The Next big thing. Or why you should get Force Feedback.
P.C. said in 2000:
I hope you'll stay with me whilst I try and put this review into context for you, I think it's important to include some background information for me to place force feed back in perspective.
I've been a flight sim fan since my early teens - before Personal Computers were a reality. At that age I dabbled in war games with a mate using plastic scale model WWII fighters attached to poles by wire coat hangers.
Always the patriot, I had the Boomerang .. which in my hands at least was a great mismatch against the Japanese Zero. I don't even know the name of the rule set we were using but we sure had fun. (Even though Darren the Zero pilot won most of the time).
In the early 80's I purchased my first computer (Apple II, clone) and my interest in 'simming' was renewed.
Over the past 20 years I've been a keen computer gamer with a special place in my heart for 'combat flight sims'. Even though I consider myself an enthusiast recently I was becoming bored with flight sims... yeah I know there are a lot of really good flight sims around, but nothing could hold my attention.
Then something amazing happened - I got my hot hands on a Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback II joystick.
I feel Force feedback is the next step in computer gaming. It is a development akin in scope to to the effect that sound cards or 3d graphics cards had in enhancing the experience.
I remember PC driving across town and paying a massive amount of money for a Pro-Audio Spectrum 16 sound card - remember them? - MiGMan
I still remember the first time I played M1-Tank Platoon by Microprose with a sound card, I never imagined a computer could sound so good, what a difference it was from using that 2 inch internal PC speaker! You could hear the boom of the main gun, the sound of ricocheting rounds, shrapnel bouncing off the armour! Even though my wife was enjoying my excitement she eventually got sick of being dragged into the room to hear yet another sound.
... and remember the great rumbling afterburner and RWR beeps and chirps in F15 Strike Eagle 3.
Force feed back is a great way to further enhance your gaming experience, as I sit at the computer working I have to resist the urge to 'have a quick fly' (if there is such a thing). The amount of information transmitted Back to you through the stick can't be overstated, you can feel when the plane is going into a stall or when those rounds start raking your plane, and pull against the G's as you come out of a dive.
I'm currently using the Sidewinder Force feedback II with Crimson Skies and Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 and I love it. There is no way that I could go Back to a normal joystick after using this.
It is precise, easy to program and solid, I couldn't ask for more. If fact I've packed my Thrustmaster Pro Joystick, WCSII and rudders away, the Sidewinder only takes up half of the valuable desk space and I'll be using it for some time to come.
I'd recommend anyone to add it to your Christmas wish list.'- PC.
That IS a big endorsement! PC loved his Thrustmaster so much he had little fabric dust covers made for it.
Upon getting the Force Feedback 2 out of the box I was impressed by the solid feel of this stick, in the weight stakes it was right up there with my old Thrustmaster Pro.
After reading the many warnings both on the manual and a sticker on the USB connection I decided that Microsoft was serious, they actually wanted me to follow the instructions and install the software before plugging the stick in.
Anyhow the installation was painless and quick. I then got under the desk and plugged the joystick into the USB port, at this point I started getting very excited as I heard the 'windows beep' of recognition.
I didn't want to get too overconfident, but Wow it seemed that this device would/ could maybe work as advertised!
Hat switch and weapon select buttons
Rudder control is achieved by twisting the stick
From experience I try not to get to whipped up at this point in the installation of any device as I'm sure the computer can detect the adrenaline flowing through me and tries to teach me a lesson by making me spend the next few hours (or days) tinkering to get the device or program working."
That would be "Murphy's Law" in action -
"I'm happy to say that my fears were unfounded because the joystick worked fine."
Windows 7 2018
This info worked for me.
I then used JoyToKey to map the buttons.
- "Make sure your MSSWFF2 is powered up and plugged into a USB port (I'm using USB2 - haven't tested it on USB3).
- Go to Control Panel -> Devices and Printers
- You should see the SideWinder Force Feedback 2
- Right mouse click and select Game Controller Settings from the pop-up menu
- Select (highlight) Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 Joystick from the Controller list
- Click the Properties button
- This brings up the settings and calibration for the joystick
- No, you cant set any macros to the buttons with this BUT I can bind the defaults to my in-game key bindings on almost all games.
- "Indeed, as of November 4th 2013 the MSSWFF2 is correctly identified and a driver will automatically be downloaded from Microsoft Update. All buttons/throttle/point of view and z rotation settings work perfectly for Windows 7 64bit. "