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Helicopter joystick controls


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Thread Starter
BlackLord
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 13:42 #1

For me controlling helicopters with a joystick seems pretty off, it feels unnatural. I've already posted a Devheaven ticket on this issue: http://dev-heaven.net/issues/15988 but what I gather from peoples reaction I might be wrong so I decided to also post it here so we can discuss this in greater detail.

I believe this is how helicopter controls should work.

Let's say I tilt the joystick forward, the helicopter's nose tilts downward and I start pitching forward in an angle according to how much I tilt the joy, if I release the joystick and let it return to it's center position I think the nose should follow this movement and return to horizontal position. This is more or less how it works in Black Shark and Enemy Engaged but those games also have trimming.

Right now in ArmA2 if I tilt the joystick forward the helicopter starts pitching forward as expected but if I release the joystick and let it return to the center position the game ignores this joystick movement and the helo keeps pitching forward in the same angle. The only way to return the nose to the horizontal position is to pull the joystick backward. So you can't make small corrections because you have to wiggle the joystick back and forth or left and right whenever you want to adjust the angle of your pitching/banking.

This is equivalent of arrow or WASD key controls:

Y- is UP or W
Y+ is DOWN or S
X- is RIGHT or D
X+ is LEFT or A

If you push UP or W the helicopter will start pitching forward, the longer you push the button the steeper the pitching angle gets, if you want to pull up the nose a bit to make the angle less steep you have to push DOWN or D.

It seems like the game only recognizes the joysticks movement from the center position towards the Y-/Y+/X-/X+ positions but it ignores the movement from the Y-/Y+/X-/X+ positions back towards the center position which makes controlling helicopters problematic and this is why people use the mouse instead because the game recognizes it's continuous movement.

I also wrote this on DevHeaven but I think this example is the best to illustrate what's wrong with the chopper controls at this point:

If you turn the steering wheel of your car to the left the front wheels will also turn left, now if you release the steering wheel and let it return to it's center position the wheels are also going to return to the center position and point forward again.
This is how I believe pitching/banking should work in helicopters in AmrA2.

Now imagine you are sitting in a special car:
You turn the steering wheel to the left and the front wheels will also turn left as expected, BUT if you move the steering wheel back to the center position the wheels WON'T BUDGE, they will keep pointing to the left and the only way to point them forward again is to steer right. Imagine taking turns with a car that steers like this. Doesn't sound too good huh?
This is similar to how pitching/banking works right now in helicopters in ArmA2.

So am I wrong or am I right, is this a good idea or a bad idea?

Edited by BlackLord, 17 December 2010 - 14:08.


Ulanthorn
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 14:15 #2

Helicopters and Joystick (ful HOTAS ruder settign in my case) is the absolutely best way of steering in ArmA II.
The only trick is to get rid of the default controls.
Assign your own axis, buttons and sensitivities.

I have a slider set as trim, so in can fly at all power settings straight without any input.
But youre wrong in the return to center chactweristic...no aircraft with deactivated autopilot would return to level flight on its own...it would just begin death spiraling with time.

Thread Starter
BlackLord
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 14:28 #3

I see, I have an X52 (not Pro version though) can you help me set it up?

KillaALF
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 14:55 #4

But youre wrong in the return to center chactweristic...no aircraft with deactivated autopilot would return to level flight on its own...it would just begin death spiraling with time.


You are right in that an aircraft would not return to level flight, but BlackLord is also right in that the game does not seem to recognize the negative axis of a certain input (the returning to center of the stick).

The behaviour of helicopters in Arma is reminiscent to using the trim button in BlackShark - you set a certain aircraft attitude, you press the trim button and return the stick to neutral (center position) and the helicopter will stay in the trimmed attitude.

Ulanthorn
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 17:55 #5

I see, I have an X52 (not Pro version though) can you help me set it up?

Don't bother with the ingame control options, edit the user.cfg instead.

change it to this:

Spoiler


Spoiler


Spoiler


and report back how it works for you!

---------- Post added at 07:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:19 PM ----------

You are right in that an aircraft would not return to level flight, but BlackLord is also right in that the game does not seem to recognize the negative axis of a certain input (the returning to center of the stick).

The behaviour of helicopters in Arma is reminiscent to using the trim button in BlackShark - you set a certain aircraft attitude, you press the trim button and return the stick to neutral (center position) and the helicopter will stay in the trimmed attitude.

O.K. since im a flight sim nerd and even had a few hours in a light aircraft (Do-27) with a flight instructor (just to now how the real thing feels) i can say this...by settling the stick in the center position you do not apply any steerign input, you lessen it.

Ailerons do not work like a cars steering wheel. There is no "extra centering force" if you lessen the force you apply.

A aircraft will only change course or direction if you apply the same force into the opposite direction. If you just drop your left wing and center the stick a plane and also a rotorwing will just stay where it is and beginn a nice uncoordinated turn by itself. To stop this you have to put the stick to the right till the craft is horizontally leveled again. Only autopiloted or automated crafts will center itself...and in that case you have to fight against the autopilot...and thats not making the piloting more precise.

While it has it weaknesses the flight model in ArmA is spot on the basics of aircraft handling.

Thread Starter
BlackLord
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 18:20 #6

Thanks for the cfg stuff I just have a few questions:

guid="50698240-3037-11DE-8001-444553540000";


Should I change this? If yes then what should I type in?
Also should I place the JoystickList class inside the ControllerSchemes class?

Ailerons do not work like a cars steering wheel. There is no "extra centering force" if you lessen the force you apply.


Fixed wing works ok but helicopter controls are a bit different, in their case the cyclic is directly connected to the main rotor so when you pitch forward the main rotor tilts forward and if you return the cyclic to the center position the rotor also return to it's center position.

Edited by BlackLord, 17 December 2010 - 18:38.


Ulanthorn
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Posted 17 December 2010 - 19:26 #7

@BlackLord

Copy and paste only the number values, the rest was only shown to find the corresponding section in the .cfg

regarding helo steering input: It is basically the same in a rotorwing, if you center the stick the blades go neutral and pitch and roll do not change.

It would be a nightmare if you have to fight the stick all the time in a turn.
Most of the time a pilot has it stick neutral and lets the aircraft do the flying.

Armed Assault had this recentering in the early builds..it was in no way comfortable to fly nor gave it any precission when doing ground attacks with guns or rockets.

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BlackLord
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Posted 18 December 2010 - 09:33 #8

I think there's a misunderstanding here, I don't want a constant auto hover function which forces the helicopter to hover.
I'm still not convinced helicopter controls are fine like this.

In Black Shark and Enemy Engaged unless I engage the trimming I have to constantly tilt the cyclic to move into a certain direction. Let's say I'm hovering and want to move forward, to do this I tilt the cyclic forward and the helicopter pitches forward but let's say I find the angle too steep so I retract the cyclic slightly towards the center position and the helicopter's nose 'follows' this movement and I keep flying forward but in a less steep angle.

In ArmA2 people prefer mouse control in helicopters because the mouse does this plus it's like it has auto-trim, place your mouse in the middle of your mouse pad (let's say this is the center position of the cyclic) now move the mouse forward and the helicopter starts pitching forward, now pull the mouse back towards the center position and low and behold the helicopter follows the movement the nose slightly moves back towards the horizontal position

Fireball
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 19:09 #9

Could we get feedback from anyone flying a Helicopter for real on this?
System Specs:
Spoiler


I see BIS's game, [they] release a shockingly underwhelming product, only to lull us into a false sense of disappointment...


Ulanthorn
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Posted 20 December 2010 - 19:13 #10

I think there's a misunderstanding here, I don't want a constant auto hover function which forces the helicopter to hover.
I'm still not convinced helicopter controls are fine like this.

In Black Shark and Enemy Engaged unless I engage the trimming I have to constantly tilt the cyclic to move into a certain direction. Let's say I'm hovering and want to move forward, to do this I tilt the cyclic forward and the helicopter pitches forward but let's say I find the angle too steep so I retract the cyclic slightly towards the center position and the helicopter's nose 'follows' this movement and I keep flying forward but in a less steep angle.

In ArmA2 people prefer mouse control in helicopters because the mouse does this plus it's like it has auto-trim, place your mouse in the middle of your mouse pad (let's say this is the center position of the cyclic) now move the mouse forward and the helicopter starts pitching forward, now pull the mouse back towards the center position and low and behold the helicopter follows the movement the nose slightly moves back towards the horizontal position

Simply assign a rotary as trim axis with a duplicate X axis assignment. Problem solved,...you now have a manual trim.

b3bomber67
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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:42 #11

Ok, I just got a joystick for my flying in ArmA II and I am running into the same issue as BlackLord. First, rotorwing aircraft and planes are completely different in controls, dont think that if a plane acts one way then a helicopter will do the same. IT WONT! I am talking real life here. BlackLord is correct, if the pilot inputs forward cyclic, the nose will pitch down, the more input the more pitch downwards. If the pilots pulls the cyclic backwards, the nose will pitch up. So yes, push forward on the joystick and the nose should pitch down and pull the joystick back to center and the nose should return to level, not saying you are going to go into a hover, depending on your power input, you will continue whatever forward momentum you had, and most likely even gain altitude.

I am also looking to see if there is a fix for this in the game controls for Helicopters. One modification i have found to be helpful: since most joysticks come with an auto center, something I personnaly hate since i fly helicopters, i took a couple zipties and tied a couple twists in the spring together to lessen the power of spring to center the joystick. it helps, but cutting the spring out completely is the best.

Beagle
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Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:08 #12

Ok, I just got a joystick for my flying in ArmA II and I am running into the same issue as BlackLord. First, rotorwing aircraft and planes are completely different in controls, dont think that if a plane acts one way then a helicopter will do the same. IT WONT! I am talking real life here. BlackLord is correct, if the pilot inputs forward cyclic, the nose will pitch down, the more input the more pitch downwards. If the pilots pulls the cyclic backwards, the nose will pitch up. So yes, push forward on the joystick and the nose should pitch down and pull the joystick back to center and the nose should return to level, not saying you are going to go into a hover, depending on your power input, you will continue whatever forward momentum you had, and most likely even gain altitude.

I am also looking to see if there is a fix for this in the game controls for Helicopters. One modification i have found to be helpful: since most joysticks come with an auto center, something I personnaly hate since i fly helicopters, i took a couple zipties and tied a couple twists in the spring together to lessen the power of spring to center the joystick. it helps, but cutting the spring out completely is the best.


I simply assigned a fourth joystick slider axis for X,Y trim purpose. Once trimmed it will fly in a straight line without input untill I change pitch or power setting...exactly what you would exspect.

Edited by Beagle, 28 April 2011 - 17:56.


johanna
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Posted 28 April 2011 - 17:46 #13

oh great, have been looking for this...
*bookmarked*
Spoiler