Bridge Command - Using external controls

Introduction

To increase the realism of the simulation, it is possible to use physical throttle levers and a wheel to control your vessel in Bridge Command. In principle, any three axis analog joystick can be used, but in practice suitable joysticks are not readily available, and it is quite simple to construct one to your own requirements. How to do this is explained at How to make a set of throttles and wheel.

Details

Joystick support is enabled by default in Bridge Command, so the first step is to plug in your joystick and test if it works as expected, by moving the controls on the joystick and checking how the engines and rudder respond. If they do not respond as expected, you may need to change the settings.

To change the settings, start the Bridge Command launcher, and click on 'Settings: Main', to start the settings editor, and then change to the joystick tab. The settings on this tab allow you to set which joystick channel is used to control the port engine, starboard engine, and rudder.

If the controller you want to use is not the only joystick connected to your system, you may have to change the 'joystick_no_' values to the correct one. To find the joystick number, start Bridge Command, and open up the log window by pressing the '!' button just above the rudder control, and scroll to the bottom of the log window, where you will see a list of the detected joysticks and their number. You can use different joysticks to control different engines and the rudder.

You can also open the configuration file bc5.ini directly, in the Bridge Command root directory (Usually "C:\Program files\Bridge Command 5.0\"). Note that Bridge Command will look first in the user directory for a settings file, and will use this in preference to the global bc5.ini file. The user directory is %appdata%/Bridge Command/5.0 on Windows, ~/.Bridge Command/5.0 on Linux and ~/Library/Application Support/Bridge Command/5.0 on OSX.

More options

If your set-up doesn't work with the default options, or you want more control over how the throttles and wheel work, you can edit all of the options in the file. A complete example is geven below, and the options are:

Example joystick mapping

This is the mapping in the example below. Each point is indicated, and the map gives fixed slow and half ahead and astern positions, and then the engines can be controlled up to full power. Half of the joystick input range is used.

Joystick Mapping

Example

This maps the full engine range to half of the joystick range, and has the following mapping, which gives the fixed positions of slow ahead and half ahead, and then allows continuous control up to full ahead, and is the same going astern.


port_throttle_channel=1

stbd_throttle_channel=2

rudder_channel=3



joystick_no_port=0

joystick_no_stbd=0

joystick_no_rudder=0



joystick_map_points=12



joystick_map(1,1)=-0.5	

joystick_map(1,2)=-1



joystick_map(2,1)=-0.25	

joystick_map(2,2)=-0.5



joystick_map(3,1)=-0.125	

joystick_map(3,2)=-0.5



joystick_map(4,1)=-0.125

joystick_map(4,2)=-0.25



joystick_map(5,1)=-0.0625	

joystick_map(5,2)=-0.25



joystick_map(6,1)=-0.0625	

joystick_map(6,2)=0



joystick_map(7,1)=0.0625	

joystick_map(7,2)=0

	

joystick_map(8,1)=0.0625	

joystick_map(8,2)=0.25

	

joystick_map(9,1)=0.125	

joystick_map(9,2)=0.25

	

joystick_map(10,1)=0.125	

joystick_map(10,2)=0.5

	

joystick_map(11,1)=0.25	

joystick_map(11,2)=0.5

	

joystick_map(12,1)=0.5	

joystick_map(12,2)=1