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My experience with force feedback in DCS


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I thought some of you may be interested to hear what force feedback is like in DCS since there doesn't seem to be a good post about it.

 

I currently have the Microsoft Force Feedback and the Force Feedback 2. I've never tried any other FFB sticks other than those. I don't have every module under the sun. I've tested: F-16, F-14, A-10, M2000, Harrier, P-51, Ka-50, and the Mi-8.

 

Firstly, I'll say if you mostly fly modern jets like the F-18 ( I assume ), F-16 basically anything other than the F-14, you probably wont benefit from force feedback. You certainly wont benefit from having fewer buttons if you're switching from a quality stick like the Warthog or VKB's offerings. The reason being the FFB in those jets is just for the trimmer. If you hold the stick firmly in place and hold the trim button you'll slowly feel the amount of force pushing the stick in a direction build. The aircraft won't move at all though. You're moving where the stick will center, which is really nice actually. You can just get your aircraft stabilized and then trim until you don't feel any force. Though, I wouldn't buy a FFB stick just to have this, but when you primarily fly helos or the F-14, it's a really nice bonus.

 

The Tomcat:(This only applies to the MSFFB2) If you love the Tomcat, buy a force feedback stick. When the aircraft begins to depart the stick will start to shake. This means in a turn fight you can hold a max rate turn simply by feel. You pull until the stick shakes and then let off slightly. When you fire a missile and fly through it's trail the stick will shake. It's amazing. The trim functions like any other aircraft.

Helicopters: As most people know, helicopters are what FFB is for. There aren't any stick shaker effects in the helicopters I've flown, but who cares. The trimmer is what we're all here for. With force feedback the "It wants to murder me" trimmer of the Ka-50 makes perfect sense. With FFB I can mash the trimmer button all day and the helicopter will remain stable. All the trimmer does is set where I want the stick to return to. I can get the helo stable and then tap the trimmer and the stick will always center there. The better thing to do is when your actively piloting the helicopter (e.g. maneuvering) you hold the trimmer. This completely gets rid of all centering forces on the stick and the stick is very loose. This makes subtle control movements really easy. Then once I'm settled back into cruise I can release the trimmer. The very very best thing about it though is, I can tap the trimmer and then immediately go hands off the stick and the helicopter will carry on what it's doing. No more massive pitch ups when you let go, and no more constantly having to hold the stick in place otherwise you crash. 

 

Warbirds: If you fly warbirds you'll love FFB. As you lose speed the controls will lighten, you also get stick shaking when you stall. I don't fly many warbirds however.

 

MS Force Feedback vs MS Force Feedback 2

As I mentioned above, the stick shaking due to stalls and turbulence is only present with the FFB2. At least with my stick. I used a Teensy and LUFA Force Feedback to get my FFB running. I had the working trimmer for aircraft and helos but nothing else of note. For helicopters the FFB is still worth it. The MSFFB is not plug and play if its the serial port version. It took me a bit of time and effort to get it running, I wouldn't recommend it if you're not at least a little comfortable with wiring and electronics.

 

The FFB2 is great, however it does have a gear train between the stick and the motors. I can feel the gear train and the movement of the stick is a little bit jittery. If anyone knows how to fix this please let me know. It's not really bad, but your spring sticks are going to be smoother. The FFB2 is totally plug and play. I plugged the stick in, and it worked. I didn't even install any drivers.

 

A quick note about the FFB and FFB2. There's a photogate on the front of the stick, it's an IR LED shining on an IR detector. When you grip the stick the beam is blocked and FFB will be engaged. When you let go, the FFB is disabled and the still will be loose. 

 

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Light the tires kick the fires!

 

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Old trick: block that deadman sensor on the grip with a tape, this way you can let the stick hold the trim setting while letting the aircraft fly with hands off.

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With the FFB1 you mean gameport and not serial port I gather?
Anyway the free MB-339 has serious cool implementation, maybe a bit overdone when taxiing.
C-101 as well, it's limp in the Y-axis until you pick up speed.
Sabre/MiG-15 has some implementation but not too great if IIRC.
Viggen, can't remember, but I don't think it's as good as you describe in the Tomcat.
F-16 shouldn't have any as you say, but the F-18/M-2000C should have some implementation?
The JF-17 has limited implementation, but what a lot of these modules lack is the pre-stall/stall, if I am to believe how it should give feedback to the pilot FBW or not.
FC3, all ol them has some. Some better than others.
A-10C/II comes alive when you get hydraulics, but even in these I believe the stall effects are limited.
F-5 effects are pretty great IIRC, and here the limited number of buttons won't matter.
MiG-21 I think has some pretty good implementation as well.

I agree though that in warbirds it is where it really shines, and helicopters.
Can't fly helis without it anymore. Except, the Gazelle. In that one I find it's actually harder with FFB as trimming gets strange. I have feeling that the FFB implementation is what ticks people off with it.



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  • 2 months later...

Many years ago I use to play Novalogic games like the Mig29 Fulcrum and F16- F22 Lightning 3 and my favorite Comanche Gold, those were some fun days. I looked in one of my closets the other and forgot had 3 MSFF2 sticks. Those were the best sticks for these games back then. I was wanting to use one for maybe flying helicopters or maybe the Apache when it comes out. When I first started DCS April 2020 I used the msfs2 and was amazed the it worked with DCS. I have always loved that stick with the arcade flying games. Do these stick have any value to them these days!


Edited by Burt
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Many years ago I use to play Novalogic games like the Mig29 Fulcrum and F16- F22 Lightning 3 and my favorite Comanche Gold, those were some fun days. I looked in one of my closets the other and forgot had 3 MSFF2 sticks. Those were the best sticks for these games back then. I was wanting to use one for maybe flying helicopters or maybe the Apache when it comes out. When I first started DCS April 2020 I used the msfs2 and was amazed the it worked with DCS. I have always loved that stick with the arcade flying games. Do these stick have any value to them these days!
If the last sentence was a question, I would say, "Yes, absolutely!!!“
I have four or five, can't remember.
I mostly use them for helicopters and FBW aircraft.
I'm gonna mod mine, as the stick is to short. Basically what I'm gonna do is mate two and two together. Do the resistor mod to make them stronger. Make the stick longer, and reduce the deflection due to longer stick. Hopefully also somehow make "the sloppy deadzone" go away, and of course add electronics to make it compatible with other grips.

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On 5/25/2021 at 6:36 AM, Braeden108 said:

The Tomcat:(This only applies to the MSFFB2) If you love the Tomcat, buy a force feedback stick. When the aircraft begins to depart the stick will start to shake. This means in a turn fight you can hold a max rate turn simply by feel. You pull until the stick shakes and then let off slightly. When you fire a missile and fly through it's trail the stick will shake. It's amazing. The trim functions like any other aircraft.

Good post, but see below for FFB issues with the Tomcat. TLDR, FFB introduces either input delay OR fps issues (unless this was patched recently). This is only with the F-14, other DCS aircraft are indeed great with the MSFFB2. 

 

 

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Good post, but see below for FFB issues with the Tomcat. TLDR, FFB introduces either input delay OR fps issues (unless this was patched recently). This is only with the F-14, other DCS aircraft are indeed great with the MSFFB2. 
 
 
Might be that my computer is too slow to notice. I have read reports that other people experience this, but I never have, guess I should try without FFB to see if I get any increased performance.

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