A lot happened since my last update on the simpit – under it’s hood. Function wise it changed not so much so the older demonstration video is still better for a quick demo. I still assembled a new video from clips of the first evening with the new hardware:

Quick trip from Armstrong Orbital over to the huge crater on HIP 117029-4 and back

So what changed? I got rid of the CY-822A USB joystick controller that, while good, was also limiting. Especially in inputs and how they would react. The Raspberry Pi, that I used to drive the status indicators, is also gone. This is all replaced by one single Arduino Mega that is connected via serial over USB.

A custom joystick daemon written in Rust is listening for data from the and feeds back the flags of Elite Dangerous to drive the blinken lights. I also extended the source to add me some rotary encoders (with push button function) and I’m very happy with the result of this. That makes a whopping amount of 48 buttons and 6 axis (where 2 axis make one hat). And it feels _so good_ to have e.g. self destruct or eject cargo save under a protective cover now 😀

The panel also got an external PSU with enough ampere to drive as many LED as I may imagine so I no longer abuse a phone charger for that or risk frying of the PCB / USB.

With all that in place I streamlined my pre-flight check-list quite a lot because way less hardware is involved and most of this is automated by now. It wasn’t all fun n giggles tho and while the new hard- and software “just worked” in e.g. it was that gave me a hard time to actually use most of the new buttons.

Getting all the precious buttons into Elite as well (okay, limited to 32 thanks to an old dinput library but who is counting at this point – will simply set the rest to keyboard macros instead)

Turns out it had no idea about the device and model identifiers reported by the joystick daemon and that the kernel assumed a gamepad based on declaring e.g. ButtonNorth via the more recent xinput system really didn’t help – because that limited the amount of read buttons via xinput severe! In the end I set it’s identifier to a “vJoy” device. That I found in the DeviceMappings.xml of Elite and since this could be basically anything I gave it a try (and removed all “offending” magic gamepad buttons from the code) and sure enough Elite started accepting the inputs as expected and from there it was smooth sailing – got even the hat working.

Oh and for everyone who is wondering what exactly they are seeing on the “MFD” when I’m playing Elite: That’s basically a Website using the FUI framework. Find a quick demo video here. Without the cardboard covering up parts of the screen it looks basically like this:

I also started doodles for a version 2 – now that I have an idea what I really want.

Plans for another based on a Valkyrie Cockpit

My Primary Buffer Panel is almost completely revamped 😄 Just an now, no more in the mix. The CY-822A is also gone. I did add an external PSU to drive as many LED as I can imagine too 😄

I also programmed support for 4 to 8 rotary encoders and there is an additional slide potentiometer sitting on my desk. I still have to find space for that – but I want that very badly since I know how mining in works 🙂 That makes now 49 buttons and 4 axes so far 🙃

A more detailed write-up is planned, as usual.

Yesterday I tried various ships in StarCitizen (some “free” event). I launched at Everus Harbor, a station orbiting Everus. When I tested the Dragonfly Black it became old fast circling around on the small landing pad so… why should I now attempt an atmospheric decent instead?

(Sorry for the extra shaking – I had my DIY headtracker on :D)

StarCitizen – Dragonfly Diving (on Linux PC)

Behind the scenes recording so you get the idea of the setup followed by some Star Citizen gameplay:

DIY headtracker and Simpit and Star Citizen gameplay (on Linux PC)

In use:

* A Linux PC
* A DIY Headtracker
* A DIY Joystick “Primary Buffer Panel
* A X52 Pro HOTAS
* 3 Cameras + Recording Software
* An AMD RX5600XT in tears
* …a Beko learning How To Fly in SC xD

So you _still_ think you can’t space pew pew on Linux PC? Think again. I do it all the time: https://beko.famkos.net/2021/10/16/space-pew-pew-on-linux-pc/