Anyway, after struggling to use the keyboard and mouse to fly a plane in FlightGear and X-Plane (whose free demo I've been playing around with, but more on that in another post), I finally felt like I needed something better. I was originally looking at a $150 or so yoke with rudder paddles (kind of like the paddle shifters in some sports cars) as getting proper rudder pedals alone would cost around $150 on top of whatever yoke/joystick/etc., I purchase. However, I couldn't justify the cost at my current level of simming, so I did some shopping around and settled on the Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS X which I was able to purchase for about $33 from Amazon.com.
It certainly made a huge difference over the joystick in both of those games! Plenty of programmable buttons, rudder control by twisting the joystick (or optionally using the rocker button on the back of the throttle), and a separate throttle handle (also with lots of buttons) made things much more pleasant than the mouse and keyboard. Granted, for certain things I'll still need to use the mouse and keyboard (can't map everything to a button on the stick), but it's quite the improvement over what I had before. It also gets bonus points for being PlayStation 3-compatible, should I want to get any combat flight games for my console.
Now some people have complained about it having a relatively large "dead zone" in the middle as a side effect of being such an inexpesive joystick. While I did notice said dead zone, I didn't find it to be anywhere near as bad (yet...) as the folks who complained about it. Besides, it only cost me $33 -- if I wanted something better, I'd be pushing $100. This will more than do for the foreseeable future. Maybe one day I'll get a full yoke/rudder pedal combination, but not today.Share on Twitter Share on Facebook