Mad Catz shows off its dedicated Star Citizen HOTAS controller

Star Citizen is a big enough project to have its own conventions. Last week, Chris Roberts showed off a few portions of Star Citizen gameplay at the aptly-named CitizenCon. One of the best parts of the con was when Mad Catz revealed its prototype of a HOTAS controller specifically designed for the game.

Design concept

The peripheral is actually a set of interchangeable modules, and looks to be based off the Saitek X52's design. A regular HOTAS is, well, a stick and a throttle, but Mad Catz's custom-designed connectors make it possible to arrange the controller's components in a multitude of ways.

One particularly interesting detail is the presence of a trackball atop the joystick handle, meant for easier aiming of gimbaled weapons. The controller's keyboard section can also be split, letting pilots use the numerical pad as a weapons control.

Interestingly enough, all these features concern the lower-end version. Mad Catz is reportedly working on a higher-end model that will include an OLED screen. The design isn't finalized yet, though. The company has made multiple prototypes of this rig, and it expects to refine the product further according to feedback from Star Citizen backers.

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    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    HOTAS? Hodor. Hodor hodor hodor. Hodor, Hodor hodor, HOTAS!!

    • catagious
    • 5 years ago

    Looks like the base setup is from the S.T.R.I.K.E. modular keyboards. Why not have the stick and throttle connect those?

    • wingless
    • 5 years ago

    Star Citizen has failed. Amazingly, Elite Dangerous delivered on its promises with a fraction of the budget. Success or failure all comes down to management.

      • travbrad
      • 5 years ago

      It has a fraction of the features too though. You are right they have delivered on most of their promises but they never really promised much in the first place.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 5 years ago

        It doesn’t exactly have any less *implemented* features at this point.
        What Elite has delivered, is a solid core game, with a reasonable list of features, and a plan to expand to a lot more features over time.
        What Star Citizen has delivered so far, is a diverse list of features… without any hint of a solid core game to actually attach them to.

          • TruthSerum
          • 5 years ago

          IS it a ‘solid core game’ though?

            • GrimDanfango
            • 5 years ago

            In what ways could it be considered not to be? I mean, enjoyment of it is entirely subjective (I’ve played it plenty myself, and actually regard it as rather boring for the moment). But leaving that aside, in simple objective terms, it’s a game that has relatively few bugs/crashing issues, runs well, has a solid unified interface, a consistent and high quality design throughout, intrinsically huge scope as a core procedural element of the design, a solid core flight model and combat model, which work well and consistently across a diverse range of ships and equipment. You can trade, fight, bounty-hunt, engage in piracy, etc, etc, all within a single persistent game world.
            The key thing is, all the various gameplay systems and aspects of the game coexist and interact according to an overall design, and are largely well balanced. Each of those systems were developed to expand the core game, not in isolation from it. It’s also designed in such a way that future expansions and alterations can fit into all the existing interrelated systems easily without breaking them.

            It’s pretty much definitively a game with a ‘solid core’.

            The significant thing about that core is – they demonstrated it VERY early in development, and the entirety of development involved gradually expanding it into the game as it stands now.

            Compare to Star Citizen… in 3 years, they’ve released two entirely independant “modules” that haven’t been demonstrated to tie into any larger design as yet, and have shown footage of, but delayed a third entirely independant module. So far, each of those elements would be best described as “a standalone experience”. In 3 years, the notion of an actual game to connect these disparate modules is still so far purely speculative.
            I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist – they’d be in SERIOUS trouble if it didn’t… but it strikes me as a decidedly backward way to go about developing a game – create all the features first, *then* create the game to plug the features into. Surely you sort of need to have even the basic shell of a game first to have the remotest idea how those features will interact? Surely for a space game, you need to at some point define a primary “space”, and fill it with systems… otherwise you’ll end up with a game that is segmented into “maps” and/or “minigames”… which sounds to me like a horrendous way to approach a design that is supposed on some level to offer freedom and open-world elements.

      • einstein160
      • 5 years ago

      The only thing SC has failed at is making a half baked cheesy game like ED. If you are happy with shallow promises I am happy for you. Personally I will wait for a first rate game like SC to finish, vs playing a cheap, low budget knockoff like ED to pass the time. You are correct about it coming down to management, but you are totally clueless about what SC is striving to be, maybe that is why you are wingless?

    • Welch
    • 5 years ago

    Where is the Derek Smart edition?

    • Laykun
    • 5 years ago

    By the time star citizen is released this hardware will be in a museum.

    • cygnus1
    • 5 years ago

    The amount of money I have spent to back this game is shameful (that’s totally on me). I fully expect it to have been completely wasted and never be released as it was promised.

    • Ph.D
    • 5 years ago

    Mad Carz still unable to make good looking peripherals outside of their fight sticks.

    • Billstevens
    • 5 years ago

    Bought into the game at one of the base levels. But now I am glad I didn’t spring for one of the crazy ships. I hope it will turn into something good.

    There is so much money and expectation now that it looks like they have definitely over-promised. Rumors of scandal and mismanagement from x employees are out in the wild now too.

    So yeah its wait and see for me too, even though I made my donation to the crowd funding experiment.

      • NovusBogus
      • 5 years ago

      I backed it for about 50 bucks, my policy is to occasionally substitute a crowdfund for one of the AAAs I don’t buy anymore for various reasons. Hopefully it works out, in my case all I really care about is S42 aka Freelancer 2.0, but I too have some concerns about scope creep and whether Roberts will follow his colleague Garriott down the path to big-budget self destruction.

        • moose17145
        • 5 years ago

        Ah but all they need to do is get the completed game out! As long as that happens, it won’t matter a ton if CIG goes down after that because people will just start spinning up Private Servers.

        I somehow suspect that Roberts would do what he could to get the full game universe out so people could try to load it onto a pserv if they wanted to if they were indeed going to go under after the game comes out.

        I cannot remember the name of it off the top of my head, but they are even working directly with a non-profit organization that works to back up and archive old games (to also include their source code if possible) so that should something happen to the parent company, all that data is not lost to time.

        • Cyco-Dude
        • 5 years ago

        squadron 42 will be more akin to wing commander, not freelancer. if anything, the persistent universe will be more “privateer / starlancer / freelancer”.

    • TwoEars
    • 5 years ago

    Who else has a wait and see approach to Star Citizen? A game that aims to be everything for everyone usually becomes nothing for nobody. Just saying.

      • UberGerbil
      • 5 years ago

      I haven’t paid a lot of attention to it, but it (and No Man’s Sky as well) just feels so much like a replay of Battlecruiser 3000AD; viewed as that kind of meta-game, I guess it’s potentially fascinating (though BC3K had a near-untoppable Big Bad; AFAIK Star Citizen has no antagonist that remotely measures up to Derek Smart)

        • GrimDanfango
        • 5 years ago

        At the moment, the developers actually do have an antagonist that measures up to Derek Smart… they’re the ones he’s antagonising though.
        I think he might be afraid Chris Roberts could end up losing grip on reality so much that he ends up stealing his belligerent lunatic limelight.

      • Cyco-Dude
      • 5 years ago

      i dunno, i think a lot is also on the people who expect it to be whatever.

      realistically, if you think squadron 42 to be the next wing commander, and star citizen to be an online privateer, i think you’ll be ok.

      • Liron
      • 5 years ago

      But if it becomes nothing for nobody, then it will consequently be something for everybody!

      • einstein160
      • 5 years ago

      Sure, it could be nothing for nobody, but we are not talking about some trash game developer like EA. We are talking about a team that will stop at nothing to make a game that has only been dreamed about. Clearly they are not aiming to be everything to everyone, since there are those like you that cant find anything good about it. Stop trolling and go play donkey kong or something! This game is slated to be more than someone like you is capable of understanding let alone playing!

    • TruthSerum
    • 5 years ago

    Question : Does the HOTAS aspect work with DCS titles or… do I have to reset all buttons?

    • Growler
    • 5 years ago

    The wrist rest of the keyboard says “RSI” in the first picture. Isn’t the purpose of a wrist rest to prevent RSI?

      • GrimDanfango
      • 5 years ago

      LOL

    • Dawgia
    • 5 years ago

    Hey guys, I’ve got some information below for anyone who wants to try out the early alpha of Star Citizen. Right now there’s a Free flight mode, a battle AI horde mode, multiplayer aspect, and planetary landing. The first Alpha of the PU is coming out soon(tm) (the same goes for the FPS aspect).

    You can sign up to Star Citizen using this link and get extra in game currency.
    [url<]https://robertsspaceindustries.com/enlist?referral=STAR-97Y9-KXVX[/url<] There's a free flight period til October 25th where you can try out all the ships that are flight ready: [url<]https://robertsspaceindustries.com/promotions/citizencon2k15[/url<] The code is: CITCONFLIGHT2K15 See you guys in the verse!

      • maxxcool
      • 5 years ago

      hmmm .. might be me. but this smells like marketing.

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        • moose17145
        • 5 years ago

        LOL actually it was a shameless attempt at getting some referral points…

        I recognize the first link as the new referral system for the game. Since star citizen spends no money on marketing (unless you count them just posting stuff to their own website and youtube channel) they basically need to rely on word of mouth to get their name out.

        Directly from RSI’s website
        “The Star Citizen Recruitment Program allows you to invite friends to join the Star Citizen Project. Anyone registering with your personal code will automatically get 5,000 UEC to spend in Voyager Direct, and whenever one of your recruits becomes an active player by purchasing a Game Package, you will get a Recruitment Point. These Points unlock rewards automatically. See the full details here.”

        For example my referral link is as follows (prepare for another shameless self promotion!)
        [url<]https://robertsspaceindustries.com/enlist?referral=STAR-S4L9-D22F[/url<] The important bit is the last 14 characters at the end (in my case STAR-S4L9-D22F) that is each persons unique identifier. Star citizen is not the only game to offer referral points / rewards. For example, Final Fantasy also offers referral rewards. The referral system is brand new to the game and there are rewards for if you refer 1, 5, 10, X, etc. amount of people, and the person who was referred will get a little bit of extra in game starting money for using a referral code vs. not using a referral code. But yea OPs original post does look a lot like spam because of the way he worded it... But since I recognize the referral system being used, I suspect it is an actual person behind the keyboard. Doesn't mean he isn't still spamming and hoping for referrals... Just stating that I doubt it is a robot... Editted because spelling fail

          • NovusBogus
          • 5 years ago

          Not gonna lie, I’ve been seeing those links pop up a lot lately and I’ve had to fight really hard to hold back my urge to jump on the bandwagon and [s<]goatse some fools[/s<] post totally legitimate referral hyperlinks.

        • Cyco-Dude
        • 5 years ago

        as pointed out, it’s just a person promoting the citizencon free-flight promo, and their personal referral link in case you want to pledge.

          • maxxcool
          • 5 years ago

          hmm. ok.. still looks and smells dirty. I’m shocked Damage is letting it slide. but also… why not use your normal TR id?

          Why set up a 1-time account so you can SPAM a link? Seems shady .. but I have a huge irrational hatred for referral link crap.

    • Milo Burke
    • 5 years ago

    It will be the most magnificent game ever created. And by the time it is released, all the people who gave for the initial KickStarter will have outgrown gaming in favor of golfing, buying motorhomes, and taking riverboat cruises in Europe.

      • Thrashdog
      • 5 years ago

      I fully expect to be exporing space in an actual spaceship by the time that I can do so in the Internet Spaceships that I backed for SC.

      I kid, but only a little bit.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 5 years ago

        The Indian Space Research Organisation already successfully launched and put an orbiter into Mars orbit, for less money than it’s cost to make Star Citizen so far.

      • Anovoca
      • 5 years ago

      That or VR will have established itself enough where people don’t get an immersive feeling from desktop monitor gaming and the most “immersive game ever” feels flat.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 5 years ago

      So you’re saying the next stretch goals will be golfing, motorhomes and riverboat cruises?

      You’ve heard it here first, folks.

        • NovusBogus
        • 5 years ago

        I can see it now…coming in 2016, the much anticipated [i<]Star Golfer[/i<] module with the most amazing graphics and realistic physics ever to grace a sports game. For $10 you can have an antigravity golf ball that goes farther and features lifetime replacement for those times when you chunk one in the lake.

          • moose17145
          • 5 years ago

          Guess here I was thinking development time was basically right on track from what I have seen (compared to almost any other triple A game). The initial crowd funding campaign was only 3 years ago.

          GTA 5 for example took FIVE YEARS to make. Same goes for Fallout 4, Skyrim, etc. It just never seems like it takes that long because normally game companies do not come out and say they have been working on something until they already have essentially a shippable product. In this case, because it was crowd funded, we are getting to see the full development cycle unfold from start to finish.

          Shocker. dev cycles are longer than most people think.

    • Deanjo
    • 5 years ago

    No force feedback? Bahhhh…..

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 5 years ago

      Gotta leave room for another $1 million stretch goal ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Thrashdog
        • 5 years ago

        More like $100 million at this point, really.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 5 years ago

      Pssshhh.

      You mean you don’t get real force feedback and no rumble? That’s like a baby’s toy.

      • vargis14
      • 5 years ago

      How would Force feedback work on spaceships in 0G Space with no air resistance…I wonder about that…definitely could see some vibration. I am not a Physicist.

        • Krogoth
        • 5 years ago

        You still have inertia of the vehicle and force feedback would help to let you know that something hit you and from what general direction. Comes in handy when you are dealing with a stealthy target or/and your primary sensors are out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Gasaraki
      • 5 years ago

      No one makes force feedback joysticks anymore. Force feedback is not realistic. Please do some research.

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