my profile | register | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
»  COMBATSIM.COM Forum Archive   » Game Discussions (Genre)   » Jets   » Please help with HOTAS research survey

Author Topic: Please help with HOTAS research survey
Sic PreFix
Member # 1530

posted 02-14-2000 11:31 PM     Profile for Sic PreFix   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hi guys. I'm writing a short feature on the various HOTAS systems that are available (or discontinued). I would be very grateful to those of you who use throttle and/or joystick systems by TM, CH, Suncom, and Saitek, and/or others, if you could answer the following questions:

1. What make/brand of HOTAS do you use?
2. What model of HOTAS is it?
3. Can you program game key commands into your HOTAS?
4. How many game key commands can you program into your HOTAS?
5. Does your HOTAS fit your hand size well?
6. What are the top two things you would change about your HOTAS?

Thanks, I think that's about all for now. I appreciate your responses and time.

In freedom lies creative thought: in creative thought lies the future

Posts: 86 | From: Vancouver, BC. Canada | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 2839

posted 02-15-2000 07:56 AM     Profile for thommo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

Here goes

1. Saitek
2. x35/36 (gameport not USB)
3. Yes
4. Hmm, 6 main buttons, 3x4 way hats, mouse hat + button, 2 rotaries capable of 10 bands = 6 + 12 + 5 + 20 = 43. 43 x Three modes = 126. 126 x 2 (pinkie shift)= 252. This is assuming that you do not use the toggle function on a button (assign multiple keystrokes to the same button depending on how many times it has been actioned) or add another key stroke on the release of a button (eg press button chaff - release button flare)
5. Throttle superb, stick there seems to be a big stretch between the pinkie switch and the top most hat, but still do-able.
6. Vary the sensitivity of the straight increment/decrement settings on the rotaries.
The actual programming front end.

Hope this helps.

Tally Ho


Posts: 74 | From: Essex, UK | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 225

posted 02-15-2000 01:14 PM     Profile for JG2_FireCat!   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
About a year ago, I gave up on my Saitek and TM stuff and bought the CH Fighterstick (not flightstick) and Throttle Pro. I've always had the CH Pro rudder pedals that have worked flawlessly, which is why I went with CH. Truth is, CH was my last resort, since I had already tried everything else.

So far, hardware wise, the CH joystick and throttle are still working, and after working for a whole year, has set a major record.

First off, I strongly recommend the CH Pro Pedals. At least I have one product that has always worked correctly and perfectly. Price $70.00

So right now I am using the CH FighterStick, Pro throttle, and Pro rudders because they work.


Here are my comments regarding my experiences with the 4 leading high-end HOTAS controllers.

Saitek X36F/X35T combo Throttle and Joystick (Not the New USB version)
Price: $100.00

The throttle is a masterpiece, and the joystick isn't bad either. They look and feel very nice. They are very easy to program, incredibly easy, actually. This would be my recommendation by far, except for one major problem: The damn thing rarely works, and this is a big drawback. There are two problem areas of Saitek. One is some software bugs, one of them known as the sticky key problem. Apparently, these software bugs happen to some people and but not everyone. I, of course happen to belong to the group where it is.

The other is a hardware problem with the X/Y axis output of the joystick. Something in there isn't right, and they keep breaking down. How often? Well, after 12 new ones over a 1˝ year period, I finally gave up.

ThrustMaster F-16 (or F-22) and Throttle (TQS)

This Joystick is my favorite design. By design, I mean the actual handle itself and where all the buttons and hats are placed.

The F-16 and F-22 are the same handle design, but the F-22 is much stiffer (and is digital instead of analog). The problem with a stiff joystick, for prop plane flying especially WW1, is that these are turning dogfight simulations, which means lots and lots of throwing the joystick back and forth for hours. Fine, maybe, if you are Arnold Schwarzenegger, but if not, it becomes quite exhausting after a short time.

The F-22 is designed primarily for flying jets, since that type of flying requires very little joystick movement. The problem with selecting a stiff joystick is that there are many other games besides jet flight sims that most gamers have. These stiff joysticks are difficult to use in Space Combat and other games that require constant fast joystick movement.

Next problem is the same quality problem that Saitek has with the pots. The F-16 is always breaking down and having to be sent in for repair. How often? About every two months. This gets very annoying to have to do this all the time.

Another is the programming. The programming for both of these joysticks and throttle is some ancient highly complex DOS based code that is near impossible for anyone to figure out. Only those who are serious computer programmers should even try. The alternative is downloading templates, from user websites, but even trying to alter those is difficult (I’ve heard there is now some user-friendly method doing this now).

ThrustMaster TQS Throttle. I guess it's ok, not near as good as the Saitek, but OK.

Sun Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Joystick/Throttle. ($100.00)

Advantages are easy (but very limited) programming, once you figure out how. You can only save four configurations (although I hear there is now software that will allow more). The Throttle has a huge footprint and an excessively long throw. The split throttle (for duel engines) will not work if you have rudder pedals enabled, so that feature is worthless.

The Joystick is very limited in buttons/functions, inexcusable for a supposedly high-end joystick.

CH Products F-16 Fighterstick and Pro Throttle

Advantages are that they are easy to program, like the Saitek. I don't really like the design of the handle of the joystick. The whole thing is overly large in all respects, and thus awkward. I'm also having a minor sticky key problem in both the joystick and throttle.

I don't like the design of the throttle in that it slides flat, as opposed to in an arch. The other cheesy thing about it is there is no tension adjustment, so it slides too easily. The placement of the buttons and hats has a lot to be desired.

My conclusion is: the lesser of the evils is the CH Products F-16 Fighterstick / Pro Throttle, only because it works, and so far does not constantly break down.


And now, to describe my ideal Joystick and Throttle:

1) All gear must be Digital, USB, rubber coated, with easy GUI programming.

2) Joystick: Use the handle design of the ThrustMaster F-16/F-22 with higher quality buttons and adjustable tension.

3) Throttle: Must be split BUT also work with rudder pedals, meaning a forth axis.

a. Has a short throw in an arch, like Saitek, with adjustable tension.

b. Has lots of switches, hats, and buttons.

c. Has a additional LEFT_HANDED programmable joystick that can be connected to the throttle. (This means the set has 3 seperate items: both a right and a left handed joystick, and a split throttle)

d. Has mouse control (like Saitek)

4). Force Feedback for joysticks, throttle, and rudders!

5). A method of securly fastening the Joystick to the surface it is sitting on. (one suggestion is to at least put 4 imbedded nuts in the base so bolts can be threaded from underneath the surface into the joystick).

6). Rudder Pedals should have toe brakes and NOT have the wire coming out the back of the base where it ends up getting smashed against the wall (Please CH, try testing your products at least once before releasing them).

Throttle should NOT have: Rudder control or wheels (like Saitek) and Joystick doesn't need trim wheels.


I hope someone in game controller design and manufacturing reads this post.



[This message has been edited by JG2_FireCat! (edited 02-15-2000).]

Posts: 172 | From: Venice Beach, California | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 41

posted 02-15-2000 02:17 PM     Profile for Spectre   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
CH Fighterstick and CH Pro Rudder Pedals yet

I have never used any other type of HOTAS so I cannot compare but the CH Products has won my loyalty since they perform beautifully.

Can't complain there...

Posts: 900 | From: Colorado | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged

posted 02-15-2000 06:01 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
1) CH and TM
2) Pro Throttle (CH) and TM FLCS
3) Yes, I have written all of the HOTAS configs I use regularly
4) 20 buttons on throttle, thottle slider can be set to generate an anlog signal or generate +/- keypresses, and can be used to program the buttons on cheap 2 button 2 axis joysticks as well. On FLCS, 4 Hats, 5 buttons, one of which can be used to switch modes on other buttons, producing 40 commands in total.
5) The throttle is ok, but the top fire button and hat are a bit of a stretch to reach during hard manoeuvering.
6) A couple of rotor controls and a cursor/mouse control the throttle, one piece of software to load both sticks

IP: Logged
Erich Schneider
Member # 1046

posted 02-15-2000 07:04 PM     Profile for Erich Schneider   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
1. Thrustamster and CH Products
2. TM FLCS/TQS with Stickworks digital upgrade chips + CH Pro Pedals (non-USB). Throttle and stick are mounted on a Fightersystems HOTASS (great product - I support it 100%).
3. Yes.
4. Theoretically, about 180, but in practice, I never have more than a few dozen.
5. Yes.
6. The FLCS/TQS is supposed to emulate an F-16's stick and throttle. It does an excellent job of this, with one exception. The actual plane's target designator switch is a large switch that can be moved in any direction, plus can be depressed. On the TQS, you have a pencil eraser-style mouse control and small button to do this. I'd change the throttle to have the same setup as the actual plane.

I also wish the toe brakes on my rudders could be made to work with the gameport I have. Maybe total conversion to USB would allow this.

Other than that, I can't think of anything I want to change. Really, it's pretty much perfect as far as I'm concerned.

Posts: 123 | From: Pasadena, CA, USA | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 3128

posted 02-15-2000 07:11 PM     Profile for Virgin   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Here's my setup:

1. Thrustmaster
2. I use F-22 Pro & F-16 TQS
3. This setup can be programmed with countless options (the sky's the limit)
4. The setup fits well in my hands
5. 2 improvements I would like to see:
a. Heavier throttle with a more reliable AB detent. Mine wore out rather quickly
b. Better springs in the F-22 - not necessarily lighter but smoother and more natural.


Posts: 58 | From: Tampa, FL USA | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 696

posted 02-16-2000 01:36 PM     Profile for Snake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Here we go,

2.Split Thottle and Talon
4.theres 4 buttons and 2 4-way hats on the talon, each being programmable 4 times. The throttle has 7 buttons and hats each programmable 4 times.
5.It feels and looks real. I used to have a Logitech Extreme but when I used it the other day it felt like a toy.
6.I would change the installtion instructions. Its a nightmare. Thats all I'd change.


Posts: 144 | From: Cork, Ireland | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Member # 882

posted 02-17-2000 07:45 AM     Profile for Silverback     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
1/ Saitek X36 digital/USB
2/See above
4/150 +
5/ OK i guess, haven't tried the other brands but it´s ok.
6/Would be nice if the AUX and MODE switch on the throttle swapped place and another 4 way hat installed either close to the one on the front next to the red FIRE D button.
Also the software (SGE 1.1) needs to be debugged.

Other than that, a beautiful, ergonomic and very programmable HOTAS with a great software for configuration.


Posts: 316 | From: Stockholm, Sweden | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged

All times are MST (US)  

   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | COMBATSIM.COM Home

© COMBATSIM.COM, INC. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
Ultimate Bulletin Board 6.04b

© 2014 COMBATSIM.COM - All Rights Reserved