Ultimate space simulation software

Posts: 6
Joined: 09 Apr 2021

VR controls/UX suggestions

10 Apr 2021 12:45

galvedro wrote:

I have been enjoying SE in VR for a few days now and managed to set it up to something I find rational and functional. I am quite happy with the experience, except for a few caveats that I'll comment on at the end.

Use Case:

I use SE sitting down in front of my computer, always facing forward. I can reach the keyboard and mouse and don't mind using them in addition to the Oculus Touch controllers when needed. I was a glider pilot and I am also very familiar with flight simulation. I am, so far, using only the planetarium and not the flight sim mode, but I do use it primarily in Aircraft nav mode and pretend I am in control of a spacecraft. At some point I will configure my HOTAS Cougar for SE but, for now, I am using the Oculus Touch controllers.

My settings in the config file:

VRInterfaceCopies - 1
Mirroring the UI on my back does not serve a purpose when I'm always facing forward. Having only one copy of the UI at the front gives me a frame of reference, sort of marking the front of the cockpit.

VRMoveDirection - 0
To me, it is unnatural and disorienting that the move and turn commands you can map to the controllers work in relation to where I am looking (Aircraft mode) or to where the Touch Controller is pointing (Spacecraft mode). I was very happy to find this to be configurable.

Controller[1,2]ModelColor - (0.5 0.5 0.5 0)
Seeing the controllers in the virtual space does not serve a purpose for me, so I made them fully transparent.

HardwareCursor - false
The mouse cursor does not seem to show up every time it should in my system, making UI interaction a bit clumsy. Letting SE render it seems to be more reliable.

Controller1RayColor - (1 0 0 0) - Bug?
I wanted to get rid of the red laser beam on the left controller. This option should do the trick, but it doesn't. Looks like a bug to me. It does affect the velocity vector (which I'd like to keep) but does not affect the laser.

Left Touch Controller Mappings (Common & Camera):

Menu - Main Menu
Trigger - Move Forward
Grip - Move Back
X - Next velocity
Y - Previous velocity
Stick Press - Go to object
Stick Up - Move down (I invert these so they work like a helicopter's collective)
Stick Down - Move up
Stick Left - Turn CCW
Stick Right - Turn CW

Right Touch Controller Mappings (Common & Camera):

Trigger - Solar System Browser (selection)
Grip - Solar System Browser (current position)
A - Universe Map (current position)
B - Interface Interaction / Select Object
Stick Press - Center Object
Touch Pad - Stop Rotation
Stick Up - Turn Down / Interface Scroll Up (Aircraft stick style)
Stick Down - Turn Up / Interface Scroll Down
Stick Left - Turn Left
Stick Right - Turn Right

For both controllers, Turn Sensitivity - 0.2

For the map/chart context I am, similarly using the Thumbstick to orbit the map:

Left Stick Press - Go to object
Left Stick Up - Move forward
Left Stick Down - Move back
Left Stick Left - Turn CW
Left Stick Right - Turn CCW
Y - Exploration Mode
X - Procedural objects

Right Stick Press - Center Object
Right Stick Up - Turn Up
Right Stick Down - Turn Down
Right Stick Left - Turn Left
Right Stick Right - Turn Right
B - Select Object
A - System Architecture

Problems I found so far:

I cannot select objects in the Universe Browser. It is impossible for me to know which object will be selected when, or if something will be selected at all. In VR, the obvious solution to the parallax problem is to take advantage of the Touch controllers, by letting the player reach out for the target object and "touch it" to select it.

The UI layout is not working too well. The lower resolution of the VR headset makes some toolbars overlap (mainly spacecraft controls). It is sometimes difficult to know where the mouse pointer is which, in turn, makes the autohide function clumsy. Also, the framing arrangement that works well for flat screens feels strange in VR. What I think would work well for me without redesigning the interface is to lay all the toolbars flat, together, forming sort of a keyboard in front of the player, tilted back some 50º-60º so it actually looks like a control desk (like the toolbar in Oculus Home, for example), and give it a controller binding to toggle it visible/hidden at will.

The red raygun is an annoyance unless you are using the "accelerate/move towards where I am pointing" mode. It would be great if it didn't show in other modes.

"Center Object" and "Stop Motion" take effect instantly instead of showing some innerce like "Stop Rotation" does. This makes them uncomfortable to use in VR, specially "Stop Motion". Try it at high speed and low altitude for a good "whoaah" experience :shock:.

I hope this feedback helps! And thank you so much for this truly marvelous piece of software!

Which steam files did you modify, and where are they located?


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