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Old 05-20-2010, 03:42 AM   #1
tin
 
 
 
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Non-keyboard control options?

I've got a slowly dying MS Sidewinder Pro joystick - obviously unsuitable for rail sims... But I use it for Flight Sim X, so I need to replace it anyway.
Which got me wondering - since I really want to get a seperate throttle quadrant, are there any brands/models of flight throttle that work in any way with Railworks?
Has anyone tried this sort of thing before?

I do know about the Raildriver units, but I'm curious if other things work.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:23 AM   #2
lonewolfdon
 
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Hi Tin.

Using keyboard & mouse to drive-trains with RailWorks, though you get used to it, sometimes being hunched over the keyboard hunting-and-pecking, may not be so comfortable, especailly if you're like me and spend endless hours using RailWorks. Sometimes I want to simply "sit back and relax" and be able to control everything via a game-controller resting in my hands and having everything I want to do at my fingertips without needing to use keyboard & mouse.

So, there is an alternative way I've found to use other types of game controllers, and I imagine it you could even use your old Sidwinder Pro Joystick with this.

Actually I use a somewhat cheap "Sector7" game-controller (similar in style to a typical PlayStation 2 or 3 type of controller) to drive trains in RailWorks: http://images.pricecanada.com/images...07/l607414.jpg (though this picture is not the exact same model as I own, it's similar enough).

I also own an old "Thrust Master" flight-sim joystick, and a Steering-Wheel controller, though I use those for playing other games.

I found a great little utility, Pinnacle Game Profiler:
http://pinnaclegameprofiler.com/ , which lets me re-map and recognize keyboard and mouse commands over to any game-controller of my choice.

This utility can recognize controllers of all different types, joysticks, game-pads, steering-wheels, etc... And a great thing I find as well is let's say you got a game or program that does not support a game controller (maybe it only uses keyboard and mouse), or it only offers partial-support or perhaps poor-support for game controllers. With the Pinnacle utility, you will be able to re-map the game's built-in commands to be able to be used with your controller.

If a game or program uses Keyboard & Mouse commands (such as RailWorks does), you can also still use both your controller and keyboard & mouse all still to work together. So, if for example, you wanted to set-up your Joystick to work as a throttle & brake, but still wanted to use your mouse to be able to pan-around your views, you can, and all of the default keyboard & mouse commands would still work and be unaffected.

So, this little utility has breathed some new life into some games and old controllers I have. There are other similar utilities out there (such as XPadder, Joy-2-Mouse, etc..), and I've tried a few of them, but I found Pinnacle to be the best of the bunch I've used, so though it does cost a little (I think it was around $19 USD), personally I use it on a daily basis and find it's worth it.

Hope that info may help.

Last edited by lonewolfdon: 05-20-2010 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:45 PM   #3
tin
 
 
 
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Does the Pinnacle Profiler thing work with things like moving throttles to roughly the right percentage based on an actual joystick position? Or is it just a binary, on/off level of control more suited to buttons?

I know I could probably look that up myself, but an opinion from an actual user is better than one from a website selling it
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:15 AM   #4
lonewolfdon
 
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Tin: Well, perhaps yes and no. I think it depends on the controller and also the game or program and which type of commands are set-up to do what and what type of input it's able to register.

As an example; For something like RailWorks, which from what I can tell is programmed to work with Keyboard and Mouse controls and not game-controllers in general, the default keyboard commands for increasing and decreasing throttle is "A" and "D". So in this case, remapping the "throttle" to a controller such as a joystick, pushing up may be the same as pressing "A" on the keyboard, and pulling down would be the same as pressing "D" (or depending on how you decide to remap the controls of course). So in this case, it may be more like "binary on/off".

However, with Pinnacle, you can adjust the sensitivity as well as dead-zones of a joystick.
And if the game, let's say a driving or racing type game, that is programmed to work with a Steering-Wheel controller to detect "how much the wheel is turned" and steer the car either slightly or more sharply accordingly, then Pinnacle may help in fine-tuning in that regards as well.

So, I guess unless you invest in some expensive controller such as the RailDriver Desktop Train Cab Controller,
http://www.raildriver.com/products/raildriver.php
which is specifically made to work with some Train-Sim programs and comes with it's own drivers/program that helps register what the controls do, then for RailWorks you may be stuck with "on / of" type of response from a typical game controller.
I don't have the resources, or need, to afford such an elaborate luxury (The RailDriver Controller), so even then I'm not quite sure if that works quite the way you were thinking, though from the info I've seen about it I think it probably does.

Hope that info helps.
Cheers!

Last edited by lonewolfdon: 05-21-2010 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:57 AM   #5
tin
 
 
 
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So I tried the Pinnacle demo tonight. Gave up pretty quick. After abandoning that, I decided to investigate if I could write my own... And within 2 minutes, stumbled upon someone else's attempt at doing so over at UKTrainSim.

http://forums.uktrainsim.com/viewforum.php?f=318

And to be honest, it does what it says on the tin. It's not the most elegant tool as far as configuring (XML file must be manually edited), but it worked straight up with my Sidewinder Pro, although slightly awkward as I expected being a stick.

Now I have reason to purchase new hardware - YAY!
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Old 10-30-2010, 04:20 AM   #6
mallarda4
 
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Cool

wel guys i tried using a ps3 controller and that doesnt work i will try installing the utility don is on about as it sounds good.

is uspect that if you use a joystick like on the ps3 controllers that the throttle and brake wont be binary but like a proper throttle and brake however this is just a hunch and may be in correct
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:59 AM   #7
mallarda4
 
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Exclamation sorry

joystick is like a train joystick using a flight joystick works just fine had to install the thing don was on about though.

would like to point everybody in this forum to my group if you havent seen it alread its called we want railsim.com to fix the railworks bug

by this i mean the something bad happened in your program please join if you own steam. i will use it as a petition to claim howmany people they are anoying and ticking off

sorry for the rant
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