T.16000m FCS HOTAS Review

When I saw that Thrustmaster was making a more affordable HOTAS paired with and updated version of their fan-favorite T.1600m Flight Stick, I just had to have it.  The second it was available for pre-order it was purchased.  The Thrustmaster T.16000m FCS was priced at $130USD, which is significantly less than other popular HOTAS setups out there with Thrustmaster’s premium HOTAS, the Warthog coming in at just under $400USD, and Saitek’s (recently purchased by Logitech) X56 is slightly less at $350USD.  Right away based on price, this seems like a really good HOTAS to try if you are new to Space/Flight Sims but don’t want to break the bank to get additional immersion while playing.

Unboxing

Right away I noticed a significant weight difference between the T.16000m and the X56 boxes, with the Thrustmaster being much lighter and it was a concern of mine that maybe the build quality of the stick and throttle were compromised to keep the price down.  When I opened the box I went right for the throttle, as I expected the stick to be very similar to the original T1.6000m, and wow was I happy with my findings.  I immediately tried the throttle to see how smooth it was and if there was any movement on my desk at all when using it.  The throttle did not move at all!  For me, this is one of the most important things when using a peripheral for anything, they should be solid and not moving all over the place as it makes your movement intended for the stick/throttle to be less accurate.  I do have one concern, the first time I moved the throttle and a few times after there was a grinding feel to it and less smooth that you would expect, but the next time I moved it, everything was smooth.  They use a really interesting rail system to achive this.
t16k-overheadThe throttle fit really well in my hand, and it felt very natural.  The button layout was really good as well, all of the hats are on the right side of the throttle to be used with your thumb, with only one button, while the all of the analog inputs are on the front side that can be used for more fine controls.  There is also a wheel at the top left of the throttle that could be used for many things as it is an analog input.  Next would be the size of the throttle, it is much smaller than the other popular HOTAS throttles as there are zero buttons on the base.  This is a positive and a negative for me as you get a TON of customization with more inputs, but it also takes up a lot of room.  The Thrustmaster throttle takes up much less space and it also is not as tall as other throttles on the market.  This allows you to lay your arm on your desk comfortably and in my opinion negates the need to desk/chair mounting for comfort.

As expected, I was not overly surprised by anything with the stick.  It is the same old T.1600om that we know and love with some very minor improvements to the buttons on the base having a braille feel, so you know which ones you are pressing.  Also, the buttons on the thumb area of the stick are no longer smooth, they are ridged with allows you to grip them better.  The complaint about the mushy feel of the buttons is still there tho as I do believe the internals of the stick are exactly the same as the original version.  If you want to watch my unboxing of this HOTAS on my YouTube channel click here.

The Setup

Setting up the peripherals was actually quite easy you just have to download the drivers for the stick and throttle separately from the Thrustmaster website here and here then plug in the stick and or throttle to your USB ports.  For Star Citizen, it was a bit more complicated than that, but only a little.  When I jumped into a game the stick worked
screenshot0108just fine, but the throttle did not until I chose the Thrustmaster Warthog profile under Options>Keybinding>Advanced Control Options (bottom right)>Choose profile>Import to Joystick in both boxes as one is your stick and one is the throttle.

After the initial setup came the custom profile that we all build to our liking within the game.  I had a good time with this and changed quite a bit of the standard profile to what I prefer.  If this profile is something you would like to see posted somewhere that you can DL it let me know in the comments and I will find the appropriate place for it.

The Review

If you can’t tell by now I am a really big fan of this product.  This is a Star Citizen website and I am almost exclusively a Star Citizen content creator so a lot of the reasons that I am giving this a positive review is because of how I feel it works with a Star Citizen setup.  While the throttle lacks the number of buttons which I do consider a big negative, it makes up for it in the space it takes up on my desk.  If you are going to play a game like Star Citizen which vastly differs from all the Space/Flight simulations out there and you want to use a HOTAS setup, you need a Mouse, Keyboard, Stick, Throttle, Headset/Speakers, and a Mic (optional).  When you leave your ship and walk around or engage in FPS combat you simply have to use a M+KB, it is just silly not to.  So the sheer amount of desk space the stick and throttle take up compared to my X56 is a huge plus for me.

I was slightly disappointed that we did not see too many changes to the flight stick, but for anyone that uses it, it is a solid stick and very accurate.  As a Star Citizen fan, and just not a huge fan of Elite: Dangerous I don’t really like that they themed the stick and throttle directly like the E:D UI.  I think they should have found a different, but modern and cool style, even if they stuck with the green instead of trying to appeal to people who play a single game.

The real question is did it improve my gameplay/immersion in Star Citizen?  The answer: Yes.  The smooth rail system on the throttle is very good and accurate, I can throttle up and down easily changing 1% at a time if I want to be more fine.  t16k-throttle-onlyThe button layout on the throttle is also perfect in my opinion, the hats having 3 distinctly different feels allows you quickly find the input you need and use it.  I also love the layout on the front of the throttle, especially the analog stick.  I use this for strafe up, down, left and right.  It also can be pressed in, I am still trying to figure out what I want to use for that, but given your index finger should be on the stick at all times, I am thinking something like countermeasures.  The most unique part of the entire system is the rudders that are located on the throttle.  I think this is an amazing addition to a HOTAS, especially from Thrustmaster.  Mentioned before, the Warthog is their premiere HOTAS setup, but it does not have a twist option.  This means if you want to yaw/roll you need pedals.  This throttle put the pedals right in your hand!  This is also and analog input which allows me to lightly tap, or go full speed holding the rudder down.

Moving on to the stick, I want to start out with something that I have never liked about it.  I just have never liked the way it feels in my hand. The exact opposite of a huge plus on the throttle, is that I have to hold my arm/elbow off the table to use it.  As a HOTAS, I am not sure how good a T.1600m stick is, it was made as a standalone stick with the buttons and throttle on the base.  In a HOTAS situation, those buttons go completely to waste, unless you bind them to non-combat or mechanics that do not require you to have your hand on the stick.  At the moment, I cannot think of a single thing to bind to those buttons.  Continuing with the buttons the thumb area of the stick could be better.  There is a lot of real estate there, but there are only 3 buttons.  t16k-stick-onlyI think they could totally look at a stick like the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro who has 4 much better laid out buttons and a better hat feel.   They also have that same loose feel that the original stick had.  Now, the reason I still love this stick even with all those negatives, is the stick control.  It’s fantastic, I believe it uses a lot of the internals that the Warthog uses.  I am more accurate with this stick than any other that I have used so far.  Also, it takes up much less space than my X56.

In conclusion, with the price of this HOTAS and all of the features added with the brand new throttle, I think this is probably the best price to performance HOTAS on the market for Star Citizen right now.  All of the switches and hats we lose from the more premium throttles and sticks can be supplemented with Voice Attack, and we also gain a lot more desk room.  I highly recommend this setup for you, and really think if anything it will bring much more immersion to your experience playing games like Elite:Dangerous and Star Citizen, but it really could help automate a lot more of the mechanics in those game to improve your combat skills

I did do a video review of this HOTAS as well, if you want to watch it check it out above.  Also, if you are interested in picking up one of these for your own setup click the links below and thank you so much for reading.  Keep an eye out for reviews like this for all of the peripherals being used for Star Citizen here from some of your favorite [REDACTED] content creators in the near future.  If you really like what we are doing here at [Redacted] do consider subscribing to our Patreon as this helps us continue to make content like this and hopefully do some really awesome things in the near future!

Favorite Fan Made Star Citizen Maps

On ATV Episode 100th Celebration Part 2, we saw concept work for an in-game version of the ARK Starmap. The ARK Starmap is the physical representation of the known Star Citizen universe we’ll be inhabiting. Based on the $6 million USD funding goal, the game is expected to release 100 star systems. You can check out that bit of ATV here and see some of the amazing concepts for yourself.

Having readily accessible information about a star system’s composition, government alignment, jump points and current population, economy and danger conditions, will be vital for all players. This data feeds into your efficient completion of missions and developing successful player career. It’s encouraging to see that the in-game map won’t be an afterthought.

atv 100 map preview 2

Cloud Imperium Games can’t create a map for every variant and flavor the playerbase might want. There are too many variables and subjective preferences.  Furthermore, no matter how useful they make the in-game map, in certain scenarios, a low budget bird’s eye view of the same data is more effective.

For example, if you’re trying to decide which of your ships to use for the shortest route from Sol to Goss, while making opportunistic cargo hauling stops, using the ARK Starmap to plan your route isn’t very effective. In this case, it’s faster to have a single view of all star systems, versus flipping through multiple screens of data. At a minimum, you want to see ALL jump point options, ship size restrictions and information on the local economy and/or population.  Guess what, there’s a map just like that already, created by a player organization.

Players have been creating custom maps using ARK Starmap data since it was deployed. Putting their personal aesthetic and needs’ bias into the design, they can customize a map to meet very specific objectives.  In addition to my own Starmap Matrix, here are a few favorites.

 

USUK HAULING SYSTEM MAP

New to the club, is the USUK Hauling System Map. This fits my example of seeing all systems and jump points, along with population, economy and danger stats. The map is interactive.  Clicking on a system displays a description and jump point distances. A very handy tool for planning cargo runs.

Hauling

 

GALACTIC TRANSIT MAP

Not everyone is, but I’m a huge fan the Galactic Transit Map by Selbie Le-Grille. This map uses a circle and spokes methodology for visualizing networked data relationships.  Selbie decided to use Sol and Terra as the central points in his design. He won MVP for this contribution.

GALACTIC TRANSIT

 

GALAXY TUBE MAP

And for a simplistic approach that does what it claims, we have the  Galaxy Tube Map. No frills. No muss. It’s an easy to use map of all systems with their jump points – the perfect one-page reference.

Tube map

To see more player created maps, here’s a link to a thread on the Star Citizen subreddit community.  We’re trying to keep a running list of all player made maps.  It’s definitely worth bookmarking.

 

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Saitek X56 HOTAS | Review

Welcome to Some More Star Citizen, well actually today we are going to unbox and use the X56 Rhino HOTAS kindly provided to me by Saitek.. I would also like to say that won’t influence my opinion on the item if it’s crap or I hate it or love it or am meh about it DEAL WITH IT SAITEK!

TL:DR Quick Comparison

  • It’s extremely similar to the X55 but with some improvements
  • The addition of small analogue thumb sticks on both the stick and throttle WHICH MAKE AN AMAZING DIFFERENCE, you can use them for precision movements whether that be aiming or flight.
  • Quality – There were quality issues with the X55, some of which have been addressed with the X56. It’s definitely of a higher quality.
  • The tension in the throttle is a little high even on the lowest setting.
  • You get what you put into it, researching and tweaking your controls & what you use them for will really make a difference here, it’s not a simple plug and play bit of kit
  • Great for VR / AR / Star Citizen & any Flight or Space Sim.
  • It’s expensive but at the cheaper end of the high range HOTAS and assuming you don’t have any issues it’s worth the price.

Unboxing & What’s in the Box

Not unsurprising along with a Joystick & throttle are:

A Cool Quick Start manual

An additional spring for the joystick to adjust tension

Some Stickers

Quality & Weight

It’s light compared to any of the metal hotas obviously because it’s plastics but it definitely has weight to it.

The plastics, switches, buttons, hats and thumb sticks all feel of a high quality.

I wish it was a bit heavier tho, I am going to attach a metal plate to the bottom of the HOTAS.

Buttons / Function

The stick is not suitable for left hand use and the throttle conversely is not suitable for the right.

There are a lot of buttons and switches, more than I need for Star Citizen.

There are 3 hat switches and 2 buttons on the top of the stick, my hands are small and I need to change my grip to use the top button and hat switch comfortably (that said that might be good for certain functions so I don’t “accidentally” press them)

The Twist works and is fine, but feels a bit cheap.

The Thumb Sticks however ARE NEXT LEVEL and I think all HOTAS and sticks should come with them as standard. They allow you to aim with such precision that people will think you are on a mouse… well almost after a bit of experience.

Software

The software is great, allowing you to set up buttons / switches and functions with ease.

And it enables you to change the RGB colors on the throttle and stick to whatever you want.

In-Game (Star Citizen)

Star Citizen and controls currently hate me but after a while of setting up I had a rudimentary control set that was working.

For Smaller ships 2 person and smaller I think it’s a great stick.

For larger ships I still love the Warthog.

It took me 2 hours to get a ok profile & it still needs tweaking.

Other Reviews & X55 Issues

The X55 had issues with it’s throttle wearing out & buttons not working, I haven’t experienced that with the X56 but I haven’t had it for long, a couple of other Star Citizen pilots I know haven’t had issues either.

I have heard that some units were faulty out of the box tho where some buttons just don’t work, but buyer’s returned them for replacements.

I’ve heard they use better quality wires and different lube in the throttle from the X55.

There are still concerns over the quality of the wiring and throttle of the X56 made clear in Corpsealot’s Review of the the X56, tho there are also counterpoints.

The are sometimes “ghosting” and other problems that can be fixed by using a different USB port or a Powered USB Hub.

Cost & Value

UK – £220

US – $250

Saitek X56 HOTAS Amazon – US | UK

OCUK – https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gaming/pc-gaming/joysticks-and-flight-controllers?tap_a=3629-86a85a&tap_s=42326-a8ab2e

The HOTAS is a little pricey it’s priced at the low end of the top tier HOTAS. If you don’t have any issues with the item it’s defineatly worth. It just has features that I want like those thumbsticks. I can’t talk about long term durability BUT I will update this review is anything explodes or I do have any issues. In fact please IF YOU HAVE specifically the X56 tell me if yours is working, broken & do you like it in the comments below.

Throttle & Stick

Worth using one for HOMAT/HOTAM

For me I am interested in using the Throttle with a mouse. I am not skilled using a stick, but the throttle is not only a great alternative to my keyboard but give me precision & the use of an analogue thumb stick… please sell this separately Saitek.

Conclusion

I’ve used quite a few HOTAS now the Warthog, the X52, X52 Pro, X55, now the X56.

At the lower end of just stick the Thrustmaster T16000m & Logitech Pro Extreme.

My favorite is The X56 assuming that it holds out but that is if money wasn’t involved, the price of the X52 which is half the price is really appealing to me to & is an awesome HOTAS.

I’ll test out a load more HOTAS over the next few weeks so I can make a detailed report on what I think is best feature, use to cost.

The Warthog is too heavy, that said I’d love to use it for piloting big ships like a Caterpillar.

For me the X56 or the X52 Pro is a great choice for flying ships smaller than a Constellation.

I wouldn’t choose this as an upgrade to the X55 UNLESS YOU NEED THE thumbsticks BUT for a high quality HOTAS for flight games the X56 is certainly an improvement on the X55.

 

Checkout SMBs Review of the X55 Hotas

WHAT’S ALL THIS VOICE ATTACK STUFF?

With the interest in Voice Packs seemingly on the rise, while Cloud Imperium Games is continuing to refine Star Citizen’s control schemes, I thought it would be a good time to discuss Voice Attack in general and why some players have elected to use it.

If you’re like me, a HOTAS user, I simply don’t have enough buttons on my device to support even the minimum set of commands I want at the ready. My current setup also doesn’t support having the keyboard within a reach that’s effective to be used during combat. So I was elated to come across the idea of using a program to carry out a few basic commands.  This article will help you differentiate between VoiceAttack, Profiles and Voice Packs, and where to find additional information if interested.

WHAT IS VOICE ATTACK

As an ability, voice attack is a method of using your voice to initiate keystrokes.  The name is a bit of a misnomer. The capabilities are not tied to attacking / damage. It’s any set of keystrokes. You can launch a game. Establish your starting setup in an application. I use it to start and stop Fraps recordings so I can stay in the thick of combat and capture video using my voice.

VoiceAttack (VA) the program,  is a popular software application used to execute by voice, commands that would normally be a series of keystrokes and/or mouse interactions. Therefore, if you’re interested in playing around with using voice initiated commands, your first step is to acquire the software.  You can purchase VA from here. The object that VA uses to know what to DO when you SAY certain words or phrases is a Profile.

WHAT IS A VOICE ATTACK PROFILE

The Profile is a separate file with a .VAP extension.  The profile itself contains a series of commands you want executed, mapped to what you’ll say, when you want those commands to be carried out. Oftentimes, people want the successful execution of command followed to be up by an auditory confirmation.  This is achieved by using your computer’s operating system to turn text into speech. This allows your PC to say, “Done.” when a task is completed.

Using the Text-to-Speech engine is achieved by using the Say command in a profile, followed by the word or phrase to be spoken. Your operating system’s Text-to-Speech engine interprets the text into an auditory response using its default voice. If you don’t like your computer’s default voice, you can purchase additional ones from companies such as Ivona. However, auditory responses are not required for a Profile to work. And you shouldn’t invest in one until you’ve determined you like using voice attack commands in the first place.

Simply having a profile of commands that match the keybinds in the target game, is all you need, after installing voice attack software. You can download Profiles for free! There are members of the community who have shared their profiles.  Of course, mileage will vary on how well they work or suit your tastes.  Search the official RSI Forums, Star Citizen section on Reddit and the internet in general.

WHAT IS A VOICE PACK

A Voice Pack is a Profile that enhances the execution of commands by adding a significant amount of voice over / audio work. This is often done using professional voice actors or celebrities and may include additional narration that is not directly tied to executing commands, such as role-play conversations. HCS offers multiple Voice Packs for Star Citizen, as well as other games.  Many players enjoy having this more elaborate version of a Profile.  It’s fun and can be more immersive. However, it’s not a required component. You don’t have to own or purchase a Voice Pack in order to use voice attack commands.

CREATING AND EDITING A VOICE ATTACK PROFILE IS EASY

To be perfectly honest, Star Citizen has more keyboard commands and uses modifier keys more than any other game I’ve played. I can barely fly in Star Citizen without using VoiceAttack.  My HOTAS doesn’t have nearly enough buttons to accommodate the bare minimum of what’s needed. Trying to reach over to a keyboard in the middle of combat isn’t something I want to juggle.  Therefore, it’s essential for me to keep my profile updated with changes CIG makes to control schemes, as they’ve done in patch 2.4.  This type of large scale change is another reason why I’ve opted for a small profile during alpha.

The steps for creating and/or editing a Profile is very straight forward. You must have Voice Attack and you must know your current keybind settings in the game, in order to tie them to a voice command.  With those two in hand, you can create a basic profile from scratch or edit one you download for free or may have purchased. I wrote an article last year detailing the steps and they  haven’t changed since that time.

I hope this helps clarify voice attack as an ability vs. VoiceAttack the software vs. Voice Packs. I use VA religiously and own a Voice Pack from HCS. During the SC Alpha however, I’m sticking to a small one I created myself that’s easy to manage and only contains the dozen or so commands I can’t live without during combat.

OTHER ARTICLES YOU MAY ENJOY

Ship Scale Viewer

Today we are taking a look at a couple of cool things made by the Community for looking at ship sizes and their scales.

Firstly there is a Forum post on the RSI Website:

https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/188124/ship-dimensions-overview/p1

Ship Dimensions Overview

This contains top down pictures of all the Star Citizen ships we have the specs of & their sizes.

You can see how the Idris compares to the Prospector for example

All the ships are sorted into their manufacturers & it even shows the footprints of the Caterpillar and Banu MM at the moment.

It’s regularly updated with the latest ships and is a forum post that you should bookmark.

Great work by sebman there the Original Poster.

I loved seeing how big the Hull E (Super Hauler) was compared to the 85X (which is the 890 Jump’s Shuttle)

 

And with a similar vain in mind let’s take a look at Star Citizen Ship Scale Viewer, This is a program you can grab from http://romanito.com/starcitizen/ship-scale-viewer/ or the RSI Forum Post: https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/210560/oculus-rift-compatible-ship-scale-viewer/

It’s built in the Unity Engine and takes the ships from the Star Citizen Holoviewer and allows them to be viewed in the Whiteboxed glory.

Now obviously these assets are simple versions of what we will get in game, the idea here is to get a feel for the scale of the ships and a basic look at the ship.

You can move around & explore the various exteriors of the ships

It is even Oculus Compatible, tho I have tried that myself with this, it works fine without VR too.

I am not sure how often it gets updated, but I hope one day we can see all the ships here.