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Why using an Xbox controller makes great sense in MFS....

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Those who know how FS add-ons are developed will be surprised so many developers use game controllers. But there is logic behind that. Personally if I just have to check something out quickly I also pick up my controller, it is perfectly possible to fly with it (yes, it is) and it leaves my desk clear of a heap of hardware. After all, try to get some work done here:


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But there is another reason why I use a X-box controller. There are bloody ideal to manipulate views and the drone (and even slow mode). Very intuitive after an hour and you can very quickly move at very high speed around an airport to check it out, or to move your view around the aircraft in cruise to get that magical screenshot.


You do not need a fancy game controller. I got one I bought on Amazon for I believe 19 euro and that one has served me well for many years. How to use it is not totally clear in the documentation so I made this small one page guide myself. in case you do not know your way around a game controller: 


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LT/RT        Left and right trigger
LB/RB        Left and right bumper
LS/RS        Left and right stick
DPAD         Directional pad
A/B/X/Y      Face buttons

START        Toggle main menu
BACK         Toggle last two views used



And here are the commands you can use. As far as I know these are default in the sim as soon as you plug in a controller (at least they were). There are only a few that you really need to know about. I marked those in green.


------------------------------> Moving the drone
LS UP        Drone move forwards
LS DOWN      Drone move backwards

LS LEFT      Drone move left
LS RIGHT     Drone move right
RT           Drone move up
LT           Drone move down
X+A          Reset drone location

X+LB         Increase speed
X+RT         Decrease speed

RS           Toggle between free and follow mode
LS           Toggle lock mode


------------------------------> Pointing the drone
RB          Drone roll right
LB          Drone roll left
RS LEFT     Drone rotate left
RS RIGHT    Drone rotate right

RS UP       Done rotate up
RS DOWN     Drone rotate down
X+Y         Look straight down
RL+LB       Drone orientation reset

X+LT        Increase camera rotation speed
X+RB        decrease camera rotation speed

X+LS        Target user aircraft


------------------------------> Camera settings
Y+RT        Zoom in
Y+LT        Zoom out

Y+RB        Exposure increase
Y+LB        Exposure decrease
Y+LS        Exposure reset

B+Y         Toggle depth of field mode 
B+RT        Depth of field increase
B+LT        Depth of field decrease
B+LS        Toggle Autofocus


------------------------------> Drone autoflight
A+LB        Set start location
A+RB        Set end location
A+LT        Fly start to end
A+RT        Fly end to start


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I always used to fly with keyboard and mouse... Until the Aerosoft Airbus came out. Then I decided to buy an Xboc Controller, and it was already a big improvement for me. Now in MSFS I use the TCA Officer Pack, and as Mathijs does, my Xbox Controller for GA aircraft or for slewing around an airport using the drone cam. Since my controller is wireless it is not on the desk anymore ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you, Mathijs, for sharing your setup!


I bought a Logitech F710 a few months ago. It's my first game controller. Before that I only used a X52 or a yoke and all kinds of FS controllers. So I am still undecided how to us the controller's buttons and sticks. Your setup is a great starting point for me. Let me see how it works for me.



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  • 1 month later...



as I have only been recently into this topic it is really good to know about the possibilities for and why to use an xbox controller in this context.


Thank you for the detailed presentation and explanation! I will try to find out what is working for me the best :)

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