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Raildriver Or Hotas/joystick Remapping ?

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by anorak, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. anorak

    anorak Member

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    As my flurry of posts on here would indicate, my interest in Rail sims has been rekindled by TSW. :)

    I was also attracted to TSW 2 because of the built-in Raildriver support, albeit loco by loco.

    I bought one back in my TS20xx phase, so good to have dedicated controls rather than scrabbling about with the mouse and keyboard.

    I've noticed a few web hits where people have mapped their Warthog and other Hotas controllers to control TSW 2 via third party remapping software. It strikes me that might actually be better than the tiny levers on my raildriver ? Any thoughts and experiences on using either ?

    (Great Forum, so much informed activity) :)
     
  2. Drakoz

    Drakoz Active Member

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    For most people, there isn't really an option. The Raildriver is the only thing supported directly by TSW2. My TARGET Script for the Warthog is pretty nice for the locomotives it supports, but it isn't ideal for the masses, and I will never be able to support all locomotives. For those willing to wade into script programming (it is easier than it seems), with a few hours of effort, anyone can add support for any TSW or TSW2 locomotive using a Warthog or other TARGET compatible controller. That cannot be said about the Raildriver right now.


    That being said, here is my experience using the Raildriver vs. my Warthog and other options.

    I have a Raildriver but still prefer using a Thrustmaster Warthog Throttle (using my script). I felt the same when running TS20xx using CobraOne's TS20xx RailDriver Interface software, which provides configurable support for DirectX controllers. I use to run a Warthog Throttle and a Saitek Throttle Quadrant with TS20xx. Or, for the Smokebox FEF-3 steam engine, I ran 3 Saitek throttle quadrants and the Warthog (12 axis total to control engineer and fireman levers and valves). It was wonderful. Very immersive.

    The Warthog has longer throws for the levers and a better feel overall. The buttons and switches feel better and will stand up to abuse better. Being a HOTAS, most buttons are conveniently located within reach of your fingers which is nice even if not realistic. Being able to flip in and out of external views, change hud or map controls, and move around with one hand is nice. Also, since most the locomotives have a separate throttle and brake, the RailDriver's throttle/brake combo lever is out of place most the time, but it still works pretty well despite that. My script has a compromise putting all 3 brake levers on a the Warthog left throttle lever with a "layer" switch. So compromises either way. But add a TCA Quadrant along side the Warthog, and I have one lever per function.

    The Raildriver is still pretty nice. In fact, it is nicer than it seems it should be. It looks a little flimsy, but actually works pretty well. So maybe I'd say it is a 60/40 split (Warthog/Raildriver) for my tastes. It is a bit unfair to compare them, though. The Warthog is quite a bit more expensive but you definitely get what you pay for. I would not suggest buying a Warthog just for TSW unless you also want to use it for flight sims, or you are a really hard core TSW player.

    I also like the new Thrustmaster Airbus TCA Throttle Quadrant. It is much cheaper and you can get 2 of them to make 4 levers. Once they release the TCA Quadrant Addon, that gives 2 more levers (6 total - enough for any locomotive in TSW), but cost starts to add up. My script will support them, but I haven't released that support yet. Major down side, though, is the TCA Quadrants have very few buttons and switches. So the TCA levers feel better than the RailDriver, but the Raildriver is better overall.

    I have been using a Warthog with a single TCA Quadrant, and that is a nice combo.

    Regardless, the biggest problem is neither my script nor Dovetail's support for the Raildriver works with all locomotives. I will not be able to support all DLC, and Dovetail's rollout of support is taking too long. Long term we have to wait for Dovetail to add Full Raildriver and DirectX support because my script is not beneficial to the majority of people. Again, if you understand how to modify my script, anyone can add support for any TSW/TSW2 locomotive in a couple hours and customize it any way you want. Sadly, that is not very helpful to most of the TSW community because most train simmers aren't into script programming.

    For me, I am happy with my script, and even after Dovetail adds DirectX support, I will probably still use my script because it gives me control over features Dovetail will not likely add. My offer still stands to work with anyone one on one to show you how to customize my script. For everyone else, a Raildriver is definitely the path of least resistance once they finally start adding large scale support for all locomotives.
     
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  3. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Thanks for the very detailed reply Drakoz.
    I take your point about the expense of some of the hardware choices, but luckily, as my user name implies I am an anorak when it comes to sims (of any type). I do have a Warthog, and a Raildriver, and (too much, she says :)) other sim hardware so for me it's just a question of making best use of it, rather than the cost coming into the equation.

    Now if only TSW could send movement information to my motion platform, I could actually feel the jolts and clickety clack...
     

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    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
  4. Drakoz

    Drakoz Active Member

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    Ah, nice pit setup. And I see a collective in there. For flight sims, I mostly fly DCS helicopters.

    Ya, since you have a Warthog and Raildriver, definitely try my TARGET Script but also try the Raildriver - and decide. In fact, I'd love to hear your feedback comparing the two.
     
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  5. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Thanks Drakoz, I'll certainly be trying both out, I'll come back to this thread when I've got any results.
     
  6. anorak

    anorak Member

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    I've been looking at your Youtube videos and downloads for Target Scripts Drakoz.

    Thanks for the considerable effort you've put into it. Having spent some time now with my Raildriver I think the Warthog control option looks much better. I know the Raildriver implementation in TSW 2 has only just been released and is still in beta, but the combination of its limited software interface with no user assignments and the hardware's rather poor accuracy of the axis controls, I almost prefer using the keyboard and mouse. The precision of the warthog with its hall effect sensors and high quality mechanism is in a different league to the stubby platsic levers and carbon pots of the raildriver.
     
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  7. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread Drakoz, but I now have your Target script running on my Warthog.

    I was a bit daunted by the Target interface, but it's slowly sinking in now, (I have the same problem with mobile phones etc. :))

    I was initailly getting run errors but when I posted the error messages into Google they seemed to be caused by Win10's dreaded USB power saving "feature". Rather than edit the USB devices' power settings in the registry, (one of the fixed suggested), I got round it by switching the Warthog off and on, thus refreshing its power source. It then compiled and ran OK and is now working about 90%, with your very clever keypress pauses to keep the throttle in step.

    My only two problems are that it seems to lose the upper an lower extents for the throttle, as if the lever isn't quite moving far enough at each end.

    Also, more importantly, my brake lever, (throttle lever 2) isn't sending keypresses, so not moving at all. I found the very useful Target script activity window. that shows what the main Throttle lever is sending, but it's blank when I move the brake lever.
     
  8. Drakoz

    Drakoz Active Member

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    When you move the Flaps switch, does it not work in all 3 positions? Some locomotives do not send any key strokes depending on the position of the Left Flaps Switch. What locomotive are you having this difficulty with? Just one, or several?

    I saw your PM, so I'll go reply there as well.
     
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  9. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Thanks for the kind help Drakoz.
    I haven't been able to get the sim's brake lever to respond with the Wrathog throttles 2nd lever with the flap in any of its 3 positions, nor with any loco. I had a look at Target's test window as well, and it's blank when moving the brake lever, whereas the throttle lever generates a hive of activity there the sequential keys and delays.
     
  10. Reventloff

    Reventloff Well-Known Member

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    Hello there, sirs!

    I was thinking of getting the RailDriver once I got into TSW but quite high price together with its limited usage (only for train sims I mean) and rather small sticks on it gave me some concerns (my hands are huge). So I had purchased Logitech Saitek Pro Flight Throttle Quadrant instead (It has three long sticks and 6 additional buttons). And Im really happy now using it in TSW 2 together with another Logitech flight stick (the stick itself I use for horn). And I put the Quadrant vertically or horizontaly depending on the loco I drive to represent the position of real levers more closely.

    To get it working with TSW 2 (or really with any other sim) I just use third-party key mapping macros based on windows autohotkey (some called Simu-Check Toolset). Pretty wide customization and quite simple way to set-up controls with every loco for your taste (just putting various pre-set commands in excel form, changing levels and sensetivity and saving your set-up for each loco). You can set-up any number of hotas/joysticks/gamepads that way to work together ingame. For instance, I use additional steering wheel for controlling throttle on DB BR 204 or 155. So this is very flexible option compared to RailDriver, and I really enjoy additional immersion it provides me.

    Cheers!
     
  11. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Thanks for the info Reventlof.
    I must admit if I'd bought the Raildriver to use just with TSW2 I would have been very disappointed (so far), with the way it interacts with that Sim. Although it's a nice self contained unit with cleverly gated levers, they are quite flimsy looking and with simple potentiometers inside, rather than hall effect sensors. Having said that, the componentry build inside is very good quality, with nicely soldered joints and good quality circuit boards.
    It works perfectly with TS2020, so it's quite a disappointment how vague the levers interact with TSW 2.
    I'm currently setting my sim rig up with Drakoz' excellent script for the Warthog throttle, and he's ceratinly cracked the difficulty with TSW2 only expecting incremental keypresses, rather than continuously variable axis.
    I'm struggling a bit with understanding the Warthog's Target scripts, (and he's being very patient and helpful), but it's a very worthwhile exercise, bearing in mind how sophisticated it can translate switches and axis into programme instructions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  12. Michael Newbury

    Michael Newbury Well-Known Member

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    I am not exactly happy with how the raildriver interacts with TSW myself either, but we must remember one thing it is still in Beta so there will be tweaks coming at some point.
     
  13. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Yes indeed Michael, the possibility of the TSW2 drivers possibly being improved would make it much more usable with this sim.
     
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  14. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    Interesting discussion. I use Raildriver pretty much exclusively for TSW and I'm very comfortable with it, though I wish DTG would update it to make it customizable and to work with all locomotives and MU's.
    One thing I'd add to the discussion is to reassure people about the robustness of the RD unit. Some RD's have been in use for the best part of 20 years and still work fine. Mine is not quite that old, but I use it every day and I don't "baby" it in any way. I find it to be very sturdy and not at all flimsy. Of course, like any piece of hardware, it can be abused, but, with reasonable care, I expect it to last for many years.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  15. Drakoz

    Drakoz Active Member

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    Crosstie, Agreed. The Raildriver is pretty well built even though it kind of doesn't look like it. The main flimsy part about it is the horn switch (the tall toggle switch on the left side). It is easy to break off if you get too aggressive with it. I've seen a lot on eBay with a broken switch.
     
  16. anorak

    anorak Member

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    Many thanks to Drakoz for sorting out my problem with his Warthog target script.
    In IT support parlance, it was just a case of "RTFM", all the problems were down to my ignorance.
    I was loading the script, but not then switching to the correct loco.
    His PDF user guide was too comprehensive ( :) ), so I'd fallen for the usual pitfall, I'd stopped reading it when I thought I'd got it running.
    The methodology of using the Warthog's sophisticated programming to emulate "up" and "down" sequential keypresses with pauses works well with TSW's throttle and brake lever inputs not being axis based. (Probably why the Raildriver's simple analog axis don't work too well so far.)
    I've just been running the Type 37 on the Tees Line, and sitting back with the Warthog's two big levers was so much more immersive than keyboard, gamepad, or Raildriver.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
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