I had submitted a number of support tickets to find out if Cryptic - STO will support our devices. They responded to my last one and their answer is as follows:
[Thank you for contacting Cryptic Studios regarding peripheral functionality. Unfortunately, we are not supporting the use of any game controllers at this time. If you have feedback regarding this matter, please feel free submit it in the Official Forums or with a new ticket about how you feel this should work. We appreciate your feedback and thank you for playing! ]
So we are on our own! I guess that is final, unless we all put in support tickets and make their lives miserable on the forums, which could lead to forum blacklisting. Remember this is not a democracy we are in. It is more of a semi-benevolent dictatorship. If they don't want to do something, the powers that be can squelch any voice that appears that they do not like.
If you need help, you can contact me through this website's e-mail system and I will do my best to give you any advise you need, and direct you to the necessary infomation. I will say this, the Saitek x52 sticks are a bit more problematic in configuring that Logitech, Thrustmaster and others simply for the fact that the manufacturer doesn't give as much software support, so you are left with 3rd party software that wasn't written for the device.
I find it funny that we have to do work arounds for devices that Windows finds and configures so easily. The other funny thing is that, when I go into the "Options" in game and open the keyboard maping 2 of the buttons on my stick are mapped - button 6 and 7. How? At this point I don't have any answers. I know that I should be able to click a button on the stick and the options should identify the action in place of a keyboard function and it doesn't.
I know that the Logitech devices aren't the best. I calibrate mine once every other use. But, the software interface that comes with works very well. And you can get the Attack 3 for $20.
There is some native functionality built into the game engine but not fully implmented. The game engine does seem to recognize an xbox 360 controler better than others but still needs to be configured manually. (my father in law has his working for ground only) He uses a joystick (also configured manually) for space.
Now the other side of the coin:
During OB the dev's posted that they had no plans to impliment joystick or controler support in STO.
So good luck to anyone wanting to use anything other than keyboard or mouse in STO.
Get a Logitech G13. I use that and my mouse. There is STO support for the G13 because their software recognizes my gamepad. I use the stick as my WSAD keys, and where my finders would sit on WSAD, I have that bound to my # keys. So I can move, shoot, and cilck my interface, all at the same time.
I have a pretty pricey setup, Thrustmaster HOTAS (Cougar) and RCS. The Foxy programming stuff is SUPER configurable ANYTHING can be configured, joy axis's can execute keystrokes or macros at whatever speed you want or based on region. For instance I can zone each axis seperately, example would be that pulling back 10% on the stick can execute a w every 3 (or whatever) seconds, alternately I can execute a w then home (macro) for the same time period if I want a follow camera, etc. w or w/home generation can be set to be slower or faster depending on axis deflection. Same with the throttle and everything else.
The stick actually gets 'programmed' (no program needs to run during the game) to do whatever you tell it to do, the game CANNOT tell the difference. The stick also has a TON of buttons, triggers, etc and a couple switches that give you the ability to have each button/axis/whatever do up to 6 things depending on position of the 3way throttle 'switch' and the 'hold to 'activate' button on the stick. The throttle also has 3 zones, Idle to mil power to afterburner (perfect for 'reverse', stepping through impulse by itself, and stepping through the full impulse (shift-R) stuff. I also found some 'manual' console commands that can be easily aliased to 'directly' set the throttles so instead of eeee to go from stopped to 100% there is actually a setting that can go directly to any throttle speed (for all modes) You can even reverse at different speeds. Those commands need to 'aliased' to single keys for effenciecy but given the throttle is generating it it could be any whack key (control, alt, whatever (assuming 'alias' handles that). Also hats can 'behave' like the mouse (actually ANY control can fake it) for looking around and so on.
Also if something breaks, you get two options, you can send it in for some fee 20-60 I forget which. OR you can get the part from them for like a dollar.
Also there are some good sites out there with community support (for instances cougarworld (or is it cougarsworld)) the thrustmaster site has some listed.
The stick can hold more than one profile (depending on complexity 3-5). There is an app (not required to run) that will switch profiles based on which game you run. I don't use that... I start the 'programming' app, update the stick to whatever I'm going to play... exit the programming app and start the game... Just personal pref.... You can also have the programmer 'launch' a game title if you want too which kind of does what I do.. I don't use that either .
Those are the advantages... Now for the disadvantages...
1) Pretty pricy, this isn't your 'saitek'/'logitech'/generic setup pricing, for a full hotas (throttle and stick) you'll drop about 250 or more (been 7 yrs since I bought them). The RCS isn't made anymore and goes for 150+ at auction/etc. So you can easily drop 400+ on this. The programming language stuff is free tho.
2) The programming language is NOT trivial, I program in about 3-4 languages and know about a dozen more... This is a REAL (albeit VERY specific) language... and it can be tricky... Coding/testing/recoding/etc the stuff can take from 10 minutes to 6+ hrs to get right (the keyboard stuff is 'trickier' than when the game understands analog axis stuff). A good quick debug tool is available where it checks output for everything (speeds, keys, axis's, buttons, etc)
3) This setup was done by fighter pilots, the stick/throttle/rcs (rudder control system) is EXACTLY like an f16 as to design, amount of force to deflect (this can be quite high 15-20 lbs for a full axis (x or y) deflection on the stick.
4) IF you have to work on the stick/throttle, be VERY careful as it's easy to get it wrong.
5) The default pots on the axises (that show which way the stick is moving/amount of deflection/etc) CAN go bad and can also have some jitter if they aren't VERY clean. There are 'upgrades' available from third party sites (AND thrustmaster won't void your warranty either they encourage you to go inside especially when you order parts (They send the part and instructions on what to do). The 'pots' for the upgrades are optical/regular (depending on which you buy) and MUCH better.
6) Calibration of the stick is SUPER important.
Advantage AND disadvantage:
1) The stick and throttle are HEAVY but you'll still sometimes move them unless you attach them with industrial velcro. The cases and lots of the internals (gimbals/etc) are metal and NOT aluminum (well some is but most is steel and THICK). The stick weighs around 10lbs or more, throttle just a little less.
2) The overall system DOES work with windows 7/vista/etc and they have 32 and 64 bit drivers.
3) The overall system takes ONE usb port, it goes together like stick -> SPECIAL CABLE if you have an RCS that 'joins' them together -> throttle thats a 'game port' connector btw for stick or stick/rudder to throttle.
4) A couple devices need external wall power (at least rcs and I think the throttle/stick combo too)
5) the RCS does NOT have toe breaks, there is a thrustmaster one that does but its also out of production and VERY VERY pricy at auction. on the good side there are aftermarket things that can do that for a regular RCS.
6) these are 'adult' sized controls a child (or someone with small hands WILL have issues working them (amount of force regardless though that will ALSO impact usage). If you play for 4-8 hrs you WILL get tired.
I normally use this setup for much, much, MUCH more complex combat flight sims like falcon 4 allied forces where the manual is around 1000 pages.... a very realistic f-16 sim (if you put it in realistic mode that is). And it can handle 80-90% of the f16 functions.
I know this post doesn't help those who don't want to spend that kind of money/time... but I'm considering doing the 2-3 program files for the setup If I do I'll upload it to cougarworld or filghtsimcentral for anyone who wants it to download, I'll probably do that after the respec/season 1 release
One HUGE disadvantage for me is that to text chat you'll have to remove your hands from the HOTAS and that somewhat defeats the point.... that's why I haven't done it yet..... Maybe I'll do the vent thing for the fleet I'm in
BTW to address the G13 thing, my setup is G13/G19 and a G9x mouse... yes a G13 will do MOST of the commands but I find myself using the G19 instead... partially from laziness... the g13/15/19's displays ARE supported and quite useful, but its NOT a replacement for a HOTAS or even a joystick for space stuff... Not even close...