A new way to control your train sims

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ReefGB
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A new way to control your train sims

Post by ReefGB »

Ok so I had an idea the other day and because I'm too lazy to type it all out again I'm going to copy and paste it from what I wrote on the DTG forum..
This idea hit me the other day, I've just discovered possibly the most realistic way to control ANY train whether it's an EMU, DMU, DEMU, Loco (Steam or Diesel) within TS.

A big claim considering that you have things like the PBC (priced at £249 to £269 depending on whether you want the additional horn lever) and not forgetting the RailDriver (for £146.31 at current $ to £ exchange rates) and home built Arduino kits (insert X amount of £'s here dependant on what you want what your skill level is and how big and outlandish you wish to go) but with any of these they can only feel so real with a small selective amount of cabs, the PBC for example is great if you want to drive EMU's and DMU's especially when coupled with the door control panel and AWS switch and so on, but it'll never be a Class 37 or 66 will it, and the RailDriver is at best a toy controller (no shade, I own one and I love it) and as for a custom designed desk, great if you only ever want to drive the cab type you based it upon, I, like many others like to experience lots of different types of traction.

Ok, so what's this hot idea and how much will it cost me genius?

You, the end user? from as little as £5.99 (based on a quick search on Amazon) possibly even less (you may well even have one laying around gathering dust somewhere).
DTG, some additional coding to the HID interface (that's what makes your mouse and keyboard work)

Got your attention? Good.

Here's the idea and it's so simple you may well wonder why it doesn't already exist as an option..

What do we already have available to us in TS (and the other one) a 3D modelled interpretation of the cab and it's controls.
Can we interact with them with the mouse? Yes, we can already do that and the cursor even has a little grab hand icon when you pull or interact with a button/lever.

So.. Why haven't we got TWO cursors (turn off and on-able in controller options) that can be controlled by TWO mouses/mice/miceses?

Left hand mouse controls the (first) left hand curser and would do what your left hand would do in the cab and the right hand mouse would control the (second) right hand curser and do what your right hand would do in the cab, any cab, any train, any ToC any Country, the cabs and the controls are already there, we just need a realistic (as possible within the sim environment) way to operate them.

Call it a poor mans VR if you like, the principal is kind of similar to be fair, in VR you have two virtual hands controlled by two controllers, one in each hand. In TS you could have two mice control two cursers, heck, some modder (or DTG) could take it even further and replace the cursors with visually realistic hands (that again should be off and on-able to please the variety of different play styles).

Anyway that's my idea/suggestion/recommendation, as simple as that, two cursors, two mice. Done..

P.S. To take the realism even further this coupled with TrackIR would make this game God tier!
So one of the replies was from a guy who calls himself rover75 (probably the only Rover 75 left not in a scrapyard but I digress) he suggested trying https://www.mousemux.com/ so I did.

in my next post I'll share my findings (also copy pasted but, you know, lazy, sure I mentioned that?)
Last edited by ReefGB on Wed Sep 29, 2021 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ReefGB
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by ReefGB »

I have now tried it and it only bleedin' works!!

It's not perfect, but it was extremely close and also the most immersive I've ever found this game even in just the short time I was trying it and basically fumbling around trying to get to grips with it.

Couple of Caveats though..
1) There are three settings within the MouseMux software 1) Native Mode (just the one right hand mouse cursor)
2) Switched input (where both cursors are present but either is only active one at a time so mouse click on the left and that one is active mouse click on the right and that one's active)
3) Multiplex input This is where all cursors are active and can be used simultaneously this would be the ideal option for use in TS however unfortunately this mode is still in BETA (it gives you a warning saying as much when you select this option) and does not play nicely within TS at all, in fact it has horrendous input lag and is unusable for this purpose.

So for now..
Caveat 1 is no Multiplex use (Yet! - I may send them feedback and see if there is anything planned as a resolution to this in future builds).
Caveat 2 is probably more an issue for me than most because I use DSR (Dynamic Super Resolution) where basically Nvidia upscales my screen resolution from the native 2560x1080 (superwide) to 3620x1527 (2x resolution) however MouseMux doesn't recognise the upscaling so it would not track the cursors across the whole screen only the area it figured was my native 2560x1080 so I had to downgrade it to native for it to work correctly thus effecting my graphics quality (jaggies mainly).
Caveat 3 Obviously this still relies completely on DTG's built in mouse usage of the controls, mostly it works fine but they can be a little temperamental at times whilst trying to grasp them with the cursor, you can assess this (and probably have done already to some degree) just by using your existing mouse on your existing setup.
Caveat 4 Obvious one this but I should point it out anyway, you need a second mouse I was lucky I had an old basic one laying around that I could use.
Caveat 5 I'm using TrackIR, this undoubtedly makes it easier for me to look around and look down at the desk or control I need to grab, I don't think it'd be a problem using the regular "mouse look" method but as yet I haven't tried it so I cannot assess that, I will try it later though..

Positives..
1) I felt way more immersed and connected to the train than I ever have with my RailDriver in fact you forget you're using the mice because you're completely focused on the in-game levers and buttons.
2) The software is in Beta and whilst it's in Beta it's free for non-commercial use.
3) It is ridiculously easy to set up.

Here's a quick video I made, unfortunately Nvidia ShadowPlay (or whatever they call it nowadays) doesn't capture the inactive cursor but you can see a green or red square next to the cursor/mouse I'm using at any given time so you can see that I'm actually using two cursors, of course on my screen I can see both at all times.

This is what I can see (I've circled both cursers in white, also I have the MouseMux settings window open)
https://forums.dovetailgames.com/attach ... jpg.67480/

Anyway here's the video..

https://youtu.be/4nA6LraQJRE

Here's the link for MouseMux again if you want to try it yourselves but don't want to scroll up. https://www.mousemux.com/
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ReefGB
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by ReefGB »

And here's the next instalment on the subject, I'm starting to think I'm the only one who cares about this but meh whatever.

So like with anything there are positives and negative to everything in life, above you'll notice that I listed Caveats and Positives, Caveats being things to take into consideration rather than an actual negative point.

So being the balanced person that I am (haha, yeah right) it's now time to list the (very few) negatives I have found with this setup thus far.

1) First one is regarding the actual software itself (beta remember), I mentioned previously in the positives that it is ridiculously easy to set up and install, which it is and I stand by that comment, however I must point out a minor annoyance with the software, when you run the software and you click on the settings for your additional (left) mouse one of the first things you'll want and need to do (trust me) is swap the mouse buttons so that your left index finger is the primary clicker, which with this software is a simple checkbox and done, and it works as it should, excellent! However.. and this is the negative, it doesn't seem to save the setting so every time you run the software you will need to recheck the box, a minor inconvenience I know but I thought I'd mention it none the less (however in fairness you can hide and return to standard mouse with a couple of clicks within the software so once opened and set up you don't have to exit the program if you don't want to so you'd only need to set up once per PC restart).

2) This negative is back on DTGs door step and nothing to do with the MouseMux software, In my video you'll note that I drove HUD-less, I did it because I know the route well and it was a little flex I'll admit it. However on a route I'm less familiar with as I've only just acquired it (Cambrian Line) I still need the HUD, this is where the controls were a little more janky, because the HUD takes up a part of the bottom of the screen it tends to cover the bottom part of the control levers unless you're looking further down and hardly at all through the windscreen (most notably in the 158 is the brake lever) a problem then arises that because you cannot see the whole of the lever you cannot always find the grabbing point of said lever, thus making for a hair raising mouse clicking battle to regain control of the brakes before you end up totally fluffing the stop or line speed reduction, not good.
My fix for this btw would be for DTG to allow us to relocate the HUD to the top of the screen, or have an even minimal-er HUD and just have the track box part showing the approaching line speeds and stations (I don't need or want the rest of the minimal HUD at all, I never have)

3) I will also add that I said in my last post that I "felt way more immersed and connected to the train than I ever have with my RailDriver" and HUD-less that was indeed the case, but with the HUD showing I'll be honest I lost the magic a little, and I don't think it was just to do with the control grabbing issues either, it's just the HUD made it feel like a computer game again. I honestly found myself looking over at my RailDriver and thought, nah I'm not putting you in the attic just yet.

So to summarise, the software needs a little fettling to make it perfect (I'll say it again, it's still in beta), and so does the game (like we didn't know that one already) but it is definitely useable and I've proven the concept that two days ago none of us even knew about, and even more it's very immersive in a hardcore HUD-less proper route learned PTGRail playstyle.
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by slipperman12 »

Hi ReefGB,
Thank you for your posts - I found them very interesting :)

I appreciate that you're using DTG's sim, but as far as I can see, as it's a Windows mod, the system should also be useable for MSTS and Open Rails (or any other sim!).

I have downloaded the program, but haven't tried it out yet as I've got a couple of other projects underway at the moment.

Cheers,
Ged
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ReefGB
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by ReefGB »

Yes that's why I decided to post this in the Special Interests Forum because I'm sure it can be used in other sims too, let us know how you get on with it once you get around to trying it out.
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ReefGB
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by ReefGB »

Ok I've an edit to add to the negatives I posted in post three (and of course due to the smothering restrictive nature of this forum we can't edit our own posts after a certain time :roll: ) so I'll add it here as an additional post instead.

4) Ok this is a big one, and unfortunately I've not figured a way around it yet.. With my TrackIR off and using the regular right click and drag to move my camera about the sensitivity is way to high, no adjustment of the MouseMux software mouse speed sliders make any difference, I can slow the cursors travel around the screen down I just can't change the cameras rotational sensitivity, this is also a problem even with my TrackIR on outside cams 2, 3 and free cam too. As it stands unless there is an update to the software or a way figured out to cure it this will be a deal breaker for everyone who doesn't have a TrackIR and also probably for many who do.

Sorry guys with this latest discovery the bubbles burst for twin cursor controls with TS20xx at least for now..
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by jp4712 »

Sorry to go off topic, but what is the PBC that you refer to in the first post?
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ReefGB
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Re: A new way to control your train sims

Post by ReefGB »

The PBC is the Power Brake Controller available over on Alan Thomson Sim. https://alanthomsonsim.com/product-category/hardware/
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