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Poll Results
 
 Which station would you want most to have a physical control panel?
 helm 3 33%
 weapons 0 0%
 science 0 0%
 engineering 6 66%
 comms 0 0%
Total votes: 9   Please or sign up to vote.


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e4mafia

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Posts: 200
Reply with quote  #1 
Which station would you most want to have physical control panel(s) for?

a. Helm
b. Weapons
c. Science
d. Engineering
e. Comms
User McUser

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Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #2 
I voted for Engineering - it has the most complex controls and IMHO sliders on a screen can be kinda fiddly in the heat of a battle compared to physical controls.

The other stations can just use a touch screen with the existing interface.
RevnGeek

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #3 
Adding the Thrustmaster to helm I think was a huge upgrade for my bridge but I know I haven't been around as long as some others. Those Peavey Studio Mix mods for engineering that folks have done look amazing.


Angel of Rust

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Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #4 
Tough choice for me -- I really like physical controls for Helm, but Engineering is just ridiculously better with sliders.

Based on my own experiences and feedback from others, here is what I think the strengths and weaknesses are for each console:

Helm: steering, warp, and impulse are much more intuitive with hardware controls. It is also much faster to get the results you want. The cool factor is pretty high for Helm controls.

Weapons: loading and firing torpedoes is orders of magnitude faster with physical controls. It can be more intuitive as well. Targeting seems to be slower and more cumbersome than with the touch screen. Light up buttons are a big plus for appearance.

Engineering: sliders and coolant are much easier to adjust with physical controls. Much more gratifying too. This one is easily a fan favorite among players.

Science: Since on-screen selection slows down vs. touch screen, this console seems to benefit the least from hardware.

Comms: oddly enough, a keypad and the ability to rapidly issue surrender requests makes hardware controls a big plus for comms. It also helps with the overall immersion.


e4mafia

Registered:
Posts: 200
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
 Tough choice for me -- I really like physical controls for Helm,


I do too - question is how to implement. I personally don't like HOTAS for it, as the controls generally don't seem to map well to the functions on said joystick. Climb/Dive, as of right now seems to be as a generality, not particularly useful in a broad range of situations. As such, I don't see a reason to dedicate any primary control function (a Y axis in particular). A Z axis on a helm control would just feel weird  I think. And lastly, power doesn't feel right on anything but a completely straight Axis to me. And on most all-in-one HOTAS, the throttle is on a 
curved slider. Ones that have a more realistic, separate throttle have a crapload of buttons that would just go unused, and not look right to me. Also very expensive. And I need it for my hard core flight sims anyways 😉 So no building it into the control panel. 

Maybe 3.0 will incorporate a more important vertical travel axis into the game? That would actually be awesome I think, and give helm a lot more to think about. Even moreso if beam weapons arcs included that z axis. 

Sliders for warp and impulse, as shown in your Block III are very on point I think. As far as rudder - I definitely dug the dial you implemented before. Probably doesn't feel too natural, but I like the idea for sure. Maybe 3 sliders and a pair of buttons. Sliders vertical for warp and impulse, and a horizontal slider for rudder, buttons for climb/dive.

Quote:
Engineering: sliders and coolant are much easier to adjust with physical controls. Much more gratifying too. This one is easily a fan favorite among players.


Yeah I agree that this would be the most awesome. Also the most expensive I reckon, given the cost of 10mm sliding pots. I'm curious if you've priced out your own costs on the PCBs for your latest engineering build using those Chinese prices I gave you as opposed to OSHpark. I still haven't fully assembled my run on my lighting controller, so I can't attest to quality as of yet.

Some kind of thing inside me is bothered by the fact that presets won't be reflected in the physical controls, as they will be different, but I know functionally, your code does cover that. I should probably get over that hang up. The engineer in my group is the only person who is so enamored with their station that they just don't want to play any other one. So taking care of him is a bit of a priority for me. 

Quote:
Weapons: loading and firing torpedoes is orders of magnitude faster with physical controls. It can be more intuitive as well. Targeting seems to be slower and more cumbersome than with the touch screen. Light up buttons are a big plus for appearance.



Here's v 0.1 in wood. 
panel.jpg 


Still short a couple of buttons and the lack of a cursor control, via track-<something>. I don't think a joystick will be accurate enough and might feel really clunky there.

Quote:
Science: Since on-screen selection slows down vs. touch screen, this console seems to benefit the least from hardware.


I can totally see this. Would definitely benefit from a touchscreen. Maybe thats the station's "hardware". Trackball + a select button and a scan button might work too. Need to think through how scrolling would feel though.

Quote:
Comms: oddly enough, a keypad and the ability to rapidly issue surrender requests makes hardware controls a big plus for comms. It also helps with the overall immersion.


I wouldn't have thought of this. Thanks for the observations

The weakest area in my own skill right now is getting the physical box created. Never done any laser work on acrylic, and I have some hesitance on spending 10-20 bucks a run or so in trial and error fitting. Manual drilling, even with a template seems to turn out with misaligned holes (as per the example on weapons). Perhaps I could improve technique but I don't like the idea of drilling that much in acrylic. Working out the hole placement for those clicky clacky buttons was really kicking my butt. especially plastic bumps. No idea why the hell those are there. The 4 contacts should be more than enough for stability I think. 

So I'm glad I went for the light up buttons I did. they just mount in a straight up 1/2" circular hole. Simple simple. As for labeling and such, I'm thinking of making my particular sandwich similar to yours, but without the side-inward lighting, at least at first since I don't think it will be needed on the first go since all of the indicator lights are part of the button itself, and all that would be backlit would be labelling. Can do that with a strip of white LEDs in the box naked. 

Angel of Rust

Registered:
Posts: 270
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia


Yeah I agree that this would be the most awesome. Also the most expensive I reckon, given the cost of 10mm sliding pots. I'm curious if you've priced out your own costs on the PCBs for your latest engineering build using those Chinese prices I gave you as opposed to OSHpark. I still haven't fully assembled my run on my lighting controller, so I can't attest to quality as of yet.


60 mm sliders with knobs run a little more than $2 each for me, so it is not crazy, but not inconsequential either. I haven't priced the alternative PCBs. I did figure out that PCB cost is about 1/3rd of the overall hardware cost the way I am doing it now, so there could be a significant drop in cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by e4mafia


Manual drilling, even with a template seems to turn out with misaligned holes (as per the example on weapons). Perhaps I could improve technique but I don't like the idea of drilling that much in acrylic.



I actually have something useful to offer on this point. When I was drilling all of the top acrylic layers for the block III panels, I would clamp a scrap piece of hardwood to the work piece with a 'C' clamp and another scrap piece of wood underneath. I pre-drilled the hardwood with a hole the size of the button in it. With the paper template taped to the work piece, I would line up the pre-drilled hole with the outline of the hole I wanted to drill and then clamp it tightly for drilling. That way, the drill has no where to go but in exactly the right place. Otherwise, the drill bit would just skip around the top of the work piece until it bit into plastic.

As for drilling acrylic, the key is to avoid fracturing it due to high bending stresses and sudden moves. I could drill quite large holes as long as the acryclic around the hole was tightly held in place by the two camped pieces of wood. Without the bending near the drilling site, there was no risk of fracture.


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