Another dream would be to have the left hand translation control as a horizontally mounted handle like the apollo TC
but with buttons and hats on the handle of course.
I built a prototype TC based on the NASA concept out of a T.16000 a couple of years ago:Here's what I found out:
1. Even considering the hacked-up, janky nature of my setup and the relative lack of structural strength in the T.16000, it quickly becomes apparent that a horizontally-oriented translation stick with a quality traditional right-hand stick is by far the most intuitive control scheme for a 6dof sim. Every control input corresponds precisely to the actual movement of the ship. I gave the above setup to my brother, since I'm working on v2.0; within five minutes of setting it up, his six-year-old daughter (who'd never played a sim before) was bobbing and weaving through the asteroid field like an old pro.
2. When you try to tell a regular SC player about the concept, the response is usually "Well, if it's so great, all the top players would be using it..." My response to that is that I'd be willing to bet that most of them haven't tried a horizontally-oriented stick, because nobody sells one yet,
at least not at the consumer/prosumer level. Industrial-grade solutions exist but cost in the thousands of dollars, and would still require custom wiring (because industrial controls don't use the USB interface). I'm sure that in the early days of the automobile, when cars were controlled by hand throttles and tillers, there were drivers who thought that no one needed steering wheels and pedals, too. I will say that I have yet to find a single person who's spent a significant amount of time with my setup in SC who wants to go back to HOTAS.
3. It definitely needs refinements (hence v2.0). Even with the 90 degree "kink" in the grip, it's still awkward to use the buttons. A true, ergonomically-designed grip is a must.
4. Even with the drawbacks of the prototype, I don't plan on ever flying a 6dof sim with HOTAS again. I'm spoiled now.
I realize that it's a risky concept for a manufacturer to attempt to produce, because true 6dof sims are still kind of a small niche. I will say without reservation that even though I have the controls I built, if a high-quality manufacturer like VKB were to build one, I'd buy it immediately.
I'll go further: if any manufacturer with a reputation for good build quality were to offer a 4-axis (L/R, U/D, in/out, and twist - see the above pic of the NASA controller for the layout), horizontally-oriented controller with a decent grip, I would immediately pay just about any 3-figure price they care to name.
If that's too risky, then consider this: VKB's offerings are already modular enough to allow detachment of the grips from the control shaft and installation of an extension for between-the-knees use, for example; if building a specific controller isn't feasible, would they consider a 90-degree shaft adapter, so that we could mount, say, a Gunfighter base with the shaft horizontal, and attach their upcoming left-hand grip to it in a vertical position?
I know at least three people besides myself who would jump on that; all SC players who have tried my layout but don't have the knowledge/time/patience to build one for themselves.
Edit: I just realized that I specified my use case but didn't relate it to my poll answer. I answered "pedals plus twist on one stick". I prefer not having twist on the right hand stick. Since yaw and pitch are what you use for aiming (at least until head tracking comes back), I would rather have those two axes as precise as possible; trying to twist while aiming tends to make me less precise. If that's due to hardware limitations, I'm willing to keep an open mind for future products.
My ideal control setup would be as follows:
Right hand: pitch/yaw on X/Y
Left hand (again, see the NASA diagram for axis orientation): Forward/Back strafe on +/-X
Left/right strafe on +/-Y
Up/down strafe on +/-Z
Roll on twist
This isn't currently possible since no existing device has four axes on a single control, so I've been mapping one of the four to pedals (I've experimented with roll on the pedals, but find that I prefer forward/reverse thrust there).