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View Full Version : Desired end results of Saitek FFB HOTAS poll still pending but......



Bearcat99
05-26-2007, 07:59 AM
This is kind of long so bear with me... AS some of you may know I have been an ardent Saitek fan for a while now. On a whim after reading yet another accolade for Saitek sticks in here, this one posted by TT, I thought it would be nice to send a cop of the post to the company. The resulting dialog is what prompted me to post the poll on whether or not you would be willing to buy a Saitek FFB HOTAS. I got a response again from Saitek so I thought I would share the entire dialog from beginning to end with you guys.. since the people who took the time to actually respond in the poll and not just read it and shine it on, will be, if this all goes through to the outcome that many are hoping for, partly responsible, just by virtue of kicking in and participating.


Sent: 08 May 2007 14:59
To: 'cshallcross@saitek.com'
Cc: 'mcannaby@saitek.com'
Subject: FW: I'm sure you get this all the time.....
Ladies and gents...
I am a die hard flight sim junkie .. I fly in the best WWII flight
sim to date IL2 Sturmovik 46. I am also a moderator on their forums. I have
been tooting the Saitek horn for years now because frankly I think that there is no
better source for joysticks etc... than Saitek. Sure the CH products a more expensive..
and thus in some ways more elitist... but pure bang for the buck
quality? You can't beat Saitek with a bat. The best HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And
Stick ) pound for pound... (or I guess I should say ounce for ounce...) on the
retail market today. I cannot tell you how many people I have
directed to your site for reconditioned sticks over the years and
how many I sold , sticks wheels, pads, mice etc.... when I worked retail
for 3 years at my local Best Buy. Literally in the upper hundreds over the years....
and I have yet to have anyone come back to me and say "Why did you recommend
that piece of garbage..." In fact... most of them now have your pedals too.... I thought
you guys might get a kick out of this post that I saw in the UBI forums from a very
satisfied customer.


Originally posted by Taylortony:
You just cannot go wrong with this company, Ok, as some of you are
aware I bought 3 sticks sight unseen and untested.
One of the was an X52 and when trying it it would not move on the
lateral axis very well........... I took the bottom off and decided it was
one of the hall effect sensors that was shot, so I emailed Saitek with the
part number off it stating it was broken and could I buy another one..
I reiterated after they said it had a 2 year warranty that the item was secondhand
so was probably out of warranty, I was passed onto Saitek's technical
support and the last email asked me to call one of the staff. This I did today, again
pointing out it would be out of warranty, secondhand etc
and that I had proved the fault was the sensor by swopping the
sensors over so the snag transferred...........
Up shot of this converstation..........
They are sending me a new sensor out and have given me
instructions on
exactly
how to set the replacement up so the stick calibrates itself
centrally..........
SUPERB SERVICE AND NO CHARGE FOR A SECONDHAND STICK OUT OF
WARRANTY They have me as a loyal customer now, this is the second
stick they have bent over backwards to fix for me, one being my original X45..
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

I know how it is sometimes... and it is always good to know that
people appreciate your work and what you do. I don't know what your
numbers are like...
but it is always good to hear it from a customer dontcha think?
By the way..... I am not sure if you are aware of it or not but a
very good place to get an idea for the pulse of the community as
far as what they want etc... without conducting a poll... or
perhaps in conjunction with a
poll....
is
here:
http://www.simhq.com/ and here
http://www.pacific-fighters.com/en/home.php
If you folks ever decided to come out with a force feedback X-52 I
think it would go over rather big but from a previous inqirey I
hear that since the flight sim market is such a niche... it is unlikely to
happen.
Cheers....
Barry "Bearcat" Knotts
C.O. 332nd V.F.G.


From: Eric Winkler <ewinkler@saitek.com>
Hi Barry,
Mike Cannaby in Tech Service just passed your message on to me.
First of all, thanks for taking the trouble to write to us. We will work on
a product all year round, living and breathing them, dreaming in building them,
really appreciate a word of feedback from a knowledgeable person from time to
time.
I have just started working on building a case for extending force
feedback in Saitek's line-up. Personally, I think there may be room for force
feedback in both the civilian and the combat flight sim communities.
One concern that I encounter is the quality of the force feedback
synthesis generated at the application level, whether Il2 or MS FS-X. You know
the saying: "garbage in, garbage out". Do you have any views on the
availability and quality of force feedback synthesis in current and future
releases?
Switching for a moment to the X52 Pro, are you aware of whether there is
any/much activity in the user community in programming additional control into
the multifunction display and its associated controls? I have always had a
tremendous respect for the creativity and skills of Joe Public, but in some cases he just moves
on to the next challenge -- and can leave the unwary high and dry. What is the
trend right now?
Thanks in advance for any help that you may be able to provide me, and
enjoy your flying.
Eric Winkler


From: vflyer@comcast.net [mailto:vflyer@comcast.net]
Sent: 10 May 2007 17:04
To: ewinkler@saitek.com
Subject: Re: force feedback X52

Hi Eric... I am not sure about the X-52 Pro and the additional programmability... but I have broached the question on the UBI & SHQ
forums.
I also forwarded a part of your email to Oleg Maddox.. the developer
of the IL2 series. I gather that by "he quality of the force feedback
synthesis generated at the application level" you mean the actual FFB capabilities
programmed into a sim by it's developers. I know that the upcoming
1C offering,
an entirely new series starting with the Battle of Britain called
Storm of War promisies to once again raise the bar a bit. I think
that in many ways FFB is like that field of dreams.. build it and
they will come. I think that before they dropped out of the market
Microsoft had the best FFB out there... but now
that they are no longer in the running and Saitek is still cranking
out the goodness.. in my opinion a good, sturdy FFB stick at least
as good as the Sidewinder at a competitive price would really go far
into cutting into the over
priced Cougar and CH markets. In my opinuion the Saitek pedals are
already a step above anything else except perhaps the Simped pedals,
which frankly are just too costly. Logitech is a contender in name
only.. their sticks tend to go
by another name (Logicrap) in most flight sim communities and thier
gaming hardware isn't far behind. I look forward to what may come of
all this. Thanks for responding.

Barry


From: Eric Winkler <ewinkler@saitek.com>
Hi Barry,
Thanks for the quick turnaround.
1. Yes: I did mean the actual FFB programmed by the developers.
2. Storm of War: Thanks. let me know what you learn.
3. "Field of dreams": I get your point. Meanwhile, my reality is
that I need to make a case that X52 FFB is going to make business
sense in the foreseeable future - with evidence. No problem if some
of the evidence is based on conversations and qualitative stuff, but in
the end it has to help pay the rent. The Saitek product management
style has always been pretty open minded on that front, ready to go
another step, but I am going to need some substance to underpin my case.
Best regards,
Eric


From: vflyer@comcast.net [mailto:vflyer@comcast.net]
Sent: 11 May 2007 23:37
Subject: RE: force feedback X52

Eric.. I took the liberty of conducting a poll. I posted links to it
in several flight sim forums... I would say give it a few weeks and
see what comes of it. I made sure to mention that this was all
unofficial. Here is a link to the thread.:

http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=23110...16855#6901016855]UBI ( [url="http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=23110283&m=3401016855&r=6901016855#6901016855%5DUBI") FFB Poll[/url]

If you have any problems with it let me know and I will remove it.

Barry


From: vflyer@comcast.net [mailto:vflyer@comcast.net]
Sent: 22 May 2007 03:23
To: ewinkler@saitek.com
Subject: RE: force feedback X52

Hi Eric...

here is an update on that unoffiocial poll I took at UBI.
4000 views...
96 replies...
206 people actually took the poll...
185 were very interested in buying..
21 said they wouldn't.. That translates into 90% of the folks who took the poll
said they would buy...
If you read the thread you will see some of the reasons why folks said they
wouldn't buy.. I know some of them have the wrong impression about FFB. Others
have this elitist notion that more costly is better. We both know the truth
about that.

One of my squadmates bought a Cougar HOTAS setup.. I forgot what he paid for
it.. but it was pricey... and the thing with the Cougars is that they will lose
their center in @ 2 years or so... the gimbals go.. so then you have to buy
these mods.. to beef it up. So after you have spent $250+ for the setup you
have to drop another $15 or so to make it "better". Most of the guys that I
know who use Cougar setups swear by them, but I think that is more to ease the
feeling of being had.

Saitek has the opportunity to totally dominate the market.. just as Oleg Maddox
& 1C does with their sims... and make no mistake about it... folks still buy MS... and they buy the Shockwave
thing..... but 1C redefined the genre with IL2... and has continued to up the
ante... and once Storm of War:Battle of Britain comes out we will see an even
higher bar.

Frankly I think that realistic FFB doesn't have to be complicated... I think
that for it to really go over big it should be in all of the controllers.
Engine vibration, stalls, damage, and crashes are the forces that should be
modelled.. in the pedals.. in the throttles and the sticks. You guys might
also want to consider making a stick that can go either way.. lefty or righty...
I can't tell you how many guys I have encountered in my flight sim travels who
bought the Saitek Cyborg I think it was... inspite of the flimsy trigger...
simply because it was the only stick that they could find that wasn't molded to
a righty. To this day no one does engine vibration in a FFB stick. When MS first
came out with FFB there weren't too many HOTAS setups out there, and the main feature that MS was touting was the gunshake. I dont even use gunshake.. I
turn it off... but for sheer flight,, there is no spring out there on any
joystick that can compare to the MSFFB2. When I get wing damage.. I can feel
it.. when I drop my ordinance I can feel the difference...

Another thing too that has changed the equation somewhat is the advances in
console games. In my opinion there is still no software written for a console
flight sim that can compare to a PC sim. The console product is game..... all
game.... the PC products are more sim, and most simmers are older.. with more
disposable income....

My rig consists of (and this is just the controller/immersion part of it... not
that my PC is stellar by any means.. but I have come a long long way from that
guy who thought that $79 was just too much money t o spend on a joystick.....
which is what I said back in 2000 when I saw the X-45 for the first time..) a
MSFFB2, a modified X-45 (I took the stick, gutted it and mounted it on the throttle... since I didn't want to give up my FFB and I was using the stick as a
button bay.. see the attached pic), a recently acquired set of Saitek rudder
pedals (I still have the CH pedals ... but in my humble opinion the Saiteks are
a better product.. the response is better, smoother and broader, and the stance
is wider.. ), a Track IR 4 (upgrade from a TIR2... which I promptly paid forward
to a squadmate.. gotta keep it going) , and a Buttkicker attached to my chair.
I have an X-45 in the box un opened in my closet.. along with another MSFFB2.
I am not alone in what I am willing to spend on this... hobby of mine and I am
certainly not alone. It is something that at the very least Saitek needs to
seriously consider perhaps if they came out with a next gen line... they could
market it differently. Instead of say... an X-52... market each piece
individually... and make them so that they could sort of daisy chain into each
other (Yeah I know.. a scsi metaphor..) or plug into seperate USB ports. There
are several options... but Carpe Diem for at the moment.. it is yours.


Here is the link: http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/3401016855

here is a link to my modified X-45:
http://star.walagata.com/w/bearcat/X-45mod.jpg

here is my flight sim rig: http://star.walagata.com/w/bearcat/myrig.jpg
Barry

P.S. I hope I didn't make your eyes roll up in your head with all this....
LOL...


Hi Barry,

I think that I made a good case to the Marketing big shots, and many thanks for
your support.

The next stage will be a more detailed market analysis, a profile of a selection
of user sub-sets, engineering feasibility studies based on that, then an all-in
review of marketing and engineering findings, a blue-sky brainstorm of what
performance functionality we might be able to piggyback onto the engineering
insights, a slimming-down session, and then we are starting to look at a
reasonably representative product spec.

All this to say that it's going to be a while yet, but we have it on our 'want
to do' action list.

Thanks again for all your input and best regards,
Eric


Thank you Eric, that is great news and as good a place to start as any. It certainly looks brighter than it did 4 years ago when I wrote to Saitek asking about a FFB HOTAS. I got the Tony Sopranno fuhgheddabouddit... response. I hope it all goes well. I don't think it will be as hard a sell as some may think. I think that the rumble force technology that Saitek already uses could be implemented in creative ways to enhance what you are already selling.. fior instance.. The addition of just rumble.... engine vibration rumble and stall buffett to the rudder pedals and both parts of a HOTAS would go a huge way to being something that A)No one has done yet and being a feature that any flight simmer, commercial or combat, could benefit from. That translates into a broader market. Many of the civilian simmer I know thumb up their noses at the combat flyers because they have this misconception that it as more "game" than sim... To them I say it all depends on the sim. The entire IL2 series and the upcoming nextgen Storm of War series from the same developers have changed the nature of combat sims and taken out a lot of the game aspect. Through highly detailed scalability you can game it if you want to... but if you want head on a swivel, watch your fuel & engine, manage your energy, pay attention to the laws of physics, white knuckle, hair raising virtual flying... that is attainable in a big way... and the peripherals have to catch up to the technology... if Saitek doesnt.. believe me sooner or later someone will. Thank you for your time and keep me posted... If you have any questions or want somew ideas feel free to ask. Have a great weekend

Barry


So the bottom line is... we have gone from "Saitek has no plans to make a FFB HOTAS or anything else but the FFB EVO & Cyborg for the forseeable future." (Which ic what I was told when I first asked about a FFB HOTAS when I bought my first X-45) to.... "We will look into this and do further resaearch.... "

To me thats a step in the right direction.

Divine-Wind
05-26-2007, 08:23 AM
It's a start! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

(By the way that's the longest e-mail I've ever seen)

triad773
05-26-2007, 08:28 AM
Bearcat - thanks for getting this as far as you have. Understandably this type of thing is a process, and will take some time, but much gratitude to you for your efforts to get the ball rolling.

If indeed there comes a day when I find myself playing on a Saitek FFB HOTAS, I will think of you and your role in getting it into production.

~S~

Triad

notamuppet
05-26-2007, 08:57 AM
Thanks for your efforts BC http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

drose01
05-26-2007, 10:39 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

Bearcat99
05-26-2007, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by triad773:
Bearcat - thanks for getting this as far as you have. Understandably this type of thing is a process, and will take some time, but much gratitude to you for your efforts to get the ball rolling.

If indeed there comes a day when I find myself playing on a Saitek FFB HOTAS, I will think of you and your role in getting it into production.

~S~

Triad

TY.. actually that is 7 emails...

DeerHunterUK
05-26-2007, 02:33 PM
Well done BC, I'm particularly impressed that you got in the bit about us lefties. For us our choice of sticks is rather limited...it's Saitek or nowt really.

EiZ0N
05-26-2007, 03:01 PM
i Barry,
Thanks for the leftie inclusion.

Although the engine vibration bit... I believe is something that most would disagree with you on http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

249th_Maico
05-27-2007, 02:03 AM
I really am impressed. I do believe that if Saitek makes this product, they will not regret it. It is a gold mine waiting to be opened.

Thanks Bearcat99. You are the tip of the spear in Hotas developement.

Cheers http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

tagTaken2
05-29-2007, 05:32 AM
Thank you for your efforts.

My sole MSFFB2 is the first thing I'd grab in a house fire, and I would love to have a readily available alternative- I've heard good things about Saitek sticks.

Capt.LoneRanger
05-29-2007, 05:54 AM
Sounds great!

I wish there were more votes, but it is a start.


Thanks for your work and for the heads up!
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

Yellonet
05-29-2007, 06:43 AM
Are views unique? If so, 200 votes from 4000 views is a measly 5% http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif That sucks.

trumper
05-29-2007, 07:16 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Any chance of them hurrying up please.My X45 is on it's way out and i would like to replace it with a sturdy,no nonsense,hard working,solid reliable easy to programme FFB SAITEK,[fairly priced for us that are already fleeced to the hilt in the over priced UK.] PLEASE. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

Engadin
05-29-2007, 02:23 PM
My vote and $$$ for this star in the horizon of joysticks http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Go for it!

Bearcat99
05-29-2007, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by EiZ0N:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">i Barry,
Thanks for the leftie inclusion.

Although the engine vibration bit... I believe is something that most would disagree with you on http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree. I think that the whole immersion factor is what FFB is all about.. feeling the slight vibration in your hands and feet will give you the feeling that you are in a plane that is attached to an engine. Imagine if you had damage to your rudder and you could feel it in your pedals... I think that FFB needs the sturdiness of the MSFFB2.. but the things that are actually modelled.. sticking to the basics is best.

Yellonet
08-04-2007, 01:25 PM
Took me a while to find this one http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

So, any news?

Klemm.co
08-04-2007, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by Yellonet:
Are views unique? If so, 200 votes from 4000 views is a measly 5% http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif That sucks.
I HOPE YOU KNOW that all views of a thread are counted, i.e. when you click on the next page, reload, re-read the thread. So you've got to divide that 4000 by a significant number and you get the actual number of users that viewed this thread. I hope this cleared up your confusion.

knightflyte
08-05-2007, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by Bearcat99:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by triad773:
Bearcat - thanks for getting this as far as you have. Understandably this type of thing is a process, and will take some time, but much gratitude to you for your efforts to get the ball rolling.

If indeed there comes a day when I find myself playing on a Saitek FFB HOTAS, I will think of you and your role in getting it into production.

~S~

Triad

TY.. actually that is 7 emails... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


They should call it The Bearcat HOTAS.(TM)

DD_crash
08-31-2007, 10:24 AM
Hi Bearcat. Any news?

Dagnabit
08-31-2007, 12:49 PM
WTG Bearcat!!
Good stuff man.
I also just read that Saitek, and MS, as well as some others are recommitting themselves to the flight sim genre, and that the near future looks very good for all of us.
Saitek is currently coming out with some small LEDs that have flight guages that will give accurate readings while in flight. I think there are three of them that will be available. I cannot remember where I read the article but If I find it I will post it.

Dag

spacefrogs
08-31-2007, 01:07 PM
If Saitek brings ever a FFB HOTAS I think they should name it Bearcat for sure. Thanks m8 for doing this.

erco415
08-31-2007, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by Bearcat99:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EiZ0N:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">i Barry,
Thanks for the leftie inclusion.

Although the engine vibration bit... I believe is something that most would disagree with you on http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree. I think that the whole immersion factor is what FFB is all about.. feeling the slight vibration in your hands and feet will give you the feeling that you are in a plane that is attached to an engine. Imagine if you had damage to your rudder and you could feel it in your pedals... I think that FFB needs the sturdiness of the MSFFB2.. but the things that are actually modelled.. sticking to the basics is best. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

SLIGHT is the operative word. Under normal ops the vibration ought to be very subtle. These engines, especially the (say it with me now) R2800 [Smoothest piston engine] didn't vibrate that much when things were right. Of course, this gives the very exciting possibility that your damaged engine/prop begins to vibrate in accordance to how bad things are. Very real!

I second the motion, The Saitek Bearcat FFB HOTAS, sounds good, don't it?

Hey BC, you seen these?
http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/virginiabader_1965_1002814
http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/virginiabader_1962_562113
http://www.brooksart.com/Ramitelli.html
http://www.brooksart.com/Tuskegeetrigger.html

rockgardenlove
08-31-2007, 02:00 PM
A whole FFB rig would be absolutely awesome. Stick, rudder, HOTAS, the works.