After many helpful email exchanges with Rainer (thanks again!), I wanted to post some questions here for VKB users, soon-to-be users, and developers. I am coming from decades of use with CH Products, and trying to make an eventual total transition to VKB as the offerings expand to a more complete ecosystem.
What I'm used to from the past 5 years (the critical mass of my CH hardware accumulation and Control Manager software scripting):
- CH Figherstick with rubber bands instead of springs (prioritizing smoothness over centering force - this probably comes from my IRL helicopter experience)
- CH Pro Throttle with Frankenpotato mod (à la the illustrious '531 Ghost' - adds two more rotaries and several more buttons, all easily accessible - 2 USB cables)
- CH Pro Pedals with rubber bands instead of springs
- CH Throttle Quadrant
- CH Multi Function Panel
I have had a good experience with this setup mainly due to the ease of use (flat throttle slider, pretty decent thumb mini stick, lots of axes and buttons that are ergonomic and easy to press/use). I also have greatly appreciated the power and flexibility of the Control Manager software. I have overcome many flaws in games/sims through use of scripting. Also, for games that don't allow for multiple controllers, CM merges everything into one (or as few as possible) virtual controllers. I have gotten very creative with the CM software and had excellent success with creating capable profiles that allow for many layers from each button and each axis if I want.
The downside is the overall quality, digital noise, and the feel of the controllers. Decent, but can't compete with what I'm reading about VKB and BRD, etc.
Recently, I decided to finally try out the Warthog HOTAS (with 10cm extension). Partly out of research/curiosity, and partly because it looks like VKB won't have a modern throttle offering for a year or more. I currently intend to use the Warthog throttle and the grip from the stick on the VKB Gunfighter Pro base. I've adopted Home Fries' (from Sim HQ forums) incredible Warthog/Cougar HOTAS profiles for DCS (rather than start from scratch, knowing how much time I have put into my CH profiles over the years). These finely-crafted profiles utilize TARGET software.
I also have on order a set of Crosswind pedals. I've been emailing with MFG, BRD, Rainer here at VKB, and combing through the forums to find the best solution for my needs. I'm considering having BRD build one of their desktop bases with a CH Fighterstick grip (two USB cables), still looking at Komodo gear for helicopters, have Slaw's and BRD's pedals on my radar, etc., looking at the various cockpit options for mounting everything...I'm deep down the rabbit hole.
Given this context, I wanted to start with a couple questions as I consider the slow migration to VKB, as VKB seems to be the most likely single solution for the next generation of high-quality flight sim gear. I really like that they're taking a somewhat modular approach, considering space sim users as well as the WWII-era users, and of course the modern jet sims. Hopefully helicopters will get some love eventually, too (proper collective quick-swappable, proper hydraulic cyclic for correct behavior, etc.).
1) If I use the Warthog throttle with a Gunfighter Pro/Warthog grip, will there be any way to use that Gunfighter setup in my TARGET profiles? I can't get everything I need from DCS or Falcon BMS control setups alone, so TARGET is required. Is there some way to have 2 USB cables (like the BRD custom work) so that all of the buttons work with TARGET and only the stick's X and Y axes are separate? Or will I be forced to find a non-TARGET solution (assuming there's little point to using TARGET for only the throttle)?
2) How is the VKB software overall, given the excellent experience I've had with CH Control Manager? (I'm still very new to TARGET, haven't heard much good ever said about it, but am using it with Home Fries' excellent profiles which understandably require it.) Is VKB's software robust, powerful, flexible? How is its scripting capability? User interface? Stability with complex profiles? Can you script any axis to handle virtually any mathematical equation? Can you program buttons to change the sensitivity and curve shape of an axis and basically trigger any other changes to the profile or are you limited to some pre-designated, simple shift/modifier buttons to simply add another layer or two to each button?
3) Do most users here find that using multiple controllers from multiple manufacturers allows for a good experience vs. the single ecosystem of CH and others? I'm looking at: VKB stick, Thrustmaster throttle, MFG pedals, and CH peripherals. Is that going to get messy until VKB fleshes out a complete ecosystem? The two concerns are: older sims could only handle one controller. Do any modern ones still have this limitation? And without one software to manage the whole (or the vast majority) of the axes and buttons, roll everything into one virtual controller, you could potentially lose a tremendous amount of power and potential for customization. What have your experiences been while integrating VKB with other controllers?
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