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Rail Driver: Axis and Button Assignments and Calibration

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Rail Driver: Axis and Button Assignments and Calibration Empty Rail Driver: Axis and Button Assignments and Calibration

Post by ambidextrous Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:57 pm

I'm not really a newbie, more of a retread, or a relapse, depending on your biases.  OpenBve was my first rail simulator and I've used it on and off since 2007 when it was bundled with Ubuntu 7.04.  I have also used MSTS, Trainsim 20xx, OpenRails and World of Subways 1 through 4.  This is not my first rodeo. clown

I "rediscovered" OpenBve a few days ago and was delighted to find that it now supported Rail Driver.  Lack of rail Driver support was the main reason I drifted away from it.

Okay, now for a question: I can successfully assign commands to the buttons, switches and hat, but I have been completely unsuccessful in getting ANY of the axes to work, and although I've completed (I think) the calibration several times, none of them show as being centered on the Customization tab, even though they are, mechanically, centered.

My search for "Rail Driver" in the various fora returned only one entry, and it was not relevant. Is there a "How to..." I've missed? If so, where?  And if not, can someone please walk me through the process?

Part of my problem may be that I use  Windows 7 with a slightly larger screen font size that the default which makes the first page of the Options tab truncates the text (? and buttons) in the right hand column, so there may be something there I'm missing.  Strangely, page 2 seems to adjust dynamically to the size of the content.  (The other part of my problem is covered on great detail in DSM IV Razz )

Rail Driver: Axis and Button Assignments and Calibration 2019-010
Rail Driver: Axis and Button Assignments and Calibration 2019-011

Thank you to everyone involved in rescuing OpenBve, and thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Post by mrknowitall Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:30 pm

The best person to help you would be leezer3, as he has now taken over the development of the simulator. Hope you get your issue resolved! Smile
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Post by graymac Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:11 pm

I don't have the device, but perhaps this previous post will be relevant??
https://bveworldwide.forumotion.com/t1600-raildriver-and-open-bve-question#17081
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Post by ambidextrous Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:28 pm

Thank you mrknowitall and greymac. 

I had already attempted the steps in https://bveworldwide.forumotion.com/t1600-raildriver-and-open-bve-question#17081 , but was unsuccessful.

I can assign commands to buttons, switches and the hat. I attempted to use the same steps to assign control lever axes with unsatisfactory results.  I think I have failed to understand the position the lever must be in when i click the "Click here..." box.  My confusion is increased because the axis indicators at the bottom left do not match the position of the levers, particularly in respect of the centered position; which seems important, especially for the first two. (The native Raildriver calibration requires centering on four of the seven axes.)

If anyone add that positional information...
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Post by leezer3 Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:58 pm

So, the RailDriver functions (esentially) at the moment as a joystick, as that's what the PIE SDK reports it as.

In order to set a control, we must do the following:

  • Complete the calibration (essential- The axis range on these is wildly variable, and if uncalibrated will probably not be in the detection range)
  • Open the options page.
  • Center all controls (including the wiper / lights switches; These are actually reported as an axis)
  • Add the control you wish to add at the bottom of the list. Only the FullAxis variants really work with the RailDriver.
  • Hold the Bail-Off lever in approximately the center position (No idea why this was implemented as an axis on a sprung return rather than a simple switch, you'd have to go after PIE for that....)
  • Move the lever to be used for the control to the full extent of it's travel (We 'grab' an axis at 75% or greater travel)


The handling of the bail-off lever could probably be improved so that it doesn't need to be held centered whilst adding another control, but it's not hard......
I'll try and do something about that in the next couple of days, but I've tested mine today and it's working OK.

FYI, this is what I mean by centered (All axis will show as approximately zero on the controls config page):
Rail Driver: Axis and Button Assignments and Calibration FL1YuPY

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Post by ambidextrous Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:27 pm

Thank you!

...although I had stumbled through most of the process before sleep became a priority.

The key point for me was in your original explanation (link above):  delete the current assignments (or words to that general effect).  That forced me into the "Add" process and the rest followed reasonably quickly.  Then realizing that the Raildriver configuration (lever and switch positions) must match the initial state of the train - at least the power-brake handle in the route I was using to test my progress (LU Northern Line, any route).   This train's brake is set to "Emergency"; there's no way to release it if the combined lever is in any position other than maximum braking when you click "Start".

I was getting sleepy, so I won't swear to this, but it seemed that the assignments I had deleted had been re-added at the bottom after I moved my additions to the top.  Is the list hierarchical?

And a couple of other questions:


  • Is the size of the position indicators (I don't know the technical term, sorry) a reliable guide to whether or not the lever/switch is centered: ie when it's as small as possible?
  • Is the colour of the indicator a reliable guide to which axis I'm working with?
  • Does the presence of import/export functions mean I can create custom configurations for different engines and load them as necessary?


I believe the answer to all is yes, but I'm just checking.

I completely agree with your observations about the Bail-Off.  If you look inside, a switch would have been simpler and undoubtedly cheaper. Knowing that the full-axis variants work better than the half-axes will be useful going forward.

I know just enough about coding to be dangerous - enough to know that at least two entirely different modules are involved, but if the ability to change the units shown in the Raildriver LED could be assigned to a switch on the Raildriver it would add some convenience - especially on routes which use both units for speed limits (HST Haversham uses km/h for the high speed section, mph for the third-rail sections.)  At my age, pushing my luck is my main form of exercise!

You are to be congratulated on the implementation of Raildriver in OpenBVE - it makes a huge difference.
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Post by leezer3 Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:30 pm

Is the size of the position indicators (I don't know the technical term, sorry) a reliable guide to whether or not the lever/switch is centered: ie when it's as small as possible?

Yes, assuming the calibration has been performed and saved in openBVE.
If not, they can be wildly out.

Is the colour of the indicator a reliable guide to which axis I'm working with?

Not sure where you're looking here. In the options panel, the fill color for all of them should be red. (Same for any joystick)
Could probably change the color on the grabbed axis for a few seconds, will think about that.

Does the presence of import/export functions mean I can create custom configurations for different engines and load them as necessary?

This should work. I'll admit I hadn't thought of it like this (I set the controls once), and I'm sure a set of control profiles could be setup somehow.
Might get a little complex, so this is a slightly longer term thought......


I was getting sleepy, so I won't swear to this, but it seemed that the assignments I had deleted had been re-added at the bottom after I moved my additions to the top.  Is the list hierarchical?

Would need to check exactly what's going on TBQH.
At a guess something tried to use one of the missing controls and it got re-created.

IIRC the list will stay in the order controls are created / added, but I'll by no-means guarantee something isn't sorting it somewhere Razz
(I haven't checked, but this is highly likely to happen upon export / import)

Then realizing that the Raildriver configuration (lever and switch positions) must match the initial state of the train - at least the power-brake handle in the route I was using to test my progress (LU Northern Line, any route).   This train's brake is set to "Emergency"; there's no way to release it if the combined lever is in any position other than maximum braking when you click "Start".

Will take a look at what's happening here.
I *thought* that if you moved the lever to EB after starting things then worked OK, but this may be train dependant.

Might need a blocking message instructing you to move the RailDriver levers to the correct place. (The starting position of the train handles is defined in the routefile, and it'd likely break stuff if this was changed)

I know just enough about coding to be dangerous - enough to know that at least two entirely different modules are involved, but if the ability to change the units shown in the Raildriver LED could be assigned to a switch on the Raildriver it would add some convenience - especially on routes which use both units for speed limits (HST Haversham uses km/h for the high speed section, mph for the third-rail sections.)  At my age, pushing my luck is my main form of exercise!

Easy enough, will try and remember to do that over the next couple of days.

It even gives me a rather dangerous idea:
There is an option to set the display speed in the routefile (not currently passed to the RailDriver, but I suppose it could be). This at the moment is a global option, but it would probably be relatively easy to add an option to toggle at N meters, which could also be passed to the RailDriver.

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Post by ambidextrous Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:38 pm

Thank you again.

About the size/colour thing:  When the axes are centered, it kinda looked like it was a pink line, rather than red.  That said, in order to assign anything it seems best to hae all the axes centered - even if that does mean wedging a lollipop (popsicle) stick between the Independent Brake and the housing to keep the Bail-Off axis centered.

Can a keystroke be assigned to a command which is also assigned to a RailDriver axis or button?  Can I, for example, still assign 1,Q,A and Z to the combined handle or is it either/or as opposed to and/or?

I still haven't worked out how to deal with an engine with a combined handle (power and regenerative braking) and Air Brakes.  But I'm stubborn.

And the handles not matching the train's initial state: I have been unable to replicate the issue.  Perhaps it was one of the flashbacks they promised me.
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Post by leezer3 Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:16 pm

Not sure on the keystroke question off the top of my head; Will have to play around and see if anything breaks Sad
I'd *expect* it to work fine, but I'll make no guarantees on that front.....

https://vps.bvecornwall.co.uk/OpenBVE/Builds/OpenBVE-2019-08-05.zip
Current testing build makes two improvements which may be relevant in your use-case:

  • New control available- RailDriverSpeedUnits which will allow you to toggle the display speed. (n.b. This is not saved, and it'll revert to whatever is set in options at the next load)
  • If using the AI driver (CTRL+A) with a train setup to use the RailDriver or other joystick, things actually now work as opposed to the joystick fighting with the AI.

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