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Siddley

Realistic controls

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Does anyone think that there might be a market for realistic or semi realistic SB controllers\button boxes ?
It's the sort of thing I build for fun - for flight sims - and I'm thinking about maybe doing something for SB too.
Here are some of the cockpit panels ( two notional, one pretty much true to reality ) I built for the DCS Saab Viggen...and a 3D model of a Harrier GR7 up front controller
I've got blueprints for some AFV controller handgrips, I could model those next ( and probably end up giving them away for nothing :D  )

69990469_2462352893883460_3576891662242152448_n.jpg

ufc.JPG

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The question whether there's a market for it is easy to answer: Hell, yes!

Is there a lucrative market? Way more difficult to answer.

 

One problem is that there are no standardized elements in a tank's/IFV's user interface. Each manufacturer follows his own design philosophy, armies might further meddle with the UI during the acquisition process. FEX, the M1 uses a keypad to enter values like a range estimation into the ballistic computer. In the Leopard 2, it's a rotating knob that must be pushed down first. The most rewarding vehicle for buttons galore is the CV90/30, but authentic instruments would have Finnish labels which only the crazy Finns could understand, and in any case, the number of fans of a specific Finnish infantry fighting vehicle are not even numerous within the Steel Beasts community.

 

So the fundamental problem from a business perspective is the fragmented nature of the control elements, combined with a small market size. Which is the standard problem for military hardware in general, and the prime reason why military stuff is expensive - high engineering and production standards, the desire for sturdy but lightweight materials, and tiny production lots. The only way to operate profitably are high prices, but high prices will further reduce the number of consumer customers. You have to be certifiably crazy to build your own sim cockpit for more than one vehicle, and if you build it for one vehicle it may not be well suited to the myriad of others; Steel Beasts is a mix of study and survey simulation, and in most scenarios you are expected to take control of more than a single vehicle type.

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On Steelbeast PE version, there is very large variety on General buttons one could build a control panel for.  That would be kind of Universal control panel for most AFVs.    Much like keyboard is currendly. 

 

and it just like Ssnake said. AFV controls are so fractured that it seems to me that Esim's has purposefully chosen this way, to make Steelbeast usable and enjoyable experience, even with the large multitude of vehicles.  

 

As addition to those general buttons we can bind to keyboard. - There are on most AFVs vehicle special functions or buttons we can use in the sim, only inside vehicle by clicking those functions with mouse.  For example  cv9030  has multitude of these functions one can do.  -> However what we cannot do is to bind any of these special things to keyboard or self made control panel or devices.  That, is one big difference between Pro and PE versions of Steel beast.  

 

So...  One can build a control panel for a chosen vehicle, but can only bind available inputs (that are numerous). If that is good enough. Then no problem.  To me personally, i would likely build a control panel around what is available as general, rather than one selected vehicle. It would feel plainly odd to have to use selected range of switches and toggles from control panel next to me...  and still have to click yet another range of switches and toggles from clickable vehicle special functions from F1 view inside the vehicle.  

Edited by Lumituisku

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I've come to a very similar conclusion as you guys regarding how vehicle specific the controls *shouldn't* be ( I do own PE and enjoy the sim massively when I get time )

I think a generic controller\switch panel that looks AFV-like is the way to go. There are off the shelf software methods to capture mouse positions and clicks ( for clickable only buttons )  then bind them to a physical button, but they all look pretty unreliable in practice.
So the functions on the physical controller will have to be ones that PE supplies as keyboard\joystick.

The only minor issue after that is the look and ergonomics. Years ago I was in a job that is very difficult to explain and got to interact with a lot of Soviet military hardware - I ended up with a respect for what they made, but ergonomically it could be very awkward.
I reckon that only a fanatic would want all the Soviet ergonomic quirks reproduced.

Currently I'm building a lot of the Viggen's cockpit just for fun and helping restore a Ju-88 cockpit section for a museum but I reckon there is room to squeeze in some AFV controls. For a business model I'm thinking about offering the units in kit form - you'd get a set of plans detailing the construction, *stl files for 3D printing, and maybe some hardware. The price would be pretty modest because the customer is doing a lot of the work :)
Or as I said, I might just give the 3D models away...don't know yet....

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