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Steel Battalion (XBox) controller

posted Apr 03, 2012 14:37:50 by Lemmo
Has anybody tried using the Steel Battalion controller for a joystick input? I found some simple instructions on how to get the controller working on a PC (http://vt.beckament.net/) but haven't given it a whirl yet.
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8 replies
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TreChipman said Apr 03, 2012 18:46:10
I've heard about it, and I've been tempted (against all reason, I might add) to get one, but honestly, I think the Saitek X52 Pro sorta covers everything it brings to the table, and it has the advantage of being pretty robust in the programming department.
I'm not a mad scientist. I'm an angry one. You'd be wise to fear the latter.

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LeeKeiserII said Apr 04, 2012 03:42:13
I've got one of those floating around. Would make a good helm I believe... :-)
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greylond said Apr 15, 2012 00:51:47
We have a Saitek but today my son and I were playing and we tried his xBox Controller(standard one). He has a Win7 laptop and it comes with drivers for the controller already installed. He ran Helm and said that he likes it better than our Saitek stick.
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StevenLacey said Jun 12, 2012 02:38:05
Actually, have you seen anything about this... http://www.destructoid.com/e3-hawken-is-getting-its-own-ridiculous-controller-too-229070.phtml ...in the last few days? I saw this article today and immediately thought of Artemis. I'll probably pick one up in 8 or 9 months when it's finally available. Heh.
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kludgekml said Sep 28, 2012 11:18:52
We've used the SB controller for the helm - the main problem is that there is no auto-centering on the main joystick and its default settings are a little insensitive, so turning is aaaawwwwkward. I imagine with the new control.ini it might be a little easier and allow you to used the extra buttons (the SB controller is basically a 10-axis, 40 button device).

You need to be comfortable doing some hardware hacking, because you'll have to make an adaptor to allow you to plug it into a standard USB cable. It's not too tricky, though.
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MarkBell said Oct 02, 2012 13:14:50
The nice thing about XBox connectors is that they're just a USB cable with doubled 5V and ground. Plus, the end is a quick disconnect so you can get a replacement cable end and hack that into a USB, keeping the other safe in case you wanted to use it on the XBox ever again.
[Last edited Oct 02, 2012 13:15:07]
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MarkBell said Oct 30, 2012 02:55:06
Ok, so I gave the SB controller a whirl today and here's some info. Overall decent, although there were some issues that came up. Using the Aiming Lever as a mouse input and the rotation lever as analog steering is win, for serious. Nothing like slamming the throttle to put the warp drive at full when elites are appearing on your 6!

I used the vtchid .dll (running Windows XP) which I've used successfully on Mechwarrior 4 and Mech 4 Mercs before. I used the controller mapping function to set, test and confirm actions for the different buttons, joysticks and switches. I then saved the settings to a .sdp file after applying them.

I set the VT-Location Toggle as Modifier 10 - Confirmed indirectly.
I set the Aiming Lever as the analog steering (Main X Axis) when Modifier 10 was off and as Mouse X/Y axes when Modifier 10 was on. I set the secondary weapon trigger as the Left Mouse button and the Primary Weapon Trigger as Right Mouse button. Both settings worked properly when the toggle switch was active/inactive - both confirmed.
I set the Rotation Lever as the analog steering (Main X Axis) when Modifier 10 was on - Confirmed.

Here's where things started acting a little off. I set the sight change lever to act as front, left, right and rear views. When I pushed forward on the sight change (set to front view) it acted as if I had hit warp 4. Left, back, and right acted Front, Left, and Rear views respectively.

I set the Gear Change lever to act as button inputs representing warp 1, 2, 3, 4, and full stop with N being no input, R being full stop, gears 1-4 as warp 1-4 respectively and 5 as warp 4 as well. What happened instead is that R and N were no input, 1 was increase impulse, and 2-5 were warp 1-4 respectively. I don't know if Artemis ignored the game controller settings and treated it like a throttle control or what, but it didn't do what I expected.

Almost none of the button presses worked. The pedals were unresponsive, the buttons pressed on the main panel were unresponsive, even when set to mimic keyboard inputs. The buttons on the Aiming Lever worked as mouse buttons as mentioned above, but any key set to a joystick button input or a keyboard press was basically ignored. (I thought it was clever to have the eject button mapped to Esc to pull up the console select screen, but it didn't work :P )

So, there ya have it. Totally awesome as a helm control, no joke. Hopefully some tweaking will let more of its awesomeness come through.
[Last edited Oct 30, 2012 15:06:21]
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MarkBell said Nov 05, 2012 16:24:32
Boom.

Fixed it. For some reason most of the buttons didn't work as joystick buttons, and the one keyboard button I was emulating doesn't work on the client side anyways. In the folder attached is the 'Artemis Helm Control.sdp' file, which you load as your SB controller profile. Also included is an image of the control scheme I made work. Also also included is an installation instruction. Also also also is a list of keyboard controls in the controls.ini file that need to be set to make it work with the controller. *Hint - they're the default settings for helm controls

So, this is the control setup. I ditched the pedals since they were kinda in the way and nobody uses pedals on the Enterprise :P You can simply not plug them into the main controller and you'll be fine. The throttle has R, N, and 1-5. N is neutral, no adjustment to throttle. R and 1 are slow down and speed up impulse, respectively. 2-5 are Warp 1-4. The rotation lever (left joystick) is the analog rudder control. It's sprung to return to center, so it works well. The POV hat on top is set to change the main screen views - front, rear, left and right. The toggle switches don't do anything right now.

The tuning dial is the analog impulse control. Fully left is neutral. Turn it up (CW) to increase speed (up to the top), turn it down (CCW) to decrease speed (down to the bottom). The communication buttons act as Warp Toggles - Press the left most button once to turn on Warp 1, then hit it again to turn off Warp 1. Then Warp 2, 3, 4, and Full Stop. F1-F3 act as the remaining three views for the main screen - Tactical, Sector, and Status respectively. The rest of the buttons have no function.

The Aiming Lever acts as a mouse control. Left and right, forward and back as mouse X and Y axes, respectively. It can get a little tricky to get it to stop moving, but it's just practice. The Secondary Weapon is the Left Mouse Button and the Primary Weapon is the Right Mouse Button. Main Monitor Zoom In and Zoom Out are used for zooming in and out of the helm map, respectively. Start is for requesting Dock. Eject (under the protective cover) is for toggling the shields. I used that one since it's supposed to be tactical's job to turn on the shields, so this makes you double check with tactical before the shields start vibrating on and off :P

It works! It's awesome! I basically just turned it into a secondary keyboard! :) Unlike Mechwarrior etc, you don't need to simulate it as a parallel port joystick with PPJoy or PPJoyJoy or anything. Artemis will take the joystick as it is, it just won't take most of the buttons as joystick buttons.
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