As you may have seen on our social media, we have new joystick features coming in the next major update. There are two major features here:
- Custom response curves
- Special (semantic) ranges for certain axis types
The first may be of general interest, while the second is almost exclusively useful to hardware makers and custom cockpit builders.
Custom response curves
For as long as I can remember, X-Plane has had a “control response” setting, which makes your controls respond non-linearly. More of your joystick’s range is mapped to the center of the your pitch/roll/yaw axis’s center, and less of the range is devoted to the extremes. This gives you fine-grained controls in the region where the controls are typically used, at the expense of more coarse controls at the limits.
In X-Plane 11, these settings live in the Control Sensitivity window (launched from the bottom of the Settings > Joystick screen), and they will continue to be there in the 11.30 update.
The problem with the existing control response setting, though, is that it applies to all joystick hardware you might plug in. You get just three values—pitch, roll, and yaw—that apply to every axis of that type, no matter the device. Moreover, if you have a different type of axis whose input you want to curve (e.g., throttle, tiller, etc.), you’re simply out of luck.
So, in 11.30, we’re adding support for setting custom curves on any axis type. When applied to a pitch, roll, or yaw axis, this will override the global control response curve; applied to other axis types, it will support new functionality not previously available.
These curves are incredibly powerful. They can do things like:
- Manually configure a null zone
- Create a smooth curve (a straightforward replacement for the old “control response” setting)
- Create really complex curves, with loads of control points, and your choice of interpolation method (linear, or one of two methods of smoothing)
But the fun doesn’t stop there!
New semantic ranges
There’s a new component to the curve editor that bears calling out explicitly.
When you’re editing a response curve for certain axis types (throttle, prop, or mixture), you’ll have the option of also configuring the ranges for certain axis-specific behaviors:
- Beta & reverse ranges for throttles
- Feather range for prop controls
- Cutoff range for mixture controls
X-Plane has always set these ranges automatically based on the aircraft model you were flying. For the first time, though, you can configure it yourself to match your hardware.
These are aimed primarily at hardware builders who have physical detents on their controls—you can make X-Plane’s idle point exactly match your throttle’s physical detent, for instance. This makes it possible to build really nice throttle-prop-mixture quadrants that play nicely with X-Plane.
If you’re a commercial hardware maker, and you’d like X-Plane to correctly configure your hardware by default for your users, you can set up both the axis & button assignments and the semantic axis ranges from the settings UI, then click the “Create Default Configuration File” button. Send the file it creates to me (my email is my first name at X-Plane.com) and I’ll get it shipping in the next release.