Timeframe for new throttles?

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JLX
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Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby JLX » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:38

I'm very interested in the MCG-Pro/Gunfighter stick but before committing to a VKB HOTAS, I want to see what the matching throttles (M-TCS/S-TCS/V-TCS) are going to be like.

I'd prefer to stay consistent and either get my HOTAS from VKB or VIRPIL and while the sticks from both manufacturers and quite similar, the throttles may be very different and thus a deciding factor.

I know the throttles are still in development. But, is there a rough estimate as to when some early renders of the design may surface. It may really help some of us who are sitting on the fence decide which setup may suit them better.

Thanks.

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby AeroGator » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:25

JLX wrote:I'm very interested in the MCG-Pro/Gunfighter stick but before committing to a VKB HOTAS, I want to see what the matching throttles (M-TCS/S-TCS/V-TCS) are going to be like.

I believe there were a few topics at this forum with draft pictures of what the throttles are going to be like. There will be no more explicit pictures for obvious reasons; we don't wish to be copied before we're even in the market.

JLX wrote:I'd prefer to stay consistent and either get my HOTAS from VKB or VIRPIL and while the sticks from both manufacturers and quite similar, the throttles may be very different and thus a deciding factor.

Errrr... Not meaning anything mean, I still have to say that not everything that looks similar, is even nearly similar. Throttles, yes, might be different.

JLX wrote:I know the throttles are still in development. But, is there a rough estimate as to when some early renders of the design may surface. It may really help some of us who are sitting on the fence decide which setup may suit them better.

Take my word, there is no one in the whole world who would understand your feeling better than ourselves. Sitting on the fence is a very familiar thing to us, and we hate it no less than you do. However, please bear in mind that huge companies with tens of staff designers and dedicated production lines release new models, errr.... like, once in 5-7 years. You know what company I mean, don't you? ;) While we come up with new models a lot more frequently.
For now I can tell you that the throttle is planned for next year. We're on it.

JLX wrote:Thanks.
Same to you, for your interest! Please keep following the forum threads, and checking for our announcements.
Best Regards,
AeroGator

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby rtrski » Mon Sep 11, 2017 0:40

Same story. Have a x56 now but want something more substantial. MCG pro looks like my best stick option (plus upcoming twist adapter), but throttle is still a total unknown. I get wanting to keep copying down... but even a teaser update would be welcome.

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby RecklessPrudence » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:13

I'm still really hoping that the VKB throttle has the kind of analogue control usually provided by a thumbstick, only without one. Or even a fingerstick like the Thrustmaster TWCS. A thumbstick is superior to a fingerstick for both accuracy of control and ergonomics - the importance of which should never be underestimated - but the thumb has many other controls it uses, and if it is busy with a thumbstick it can't be doing them. Ideally, the two axes that a thumb- or fingerstick usually controls would be decoupled, with the Y-axis and the X-axis controlled by separate means - single-axis sticks controlled by a finger, a set of paddles like the TWCS, twisting the throttle, moving the throttle left and right as if it were a joystick - some combination of those, likely along with other options I can't think of, would give the throttle three of the 6DOF, without either taking away the ability to actuate other controls at the same time or having ergonomic problems like all existing 3DOF throttles do.

No-one else has ever done it, and VKB could be the first. And that would get anyone who has the budget and wants to play anything where 6DOF controls would be a benefit running to buy VKB products.

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby rtrski » Mon Sep 11, 2017 14:21

I don't know if it's accurate or current, but for example VKB-Sim North America has placeholders for THREE throttle designs:

--Modern Throttle Control
--Spacesim Throttle Control ("Kosmosima")
--Vintage Throttle Control

They also list the left hand MCG separately - I know elsewhere I've seen hints that the "Kosmosina" *is* a left-hand stick, but the NA site seems to apply a distinction instead.

I don't want to turn a "please preview / update us" thread into yet another "lets all us users design the throttle and beg for features" thread, but seems like (a) the three options give plenty of opportunity for differentiation in features, but (b) they can't all come out at once, hence the really wanting teasers or more info part.

But as long as features are going to be discussed (heh), one thing I'd be interested in (my application = space sim) is a non-split throttle with a 'rocker' for the grip. e.g. a small 'roll' motion of the fist when wrapped on the grip, operating in a plane at right angles to the throttle quadrant. (No reason I wouldn't want that *plus* a split, except when I imagine it mechanically it's way easier to implement in a single throttle grip than a double that may or may not be pinned together.) In my mind that would make great sense for a yaw axis in something like Elite Dangerous where yaw is heavily limited and just used for fixed weapon fine-tuning. Much easier than using a right hand joystick for pitch/roll and a thumb control for yaw while also right index finger is firing, and the rocker substitutes well mentally for a rudder for those who don't have one.

A throttle potato-grip could also twist a little or rock (pitch) forward/back on the quadrant stem, but that latter to me seems too coupled with the main quadrant axis motion already. Likely you'd actuate unintentionally while throttling up or down. I'd rather something like an either index or middle-finger front up/down action as a front-to-back axis (left hand equivalent to a mouse middle-button-wheel/push encoder makes me lean to middle finger more). Assuming at least one thumb hat (preferrably two one of which can be analog/digital), a pinky dual-switch (up/down digital), and buttons at remaining front finger positions, in my mind the main throttle quadrant, 1 'lateral' grip axis, and 1 'front-back' finger axis is enough actual 'axes'. I do use the rotaries at top and bottom of the thumb position on the grip of the X56 throttle as well. Rotaries / switches on the base are just extras for rarely used commands in my opinion.

I agree with RecklessPrudence on the ergonomics of too-many-thumb controls. On the X56 the 'thumbstick' is almost painful to get to and too long for any fine control, plus there's already two 4-way hats there. The little thumb left-right slider is useless IMO since there's also an 'afterburner' button as well.

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby Sokol1 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:46

RecklessPrudence wrote:I'm still really hoping that the VKB throttle has the kind of analogue control usually provided by a thumbstick, only without one. Or even a fingerstick like the Thrustmaster TWCS. A thumbstick is superior to a fingerstick for both accuracy of control and ergonomics - the importance of which should never be underestimated - but the thumb has many other controls it uses, and if it is busy with a thumbstick it can't be doing them. Ideally, the two axes that a thumb- or fingerstick usually controls would be decoupled, with the Y-axis and the X-axis controlled by separate means - single-axis sticks controlled by a finger, a set of paddles like the TWCS, twisting the throttle, moving the throttle left and right as if it were a joystick - some combination of those, likely along with other options I can't think of, would give the throttle three of the 6DOF, without either taking away the ability to actuate other controls at the same time or having ergonomic problems like all existing 3DOF throttles do.


Interesting points, I hope they don't make the Thrustmaster mistake with Cougar and Warthog: pretend make a "replica" throttle, what is good for the plane that use this model, but as general use controller for a variety of planes and games is not.

Is not because that "fancy jet has a fingerstick that the throttle should have one, since a thumbstick is more flexible option, as you point.

Relative to analog thumbstick (or fingerstick) probable will share the mechanics of MCG "HAT's", with contactless sensor instead buttons and can be configured to move axis or press (virtual) buttons, what is a improvement over existing options from other brands.

Similar, a sliding throttle like TWCS is no good idea, limit their use as helicopter collective in DCS.

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby AeroGator » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:18

Guys all I can say at the stage is, Thank you, and please do come down with more suggestions. Not every suggestion we will implement, but we will surely consider every sound one.
For now, throttle is in active development stage, but it is still too early to start giving away details and open polls.
We are taking it seriously, and of course we understand the growing demand for space sims. Space warriors will not be neglected, and I hope will not be disappointed, either.
Best Regards,
AeroGator

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby rtrski » Tue Sep 12, 2017 13:58

Can you just clarify that there really are multiple throttles, as implied by VKB Controller North America Site placeholders, and give *any* detail of priority if they're not all being worked fully concurrently by different engineers? (That seems a tall order for a relatively small company as you're also working sticks, twist adaptor, and pedal updates.) Confirming the multiple units alone will give strong indication to many that there will indeed be design differences (otherwise why bother releasing different units at all).

Of course any confirmation of current plans is understood to be a snapshot in time - as things progress your plans may change and even if the answer now is "3 different throttles" we know you could re-evaluate based on resources and expected market. But I'll take any bone you throw at me here. ;-)

I have no opinion on vintage throttle - that one seems most obvious, it'll be a fairly slavish clone of something real like the KG12 grip was. Ditto on the modern combat throttle - again likely a pretty faithful copy of some jet throttle. The Kosmosima is where it's at for me personally, and that's where there's lots of room to do it differently.

Seems like comments in this thread so far are mostly for the Kosmosima. Elite Dangerous players are hungry now, Star Citizen not far behind. (And I ache for some new update of something like Hawken or a modern day Mechwarrior as well to use a worthy HOTAS on...)

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby AeroGator » Tue Sep 12, 2017 14:49

rtrski wrote:multiple throttles

I do confirm:
a - there will be several throttle versions.
b - space warriors will be (so we hope) happy with what we're cooking.
c - as most of our products, throttles will also be modular - you know what I mean.
Please don't milk me for more :) at least, now.

And yes, we really appreciate your interest and understanding of the difficulties we have to overcome. Thank you.
Best Regards,
AeroGator

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby RecklessPrudence » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:44

Another suggestion, and this one is for both the Space Throttle (my priority) and something that could be useful for the Modern Throttle. An infinite scrollwheel, like the one most mice have. In the brief time I spent with a pre-Logitech buyout Saitek X52 Pro before it degraded past usability, I found the scrollwheel tremendously useful for subsystem targeting, it allowed me to select the relevant subtarget and start applying weapons fire much more quickly than using a hat, as well as be useful controlling zoom on maps and going through menu options. Perhaps under the little finger, instead of a button?

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby rtrski » Wed Sep 13, 2017 14:55

AeroGator wrote:
rtrski wrote:multiple throttles

Please don't milk me for more :) at least, now.
....


I shall cease and desist. But thank you for the information offered.

RecklessPrudence wrote:Another suggestion, and this one is for both the Space Throttle (my priority) and something that could be useful for the Modern Throttle. An infinite scrollwheel, like the one most mice have. In the brief time I spent with a pre-Logitech buyout Saitek X52 Pro before it degraded past usability, I found the scrollwheel tremendously useful for subsystem targeting, it allowed me to select the relevant subtarget and start applying weapons fire much more quickly than using a hat, as well as be useful controlling zoom on maps and going through menu options. Perhaps under the little finger, instead of a button?


This is similar to what I was trying to say (poorly?) except I'd like it under the middle finger so it's an ergonomic left-hand equivalent of using a mouse wheel on the right hand. Quick brain training.

My ideal space throttle:
--quadrant primary axis (rotary), with detente options (e.g. to split range into forward or back, or separate primary thrust from a final boost segment)
(--don't care if it's "split" personally to provide 2 main thrust axes for differential engines, but won't complain if so)
--a slight 'roll' motion of the throttle handle which can be mapped to an axis like yaw or lateral strafing thrusters or whatever
--a middle finger encoder/wheel with button near identical to a mouse wheel. This can be mapped to another axis that has more mental 'fore/aft' or 'up/down' connotations

From the above you've got a full 3DOF without moving the hand from the grip or even engaging the highly motile thumb yet, and the 3 motions are decoupled mechanically (actuation of one shouldn't accidentally actuate the other). Plus the physical motion (rotary fore/aft, finger rotate fore/aft, handle rock left/right) should be mentally well isolated as different axes as well. Exact mapping of course is up to the individual preference e.g. some people even put 'roll' on pedals and yaw on the joystick X axis. Weird to me, but that's what freedom of binding is for.

Then additional controls would be:
--pinky up/down dual control button (more I think is too difficult to actuate well, although I do use the X56 pinky-side encoder wheel some e.g. menu 'page' or tabbing)
--ring finger single button
--index finger can probably handle an up/down dual button. Not personally a fan of a 'hat' or a small concave-faced ministick in the throttle front index finger position, but would try it if one existed. Could always choose to only map up/down if I found the lateral axis too fiddly for fine control.
--Thumb: two hats (4-8way, maybe one is optional analog to add 2 actual axes) and a separate simple press button (very similar placement in my mind to X56).
--the X56-like rotaries that are mostly thumb actuated (one upper and one lower side of throttle handle, both with push) are useful but these tend to remove your hand from the throttle partially so for secondary tasks, e.g. I use one in Elite for sensor range adjustment and the other for galaxy map zooming in/out

A forward 'paddle rocker' isn't a bad idea either but as it engages a couple of fingers for really only one axis, I think the wheel or grip-roll action is a better option.

As far as 'base' options go I personally like a mix of toggles that stay thrown vs. return-to-centers, since I use these for things like cargo scoop, gear down, flaps, whatever that I might like to glance at to see status (or feel for in VR). I also loved the old raised forward control-panel on the 65 that you could just reach and index or middle finger toward while still resting your hand on the throttle body, especially in VR it's easier than letting go the handle completely to fish for controls 'behind' the throttle. I hope a front control panel is one of the things implied by "modular".

Jeez for someone who said he didn't want to turn a "when" thread into a feature-fest, I sure jumped on your permission to do so, didn't I?? Mouthy internet no-one, indeed. :-)

(FYI at this point I'm 100% sold on an MCG-pro on a Gunfighter base...just awaiting the NA pre-order availability...guess I can use the stick with my existing X56 throttle for a while).

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby JLX » Thu Sep 14, 2017 0:55

AeroGator wrote:For now I can tell you that the throttle is planned for next year. We're on it.

Thanks for the info. Even that time-frame is helpful. I will definitely keep an eye on things and am strongly favoring VKB at this point as I've been very pleased with my T.Rudder Mk.IVs that currently complement my CH setup.

My order of interests: Helicopters > Jets > Warbirds > Spacecraft. As primarily a flight sim enthusiast, you might think I'd prefer authentic replica controls - I don't. Good ergonomics and a flexible control setup that can adapt to any type of air/space-craft is far more important than a bespoke design targeting a single specific vehicle.

My suggestion to consider when designing your new throttles would be to keep modifiers in mind.

I use modifiers extensively (4 of them which in combination allows 16 additional "layers") to greatly expand the capability of my HOTAS. When considering modifier placement, it's important to remember that you will be chording (pressing the modifier and another button at the same time) a lot. As the thumb is heavily used for most HOTAS functions, modifiers are best assigned to less used fingers. A perfect example is the "pinky" button on the joystick - a natural modifier. The 3 finger-buttons on the CH-Throttle are also excellent for this purpose as their use does not conflict with any other function and can be combined easily.

I'm encouraged by the design decisions and flexibility of the MCG and am really looking forward to seeing what innovations you come up with the various throttle designs.

Best of luck! :)

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby RecklessPrudence » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:13

rtrski wrote:My ideal space throttle:
--quadrant primary axis (rotary), with detente options (e.g. to split range into forward or back, or separate primary thrust from a final boost segment)
(--don't care if it's "split" personally to provide 2 main thrust axes for differential engines, but won't complain if so)
--a slight 'roll' motion of the throttle handle which can be mapped to an axis like yaw or lateral strafing thrusters or whatever
--a middle finger encoder/wheel with button near identical to a mouse wheel. This can be mapped to another axis that has more mental 'fore/aft' or 'up/down' connotations

Eh... I'm not sold on a scrollwheel for vertical displacement - I'd prefer a single-axis return-to-centre 'analog stick' for that, under the index finger. The scrollwheel I was thinking would be one with distinct tactile feedback for each 'notch' on the wheel you go up or down, not freewheeling, and using it for anything you might have to quickly pass a whole lot of options to get to the one you want - hence me thinking it would be perfect for subsystem targeting. And yeah, middle finger might work better for brain training, hadn't thought of that.

For horizontal displacement, I was thinking either the throttle twist, like you suggest, or a paddle rocker.

rtrski wrote:Then additional controls would be:
--pinky up/down dual control button (more I think is too difficult to actuate well, although I do use the X56 pinky-side encoder wheel some e.g. menu 'page' or tabbing)
--ring finger single button
--index finger can probably handle an up/down dual button. Not personally a fan of a 'hat' or a small concave-faced ministick in the throttle front index finger position, but would try it if one existed. Could always choose to only map up/down if I found the lateral axis too fiddly for fine control.
--Thumb: two hats (4-8way, maybe one is optional analog to add 2 actual axes) and a separate simple press button (very similar placement in my mind to X56).
--the X56-like rotaries that are mostly thumb actuated (one upper and one lower side of throttle handle, both with push) are useful but these tend to remove your hand from the throttle partially so for secondary tasks, e.g. I use one in Elite for sensor range adjustment and the other for galaxy map zooming in/out

I was thinking a single-axis analog stick on the index finger, a scrollwheel on one other, either up/down dual controls or single buttons for the remaining fingers, and four 4-way hats for the thumb, for a total of 16 thumb inputs. My CH Throttle Pro has three hats, one of them 8-way, and an analogue stick under the thumb, along with another 4-way hat under the index finger and it's pretty easy in most games to set things up so you never have to hit two things at the same time with any of those hats, so moving the index finger one to a thumb position shouldn't be a problem. I actually use one of them as a profile switcher, just changing what the other three hats do and leaving everything else the same. Gives me over three times the number of controls I would have if I had all four of them acting as simple inputs. Invaluable for some older games.

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby rtrski » Sun Sep 17, 2017 16:37

RecklessPrudence wrote:... I'm not sold on a scrollwheel for vertical displacement - I'd prefer a single-axis return-to-centre 'analog stick' for that, under the index finger.


I can't disagree with that. Something with an obvious tension and center might make more sense if it was used for an axis with an analog range. But things like vertical thrusters are usually I think just 'on' or 'off' without much range, so I thought a clicky-wheel (only registers as firing when rolling up or rolling down, not when static) might work even if it is more of a digital control. But I'd be happy with your idea as well.

RecklessPrudence wrote:I was thinking a single-axis analog stick on the index finger, a scrollwheel on one other, either up/down dual controls or single buttons for the remaining fingers, and four 4-way hats for the thumb, for a total of 16 thumb inputs. My CH Throttle Pro has three hats, one of them 8-way, and an analogue stick under the thumb, along with another 4-way hat under the index finger and it's pretty easy in most games to set things up so you never have to hit two things at the same time with any of those hats, so moving the index finger one to a thumb position shouldn't be a problem. I actually use one of them as a profile switcher, just changing what the other three hats do and leaving everything else the same. Gives me over three times the number of controls I would have if I had all four of them acting as simple inputs. Invaluable for some older games.


Four hats sounds rather a lot, but as you say the thumb is pretty mobile. I think I personally would have issues controlling both an index and middle finger axis while also managing the main throttle axis, guess I have dexterity issues. ;-) To me any more than one finger axis in the 'gripping throttle' position is enough, any others imply you're not throttling at the same time. Plus if both index and middle finger are 'elevated' not gripping tightly (arched up to put fingertip on a control) my side-to-side rocker idea has less leverage.

I also find 'chording' (using a button as a shift to alter all others) somewhat difficult unless the hold switch is really well placed and easy to actuate, but then it gets accidentally gripped in the heat of the moment. What I think looks like a 'ring finger' button on the VKB MCG Pro stick looks very well placed as a shift function (just below the 'thumb hat'). I have a harder time imagining a good location for one on a throttle potato type grip. Maybe just pinky button on front, or if they did an up/down return-to-center (digital not analog) for the pinky it could give you a total of 3 ranges (non-actuated being the main use range).

Ergonomics and control design is hard, but fun to think thru! Lots of ways to get it right I think, as long as the options are there. The only things I think that would be "wrong" are:
--thumbsticks too long and too far down (X56 prime example - that thing is squirrely as he**. Just trying to engage the 'press' action without moving the axes to map it in a control settings screen is a pain.
--too much reliance on on-base controls (aside from a 'front fingertip' raised panel that would work pretty well) for blind access (VR).
--quality of button presses so they have some good lifetime and/or microcontroller crosstalk issues (X56 random firings. Once again last night I ended up in a high intensity combat zone suddenly broiling with silent running, gear down, and cargo scoop out all at once.... urp!!!)
--NO POTS for main axes. for a rotary maybe I can live with a pot or two, but if you're going to do it, go hall-the-way. ;-)

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Re: Timeframe for new throttles?

Postby RecklessPrudence » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:57

Agreed on chording being hard to accomplish on the throttle - currently, I use a combination of the little finger button on my Cobra M5 and whatever else, as well as one of the throttle hats to switch profiles. I've thought about using some of the finger buttons on my CH Throttle Pro for additional chording - even using one of them would give me an extra two layers, each of which could be mostly doubled with chording (I prefer to leave some controls the same in each profile, including when chording. It limits how many new controls I gain with a new profile, but means I'm ...relatively rarely in a position where I desperately need to switch profiles to survive) - but for now I've mostly got all the necessary controls, so I'm trying not to overcomplicate things for myself. But they wouldn't be in that much danger of being activated accidentally, at least not for me - my fingers are fairly slim, so they easily fit between the buttons on the plastic of the throttle when not using those specific controls.

As for vertical thrusters being mostly digital rather than analogue, I haven't touched Star Citizen in a while, so I can't speak for that, but in ED I've found that while you don't really notice the lack when all you're used to is digital controls - I used to use a hat for my thrusters, on my old x52 Pro - once you start regularly using a thumbstick for them, you suddenly have a lot more control, both in things like landing and scooping and in combat.


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