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Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Inputs?

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Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Inputs?

Postby Ron Swerdfeger » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:20 pm

Using Windows 10 and FG 2017.1.3

I'm flying a Cessna 172P Skyhawk using keyboard control inputs. Just wondering if the sensitivity of the elevators, ailerons and rudder keyboard controls can be adjusted to make them less / more sensitive? In my case I would like to make them a little less sensitive so the keyboard inputs would not make as much of a change to these flight controls.

Please excuse my terminology, I'm very new to FG and hope I'm explaining my question correctly.

Thank You!
Ron
PS: I think FG is GREAT!
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby Thorsten » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:07 am

Are you sure you're using the keyboard as intended (i.e. never keep a key pressed, just apply single keystrokes to move controls a notch?)

They're not actually very sensitive, I think they increment in 0.05 steps, which means you have to tap 20 times to get to full control deflection.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby FlugHund » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:04 pm

Hi Ron,

should be doable, though I've not actually tested it. The file to alter is keyboard.xml which resides in FG_ROOT. Ideally make a backup copy before altering it.


Example for the function "Elevator up" if you're using the arrow-keys (starting at line 1366 in said file):
Code: Select all
<key n="359">
<name>Down</name>
<desc>Elevator up or increase autopilot altitude</desc>
<repeatable type="bool">true</repeatable>
<binding>
<command>nasal</command>
<script>
if (getprop("/sim/freeze/replay-state"))
controls.speedup(-1);
else
controls.incElevator(-0.05, 100)
</script>

The line that actually performs that action is
Code: Select all
controls.incElevator(-0.05, 100)


Meaning:
controls is the nasal file where the function lives.
incElevator is the actual function inside that file
(-0.05, 100) arguments for that function, to quote controls.nas:
Code: Select all
# arg[0] is the elevator increment
# arg[1] is the autopilot target altitude increment


So, you should be able to make it more sensible by altering the -0.05 to something like -0.03.

Repeat that for: Elevator down, Move aileron left and Move aileron right (search for these terms to find the regarding code)
For rudder it's slightly different but hopefully self-explaining: Move rudder left and Move rudder right

If you're using the num-pad instead of the arrow keys, search for these terms as well but where the <name>-tag contais a number, like <name>2</name> for Elevator up.
Last edited by FlugHund on Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby Ron Swerdfeger » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:25 pm

Thanks Thorsten & FlugHund.

Your right Thorsten, it is 0.05 steps which means exactly what you said, "you have to tap 20 times to get to full control deflection", but I would still like a little more sensitivity. I tried a friends joystick and immediately noticed the control was significantly more subtle giving me greater fine tuned control. I'm so new to FG and controlling the Cessna that it might just be my inexperience in controlling the aircraft that causes my desire for more sensitive control equivalent to the experience I had on my friends joystick!

FlugHund, I'll give your suggestion a try and see how it goes, I'll post my results but this may be exactly what I'm looking for as I have a very difficult time fine tuning a heading or lining up for a landing with the default setting steps of 0.05. Also just wondering if using a 0.025 value would be a valid setting?

I thank you both for your help! Very much appreciated!

Ron
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby VicMar » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:08 am

Alternatively you could try to use the mouse for control. You should be able to alter the mouse sensitivity in your PC's System Preferences.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby jam007 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:36 am

Ron Swerdfeger wrote in Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:25 pm:Also just wondering if using a 0.025 value would be a valid setting?

Yes. Actually better than 0.03 since it is an integer number of steps to 1. (With 0.03 you will get a slight difference after stepping to full deflection.)
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby rominet » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:30 am

There has been very good advice here. Just a few points:
  • keyboard.xml is to be found in $FG_ROOT, not $FG_HOME (unless FG tries to read both locations, but I am not aware of this).
  • In the same folder, you'll also find mice.xml which you may use to customize your mouse sensitivity for FlightGear. I find it a bit strange to change it system-wide only for FG.

    Edit: well, if you need different mouse sensitivity settings for different aircraft, you may find it easier to change in your operating system (Windows / Linux / etc.) than by editing mice.xml. So, this could be a valid reason. On the other hand, mice.xml offers more flexibility than typical OS tools, since you can tweak things differently for the various axes...
  • Before changing any file in $FG_ROOT, better make a backup copy. Also, keep a copy of your modified file because otherwise, you may lose your changes when you upgrade or remove FlightGear.
  • I (like others) think you'd better spend your time learning to fly with the mouse (or a joystick) than fine-tuning the keyboard sensitivity. The mouse allows very fine and quick control (cf. osjcag's videos, or the heli video in my sig...) which is probably unreachable with the keyboard. Sure, it doesn't have enough buttons like flightsim joysticks, but you can use the keyboard to compensate for this. :wink:
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby Ron Swerdfeger » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:01 pm

Thanks again everyone for all the great support. I'll hope to soon get around to editing keyboard.xml and experimenting with the mouse. Will post results on how it works out.

Ron
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby Ron Swerdfeger » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:37 pm

I'm using Windows 10 and I didn't know what folders were represented by $FG_ROOT or $FG_HOME so I searched for Keyboard.xml and found it in C:\Program Files\FlightGear 2017.1.3\data I then I used Notepad to edit the file changing the increments for ailerons, elevators & rudder from 0.05 to 0.025 and all worked fine. I now have double the sensitivity for these controls.

An Off Topic Note: My Father-in-law who was a jet pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force now works with the Air Cadets here in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada and recently purchased the 5 disk set and I've been helping him get things set up. He is so very pleased with FlightGear that he is assisting the Air Cadets in transitioning from Microsoft Flight Simulator to FlightGear as he feels it is a much better program.

Again, I thank everyone for all the help, so very much appreciated! :D :D :D

Ron
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby FlugHund » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:49 pm

Ron Swerdfeger wrote in Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:37 pm:[...] I didn't know what folders were represented by $FG_ROOT or $FG_HOME [...]


Hehe, that's why the phrases in rominet's and my posts are links to our wiki where the locations for these folders should™ be explained for various OSes. Hence their colour.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby Parnikkapore » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:47 pm

Here I go with my writing again! On Windows...
$FG_ROOT is <installation directory>/data , in case of Ron C:/Pr...1.3/data .
$FG_HOME can always be found under %APPDATA%/Roaming/flightgear.org
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby Ron Swerdfeger » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:40 pm

rominet wrote in Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:30 am:[*]I (like others) think you'd better spend your time learning to fly with the mouse (or a joystick) than fine-tuning the keyboard sensitivity. The mouse allows very fine and quick control (cf. osjcag's videos, or the heli video in my sig...) which is probably unreachable with the keyboard. Sure, it doesn't have enough buttons like flightsim joysticks, but you can use the keyboard to compensate for this. :wink: [/list]


I'm giving the mouse a try and certainly see what you mean, thanks for the advice. However, I'll have to practice my coordination using the mouse, it seems a little tricky at first but with more practice hopefully I'll catch on.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby rominet » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:56 pm

Good, you may then be interested in this patch for adjusting throttle with the mouse wheel. Happy flying. :wink:

Also, for crosswind takeoffs and landings... if you can afford even a bad analog joypad, that should help a lot for rudder: mouse in one hand, rudder with joypad using the other hand just for these delicate moments---right, purists/real pilots use rudder all the time except when on autopilot, I believe.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby wlbragg » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:22 pm

Ron Swerdfeger wrote in Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:37 pm:An Off Topic Note: My Father-in-law who was a jet pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force now works with the Air Cadets
[snip]
He is so very pleased with FlightGear that he is assisting the Air Cadets in transitioning from Microsoft Flight Simulator to FlightGear as he feels it is a much better program.


That is really nice to hear. Everyone associated with the project appreciates feedback such as this. The community welcomes you and the Royal Canadian Air Force Air Cadets.
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Re: Can You Change the Sensitivity of Keyboard Control Input

Postby approxdec » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:59 am

hello everyone.

i too am a keyboard flyer.
i have edited keyboard.xml to 0.025 as discussed in this topic.

i have FlightGear running well in an older laptop under Ubuntu Linux.
the installation is 2 days old.

using the C172.

but using the numpad 8/2 4/6 0/enter is very difficult - practically impossible to fly the aircraft.
ground control with full power is good and lift off okay
but then the aircraft starts to roll wildly left and right as if something is pulling strings.

i have had the aircraft flying well at height with the autopilot but as soon as the AP is off
the same uncontrollable behaviour begins again.

does any one have any fix for this?

thanks

joe
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