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Well, now that I got Privateer again and tried the awful keyboard/mouse options I'm definitely in the market for a flight stick. It's been quite a while (only some eleven years or so) since I've had one, so I'm not all that familiar with current sticks, but I did some research and thus far I've found only three contenders that may be worthwhile.

I've been looking at Logitech's Extreme 3D Pro, even before this, but some of the reviews I've seen do mention that it may be made of cheap parts, so that's one reason I haven't gotten one yet. The other two more likely options I've found are either the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X or the CH Products Flightstick Pro. The latter seems to be very well respected and is supposed to have great build quality, but it doesn't twist and has only a few buttons. That said, I don't know if axis twist is really essential. Sure I could get another peripheral for such, but I'd think I'd be fine just using the keyboard for such. The Thrustmaster stick, on the other hand, does look pretty enticing as well, especially since it has a lot more going for than the other two with its attached (and detachable) thrust control, all at a reasonable price. So, which one of these would you recommend or is there another brand/stick you think I should take into consideration? Any help would be much appreciated.

Also what I should note is that, while I know the joystick functions in Privateer are limited, I'm also intending to use it for other games (obviously) like Descent, Freespace, hopefully other future Wing Commander GoG acquisitions, possibly even Shattered Steel etc. So yeah, I'm definitely looking for a quality stick that'll work well all around, and one that'll hopefully last me for some time.
Post edited June 03, 2011 by mistermumbles
Haven't tested it on this yet (still debating whether or not to buy it without the expansion) but I personally recommend the Saitek Cyborg V.1 (not the the Cyborg X despite it looking the better controller). It is an excellent joystick with very few drawbacks. The only bad points are that it is very plastic but well made and the throttle is badly located and feels like an afterthought.

The joystick has twist functionality, has I believe 5 buttons with a shift to double up (plus a trigger of course), it also has a nice little analogue stick in the center to control camera. The base is very sturdy and grips to surfaces nicely.

Out of the three you linked, I have only tried the Logitech Extreme 3D pro. It is also an excellent stick with more buttons then the Saitek one that I've been mentioning but I prefer the Saitek.
I have a CH Fighterstick which is similar to the Flightstick Pro.

The build quality and precision are beyond compare. This is definitely the smoothest and most accurate joystick I have ever used. I have some trouble recommending it though for two reasons: The lack of a twist handle and a lack of buttons on the base.

I wound up mapping a couple of the buttons on one of the hat switches to roll which works, but compared to the smooth motion the twist handle of my trusty Sidewinder it just doesn't compare. I would rate twist as an essential feature when shopping for a joystick now.

With four hat switches there are generally enough buttons to go around, but it can be awkward to use for functions I used to have buttons for. Also, the lack of buttons on the base means I can't play with both hands on the joystick anymore.

Granted I now have my left hand free to use the keyboard, but playing two-handed was really fun.

I am of course aware that you are "supposed" to have it as part of a HOTAS configuration, but that's another $200 that you have the spend, and I have chosen not to do so at this time.

Of the options you listed, I have heard good things about the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro. I don't doubt it's cheaply made, but if it works well for $30 it still looks like a good buy.

The Thrustmaster looks interesting too, but perhaps a bit impractical. Reviews I have read mention the mess of wires it can create on the desk.
Post edited June 04, 2011 by xenobrain
xenobrain: I have a CH Fighterstick which is similar to the Flightstick Pro.
I've looked at that one, too, but I'm not really digging the button-layout or the shapes of said buttons. I don't think the lack of axis twist would actually bother me that much since I never had a stick with such a feature anyway.

Yet as good as the Flightstick Pro looks, the Thrustmaster one really still is the most enticing to me. Funnily, most reviews that I've read about the wiring complained the cable between throttle and stick were too short (though the cable is supposed to be around three feet long). I probably would leave them stuck together anyway. Adjustable resistance is a definite plus.
Post edited June 05, 2011 by mistermumbles

I have the Thrustmaster HOTAS X. I leave the joystick and throttle together. I haven't tested it on's version of Privateer.

I was playing with the diskette version of Privateer a few months ago. I never got to use the stick with the game. :( I was editing the DosBox settings for the joystick but there was still the drift that made it impossible to play.

I've used the stick on FreeSpace 1 and it was good. I couldn't feel the adjustable resistance though.

As for the stick here is my quick review
- It feels sturdy.
- The stick and throttle can be separated or joined depending on your tastes. I prefer to join the stick because it has more weight and it won't move around when dogfighting.
- Cheap. I got mine from Amazon for less than $35.
- Flexibility. Can be used on PS3.

- Button mapping is ROM only. The manual is pretty weak so you're on your own when you map functions. Freespace had excellent joystick support so it was not a big deal in that game.
- Ten buttons only. You might want more in the future. I still had to use the keyboard every now and then in Freespace.
- Throttle Support. Throttle didn't work on FreeSpace. I had to use the KB to get the throttle functions.

On Privateer, I'd like to see if someone else has managed to get the stick to work. Right now my stick is gathering dust because I'm not playing any of my space flight sims.
chip168: I have the Thrustmaster HOTAS X. I leave the joystick and throttle together. I haven't tested it on's version of Privateer.
Thanks for the input. I actually ended up deciding against the stick. As nice as a 'real' throttle would be I don't think I'd be using enough, so it'd just take up unnecessary space.

After some back and forth between the CH Products' Fighterstick/Combatstick and Flightstick Pro, I ended up going for the latter. As a lot of reviews said the former strive for more realism in replicating the real thing, but hard-to-reach buttons didn't sound like something I would want - I want my games to be fun, not a freaking finger workout - and all those hat switches are way too much overkill for me. So I ended up ordering the Flightstick Pro. Sure, it only has four buttons, but that's okay by me. I'm used to having the ole keyboard/joystick combo, so it'll be like the good ole days - didn't have a twist axis either then.

Amazon says my stick is out for delivery as of this morning, so I hope I'll get to enjoy it early this afternoon. Looking forward to it. I actually ended up finally snapping up Descent 3 (already had 1+2), Freespace 1+2, and Wings of Prey (yesterday's Steam's deal for $7.50) in anticipation. I haven't been this excited about a good gaming session for some time.