To set up a joystick, in the game go to "Options | Controls | Aircraft." Move your joystick throttle backwards. Now with the mouse click on the right-hand box next to "Accelerate" and then move your throttle forward. You should see "Joy Axis 3" or similar appear in the box. For the other controls, click "Steer Right" and twist the joystick to the right. For the next two controls, replace the existing mouse commands by clicking on the left box next to the text: click the box next to "Pitch Fwd" and move the joystick forward; "Roll Right" and push the joystick to the right. You want to make sure to get rid of the mouse moves assigned, or your mouse will fight your joystick (and win). Finally, set your fire and bomb buttons by clicking the box and then pushing the button you want to use; you might also set afterburner and flares. You can also assign the camera positions to joystick buttons or the joystick hat control (if you have one). Finally, make sure to hit the "Apply" button! After all this, the display should look something like this:
Helicopter joystick setup is done in a similar fashion. Here's a typical setup:
Note that you could also map other joystick buttons to things like "Cycle Weapons", as shown above. Don't forget to hit "Apply." Finally, you could also go to the "Options | Controls | Common Controls" and map a joystick button or hat control to the "Cycle Camera" command in the lower right of this screen, normally mapped to "C". You do know that hitting "C" after you enter an air vehicle will clear your screen of the cockpit, letting you see everything else more clearly, right? Again, hit "Apply" when done. If you mess up a box, you can always click it again and hit "Escape" to clear the box's contents. Worse comes to worst, you can "Reset to Default" (note that this resets all defaults on all control pages, not just the one you're on).
Flying: one great way to learn to fly is to practice on your own map. Under "Multiplayer" just "Create Local" and add a map, then hit "Start Server." I like the Daqing Oilfields, 64 player, as it has most of the aircraft easily available. To try out the F35's VTOL capabilities, you have to choose a battle with a carrier, e.g. Gulf of Oman. For aircraft takeoff, your joystick may not be mapped to be perfectly centered at its rest position. This is particularly noticeable when you first take off, you may have to steer a bit to the right or left during takeoff by twisting the stick a little. Also, you want to have the throttle full forward. To take off with the F35 (the carrier-based aircraft that has no runway) you need full throttle back to hover, then full throttle forward. For helicopter takeoff you want the throttle full forward, and you need to move the joystick forward to "unglue" yourself from the pad. It takes a few seconds sometimes to take off. While practicing flying it can be handy to use the various views to see how you've done with a bombing run. Hit "F11" (or the "C" key a few times) and pull up after dropping a bomb and you'll see whether you hit. If you've remapped these commands to joystick buttons or the hat, easier still.
It's particularly handy to keep the key bindings for the helicopter, if this works for your machine. In particular, you can use W and S to rise/accelerate and drop. The way I fly: set the throttle to the middle position, say 52% thrust shown in the HUD. Now to take off, hold down W. Let go of W to hover in place. To move forward, move the joystick forward and hold W. When you let go of W, your thrust goes into hover mode, keeping you pretty much where you are. To land and rearm/repair on the heli pad, hold down S. I prefer this type of control as I then don't have to mess with the throttle setting. However, there are many other combinations; many people do not use the joystick at all for the helicopter, preferring the keyboard.
On to my intel page or Planet Battlefield 2.
Last change: October 26, 2005