Friday, November 04, 2005

Use the Mouse, Luke!

Like many add-on ships for Orbiter, the CEV-1 does not include an instrument panel. Does this mean you are stuck with remembering dozens of key commands? Not necessarily. Orbiter includes a simple floating panel called Remote Control that you can activate in the Orbiter Launchpad dialog. This lets you use the mouse to control main and hover engines, reaction controls, and the basic autopilot functions like Kill Rotation and Prograde. You can control any vessel in the scenario - including your current one. It's not that pretty, but very functional. Some people prefer the Remote Control for docking, because there are separate buttons for rotation (RCS Rot) and translation (RCS Lin). With the keypad, you always have to toggle between rotation and translation. Most real spacecraft have separate hand controllers for rotation and translation.

The other essential tool is is over_g's add-on Glass Cockpit. This is another small panel you can install and activate which displays buttons for a currently active MFD (you have to click R or L to choose the right or left MFD). Most MFD's have key commands for their buttons, but I find it hard to remember all of them, so this tool is really essential for me.

If so many ships have no cockpit graphics, aren't they basically all the same to fly? Visually from the cockpit? Sort of yes. But in reality, no. Why are there so many Orbiter spacecraft out there? A subject for another post...

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