Friday, May 27, 2016

Switching Audio to Rift when Launching ED

This technique is a workaround for programs launched directly from Windows. Programs launched from within Oculus Home switch audio automatically. Unfortunately I do not have a solution for SteamVR games. If you find a way I'd be interested to know.

1. Download and install AudioSwitch
2. Run AudioSwitch from the commandline to display audio devices
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\AudioSwitch"
audioswitch /l
3. Take note of your device numbers
C:\Program Files (x86)\AudioSwitch>Audioswitch.exe /l
C:\Program Files (x86)\AudioSwitch>
 Devices available:
  0  Headphones (Rift Audio)
  1  Realtek Digital Output(Optical) (Realtek High Definition Audio)
  2  Realtek Digital Output (Realtek High Definition Audio)
 <3> Speakers (6- Bose USB Audio)
  4  Headset Earphone (2- ASTRO Wireless Transmitter )
In my case the Rift is device 0 while my speakers are device 3.

4. Create a .BAT file on your desktop and enter the following lines.
@echo off
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\AudioSwitch\"
echo Switching Audio to Rift
Audioswitch.exe /s 0
echo Starting ED Launcher
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Frontier\EDLaunch\EDLaunch.exe"
Audioswitch.exe /s 3
5. Double-click on the BAT file to Run
The batch file should open a cmd window. Your default audio device becomes the Rift. Then the Elite Dangerous Launcher starts. When the Elite Dangerous Launcher is closed, the script switches default audio back to speakers before closing.

Update: If you want to launch programs like VoiceAttack, Captail's Log and such before the ED Launcher use following syntax:
start "" "Program Executable"
My current launcher looks like this
@echo off
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\AudioSwitch\"
echo Switching Audio to Rift
Audioswitch.exe /s 0
start "" "C:\Program Files (x86)\VoiceAttack\VoiceAttack.exe"
echo Starting ED Launcher
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Frontier\EDLaunch\EDLaunch.exe"
Audioswitch.exe /s 3

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mounting a Leap Motion on Oculus CV1

So we have a short term problem. The CV1 has a curved face while the Leap Motion is flat. Also the new VR Mount, as of this writing, is still some weeks away. Turns out you don't need a special mount or even a 3d printed one if you have a supply store nearby.

Mounting Putty (e.g. Velcro White Tack Putty, Blu Tack, FunTak etc.)
Painter's tape
USB 3.0 extension cable
Velcro ties

Most of the above you can find in Home Depot if you're in the States. The painter's tape is to mark where the leap motion should go. It has to be painter's tape because I want this to be cleanly removable. The same reason for using mounting putty/tack instead of Sugru. The Velcro ties is for fastening the Leap Motion's cable together with the CV1's. The USB 3.0 extension cable is optional though recommended to reach the nearest spare USB 3.0 port on the PC.


It's best to use a cheaper webcam that leaks some IR lights. I tried to use my phone's camera but its IR filter was so good I couldn't see the Rift's lights.

Finding the lights
Open the Windows Camera App (Windows 10, 8) or any equivalent application that will let you live view your camera. Start up Oculus Home then point your Rift so the camera can see it. You should see the lights on the front of the Rift. We want to mount the Leap Motion in a way that covers the fewest lights.

Cut a piece of painters tape in the size of the Leap Motion.

Using the webcam as a guide, mount the painter's tape on the Rift avoiding the lights. Give the lights as much room as you can.

Some Cameras may have stronger IR filtering.

Roll a piece of tack and mount to the back of the Leap Motion toward one end. Repeat for the other end. Leave the center unoccupied. The two ends will accomodate the curve of the Rift.

Reinforce the mount by adding additional tack to the top and bottom of the Leap Motion.

Route the Leap's main cable to the opposite side of the Rift.

Use Velcro ties to fasten the Leap USB cable to the Rift cable. Make it as tight as possible so the Leap doesn't get yanked from the face.

Extend the Leap USB cable as necessary. I used a 6 foot cable.

Depending on the angle to the camera some lights may be obscured but it doesn't appear to affect tracking.

Have fun!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Use the HORI Ace-Edge controller with Elite Dangerous

I usually fly with a Saitek X55 and I had a backup Thrustmaster T-Flight but neither was available. There were Xbox 360 controllers lying around but I remembered having an Ace Combat 6 HORI Ace-Edge stick from the Xbox 360 Game. So why not try to make it work with Elite Dangerous?

  1. Install the Xbox 360 controller drivers
  2. Test the ACE Edge
  3. Get USB the VID/PID
  4. Add VID/PID to DeviceMappings.xml
  5. Create a new Custom Control Profile

Install the Xbox 360 controller drivers
Download the Xbox 360 controller drivers from Microsoft then install. A reboot may be necessary.

Test the ACE Edge
Run joy.cpl -> Properties -> Test. Move the stick and press all the buttons to test that you are getting inputs. The Throttle two knobs on the throttle are dummies. The button above LB is also false. M1/M2/M3 mode switches are not recognized by joy.cpl. Same with the Xbox button on the Stick body.

X Axis/Y Axis - Joystick pitch/roll 
Z Axis - Throttle forward back + paddle left and right! 
Throttle is Xbox right trigger 
Paddle is Xbox left trigger 
Y Rotation - R-stick (up/down) 
X Rotation - R-stick (left right) 

Joystick Buttons
Point of View Hat - D-Pad (desc-positions, right thumb)
Button 1 - A Button (fire trigger)
Button 6 - Right Bumper (pinkie switch)
Button 2 - B Button (Red)
Button 3 - X Button (Blue)
Button 4 - Y Button (Yellow)
Button 8 - Start Button (Forward right index finger)

Throttle Buttons
Button 5 - LB [Left Bumper]
Button 7 - Back 
Button 9 - Left Stick Button (Left Index finger / LS Press)

We need to register the Vendor ID and Product ID of the Ace-Edge with ED. Run Control Panel -> Device Manager -> Microsoft Common Controller for Windows -> Xbox 360 Controller for Windows -> Details -> Property: Hardware IDs

It should return the above if you only have the Ace-Edge hooked up as a gamepad. 

Add VID/PID to DeviceMappings.xml

Find your existing Custom*.binds and make backups in C:\Users\your user id\AppData\Local\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Bindings. ED currently comes in 32-bit (1.5), 64-bit (1.5) and 64-bit-only Horizons (2.02). There appears to be multiple directories where DeviceMappings.xml can be modified. But you only need to change the one you intend to play.

(Elite Dangerous Ships 1.5 and Horizons 2.02)
(Elite Dangerous Ships 1.5)

Inside either of those is a ControlSchemes directory. Make a backup of DeviceMappings.xml. Modify DeviceMappings.xml then add the PID and VID to the Gamepad area. I put mine in the end of that section right before the Gamepad tag for the XB1 controller.
  <!-- ACE Edge -->

Don't forget to save! If you want a sample here is the posted code.

Create a new Custom Control Profile
Start Elite Dangerous. If you did the above right, the joystick D-pad should let you navigate the menu. The Trigger button (A) will work as select. From here you can go to Options -> Controls -> Xbox 360 Controller. From here you can start customizing as you desire.

I discovered that the Paddle didn't work well as yaw or thruster. When I tried to map it to Left/Right Thruster Axis it turned into a permanent right thrust/turn. Instead I treat it as a modifier button in combination with D-pad to provide left/right thrust. That's too bad since this was used as yaw in the AC6 game. By default the yaw is mapped to the R-Stick x axis.

The Throttle D-pad is supposed to mirror the Joystick D-pad but it wasn't reliable to trigger on my stick so I left it alone. The calibration on my throttle was also a bit suspect when running in full range. If I need a reverse switch I can use the index finger button on the throttle. Also the Joystick Start button couldn't be mapped to the game. It appears to be hard coded as an escape key.

I made an AceEdge.binds which can be used as a starting point. Just copy it to the ControlSchemes folder. Update: Found a thread on this in Frontier forums on Ace Edge Z-Rotation does not work.