

What do you think of the proposed AWACS shortcuts?

-SK

Mapping AWACS command to CTRL-# is a workable idea. But not by linking them directly to the current Mode i.e. if the user is in NAV Mode but wants his Vectors-to-Bandits, CTRL-2 should still function.

Or did you mean the user would link it mentally to the mode?

 

I also see that with New users. you're going to have a chicken and the egg situation. They don't know the mode, so how are they going to make the mental connection. I'd suggest in the Comms menu, that the Key-combo be given in a smaller greyer font appended after the Red font I suggested before.

 

Where is AWACS DECLARE? Having a lock-on on a bogey(unknown) coming directly towards is more tension-filled than the search for bandits. Through my experience with F4, there was nothing more devastating than shooting down an ally. Your stomach just drops and all other mission objectives are pointless. Your flight career has just ended.

 

Glad we're batting these ideas back and forth.

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

- Some missions [needs update]

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But you can order the Element2 to do a task. An assumption like that would have to go through a major logic reconfiguration as you said rather than a mere remapping of Keys.

 

Hmm, I didn't know this before about Element2, good to consider. What kind of actions does one usually assign Element2 to do in F4?

 

i.e. if the user is in NAV Mode but wants his Vectors-to-Bandits, CTRL-2 should still function.

Or did you mean the user would link it mentally to the mode?

 

Yes, of course, I didn't explain that clearly enough. Ctrl-2 should still be available when the pilot is in "1" mode, etc.

 

We have a similar problem now with the Padlock view in v1.02... You can padlock aircraft when your avionics are in air-to-air mode, or a point on the terrain when in air-to-ground mode, but not vice versa. In Nav mode, neither is available. I'd like to redesign that, having the pilot's eyes dependent on the mode of the avionics is somewhat unintuitive.

 

I also see that with New users. you're going to have a chicken and the egg situation. They don't know the mode, so how are they going to make the mental connection. I'd suggest in the Comms menu, that the Key-combo be given in a smaller greyer font appended after the Red font I suggested before.

 

Interesting idea. It's tricky because if the user remapped or unmapped the shortcut, the menu would have to update itself accordingly. What do you think of having the menu option actually be the shortcut, instead of an F-key (i.e. not appearing in grey but in red)? Would that be a helpful learning tool, or too awkward when the user is just trying to complete the communication and get out of the menu?

 

Where is AWACS DECLARE? Having a lock-on on a bogey(unknown) coming directly towards is more tension-filled than the search for bandits. Through my experience with F4, there was nothing more devastating than shooting down an ally. Your stomach just drops and all other mission objectives are pointless. Your flight career has just ended.

 

Good question. The F-15C, Su-27 and MiG-29 all have IFF interrogators for this purpose. In v1.02 they are modeled as "always on", so you are normally unable to shoot a locked friendly at all and this has not arisen as an issue, but in the proposal I made them manually controlled, and mapped to the "I" key. The intent was that if an aircraft like the F-16 that lacks an IFF interrogator were modeled in the sim, then the "I" key would serve as an easy "AWACS declare" shortcut. Other fighters with IFF interrogators would have to use the menu system to get AWACS declare. But maybe this is too much change of functionality from one fighter to the next, and we should map a dedicated AWACS shortcut for this function. Considering the other default AWACS shortcuts are Ctrl-numbers, do you think it would be more consistent to map "AWACS declare" to a Ctrl-number to be consistent with AWACS shortcuts, or Ctrl-I to be consistent with target ID functions?

 

Glad we're batting these ideas back and forth.

 

Indeed, thanks for the interesting feedback!

 

-SK

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I looked into the Elements structure in F4 by loading up and flying a 4-plane formation in a Campaign. When I play in a 4-plane formation the 2nd Element I send off to Clear bandits off my tail, or to Cover Me as I go in, or to attack with in Air-to-Air formations

 

1)

Accessing the Elements was done by hitting E and then you had a series of menues.

But the difference was that the Menues were flipped through with the E key and not by digging through Layer after Layer. If you wanted the most obscure command, it was

E-E-E-E-3

If you missed your menu, you just kept hitting E - No need to hunt for a key that said GO BACK. No need to hunt at all

 

And another very Subtle thing I found:

Each Menu had a MENU description or Menu HEADING

It was on the same Spot on the screen for Each Menu.

and if you're flipping rapidly through, your eyes rarely leave the same spot.

You never search for the Menu HEADING - the text is put before your eyes.

Brilliant. Smooth as butter.

 

I realize now that this is the reason I was uncomfortable with IL2's and LOMAC's menu systems and more comfortable with menues rather than key-combos.

 

2)

In Falcon 4.0 there were a lot of commands(about 30) that you could give to an Element.

Combat Menu 1 (Hit E once)

-1 Attack My Target

-2 Buddy Spike

-3 Weapons Free

-4 Weapons Hold

-5 Check Your Six

-6 Clear My Six (useful to send an Element off to protect you while you're completing the Mission)

-7 Attack Targets

 

Combat Menu 2 (Hit E a 2nd time)

-1 Rejoin

-2 Run Single-Side Offset (greyed because nothing locked)

-3 Run Post (greyed because nothing locked)

-4 Run ChainSaw (greyed because nothing locked)

-5 Drop Stores

 

Combat Menu 3 (Hit E again)

-1 Offensive

-2 Conservative

-3 Defensive

 

Combat Menu 4 (Hit E again)

-1 Beam Deploy

-2 Beam Beam

-- Wall

-- Grinder

-- Wide Azimuth

-- Short Azimuth

-- Wide LT

-- Short LT

 

Mission Menu (Hit E again)

-1 Resume Mission

-- RTB

-- Radar Off

-- Activate Radar

-- Say Position

-- Say Status

-- Say Fuel

-- Say Weapons

 

Identification (Hit E again)

-- Turn Smoke On

-- Turn Smoke Off

-- Turn ECM On

-- Turn ECM Off

 

Formations (Hit E again)

-- Close Up

-- Switch Sides

-- Break Right

-- Break Left

-- Break High

-- Break Low

-- Flex

-- Kickout

 

 

And this is just for an Element - Approximately the same for the WingMan1(W) and for the Flight®

 

We'd have to boil it down for LOMAC to maybe 2 Combat Menus and a Formation Menu

For emergency situations, it would be E-# at worst as we'd put the emergency ones on the 1st E Menu

But the E-E-E combination is faster than any menu in IL2 or LOMAC. No Searching or hunting for the next level it just shows up when we hit the same key again.

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

- Some missions [needs update]

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Brilliant. Smooth as butter.

 

I realize now that this is the reason I was uncomfortable with IL2's and LOMAC's menu systems and more comfortable with menues rather than key-combos.

...

Searching or hunting for the next level it just shows up when we hit the same key again.

 

See, yeah, now THAT's what I'm talking about!

 

I keep hearing HOTAS this, TrackIR that, rudder pedals the other thing, re-assign-the-keys-yourself-if-you-insist-on-living-in-the-stone-age,-this-sim-is-for-hardcore-users-who-own-the-right-gear. Yes, sure, all of these controller innovations make the awkwardness of the keyboard UI an avoidable problem, but IMHO there's no reason it needs to be a problem in the first place. With a little thought, even the keyboard can be a smooth interface, and a HOTAS can make a good thing better, instead of a bad thing usable. It's ideas like that, packing as much power as possible into a single key so the user doesn't have to go looking all over the manual and keyboard for the next one, that makes new users enjoy the experience enough to get sucked in and think it's worth investing in a HOTAS and other things in the first place. Right on.

 

I'll think about this some more... didn't know that about the F4 wingman command menus, thanks for pointing it out. Someone obviously put some trial, error and thought into that one... Wanna bet it was Gilman Louie? :)

 

Thanks for interest,

 

-SK

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It's what they call a paradigm shift. A tiny one but...

 

Just to let you know that F4 uses 4 keys

Q, W, E, R, T

 

Q- AWACS

W- Wingman

E- Element

R- Flight

T- Tower

One row of buttons - coolness in itself

 

One thing I noticed is the cross chatter between the other flights.

If you were escorted on a SEAD mission by another flight, you would hear them and AWACS talking to them. Simple check-in messages would be cool in campaigns or missions.

And you had a kneeboard that showed the flights you are working with.

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

- Some missions [needs update]

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Hmm... And there are no shortcuts at all in F4?

 

I don't know if future sims can afford that many separate keys for radio comms... Being more of a "focus" sim modelling a single jet, F4 doesn't need controls for IRST, wing fold, landing hook, communicating with FAC, IFF, trim, collective, twin engines or many other things. Plus I think F4's wingman AI might just be more capable to accept "micromanagement" - the only thing I ever find myself wanting to tell AI wingmen in Lock On is "fire at will" or "disengage, rejoin formation." They haven't yet earned my trust for anything more sophisticated, but that could change in the future...

 

-SK

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Wow, I'm really glad this topic is at least being talked about. For a long time I've felt that learning a bunch of 'new' keyboard commands for a new game was such a waste of time when you are basically just playing/flying the same type of thing, ie. airplanes, ect...

 

The technology industry has standards for communication between devices like computer protocols and such, but it seems there has always been a big hole in the communication between the devices/computers and humans. Microsoft has many standards for the keystrokes to use Windows and their Office applications, so using one or the other you still use the same standardized key command to do the same thing. Like Ctrl-O to Open, Ctrl-S to Save, Ctrl-x, c, and v to Cut, Copy and Paste.

 

Wouldn't be great if there were standards in the gaming industry for common commands so we don't have to remember them all? Keep this going...

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Hmm... And there are no shortcuts at all in F4?

I don't know if future sims can afford that many separate keys for radio comms... Being more of a "focus" sim modelling a single jet, F4 doesn't need controls for IRST, wing fold, landing hook... Plus I think F4's wingman AI might just be more capable to accept "micromanagement"

-SK

 

Oh, yes. There are shortcuts in F4 but the advantage of a Lesser AI is that you can discard most of the menus. But I wasn't trying to take all 5 keys - but demonstrating that we have a method that handles lots of commands in different ways.

 

Special Needs Menu

One method is to have 1 menu key to handle all the different "Special Need" codes that are unique to each model

Let's say KEY_X(not actual X) is the menu key

In a SU-33 you'd hit it, and the menu would come up with

1 Wing folds

2 Landing Hooks

3 IFF

 

And when the new user moves to another model in LOMAC, he knows where to look for the special function keys. But not everything goes onto a menu.

 

But What Goes onto a Menu?

But there is an Primary decision to be made about what goes onto the menu.

 

I've been recently creating some missions and one of them require me to drop a MK84 per 4 targets. I had to change the Ripple Quantity and the Ripple Style.

You increase the Ripple Quantity by CTRL-SPACEing from 2 to 12 and then it cycles back to 1.(there's a quicker method but that's all I learned to do by looking at the Quantity counter)

You change the Ripple Style by cycling through the options by SHIFT-SPACEing.

 

Using a menu would be hilariously stupid. Multiple repeatable uses would require your standard key-combo like ALT-KEY_X.

 

An event happens and you need to respond.

That's where you draw the line - In your testing, if you do an action closer than X(10, 20, etc.) seconds apart, it's a candidate for key-combo

If a Response is required in under X seconds, it's a candidate for key-combo. Otherwise Menu is a certain possibility.

 

If sorted correctly, a good Menu system opens up more keys for emergency key-combos.

 

BTW: According to the Criteria on "But What Goes onto a Menu", Emergency Key "HOME - Goto tanker" is likely a menu item. Again each Key is a Response - how is the Fuel decision made? Usually after you take the time to look at your own fuel and do some calculations. Rarely urgent but important.

 

But you do have the option to leave it as a key-combo for convenience. and convenience is a good thing too. Some things need to be key-combos and others you would merely want to be convenient.

 

Quickie Help

But there is an advantage that menus do offer with learning those necessary key-combos

e.g. You could have a help menu for Wingman Commands

hit KEY_X and you have the menu of options(rejoin, stores. etc.)

hit KEY_X again and you have Help list of key-combo commands(in a different darker colour and and can be turned off in an options screen. The user does not even need to read the menu - he'd just ignore it.)

Help Menu

Insert - Wingman rejoin

Delete - Attack (locked bogey means Attack my Target)

Home - 1st time - Go to tanker, 2nd- Return to Waypoint, 3rd - RT Other Base

Alt-PageUp - Use AB etc.

 

Help can be used on the "Special Needs" menu as well for the key-combos

that are necessary.

 

Good for newbies and for opening the sim up to a higher usage with little time spent outside of the sim.

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

- Some missions [needs update]

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Wow, I'm really glad this topic is at least being talked about. For a long time I've felt that learning a bunch of 'new' keyboard commands for a new game was such a waste of time when you are basically just playing/flying the same type of thing, ie. airplanes, etc. ..

 

Overall a smooth interface will help an interested user - not a casual user - look forward to flying more. And Arcade sims should adopt the basics that the Study sims would expand on.

 

I've also proposed a responsive method to aid in the Learning curve for Study Sims. See my manifesto at My Flight Sims Page

ZoomBoy

My Flight Sims Page

- Link to My Blog - Sims and Things - DCS Stuff++

- Up-to-Speed Guides to the old Lockon A10A and Su-25T

- Some missions [needs update]

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