Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Adventures in HOTAS


So, I bought myself a present for my upcoming 40th birthday: a Logitech X52 Professional HOTAS controller set for my computer. HOTAS stands for hands on throttle-and-stick, and, as far as I understand, is a term in real-world aviation cockpit control design. In video game terms, this means having two controllers: a joystick and a throttle. This allows for more complex and elaborate control of the simulated aircraft or spacecraft in your game.

What surprised me, though, was that many computer games which would be natural for such a control scheme have no support for it, or very shoddy support. Everspace, I am looking at you... But even the relatively compatible Elite Dangerous and Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw do not have full plug-and-play functionality here and require setup. Sometimes, extensive setup. Interestingly, the space fighter game House of the Dying Sun also has very limited HOTAS support.

And this is with well-established, common controllers. And it is interesting as these games look like perfect places to use such equipment, even as the primary equipment. Even with extensive Googling and experimentation, I could not get my rig to work with Everspace. I did, though, get it to work perfectly with Rebel Galaxy: Outlaw; I only have to memorize what each joystick and throttle button does.

I am in the market for "arcade-y" (i.e., not realistic simulators but rather more casual "simulators") games to use with my new gear. Preferably space, but could be atmospheric as well...

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