Flight Stick Compatible?

Just curious if anyone knows if BS could be flight stick compatible? I have never used one myself, but would definitly consider it for this game. Does anyone think this would be a good or bad idea? I feel like it would add another layer of realism and complexity for those who welcome it.

Only reason I am mentioning it is because I have seen some rather expensive models that look amazing but never found it necessary to buy, unless it was for a game that could really make use of it.

The short answer would be ‘yes’. :wink:

Well then, guess ill be breaking the “piggy-bank” to get one. :grin:

The long answer:

When controlling a space ship your primary goal is to point the guns at your target. That means you want to control your heading.

Joysticks are great for controlling the rate of rotation about an axis. This is very important for controlling a vehicle where changing your heading instantly isn’t an option and where violent changes in rate of rotation are undesirable. - This is very true for modern aeroplanes and for ships in Elite Dangerous which have a very limited rate of rotation.

In Battlescape the ships have incredibly powerful thrusters enabling very rapid changes of rate of rotation - this makes it easy to near-instantly change the vehicle’s heading. Joysticks are not good at this. Mice are much better.

It’d be like using a joystick to control a first person shooter.

It’s be like using one of these on a laptop instead of a mouse.

Sure it’s possible, but someone using a mouse is going to be faster and more precise.


I thought so originally. When watching several videos, it seemed as though controlling both the rate of rotation and the heading with the joystick might take away from the responsiveness of using my weapons. With fight assist on, this could also make it more difficult. I suppose a flight stick is a double edge sword then?

I havent seen one of those in ages. But you do bring up a good point. It seems with a mini-joystick (such as the picture), I might get more out of it then any regular flight stick.

The devs said in the second livestream that they want to make all peripherals equally accessible/effective, so that it’s just a matter of preference.

I don’t think so. My point was that controlling your mouse cursor with a stick is much slower and less accurate than using a mouse.

One of the things that I’m looking forward to is the difference between ship handling in vacuum and in the various atmospheres - It’s conceivable that a joystick will be beneficial in atmosphere.

I’m much better with a mouse in War Thunder, a game in that you primarily control Airplane with slow turn rates, then I am with my Space Mouse (comparable to a Joystick). This is due the way the Mouse controls where the ship should head to and the Airplane performs the most efficient manoeuvre to get there as fast as possible. This takes away some of the challenge, but at the same time make you concentrate more on aiming accurately then fighting with the vehicle to get to where you want to aim to.

As you said, in Warthunder (except in realistic mode) you are specifying your desired heading. The game takes care of the acceleration and deceleration of your rate of rotation.

The slow turn rate to meet that location that you’ve input is irrelevant. The concern is purely what is the most effective way to provide that input (specifying an exact location on the screen) into the game?

Some time during the FS2004 era (which some profess is still happening) I switched completely from joysticks to mouse. The movement of a mouse is so much smoother and accurate, and with a quick hold of the space bar I could easily look around the cockpit. Joysticks, whose manufacturers all seemed to think needed to be made of titanium coils to make you work for that pitch, were far too rigid and made subtle flight movements too erratic.

Its a mess to set up… but xpadder can map almost anything to any game!
And once it’s set up, it works like a charm

However I think I heard game would have ingame joystick support

I really hope they wont make joystick/hotas users at a disadvantage, will really break my heart after this kickstarter :frowning:

They definitely won’t deliberately make using a joystick a disadvantage but, simply due to the nature of the input, it’s not a suitable input method so you will be at a disadvantage.

Do people complain that they’re at a disadvantage using a joystick to play Counter Strike or Team Fortress? No of course not.

What I will be advocating during the pre-alpha stage is an atmospheric flight model that coincidentally will make it worth using a joystick.

Having played the prototype myself :grin: I want to chime in on this discussion. At first I was pleasently surprised how well the mouse controls work, and suddenly couldn’t see a reason anymore to use a hotas (I have one, I like hotas games very much). Then I flew into the atmosphere and changed my mind, at least in the current state a flight stick would seem favorable at least for planetary fights IMO.
For in-space fights I could see the stick work too, because often it’s no so much about super exact aiming but turning and repositioning as fast as possible. The devs said they want to balance it so that one does not completly outmatch the other. That seems like a doable thing to me now.


I wonder how that will work out given that seamless transitions will be a normal part of gameplay. Will players who use hardware that favors atmospheres tend not to leave atmospheres, and vice-versa? Will the control hardware introduce a barrier between environments, making them feel less seamless?

I’ve generally found joysticks to be a better thought than in reality. With maybe the exception of Orbiter and the X-Wing games :smile:

It’s simple: use HOTAS and keyboard with mouse. :smiley:


Note that there will be an autopilot/flight auto assist mode in the final game (in fact there already is one in the prototype) so one doesn’t need to have full control over all of the spacecraft’s functions. They can set the computer to try to intercept their target and then orbit the target at a certain range while they focus on dodging incoming weapons fire and obstacles, making corrections to their course while the computer handles the more boring but delicate stuff. Similar to how a car’s cruise control works: the car handles the speed and tries to match it to a target speed (some of the newer models might even try to automatically lower their speed to avoid collisions), but the driver can still choose to turn, accelerate or break and still has the final say in what the car does. With a setup like that, one could easily use either a standard flight sim controller or a keyboard and mouse setup.

However, for people who want full control with flight auto assist off, a default airplane flight simulator controller might not work for them, depending on their preferences. But something that would be fun to try would be a custom multi-input setup (or maybe something like a hovercraft setup, if such thing exists).

Let’s take a second to think what a pilot might want to do while flying (at least in my opinion):

  1. Fire forward/backward thrusters: The most important thrusters, both in space and in atmosphere. The user might want to set the thrusters to keep firing in that direction while they do something else (or merely rest their hands during a long travel). So whatever method is used must not be very straining, since they will be used often and to their full power. Furthermore, precision is not really necessary, except at very close ranges, when trying to exactly match acceleration/velocity with a target or with very powerful thrusters (assuming the ships are not extremely close or making their way through something like a structure).

  2. Fire left/right/up/down thrusters: Not as important as the above, but an experienced pilot can use them to gain an edge, both in atmosphere but especially in space, where they can be used to dodge fire or obstacles and orbit a target. Similar to the above, precision is not really necessary assuming the ships are not extremely close or weaving through something like a structure.

  3. Pitch up/Pitch down/Yaw left/Yaw right: One of the most important controls in space. If you want to hit your target with a non-tracking weapon, then you need to keep them in your cross-hairs. And for that you need precise and responsive controls. Pitch up/pitch down would also be useful for turning in atmosphere, but probably not for ships larger than a fighter/interceptor.

  4. Roll left/Roll right: Mostly used in atmosphere, where control surfaces and aerodynamics come to play to control heading and only for ships that have good aerodynamics. Might be useful for dodging some things in space, but not very much.
    But, since some ships might have their up (and maybe down) thrusters be more powerful than their left/right and forward/backward thrusters, this might become important for some experienced pilots both in space and in atmosphere, since it would allow more advanced manoeuvres.

If you want to have total control of the ship, think you can do better than the autopilot and don’t want to be restricted by how many keys you can hit in the keyboard, then you’d need something that takes into consideration all of the above.

For fun, I thought about some imaginary players (with some exaggeration, perhaps), how they might act in-game and what setup they would use:

  1. In this setup, Aerith the Pilot considers precise control and a good feel of the ship in dogfights and the ability to dodge to be more important than even her comfort. So she uses a control stick in her left hand that can go up/down/left/right/forward/backward to control the appropriate thrusters. She is very precise, strong and enduring, so the control stick has a very strong pull towards its “zero” point, thus giving her a good feel of the amount of acceleration she is giving to the ship, even though it gets tiring to use after a while. Furthermore, the left stick can go forward twice the distance it can go in the other directions, thus representing the increased power of the main thrusters and the desire to more precisely control those thrusters. The left stick does have a “break” function however, which locks the stick at a certain place, thus allowing her to rest when she wants to make a long burn towards a certain direction or use her left hand to activate some other function, perhaps on the keyboard.
    For her right hand, she is using a normal war-plane control stick. She would have gone with a mouse for the added precision, but she feels that it gives her a better feel of the plane and its control surfaces in atmosphere. Plus it’s closer to the combat flight sim games she’s used to, so she doesn’t have to learn a new setup.
    Finally, she has the yaw left/yaw right in her left and right foot, like in a normal plane. If she had gone with a mouse for better space control, she could had put the roll function in her feet instead.
    For something even more advanced, she is thinking of mapping the output of a button to a layout change, allowing her to switch from the mouse to the right stick depending on whether she’s entering or leaving atmosphere, but she wants to get used to the flight model and try her current setup first before making the move.
    She focuses on atmospheric dogfights, upgrading her interceptors (her favourite class) to quick nimble close range killing machines that blast things apart with their guns while dodging fire. To that end, she uses a VR headset to gain an even better awareness of what’s going on around her and where her enemies are.

  2. In this setup, Bob the Lancer is most interested in killing people with quick space flybys and dodging well. He uses a keyboard and gaming mouse setup, with his left hand focusing on up/down/left/right so he can dodge while his right uses a mouse to control pitch up/pitch down/yaw left/yaw right.
    He usually comes in fast, uses his precise mouse control skills honed in FPS games to riddle his target with holes (and launching any missiles he has) and then clicks a button on his mouse switching him to reverse thrust so he can keep speeding away from the target until he is safely away and is ready for another pass.
    He has a few buttons on his mouse mapped to preset speeds and does more precise variations with his mouse wheel. His favourite classes are the fighter and bomber, which he likes to upgrade to lightly armoured but heavily armed ships with OK thrusters. He likes operating with friends, ganging up on a single target, because quickly going in and out of weapons range of a target leaves the target confused and panicking as he constantly tries to find a target inside weapons range.

  3. Then we have Clarence the Strategist. He’s an OK pilot, but he excels in tactics and coordination, supporting his corp mates. He likes to play with cap-ships, using keyboard shortcuts and autopilot commands to quickly control their movement and targeting and adjust to their situation. For that reason he uses a heavily modified keyboard and mouse layout, leaning heavily on the keyboard.
    Whenever he decides to play solo (meaning he can’t ask his corp members for funds) and doesn’t feel like risking his non-cap ship in a large fight to gain money, he camps close to friendly transports and waits for an unsuspecting target to try and take on the “defenceless” transport, at which point he tries to ambush them and claim their bounty. Following the transports means he is close to base and thus close to a quick rearm and repair, meaning less risk of losing his ship and less risk of running out of consumable ammo.
    His favourite non-cap ship are corvettes, because they can act as a support vessel, have good armour and the fact that they can have automated turrets means they don’t require as precise targeting. Generally, they remind him of a capital ship in that they give him a more arcade experience, something easy to control with the autopilot that can go up against heavy targets, with the added benefit of being capable of ground attacks. The only difference is that he has to try more to control the ship’s fixed weapons and has to set his autopilot in orbit mode instead of using more precise controls.

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