Not the most inspiring of titles, but then it’s deliberately anti-linkbait 🙂 If you are not playing Elite Dangerous you may want to go find something more interesting to read… no, seriously 😛 For everyone else, this is very CH Product centric, but may provide some ideas for other HOTAS setups.
Step 1: The Joystick Map
Download the Joystick map and CMS file and put them in your documents folder under a directory called
CH Control Manager (you many need to create this if you haven’t used the CH Control Manager before).
Plugin your Fighterstick and Throttle, then launch the CH Control Manager and load the
ed.map. The click the
Download button to enable the map. This basically combines the stick and throttle into a single DirectX control. Due to limitations on the number of buttons available some buttons are mapped to key presses.
Few notes about the map:
- I don’t use joystick modes, so it doesn’t matter what colour LED is lit on either the throttle or stick
- The throttle control on the stick is mapped to a CMS scrip that disables the HOTAS Throttle when it’s fully back, and enables it when it’s fully forward. If your HOTAS throttle axis doesn’t seem to work then move the throttle wheel on the joystick to the other extreme.
- I use the pinky button on the stick as
shiftand the map makes heavy use of shift.
You can use the Keycheck and Test/Calibrate options from the CH Control Manager to test the button and axis mappings.
Step 2: Mapping the game controls
Next up you want to copy the custom bindings for the above map into your Elite Dangerous data folder under
C:\Users\USER\AppData\Local\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Bindings\Custom.binds. Change
USER to be your username.
AppData is a hidden directory so you’ll need to enable Show Hidden Files.
I should point out that I’ve not actually tried this, I’m just assuming it’ll work. Worse case scenario you’ll need to go in game and just map the actions from the layout guide to the in game controls.
Step 3: Learn the map
Ah, the fun bit. Basically you can run the joysticks in a number of different modes depending on the situation at hand. So that you’ve still got access to all the controls you’re going to need some controls are duplicated elsewhere, albeit using the
shift button to get to them. I’ve provided a layout guide for the map which shows which button maps to what action. It’s split over 3 pages depending on the mode you’re in.
Page 1 of the joystick layout shows the default buttons configuration for the sticks with the ships gear up and without the
shift pinky button pressed. They joystick is mapped to
Pitch and Roll with the
Throttle Wheel being used to engage (fully forward) and disengage (fully back) the main
HOTAS Throttle Axis. Pressing
button 3 on the throttle (middle of the three buttons on the throttle handle) toggles the joystick
Y axis between
HOTAS Throttle Axis is mapped across the full range, so fully back gives you full reverse throttle, fully forward give you full forward throttle. The exception is when in Supercruise where this is no reverse so fully back on the throttle is minimum Supercruise speed and fully forward is maximum Supercruise. Under normal flight modes
zero throttle is somewhere roughly in the middle of the axis range. If you need to stop set the
Joystick Throttle to fully back to disengage the
HOTAS Throttle Axis and set it to 0.
Thumb Stick on the joystick is uses for
Lateral and Vertical Thrust. The dead-zone is quite large on these as I find the stick doesn’t tend to centre as well as it could. If you find yourself thrusting vertically or laterally with no input check the stick is centred and possibly increase the dead zone.
Joystick Hat Switch is usually used to provide digital inputs for
Pitch and Yaw, making small adjustments in Supercruise and while docking easy. Pressing the
shift (pinky button) on the joystick and
button 2 on the throttle at the same time (
shift-b2) toggles head look. The
Joystick Hat Switch is used to look around the cockpit when head look is enabled. Press
shift-b2 again to disengage head look and return the
Joystick Hat Switch to
Pitch and Yaw.
firing and Targeting is performed on the joystick with the
primary fire and
button 3 (the side button) used for
button 2 toggles hard points, although they will automatically deploy if not already deployed when trying to fire.
roll control is mapped to side
4-way Switch on the joystick, as is
Engine Boost and
Navigating the ships systems is done using the two
4-way Switches and the
Hat Switch on the side of the throttle. The top
4-way Switch is used to bring up the
Target Panel (left),
Systems Panel (right) and
Radar Panel (down). Pressing up returns you to the normal forward view. The direction you move the
4-way Switch matches where the panels are in relation to the cockpit. The
Throttle Hat Switch is used to move between the various tabs on the UI windows (left and right) and to highlight items on the window (up and down). Use the bottom
4-way Switch to increase (right) and decrease (left) highlighted values, or
button 4 on the throttle to select the currently highlighted entry. For example, to request docking you might press left on the top
4-way Switch to bring up the
Target Panel, press right on the
Throttle Hat Switch to select
Contacts on the
Target Panel, press down on the
Throttle Hat Switch to select the station, then press
button 4 on the throttle to bring up the interaction dialog, then down on the
Throttle Hat Switch to request docking permission, then
button 4 on the throttle to confirm.
Power management is performed using the forward
4-way Switch on the throttle with the directions matching that on the UI (left for
Systems, forward for
Engines, right for
Weapons and back to reset).
You can see the other assignments on the layout diagram.
Page 2 of the joystick layout shows the button assignments when the joystick
shift (pinky) button is pressed. The greyed out assignments are the same as the unshifted assignments. Under shifted operation the joystick
Hat Switch changes to a digital
lateral and vertical thrust and the digital
roll control that is mapped to side
4-way Switch on the joystick becomes
yaw controls. There’s also access to additional targeting and sensor options on the stick.
Shift controls on the throttle allow you to toggle and reset head look, plus toggle/deploy various ancillary functions on the ship.
Axis mappings remain the same in shifted operation.
Page 3 of the joystick layout show the button assignments when the ships landing gear is deployed. This overrides basic targeting, fire group control and FTL drive control functions to provide all axis of motion via the two
4-way Switches and the
Hat Switch on the top of the joystick. While docking (and especially while undocking) it’s recommended to disable the
HOTAS Throttle Axis by moving the joystick
Throttle Axis fully back. You can then use the
thumb stick, joystick axis and the various digital controls to effectively land.
The greyed out assignments in this mode are the same as when the landing gear is not deployed. Sifted operation remains the same with the exception that changing fire groups is now mapped to
Watching it in action
Feel free to mess about with the maps, and tweak them to your needs – or just to use them as an example of how to do some (very) basic CMS scripting with the CH Products HOTAS.