My aim in this post is to help anyone making the transition over to joysticks for the first time, or for veterans of the peripheral hardware to have more tools in their kit to be able to identify and fix their joysticks. As always with these kind of to-do/troubleshooting posts your input is greatly appreciated. Be it how things worked for you good or bad, things I could add to this or that you want to know more about. I will be happy to look into anything concerning joystick calibration and testing. That being said here is my post on Calibrating and testing joysticks for Star Citizen. (Or any game that uses a joystick).
Joystick calibration and testing
Calibrating in Star Citizen
Star Citizen has a pretty good joystick calibration in its options menu that allows you to adjust dead zones on the different axis according to your preferences. It can be found through the “Options” button at the bottom of the main screen of the game. Click “Controls” at the top of the screen then be sure to click at the bottom right of the screen to go to “Joystick/HOTAS” and from there you will see all the options the game has to offer for customizing your controls in game. It is important to make a backup of your settings, in the event they get wiped on a big patch or any hardware failures.
A dead zone is an area on your Joystick where nothing will happen when moved inside it. These usually need to be very small as the bigger you make your dead zones the harder is it to finely control your ship. The reason being is that, for example, say the Joystick moves an entire inch from center to the edge. Adjusting your dead zone makes the power scale smaller so basically you will go faster much more quickly which can make using some maneuvers more difficult as they can require less powerful movements. On the other hand though, a small deadzone is good and I would argue needed so as you can rest your hand on the joystick and not move your ship if you were say standing still to hide behind something, or landing.
Calibration with Windows
It’s always a good idea to start off with Windows calibration tool. It will say “controllers” but it will still help calibrate your Joystick. The way to open up the controller calibration is:
Hold the Windows key and tap R (then let up on both keys).
In the Run dialog, type "joy.cpl" without quotes on the "Open" line and click OK.
Choose the controller you wish to calibrate and and click Properties. You will see a screen where you can see button presses and axis movements.
Click the Settings tab up top and then click Calibrate.
Run through the entire wizard and see if the issue's resolved.
Here is a video link on how to calibrate your Joystick with Windows. Fairly simple process and from what I’ve read about it, it is best to run it 2-3 times to help calibrate it.
Diagnosing issues with your Joystick
Now for some of y’all this may not work too great for you so I have gathered up a few resources to help you diagnose and calibrate your Joystick:
http://www.planetpointy.co.uk/joystick-test-application/ this is planet pointy, it’s pretty simple and easy to use and supports joysticks with 8 axis 4 POV and 128 buttons. It will let you see if your movements and buttons are working on your joystick. You can also see if the calibration is registering properly by applying different pressures to the stick to see that it moves accordingly. We have used this program and have found it very useful and discovered some slight changes needed in our own joysticks.
These are a couple more testing software programs out there, all pretty simple in design and do the same thing but just in case planet pointy does not work I thought I would give you a few options.
In the off chance none of these work, there are programs that will allow you to use game controllers to emulate the keyboard and mouse input, so that Windows applications and web games can be controlled with your favorite joysticks! Whenever joystick buttons and sticks are pressed, JoyToKey converts them into keyboard strokes and/or mouse movements so that the target application will work as if you are using a real keyboard and a mouse. This can be helpful if your Joystick isn’t working properly with the game as this can make your computer think it is a keyboard/mouse.
It can be found here:
A very important thing with your joystick is keeping up on maintenance. It is important because where you think your joystick is going out of calibration it could in fact just need to be re-greased. The important thing to remember for most all joysticks you will need to use silicon based grease and not oil. Through all the research I have done enough people say that you can apply grease to just the top of the joystick and move it around to help spread it out. However for those of you who want to apply it the best and to some of the other moving parts not accessible through the top you will need to take it apart and apply it.
In our forums we recommend to use the Thrustmaster T16000 and it is what I and all the leaders use so, it also seems from talking with fellow Star Citizens about their setups the T16000 is a very popular brand. Which is why I am linking below a video for how to take apart and manually re grease a T16000 and just kind of show how one goes about re greasing. I recommend watching till the end because he goes over which grease to use and mistakes he has heard others make.
Joystick Curves (Advanced players recommended)
So first off what is a Joystick Curve?
Joystick response curves are represented as a curve on a graph, where X is the physical position of a joystick axis and Y the actual input on it. Basically changing how fast your joystick in game catches up to your physical joystick.
Star Citizen does in fact have the option to adjust your joystick curves in its control options I mentioned above. However I discovered this article here in the CiG guide section of the old forums that explains how to adjust the curves within Star Citizen.
Now on the off chance the Star Citizen in game controls do not work I have a video here that explains very well how joystick curves work. It is a really good video and uses this software here to adjust his curve in game. He is using Elite dangerous but it can work in Star Citizen.
Other helpful Videos
I have a list here of some more helpful videos mostly Star Citizen based that I have found for other Joysticks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oKMw4wUR38 - these are videos for people using a Logitech Joystick
I have not had to use this software myself but i have it saved for the future if I have a Joystick that does not work I can program it myself.