Saitek Joystick Tips

Written by robert allen
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Saitek Joystick Tips
Customising your Saitek joystick will enrich your flight simulation experience. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Modern joysticks made by Saitek and other manufacturers are a far cry from the simple control devices found on old arcade machines. As a result, getting the most out of your joystick or your flight simulator experience requires being able to tweak the stick until it behaves exactly as you want it to.

Design Programming Macros

The Saitek Profile Editor, accessible by right-clicking its icon in the Windows tray, allows you to record macros, a series of keystrokes or mouse clicks associated with a given button on your controller. For example, if your flight simulator has separate countermeasures for infrared and radar-guided missiles, you could set one button on your joystick to deploy both countermeasures at the same time. To save time, you can also record a complicated series of keys, such as the one required to start up an aeroplane's engines, and assign them to one button.

Automate Other Programs

Because the Saitek Profile Editor works with any program, not just computer games, you can use macros to automate nearly anything. This is useful if you keep the joystick on your desk and easily reachable at all times. For example, you could record a series of keystrokes that would log in to a chat server or record your e-mail signature as a single macro. That way, just reaching over and flipping a switch will let you save a lot of time typing. This may be a little geeky, but it's better than carpal tunnel syndrome.

Use Response Curves

Response curves define the relationship between the physical position of a joystick and how far the computer sees it moving. This allows you, for example, to increase the joystick's sensitivity near the centre of the stick's movement. Saitek's control software doesn't build in native support for response curves, but this is actually a blessing in disguise because it forces you to tailor your response curves to each computer game separately. The response curve set-up will be located in the same part of the game's options menu as where you choose what controller to use. For modern combat flight simulators, set a response curve that lets small movements of the stick produce large movements of the aircraft for greater maneuverability. For noncombat flight simulators, set the opposite curve so that you have to move the stick farther for the same result, which lets you control your aeroplane in a much gentler fashion.

Create a Virtual Controller

Older games that don't support Microsoft DirectX may not properly support your Saitek joystick either. For instance, they might improperly record the twisting of the joystick as the throttle axis. Older games also don't let you use multiple controllers at the same time. For example, your joystick and matching Saitek rudder pedals. Using a joystick emulator, such as PPJoy, will let you create a new virtual controller with the exact specifications you want, letting you set up the joystick axes properly or even combine multiple physical Saitek joysticks into one controller seen by Windows.

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