My sidewinder flight stick (or whatever it is called) is dead. I just plugged it in and it is stuck in a permanent left turn. After taking it apart I discovered I know nothing about taking apart joysticks.
I have a $70 due bill from compusa. Any suggestions?
By Alan Au (Itsatrap) on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 02:56 pm:
I'm involved in a pitched battle with my Win98 gameport drivers, so I'm highly suspect of so-called hardware issues. I'm thinking I may need to pick up a USB joystick and do an end run around the problem. Uh, I suppose I'm looking for suggestions too.
By Anonymous on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 03:05 pm:
You can play with my joystick Chet ...
By Rob Funk (Xaroc) on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 03:30 pm:
The Logitech Wingman series has always been good and are inexpensive for the latest generation. I still have a first gen Wingman that works well but is huge.
By TomChick on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 03:39 pm:
Joysticks. I vaguely remember those...
Marmoset, the one I still use is CH's basic Flightstick Pro. I don't know if they make them anymore, but it's a solid no-frills stick with *very* smooth and precise action. My version isn't USB, though, and I have to use separate rudder pedals.
Oh, and as far as I know, it doesn't make the interface in CivIII any smoother. :)
By Tim Elhajj on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 03:39 pm:
If I wanted a good stick at a mid-range price, I would go with another sidewinder. In fact, I'd probably go with the new USB force feedback sidewinder. It's probably going to be right around your 70 price point, maybe a little more. Say what you like about their software, MS makes pretty durable hardware. I've heard too many tales of woe from Saitek and even CH owners. The new TM stuff is going to be expensive, and only meant for the really die hard flight sim fans.
By Jason Levine on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 03:53 pm:
Ah joysticks. As much trouble as I've had finding a good left-handed mouse, joysticks were always so much worse. I might have gotten into flight sims but for the fact that finding a decent joystick that a lefty could use was simply impossible. I wound up settling on the original Sidewinder, because I could at least hold it comfortably even if it did mean that I had to ignore the trottle and the two buttons on the side of the stick.
Hardly surprising that I don't mourn the demise of joystick games.
By Denny on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 04:03 pm:
Check out the Thrustmaster Top Gun Afterburner if you plan to use this in flight or space sims. Detachable throttle, programmable, digital USB, all the frills, and it's under $75.
In the real aircraft, the stick's held with the right hand and the throttle with the left. There were even left-handed aces. Wuss. :-)
By Dave Long on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 04:37 pm:
I'm using the Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 at home. It's USB and it's been great for Jumpgate, Freespace 2 and even racing games. Good construction, "twist" handle, eight buttons and a reasonable throttle. It's comfortable too.
By Jason Levine on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 04:45 pm:
"In the real aircraft, the stick's held with the right hand and the throttle with the left. There were even left-handed aces. Wuss. :-)"
I'm well aware of that. However, the last time I checked the purpose of playing computer games was for fun. And being uncomfortable isn't much fun.
By Jason McCullough on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 04:46 pm:
On a related note: how do you people keep your joysticks from developing drift? Occasionally I'll pull out Tie Fighter and play through it again, and after about a week of play, no matter how new the joystick is or the brand, the damn thing won't stay centered anymore.
It's almost like the accuracy starts to go; the joystick when perfectly still will make the targeting cursor bounce around a center point, or it'll drift in one direction. Flying in a straight line becomes virtually impossible.
Am I just way too hard on these things?
By Tim Elhajj on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 06:25 pm:
"Am I just way too hard on these things?"
Nah, that happens. Do a web search for Bob Church and Joystick. Church created a little app called CTFJ. Heh, not too hard to figure out what that acronym stands for. It's basic feature is to add a value to your registry so that it returns to center and doesn't drift.
By Brian Rucker on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 08:31 pm:
I've messed with different sticks and different configurations but nothing really high end.
I like Wingman Force for prop sims as the feedback you get in some is incredible, shudders when you're on the edge of a stall or stick stiffening as flaps are forced back in a dive, but the responsiveness and smoothness are only barely good enough.
The Wingman Interceptor, no longer in production but still available from some sites, is good for jet and space sims as it boasts many buttons and hats besides being eeriely smooth and precise. I picked it up for use with a Newtonian based space sim so I could control different thrust vectors with different hats. The downside is my gameport has trouble recognising it and I have to prompt it before each use.
I usually end up with a cheap Top Gun HOTAS setup from Thrustmaster that includes a seperate throttle and pedals. It's good for most sims and is pretty reliable. Plus I don't like searching for the just the right joystick for each sim all the time. This might be the antique version of the "Afterburner" described above.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 12:26 am:
I definitely prefer the microsoft (Sidewinder FFB 2) stick to the logitech (Wingman Force) one. The construction fit and finish is better, and it seemed more accurate and smooth to my hand..
If you're looking at flightsticks, I don't have enough experience with those to recommend one.
By Sean Tudor on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 02:20 am:
Hey Jason I am a lefty too. When I first purchased my F16 FLCS from Thrustmaster I had to train myself to use my right hand to control the joystick. After much pain, sweat, and tears I finally managed it and now ALWAYS use my right hand to control the joystick.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 10:04 am:
Here's a recent joystick article
No force-feedback though.
By Jason Levine on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 05:18 pm:
"After much pain, sweat, and tears I finally managed it and now ALWAYS use my right hand to control the joystick."
I've got no argument with that, Sean. It's just a matter of how much "pain, sweat, and tears" playing a flight sim with a good joystick is worth to you. If you find it worth the effort, I say, in all seriousness, good for you. I just didn't find playing flight sims on the computer personally important enough to go through that.
By Chet on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 02:18 am:
I found out which one not to buy. Once at Compusa the only force feedback stick that was within my budget was the Logitech force 3d.
When it had a drift in the setup program, I wasn't expecting much. It just doesn't want to work well with some of the games and it just feels cheap. For the most part, it just feels like you are resting your hand ontop of your fridge. If you press down or rest your weight on it, you can feel something more - but it just doesn't feel right, its not connected well. The stick itself is also very loose, I thought it was like that in the store because it wasn't on, guess not.
They also had the Fox 2 Pro Thrustmaster that tom's hardware liked (thanks for the link). It is $30 less so that may win.
As an added bonus, I did get to tell some guy that "CIV 3 sucks, but the famous game reviewer tom chick gave it a 9.2" Sorry Tom your name recognition still isn't there, I will have to restart my "Make Tom Chick a household name" campaign. I apologize for not keeping up with it.
By TomChick on Sunday, November 18, 2001 - 07:00 pm:
"As an added bonus, I did get to tell some guy that "CIV 3 sucks, but the famous game reviewer tom chick gave it a 9.2""
Hey, what's with picking on me, Wumpus-style? I'm not the only guy who loves CivIII. Or don't you read other reviews as well?
"Sorry Tom your name recognition still isn't there, I will have to restart my "Make Tom Chick a household name" campaign. I apologize for not keeping up with it."
Yeah, if you could work on that. I try to test out how you're doing every now and then. I go to someplace like a Starbucks and ask for a free latte. When they tell me I have to pay for it, I say, "Do you know who I am? I'm Tom Chick." Not only do I end up still having to pay, but sometimes they laugh at me. So I reassure myself that since you're in Ohio or somewhere like that, it's just taking longer for your campaign to make any progress.
But we'll always have Schwarzkopf.
By SiNNER 3001 on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 02:00 am:
Sean Tudor wrote:
"When I first purchased my F16 FLCS from Thrustmaster I had to train myself to use my right hand to control the joystick. After much pain, sweat, and tears I finally managed it and now ALWAYS use my right hand to control the joystick."
I had exactly the same experience with "Panty Raider."
By Jim Frazer on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 01:26 pm:
I'm guilty of being a Civ III lover. There are a few things about it that I don't like, but it's so soaked through with Civ-style goodness that I manage to ignore them. It's still a toss-up between SMAC and CivIII for which Civ game I'll be firing up 6 months from now.
As for joysticks, I have been pleased with all of the Sidewinder FFB sticks. Our local Best Buy had a Sidewinder Pro FFB mislabled as being on sale for $29.95 (when it was supposed to be $129.95)...I bought 2. :) This was a few years ago, but I'm sure the current Sidewinders have maintained the same quality. Best MechWarrior controller I've ever used.
By Jason McCullough on Monday, November 19, 2001 - 05:22 pm:
'It's still a toss-up between SMAC and CivIII for which Civ game I'll be firing up 6 months from now.'
It'll definitely be Civ III for me, assuming they patch it up. I just can't take the tedious nightmare of terraforming in SMAC anymore.