Page MenuHomeFeedback Tracker

Need analog cyclic control
New, WishlistPublic


When game cyclic controls are mapped to my CH fighterstick, my fighterstick mimics keyboard commands, which are digital controls. I desire analog controls which are what real helicopter pilots are used to. In lieu of that, allow a joystick to emulate a properly configured mouse in absolute mode not relative mode.


Legacy ID
Steps To Reproduce

game default

Additional Information

Helicopters already require constant adjustment of cyclic controls. Using a joystick, digital flying requires twice the number of stick movements as there would be flying analog. Why? flying digitally requires coming back to center after each adjustment. Moreover, the time it takes to go back to center versus the time it takes to release a key is relatively much greater. Collective is already analog. Pedals need it too.

Event Timeline

jwmcclehelo edited Additional Information. (Show Details)
jwmcclehelo set Category to Controls.
jwmcclehelo set Reproducibility to Always.
jwmcclehelo set Severity to None.
jwmcclehelo set Resolution to Open.
jwmcclehelo set Legacy ID to 3909841357.May 7 2016, 7:58 PM
jwmcclehelo added a subscriber: jwmcclehelo.

Currently, with my Ch Products Fighterstick, cyclic mapping in Arma3 is limited to mimicking keyboard input. Using the mouse as cyclic is fine for keyboard and mouse players but I want to use my fighterstick for cyclic with mouse-like response in the game. Of course, the mouse does not mimic keyboard input but provides analog input. I want to be able to map my fighterstick to analog input. If not directly then have it mimic mouse controls, not keyboard controls. (Of course, the helo "left/right turn" functions already in the game are another animal entirely.)

I fly Hotas with stick, throttle, pedals, trackIR, and voice activated commands. Analog control of helo cyclic with my fighterstick is only possible when autohover is activated in the Learn/VR Trainer (so far). When using Learn/VR Training, the helicopter reacts like a real helicopter in an analog way (the helicopter attitude stays in a position analogous to the position of the cyclic stick).

I don't know if it is related or not, but while flying helos in editor mode since the DLC, my mouse freelook didn’t work while flying. However, one of the forum members suggested disabling freelook from vehicles and freelook worked again. It was not crucial to me because I use TrackIR.

In the forums, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about game response to controllers, even among seasoned players. I believe that Bistudio should provide some specific guidance to clear up the misunderstandings instead of leaving users to bicker back and forth. In my opinion, there are two categories of misunderstanding. One is the difference between analog controllers and analog response in the game. The second is the difference between relative mouse control and absolute mouse control with a joystick (please note that the terms absolute and relative with regard to mouse control is industry accepted). I do not mean to be condescending; I am not qualified. please bear with me.

  1. Relative Mouse Control of Cyclic vs Absolute Mouse Control of Cyclic with a joystick

a. Relative Mouse Control of Cyclic with a joystick

  1. Relative mouse control means that in the game if you move the stick 45 degrees to the left, the helicopter will continue to move counterclockwise around its longitudinal axis until you move the stick back to vertical. This method mimics keyboard controls.
  2. Many gamers grew up on keyboard controls and know intuitively that brining the stick back to center equates to releasing a key. But releasing a key is a lot quicker than moving a joystick back to center. So I can see that keyboard players would want to stay with the keyboard.
  3. Relative mouse control is what you get in Arma3 when you assign cyclic axes to an analog stick. It means constantly returning to center after every twitch of the stick. Clearly, the time difference between the duration of a key release and that of returning a joystick back to center may not be trivial.

b. Absolute Mouse Control of Cyclic with a Joystick

  1. After assigning mouse controls to a HOTAS/HOCAS stick, the attitude of the helicopter is an analog of the attitude of the stick. This means that if I move the stick 45 degrees to the left and hold it there, the helicopter attitude will tend to mimic 45 degrees and stay there as long as I keep the stick at 45 degrees. To bring the helicopter attitude back to vertical, I move the attitude of the stick back to vertical.
  2. According to posts, this is how real helicopters are flown.
  1. Analog Controllers and Analog Response

a. Just because you are using an analog controller does not mean you get an analog response. For example, in Arma3, when I map my cyclic controls to my fighterstick analog controller, the in-game response is like relative mouse control; that is, it will mimic keyboard controls. I suppose you could also call this a "digital" response.
b. However, If I use the mouse for cyclic, I get absolute mouse control-like response. This I would call "analog" response. This is more like real helicopters are flown.
c. I want analog responses to my joystick.

My impression about the bickering about cyclic control is that users are talking past each other. I believe it is the responsibility of Bistudio to clear this up. I even have detected some disagreements within your development branch. I recall one post in which a "digital player" was telling a real helicopter pilot (they fly analog) why digital is preferred. I couldn't believe it! In the posts there are countless references to DCS and FSX and how they handle cyclic. I don’t believe that many users do know that these two games offer both analog (called axis commands in DCS)and digital control (as I have defined them above). I believe the chief reason why DCS and FSX flight controls are preferred over those in ARMA/TKOH by many players is their analog modes. As for Arma3 (and TKOH for that matter), you would blow DCS and FSX out of the water if you provide analog cyclic mapping. The fact that some of the coding is already there (during autohover and with the mouse for two examples) indicates to me that analog control is possible in other helicopter flying modes. While trying to get analog control in TKOH, someone at Bistudio suggested that I go through all of the mouse functions and substitute joystick axis positions for all instances of mouse axis positions. That did not work. In both Arma3 (except in autohover) and TKOH (not sure about autohover), the games translate analog joystick input to digital (keyboard input).

Moreover, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I recall Dslyecxi saying that he uses the mouse for precise control and the joystick for flying. Keeping all hands on the HOTAS/HOCAS controls, one could also get precise control if one uses a controller hat mapped to digital controls, while, using the joystick in analog/absolute mode for flying generally.

In looking through this great feedback database, I don't see the issue I raised mentioned. Every now and then it is raised in the forums. There is however a long history of users wanting analog control of one control or another. Clearly your job is complicated by the many kinds of devices used to control the game. But, the fact that analog response exists in autohover in VR training gives me hope that we can have DCS/FSX-like analog control over helicopters in the near future (not to mention, blow DCS out of the water).

Please give my thoughts favorable consideration.

I'm not a pilot but real helicopter controls do not orient the helicopter relative to the ground. Doing so means you lose much of your 3d flight capability (eg. you can't fly inverted). Cyclic control affects the rate of change of pitch/roll and does not set the pitch/roll angle.

The thing to realize is helicopter controls are several orders away from position. Cyclic is related to the 1st derivative of pitch/roll angle. Pitch/roll then affect speed, which then changes ground position.

What you want is pitch/roll to be directly relative to your input, whereas a real system is not like that.

I haven't tried joystick control helicopter flight in arma3, but what you describe sounds exactly as I expect it to be.

Brimstone3. You prove my point: digital pilots, players who have never used analog controls that produce analog response, have difficulty understanding this concept. On the contrary, cyclic control DOES set the pitch/roll angle. When flying with analog response, pitch/roll IS directly relative to your input, that is what analog means.

projix added a subscriber: projix.Apr 5 2017, 11:22 AM

Am I missing something or is this still not implemented?

It is impossible to fly the helicopter using a joystick... There is already analogue throttle control, which works perfectly fine, so why not extend it to the cyclic as well?

Nope, this is still not implemented. Seems like such a simple thing, just give us analog axes to map for cyclic pitch and roll.

I recorded a video that I hope helps demonstrate what this issue describes.