Category Archives: Technical

Choosing the right equipment…

Kitting your cockpit out is part of the challenge.  My choices might not be the best choices, but they suit me fine and they might suit you too:


 Ship’s Screen:

My choices were:  Triple screen, 4k, uberwidescreen single screen or 1440p screen and a TrackIR.  I went for the 1440 for the visual gorgeousness.

DGM 2560×1440 IPS panel.  Luckily I picked this 1440p screen up when it was on offer from DGM – and did so with my eyes wide open.  Yes, it’s an IPS panel and yes, it is 1440.  It has a little edge bleed, and no dead pixels.  It is serving me perfectly well and runs on a pair of R9 290 cards mildly overclocked with a water cooled 4.6 processor.

The price has gone up now, and as a result, is too dear but at the time was a cracking deal.  I suspect that without more investment in the rest of the equipment, 4k is probably a no-go.


 Flight controls:

Saitek X52 Pro

Hotas was the only way for me.  I had never tried one before, and started off as an Alpha tester with a standard joystick and mouse combination.

The addition of a wealth of buttons at my fingertips, all customised to my own uses, 3 different “hats”, 3 wheels and a slider as well as 2 triggers and throttle control meant that I could fly without taking my hands off the controls for anything but the most special occasion.

The option for 3 modes has allowed me to customise the flight experience for landing, flying and combat.

For information and a download of my profiles, you can see the other article (which will be being expanded as I refine the setup).

There are a few issues with the drivers – mostly caused by compatibility with things like TeamSpeak when they’re trying to detect button pushes from the stick – turn off these detection modes and it’s just fine.

Logitech G15 Keyboard

Rendered a little redundant by the use of VoiceAttack, x16 and the X52, the addition of the extra buttons for power management options was well worth it.  The LED screen also runs a nice little application that monitors my processor temperature for me.

X-Keys X16 button bar

The ship’s communications bar.  16 programmable keys, all nicely back lit, just above head height and used for comms messages to pirates, other commanders and bounty hunters alike.

VoiceAttack

For when you’re in the kind of mood to talk to your ship for more complex commands, VoiceAttack listens to you, interprets what you say and carries out those commands.  Made redundant by a well set up HOTAS, I still occasionally use it.  With voice packs, forms a nice ship’s computer upgrade that will have you talking to your machine just to hear it talk back.

Not recommended if you have an excitable 6 year old in the house – they like running in to the room and yelling “BOOST” just as you’re docking.

Voice packs are available from http://www.elitedangerousvoicepack.com/elite-dangerous/


 Head Tracking:

TrackIR 5 with Trackclip Pro

This was my concession to “VR” whilst waiting for the Oculus Rift to be completed.  It allows me to use a single screen and look around my environment for situational awareness.  From tracking that Sidewinder who has just boosted out of sight, to taking stunning photographs of the sights in the Milky Way, a head tracker like this is a must.

The sensor sits comfortably on top of your monitor and the positional led clips to your headset.  A wire runs from the headset to a pass-through union connected to the sensor and then all down to a USB port on the PC.

I cable tied the cable alongside the headphone wire and ran it along the same route to prevent tangling and it works just fine.

The software is fairly forgiving in default mode, though Maxim on the ED forums has released an updated profile that has a “stop” point where the left and right menus are.


 Headset:

Sades SA-901 virtual surround headset with microphone (USB)

So I don’t disturb the passengers.  Good robust headset and it cost buttons.  I’m sure there are better, but this one is doing just fine, thanks.

Comfy ear cushions, reasonably quality mic that can be folded away, good sound, perfect size to attach the TrackIR to.

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Ship controls…

I’ve noticed links to this appearing on various forums – quick polite request to any commanders that use them – drop me a message, or comment on this page please if you do, so I get an idea on how many, and a little feedback on changes you would like.

Many commanders have been asking for information on setting up their ship controls. After months of sending them out, I decided the easiesy way was to bung them up on dropbox. Follow the link and you will find two x52 profiles,  a keybinding setup to go with them and a trackir 5 profile. Any questions, email me. click here to go to dropbox

If you’re using the profile, and like it (and want to get an e-mail notification when it changes), you can subscribe to this post, which I will update regularly.

I will be adding a modified version of some of the setting that go with the HCS Voicepack for Voiceattack that works with this profile when I have finished testing it – I will be investing in some additional voices tailored for this setup as well, so if you’d like to contribute to my Paypal account (or even just by way of a thankyou) – you can do so via Paypal to david@caterham21.com