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For me it's about the game controller


tsmspace
(@tsmspace)
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Hello.

I AM a space game enthusiast, but I am specific with exactly what I enjoy. When it comes to the games that I like to play, I mostly don't care about storylines, and generally don't like when themes are overly limiting (although that is what makes some games what they are).. ,, and importantly I'm seeking a very single kind of gratification.

I built a custom game controller with 4 joysticks, and although I like other games that are just about the gameplay (for example sc2), when I'm itching for a space sim, what I mean is using my game controller to operate a ship in 6 degrees of freedom,, with NO inertial stabilization. (otherwise labelled newtonian game physics). honestly I do like rotational stabilization, although I also enjoy games that don't have it.

My controller layout is: two thumbsticks, and two trigger-finger joysticks, with buttons in all the places a standard xbox controller might have them. (so buttons for the thumbs as well as some buttons for the ring and middle finger of each hand). I find the trigger finger joysticks to be remarkably intuitive, assuming you take some time to get coordinated first.

My configuration is: forward and reverse throttle are on the left trigger-joystick up-down,, up-down-left-right throttle is on the left thumbstick,, roll is on the right trigger joystick left-right, and rotate up-down-left-right (pitch and roll) is on the right thumbstick. I do not have any motions mapped to the left trigger left-right, or the right trigger up-down, and feel that this will help me gradually get used to the coordination of operating a joystick with the trigger finger. Buttons are mapped for some games, but because I never play shooting games, and mostly only navigate courses (such as courses I make from blocks in Starmade, or in the game Orbital Racer, which I play in simulation mode), I only really use the joysticks. I sit behind the keyboar d and mouse, so am easily able to use them or transition to them for parts of gameplay that require or benefit from it.

I am VERY INTERESTED in finding more people who are interested in 4 joystick controllers or other 6dof on sticks setups.

I am also interested in realistic space drones as a topic of discussion,,, for example there are some drones on the ISS, but the best example is the ship-core block in Starmade operated on its own (with not additional blocks, reactors, thrusters, etc.).

I understand that space-engineers offers some similar opportunities to Starmade, but personally am more of a fan of the minecraft-esque starmade, and prefer it at the moment over the more "graphically pleasing" space engineers. Also, Starmade seems overall easier to do what I want to do, and personally I like the look of it, I enjoy the cartooniness of it, and often feel like I am playing simpsons in space!

I also have a game desire, that apparently does not exist. The game would be a cross between space-trading games, and Grand-Theft-Auto,,, where instead of jumping from system to system, the entire game would take place within a space-city. (almost never would you fly in a straight line to anywhere), and the gameplay would be a combination of mini-games, delivery missions, and heavily focused on piloting newtonian physics engines through dense environments. Because I imagine such a game to be an epic project, I thought it would be cool if to start with, the game was designed to allow a pilot to deliver space-pizza to various locations around the city, and return to the pizza parlor. The pilot could fly a faster ship to the residence or place of business, then launch a pizza-carrying drone that flies with equal thrust in all directions, to bring the pizza from the pilots ship to the pizza airlock. This would allow the player to first operate a ship with powerful forward throttle, requiring them to use their main engines for changes in vector,,, then to operate a ship where vector changes can be accomplished with lateral thrust, allowing very tight corridors to be easily navigated at manageable speeds.

 

edit I added these pictures. sorry I didn't have them at first, but I didn't have them on the same device, but after someone wanted to see them I have them available, so added them in case anyone else wants to see!  

20190825 235823 (1)
20190902 163125
20190902 163202 (1)

 

This topic was modified 3 years ago by tsmspace

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Don't know anything about joysticks, but I have dug out the X52 which was bought for a notorious game which change from a single player game to full online in the middle of it Kickstarter, so I never used it.

"The game would be a cross between space-trading games, and Grand-Theft-Auto,,, where instead of jumping from system to system, the entire game would take place within a space-city."

Nice idea for a game always wish Rockstar would make a GTA space game and oddly enough their are few games which might fit that description if you take out the GTA ref, couple of old ones in G Police and hardwar http://www.zedo.hardwar.info/index.htm and a couple of new ones in Frontier Pilot Simulator https://store.steampowered.com/app/673210/Frontier_Pilot_Simulator/
and Lunar Flight https://store.steampowered.com/app/208600/Lunar_Flight/

Odd how the older games take place in a city and the new ones are over terrain


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tsmspace
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thanks for the suggestions.

I will take a look.


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theAntiBob
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spaceballs

20191009 113841

my new setup came in the mail yesterday and is "setup" today

why 2?

cross channel avoidance

transitional controls in my offhand

rotational controls in my right

had to use some pretty ugly hacks to expose them as abs joysticks (since i apparently cant figure out the proper udev rules to avoid the linux kernel's default behavior) and went with github.com/nsensfel/relabsd

so far, it's only been tested with descent3 (since i never could get to used to the keyboard ramping/fidelity with that one, being a long time keyboard only descenter)

using about a 10% deadzone and recalibrated the default relabsd output from +/-350 to the coresponding input/event# range values of +/-255

This post was modified 3 years ago by theAntiBob

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tsmspace
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@theantibob

so I'm pretty unfamiliar with what you have there. can you tell me how you get 3dof on one of the mice?? 


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theAntiBob
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@tsmspace

the spherical rubberized orb can be manipulated in full 6dof

i am simply ignoring undesired or inadvertent input from half of the axis (rx,ry,rz on one, x,y,z on the other)

they are functional as a full 6dof controllers individually, but they are very sensitive and crosschannel input will tend to occur during micro-inputs


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tsmspace
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@theantibob

so what happens, you can push the orb , and rotate the orb?? so,,, but, , when you push down and pull up, is that kind of goofy?? the input is described by you as very subtle, but can you adjust the deadzone?? or is the input range of motion fairly limited??

 

I've considered being able to push and pull as a way to have a 3rd input on a joystick, and thought that although it is just some more coordination, I felt that it would be pretty hard, because when you just deflect a joystick there is plenty of room for "useless energy", for example you can squeeze them extra with no effect, or relax much of your hand and put your thumb on various places of the joystick throughout your use of it to help remove stresses,,, but once you add more ranges of important motion, now your movements are much more restricted. 

in other words, by being kind of dumb, a regular thumbstick allows you to have plenty of imprecise body motion without costing you valuable input. I've never seen those balls before, but I am curious how intuitive you feel they are to learn. (again,, when thumbsticks first became popular, many people thought they were not intuitive to learn, and they stole the market, but I actually liked them immediately, if you practice, any motion is learnable)....

 

another advantage of game controllers is that you can just hold them, you don't need a nice mousing surface. I don't have a table, or a bed, or a chair, or anything of the like. I sleep on the floor and my computer is also on the floor, I use things like old peanut jars to prop up the keyboard,, so a mousing surface has proven to be a continuous challenge for me,,, I don't find a mouse easy to use for high performance activity. it's ok if I can be clumsy, but for games, I find that having a mousing surface that meets my high demands can be a struggle, where with a game controller as long as I'm in a comfortable posture, I can achieve my normal performance. 


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D.C.Elington
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@theAntiBob very nice setup 🙂
Have you tried this with Orbiter or KSP this should rock for real newtonian manual docking!


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theAntiBob
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it feels pretty good, but i have yet to try this an anything besides descent3

looking forward to veterans free week on vendetta online, though

the upwards motion tends to be more of a pinch between the ball and base... attaching them solidly would certainly change this dynamic since they dont weigh quite enough to max the range under their own weight (oversight?)

as far as holding it goes, i think the spaceorb (sorry no link) is a superior layout, but a larger radius on the sphere should exponentially increase controllability while gradually reducing sensitivity

ive always felt that 2 hands on one large orb seems most natural (theoretically)

i actually rejected gamepad style sticks, but was forced... i mean forced to master them due to societal halo spnkring requirements that were thrust upon me

honestly, research seems to show that resistance free relative input is far more natural, accurate, and quicker, but very few devices utilize these concepts, inverse kinematic drawing tools are out there...

also theres this...

https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-3D-Controller/

sorry, the field labels for urls is white on white

and a development board was out there for testing about the same time that used the same principal, but was flat and triangulated differently

This post was modified 3 years ago by theAntiBob

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tsmspace
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@theantibob

I have to take a moment to stand up for normal game-pad sticks. first of all, they're terrible sticks. high quality RC controllers use much better sticks and its really noticable with rc toys,, because games actually dumb down the stick inputs a lot in order to compensate for their low quality. low quality potentiometers are very inconsistent, so games have large deadzones, and huge steps in value to make sure that all game controllers work about the same, but then you end up with glorified buttons instead of sticks,,, meanwhile if you go fly rc drones or something, and have a high quality transmitter, you will find yourself using extremely responsive potentiometers and a very full range of value control, with nice smooth change in value. 

 

having said all of that, the familiarity of game controller sticks means that if you suddenly want to learn to use them with your trigger finger, it turns out about one day will have you up and running, and a few weeks will give you a good feeling of freedom. (naturally skill is infinite and never feels finished, but you will be done focusing on the new sticks pretty quickly, and settle in to only thinking the motion you want, and the sticks will be second nature). 

also, game controller sticks didn't get so popular because they are a bad idea,,, a joystick itself is actually an essential machine. ,,,, if you still feel sour about sticks, I promise I have the solution,,, save up 1000$, and invest in a basic FPV drone setup and a few batteries, and practice up like you might try racing. (fly slow, but try some hoops and courses), and then plug the transmitter up to your computer and play with the drone simulators. The stick experience of a high quality transmitter and a simulator that makes use of the nice smooth change in value that a high quality joystick offers will definately make you feel they have a place in the future of robotics and computer control! (game controllers are simply put the lowest quality joysticks available, no question about it). 


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tsmspace
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Back again. 

 

Hello again,, Well,, I haven't been doing much for games except for tons of starcraft2, which is not really part of this category. I have been otherwise busy with various entertainments. (I have a bunch of swords, some guitars, and of course a job). 

 

well,, then i recently picked back up my diy arduino 4 joystick game controller and started playing starmade again, which I made some "racecourses" on,, basically it's like minecraft, so you can place blocks to make a bunch of hoops, and then there is a "ship-core" block which is intended to be used for building ships, but you can also just fly around the ship core like a little space drone, then you go flying through the hoops. There are some downsides, for one the physics are a bit basic and the rates for the various changes in attitude and velocity are fine but imo could use a bit of changes,, for one roll is not stabilized, but pitch and yaw is,, so you don't float when you change your pitch and yaw, you just move based on stick deflection, and then when you stop deflecting the sticks the ship stays where you leave it,, but if you roll you just keep rolling until you cancel it,, I don't really see where roll should not be stabilized-able, it shouldn't really be different for the ship itself. ,,,,

so then I started playing orbital racer again,,, now that game (just turn float on) is perfect in many ways,, the way the ship flies is excellent,, and the roll in the game is powered by this enormous reaction wheel that is signature for the look of the crafts,, so while there are no complaints with the rates of rotation for pitch and yaw,, they are perfectly responsive, and rapid enough to race with, clearly designed for the interests of the pilot, not to make for a challenge ,,, but the roll is even more powerful and noticeably stabilized. It's quite fun, and then changes in vector are most powerful with the rear engine, forcing you to point your nose as in inertial physics. There are plenty of visual cues to help you stay oriented, as well as some compasses on the hud that you can actually use "blind",, to find the next gate. Also, the objects in some of the courses make for perfectly entertaining freeflight/freestyle. As long as you don't go through the gates you won't ever finish the course and you can just goof around. There are boundaries but it's fine if you consider it to be like tiny space drones flying around a small space station. 

 

My real reason for return is to draw attention to my game controller design,, I don't want to sell it, patent it, or make money, but I think it would impact the popularity of 6dof inertial physics games to have an easy to learn, easy to impliment controller option that still offered full freedom. (especially one that logically pairs with vr headsets) The controller has 4 joysticks,, two for the thumbs, and two for the trigger fingers, and then you result in 8 possible axis,, and to make it easy, you can use the triggers with only 1 axis each to gain 6 axis, which would make for a fine stepping stone towards more fluency with 4 joysticks, although for space sims I percieve a benefit to having full 8 axis fluency, as 2 more axis could control view, targeting, or other selectable functions that would be best implimented while vehicle control is maintained. 

 

If anyone wants to discuss their controller setup, why they might think its superior to other methods, or what they percieve to be the "way of the future" , (for example, standard game controllers were no the way people went about it at first,, but in the long run, two thumbsticks and 8 buttons, plus two triggers per side, is really standard,, shall we say the correct game controller, that eventually won the market). Standard game controllers can't control most machines, though, leading to "dumbing down" of most machines in video games,, for example walkers just move forward and back, which would never work in real life, or spacecraft have to have some kind of crutch or automatic unrealistic or crippling functions,,, in the end,, the game controller is lacking enough axis of analog control, but the general consensus has been that even two joysticks is too much to learn. I will argue that the way of the future of gaming is actually NOT 3 axis joysticks, where the stick can rotate, because it takes your whole hand to make it happen, and then if you need more you need to either disable some axis (hat) or use buttons,, meanwhile using normal joysticks takes only one finger, and therefore the limit per hand is actually 5 2 axis joysticks,,, which will likely not be used for the forseeable future, but using two hands and 4 joysticks allows you 6+2 meaning you can drive your ship and a gun, which I do see as immediately useful and learnable. a 3 axis joystick which requires one whole hand means max of 6 axis on two hands, and then you also need to mount it. Further, I find that holding a game controller and then accessing a keyboard is easier than using a mounted joystick and using a keyboard. 

however, it serves to bring up the argument that a keyboard and mouse can really do it,,,, and in many ways it can. actually, it has some clear advantages, you are already on the keyboard so more buttons is very practical, and games are easy to tune to make use of non-analog buttons,, the buttons on a keyboard are so well engineered by now that precise control is really nothing to worry about,, a few hours in total gives you a level of mastery. But,,,, there are things that change this,, for example realistic physics, simulation of real large machines, and simply the desire to use analog input, all mean that a handheld controller is a valuable tool,,, and then there is the aspect of machine control in real life,, RC, as well as many actual machines, use joysticks and handheld controllers because they are superior in practice. a real machine has more potential with analog control. better precision and freedom. 

anyway,, although my goal is simply to talk about the controller and suggest that it might be a worthy development,, I feel that "troll responses", arguments, heated discussion, etc. are all valuable for the discussion so although my intention is to just talk about it,, I am more than happy to enter into mortal combat over it if it is the path towards proliferation. 

long live orbital racer.


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