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Virpil + JoyToKey

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For you current or future "Virpils", as they're called on their website-

 

I guess for quite a while now, intermittently, I've had problems with hot mike "deep breathing" with TeamSpeak because of using Voice Activation.  It seems no matter how much I bump up the threshold, move my mic away from my mouth, and below, I still sometimes end up with folks hearing some mighty strange sounding voice inputs.  Perhaps I've even managed to acquire a reputation for myself....this is embarrassing to say the least and always to be avoided.  The whole thing is caused by what we in the trade call VOX (Voice Activated Squelch).  Once a certain audio power threshold is exceeded, the squelch is broken (mic is activated) and then it holds it open until a certain time after all audio ceases, even if that audio power level is lower than the  level required to break (activate) the VOX.  That's so that you don't get transmissions that cut in and out, with the varying power levels contained in speech.  In my case, one single sound or transmission could break the VOX, then it holds open for the smallest (or not so small) breathing sounds after that.  Simply increasing the VOX level doesn't eliminate all problems because any sharp sound like a "P" of "T" sound, or similar, can break it and then it can hold open.  The obvious solution is to use PTT instead of VOX.

 

I've had plenty of excuses for not using PTT with TS in the past....with my old CH stick, I just plain had every convenient button assigned to something else, and the best keyboard key that worked for PTT for me without interfering with game functions always seemed to be the Tilde key....but I was never willing to force myself to look down at my keyboard during fights and wasn't willing to sacrifice my SA and tactical communication in order to do that.

 

Now that I have a Virpil setup, very early on I was chagrined to find that the VPC Configurator software that comes with the stick / throttle has no capability to emulate keyboard keys (unlike the old CH Control Manager).  You can change logical button assignments, but you can't emulate keyboard keys....as of this time.... (rumors say it will be able to in the future).

 

No matter, in both RoF and BoX I was able to assign all needed keys and axis using standard DirectX buttons assignments.   I thought I could get away with not needing to  emulate keyboard keys; but TS just won't sense a joystick button for PTT in my case.

 

I checked the Virpil forums for any recent developments, and found one thread that mentioned third party software for this.  It sounded overly complex....but one guy mentioned an application that was supposedly pretty simple: it's called JoyToKey.  I decided to D/L it and try it; it's free for trial, and if it works for you and you like it, a license is $7.00.  Basically it runs in the background and changes game controller key presses into keyboard key inputs as you require.  You just unzip the D/L and stick the folder wherever you want....it doesn't use the registry, and if you want to get rid of it, you just delete the folder.  All you need to do it run the executable, which of course you can do from a shortcut or taskbar....or you can set it to run automatically on startup if you want (I didn't).

 

Well it wasn't as simple as I had hoped, but it does work.  One of the main problems is figuring out which controller is what with respect to how the app sees them; they just have generic names (it may be possible to rename them after you figure out which is what).  "Joystick 1", Joystick 2, etc., is all you get initially.  Also, there is some difficulty figuring out what button number is actually the one you want to assign in the app.  You would think that the logical button wouldn't be that hard to figure out, but there's nothing to tell you at first whether the button number within the app is a physical button number or a logical one; and even then, some apps see a logical button as one number, and others as another number (usually they're one off for some reason).  For instance, VPC Configurator may see a logical button number of 18, and JoyToKey may also see it that way, but Windows will see it as button 17, and so will DIView.  So you have to work out by trial and error, as far as I know, which controller ID and which button number to actually program.  My guess as to why this is, is because some programs may use a button 0 (zero) for the first button, and count up from there; and others may ignore zero and start with button 1 and count up from that.... so you end up with logical button numbers being one off from one program to another.

 

Here's some screen shots of VPC Configurator showing the physical and logical button that it sees as being the "pinky" button on the joystick (physical button 4); and since the associated logical button of 18 is what seemed to agree with JoyToKey, how to reprogram that key to act as the Tilde keyboard key with that app.

 

VPC-Config.jpg

 

 

Once you know logical button 18 works in JoyToKey, here is how to emulate the Tilde key.  As the note says, the fields work in order from top to bottom, if you want to program multiple key presses.  Also, there are special situations you can get to work if you're in need of doing that:

 

JTK-2.jpg

 

This is how you  edit the button assignment to achieve that:

 

JTK-1.jpg

 

You don't have to, but you can make your profile the default profile, or associate it with a specific program (like TeamSpeak).  This is under the Settings menu; I did both.  For the Application Path, it has this neat feature where you have the program you want to associate with open in another window, then you push a button in the association window of JoyToKey, and you have a specified number of seconds (you can set that), to just click on the open program window you want to associate to, and it automatically enters the path to that program:

 

JTK-3.jpg

 

And it works.

 

Say goodby to the "deep breather"   :P   and hello to the newer, less talkative Luftritter   :lol:   Hopefully, in the future, I will KILL (or die) in silence    ;)

 

S!

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Lol, keep talkin at the same frequency, man. 

 

Glad to see you found a solution, but I am sort of puzzled at the whole problem.  I just got my custom throttle body from GVL, and I was expecting to have to use 3rd party software, since Windows can only "see" 32 buttons in the Device Utility.  But it turns out that every button on the device will bind to BoX/RoF/DCS and even TS with no complaints.  I decided to keep TS on my MSFFB2 (because my hand never leaves the stick), but it was working on the throttle unit.  

 

You've found your solution, so this is just an academic question on my part because I am curious as to why Virpil buttons wouldn't be seen by TS:  What happens if you don't install the VPC program and just attach the units as USB devices?

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I think you all are correct, or at least on the right track.  I think it might be because of the VPC Configurator software, or at least the firmware that it loads from that.  The reason that I say that is because out of all of you, only Ludwig actually has a Virpil setup, and you can't compare apples to oranges.  One thing I CAN say is that when I had a CH stick before this, I had the SAME problem; but I was able to emulate keys with the CH Control Manager software, so the problem was moot.  But the point is, that I DID have CH Control Manager installed with that stick, and TeamSpeak WOULDN'T recognize a button press from that joystick either.  And I already know, from having talked to Ludwig earlier, that he does NOT have the VPC Configurator software installed; and he does NOT have the problem of TS not recognizing a button press, which I did not know until now.  If I had known that he was able to program a button directly in Teamspeak, I would have seriously wondered what the difference was....but would have been hard to imagine that it would be caused by the VPC Configurator software....unless I made the connection to having the same problem with my old CH software too.

 

I have to admit, I sort of laughed (to myself) when Larry told me he "just plugged it in, and everything just worked".  That is NOT how they tell you to install the stick and/or throttle on their website.  There are posts there of people saying this doesn't work, or that doesn't work, and then they always say you have to install the VPC Configurator software and update the firmware.  So I assumed you HAD to do it, if you want everything to work properly.  I never once considered that you might not need that software at all.  I think the joke's on me!

 

So I'm sure there ARE some things you need the software for, especially updating the firmware.  But, my assumption was that it had nothing loaded into the firmware when you got the stick or throttle, and that you must at least load in a default config file for it to work at all.  That assumption was obviously wrong.  There may be some other things that might not work, which Larry doesn't use or just hasn't noticed....like some of the analog axis that are not the main ones, or the digital axis (in fact I'm pretty sure he told me this concerning those) or the way in which some of the switches work.  His stick DOES have a different base (he has T-50 and I have WarBRD), and the controllers are in the base, and there IS a different config file for a WarBRD + MT50 Grip as opposed to a T-50 + MT50 Grip (the M stands for Mongoose).  So that could be a reason too why they act differently.  It is all just conjecture until somebody has a WarBRD + MT50 grip setup, and shows that TeamSpeak does sense a button press if you don't have the software installed.  In fact, you'd have to verify that physical button 4 (the pinky button) is the one that could work.  I never even tried other ones, I never had any available not being used for other purposes, and to be honest I never expected it to work anyway, because for me, I've never had it work with any stick I've had in the past 20 years, LOL.  So I searched for another solution.

 

So a big question now is, what if I uninstalled the VPC Configurator program?  Would it work then?  I have a very hard time believing it would now, since the current firmware has already been loaded, and I can't go back to what was in it originally.  The VPC Configurator program is not what I would call an "active" program.  It only starts up when you initiate it; there is nothing in the system area otherwise.  In fact, when you start it, the stick and throttle "load back" into the software from the hardware; that's when you see that green "SYNC" appear....until that happens there's a big red or yellow message basically saying that the software/hardware is not communicating.  Also, the VPC software works without the registry, like the JoyToKey does; you just stick the folder anywhere you want, and just run the executable any way you want to.  Also, it does NOT show up under the installed programs list in the Control Panel (neither does JoyToKey). Just another reason I don't believe it does anything in the background when it is not running.  It's only purpose is to make changes to the configuration of the stick or throttle, save and download them into the hardware.  It does also have a nice calibration utility (which as we know can be done elsewhere in Windows or DIView), and other test utilities (DIView included, graphical axis testing and other USB information stuff).  But in any case, I just can't see how it would actively interfere with what TeamSpeak sees.  After all, the buttons are obviously outputting data; DIView shows that, and of course every one of them works within every game that I have.  So why doesn't TeamSpeak see what they all see?

 

Sorry this is all kind of overblown.  I knew most of you would not have this problem since you have other sticks.  I thought maybe it would help somebody who now has, or might in the future have, a Virpil stick, until such time as they come out with a software version that CAN emulate keyboard key presses, OR a firmware version that plays well with TeamSpeak.  I wish I had known then what I know now; I could have at least tried it.  I think maybe I read too much before installing my hardware....but that's what I do.   :rolleyes:

 

Glad you're all working well, sorry for the mess.

 

S!

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Luft,

 

I'm sure the issue is related to the emulation of keyboard, mouse with the various software packages. I tried everything to get BoX working with TARGET and finally gave up as I had constant issues where it would stop working and I had to Ctrl-Alt-Del and re-select the game to get it working again. If this happened at a bad time, it normally killed me. DCS has always worked fine with TARGET which is more dependent on multi functions.

 

That being said, I've used SPAD.Next which works like Joy2Key and it fixed the issues for me.

 

Options are HID direct or Emulation software, it can drive you mad sorting it all out.

 

S!

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Luft,

 

I'm sure the issue is related to the emulation of keyboard, mouse with the various software packages. I tried everything to get BoX working with TARGET and finally gave up as I had constant issues where it would stop working and I had to Ctrl-Alt-Del and re-select the game to get it working again. If this happened at a bad time, it normally killed me. DCS has always worked fine with TARGET which is more dependent on multi functions.

 

That being said, I've used SPAD.Next which works like Joy2Key and it fixed the issues for me.

 

Options are HID direct or Emulation software, it can drive you mad sorting it all out.

 

S!

 

 

Guess that means you had a need to emulate keyboard commands, as I seem to (in my case not for RoF or BoX; only TS).  So I'm not the only one!

 

Do I remember correctly in that, you use CH Products?

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@ all those for whom TS direct joystick button selection works, just for basic understanding, can you tell me what appears in the TS PTT button select field when you push your appropriate joystick button?  Is it something like "joystick X, button Y", or something to that effect?  For me, nothing at all appears in that field when I push a joystick button (or at least, that particular joystick pinky button).

 

As I said before, in my own case, I have never, ever seen this work directly.  It could be just my bad luck, or the fact that I have always installed the manufacturer's software (through my own ignorance?).  What would be interesting to know would be, if somebody DID install the MFG's software, and it STILL worked directly in TS.  Recently, I had talked to GenMarkof, and he had indicated to me that in the past, he's had one brand of joystick that did work with TS directly; and another one that didn't.  In either case, I am not clear as to whether he had the MFG software installed, or not.

 

In my own case, all I can do is select the keyboard Tilde key (obviously I could choose another key)....which does appear in that field.  Then it just works later, because as far as TS is concerned, when I push my pinky button, I am just pushing the Tilde key.

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@ all those for whom TS direct joystick button selection works, just for basic understanding, can you tell me what appears in the TS PTT button select field when you push your appropriate joystick button?  Is it something like "joystick X, button Y", or something to that effect?  For me, nothing at all appears in that field when I push a joystick button (or at least, that particular joystick pinky button).

 

As I said before, in my own case, I have never, ever seen this work directly.  It could be just my bad luck, or the fact that I have always installed the manufacturer's software (through my own ignorance?).  What would be interesting to know would be, if somebody DID install the MFG's software, and it STILL worked directly in TS.

 

In my own case, all I can do is select the keyboard Tilde key (obviously I could choose another key)....which does appear in that field.  Then it just works later, because as far as TS is concerned, when I push my pinky button, I am just pushing the Tilde key.

 

I use the Scroll Lock key for TS3 in BoX, HID programming with Spad.Next to map it.

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I use the Scroll Lock key for BoX, HID programming with Spad.Next

 

Much that can be misunderstood from those 2 statements above; but my assumption is-

 

1)  TARGET is software that is offered by Thrustmaster for Warthog (and other?) Thrustmaster sticks

2)  You use the Scroll Lock key for PTT in Teamspeak (?) or for some other function with BoX (?), which you possibly emulate using Spad.Next

 

In any case, since your stick is neither a Virpil or a CH, are you able to program a joystick key for PTT directly into TeamSpeak, or are you forced to emulate a keyboard key?  If you are able to select a joystick PTT button for TS directly without emulation, and you have MFG's joystick software installed, that would be significant to know, seeing as how MFG software at this point seems to be the thing that could be causing the problem of not being able to select a joystick button directly within TeamSpeak right now.

 

Second thought:  Knowing that Pfeil also has a TM Warthog, and does NOT experience the problem of not being able to program a joystick button directly for PTT in TeamSpeak, again.... is it because he doesn't have any software (TARGET) installed?

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When I select a PTT button in TEAM SPEAK it does confirm what button I pushed.    MOUSE BUTTON 3   which is also the <page back> function so when ever I say something with Gordon and we are doing something it backs up one page on my screen which is highly annoying.... so I reach over and push the button on my joystick and it says BUTTON 4 which if I go look on the map display is the button I used in TS so it does recognize the button.

 

 

I have to admit, I sort of laughed (to myself) when Larry told me he "just plugged it in, and everything just worked".

 

HAH! you laughed plenty loud...  something about  WElll….  Leave it to you to just start pushing buttons  (out there Gordon is shaking his head in agreement) and don't read the "Read Me" file (Gordon shaking again)  I  DO read the Read Me files... THEN I start pushing buttons... and if it doesn't work right I call Gordon and Mike and complain what a piece of crap it is.  :P

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Well... I still appreciate your input and you do put so much of yourself and your time in those things... I remember how many times (many) that you helped me back in the old BH days that allowed me to keep going with RoF when nothing was working at all.  I do look forward to getting back to the WW I flight sim when things calm down here... I have my 4th check ride coming up Thursday and GOD WILLING I make it through that one... I can finally get off the front burner for a while. SURE WOULD BE NICE.... I told one of the guys the other day I feel like a lab rat... they put me in a cage and keep poking me.  I still want to see a mass Gotha raid take out the entire enemy map in one sweep. Also now that I have a good stick, you might find me more of a challenge....never can tell.....

 

It does remind me of my dad though...   I was about 6.... Christmas time....  Pop was a GERMAN Engineer (that is NOT the same as an ordinary engineer... if you know about Germans or Engineers, then you understand right away)   and I got a toy tractor for Christmas... vollgespurteskraftfahrzeug…..  and Pop put the batteries in it switched it on... and....   nothing.   He took the batteries out...  got the *(analog)  VOM and checked the batteries,  ohmed out the motor,  ohmed out the switch and circuit... broke the connections and resoldered them....  and sat there thinking.... Mom walked up... took out one of the batteries and flipped it around and put it back in..., and the tractor took off across the floor... little Lothar was thrilled... Mom could not have cared less and Pop went and fixed a drink.

 

HO HO HO.....   we never mentioned the subject again.....

 

 

:ph34r: 

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Pfeil also has a TM Warthog, and does NOT experience the problem of not being able to program a joystick button directly for PTT in TeamSpeak, again.... is it because he doesn't have any software (TARGET) installed?

 

I do have the Target software installed but I dont have it on autostart and dont use any profiles for key emulation. 

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Hello Luftritter,

 

I also use a Virpil HOTAS set-up: MT50 Mongoose Stick and Throttle combined with MFG Crosswind rudder.

Standard I use Button 3 for Push-to-Talk but for demonstration purposes I activated the Button 18.

As you can see it works. 

I started implementing Joy-to-Key but in some games it gave to many controllers (I use stick, throttle, rudder, 2x MFD), the Joy-to-Keys added to that was to much.

Now I went back to direct game input.

 

S!

airbLw.pngqq1LyI.png

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Thanks very much for the information, Wolf; that is exactly what I wanted to see.  Apparently it doesn't specify the controller with the button, but obviously it knows the difference.  I don't have as many devices as you use.  This is what my setup looks like:

 

controllers.jpg

 

I did try an experiment where I started my computer and made sure NOT to start the VPC software, in case it has some process running after you start it.  Then I went straight into TeamSpeak and tried to set any joystick button for PTT.  None of the many buttons I tried on either stick or throttle was sensed by TeamSpeak.  My version of TeamSpeak 3:

 

Team-Speak.jpg

 

If you can remember, what procedure did you use when you "went back to direct game input"?  Did you have to uninstall your controllers and then reinstall them?  It is hard to imagine that simply deleting the VPC Configurator folder would change anything by itself alone.  That amounts to simply not running the Configurator program, and that doesn't seem to help for me right now.

 

Thanks again!

 

BTW, does anybody know exactly what "Voice Activation Detection while using Push-To-Talk" does?  I've never had that enabled, was wondering how it would affect things.

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Oh, boy....problem solved!!  It has nothing to do with having VPC Configurator installed.  This is embarrassing!    :blink:

 

For some reason, I've never had the "Gamepad and Joystick Hotkey Support" plugin installed in my TeamSpeak!  Google is your friend.

 

A lot of people have had problems with certain game controller buttons not being sensed, or not working properly if they are sensed.  TeamSpeak support has issued many fixes over the years, but my problem was I had no plugin at all!  So I just browsed for the latest plugin, installed it, and voila, it works instantly.

 

I will keep JoyToKey, for potential future use if I ever have a need to emulate keyboard keys.  But man, I didn't expect a thing like this to happen.   :rolleyes: 

 

Admin, you can delete this entire thread if you want....it's all bogus on my part....only value here is a lesson learned about advertising your own stupidity   :lol: 

 

Sorry for wasting all your time, folks.

 

S!

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Oh, boy....problem solved!!  It has nothing to do with having VPC Configurator installed.  This is embarrassing!    :blink:

 

For some reason, I've never had the "Gamepad and Joystick Hotkey Support" plugin installed in my TeamSpeak!  Google is your friend.

 

A lot of people have had problems with certain game controller buttons not being sensed, or not working properly if they are sensed.  TeamSpeak support has issued many fixes over the years, but my problem was I had no plugin at all!  So I just browsed for the latest plugin, installed it, and voila, it works instantly.

 

I will keep JoyToKey, for potential future use if I ever have a need to emulate keyboard keys.  But man, I didn't expect a thing like this to happen.   :rolleyes: 

 

Admin, you can delete this entire thread if you want....it's all bogus on my part....only value here is a lesson learned about advertising your own stupidity   :lol: 

 

Sorry for wasting all your time, folks.

 

S!

 

Kameraden,

 

From a process standpoint, this stuff is gold. It got fixed, the entire group has learned something about TS3 that we would never have even bothered to look at. For me, the crazy thing is that BoX is the only game that I "have" to direct map my HID devices and cannot use the emulated keyboard and mouse (combined devices) that TARGET creates when it starts.

 

I honestly reinstalled the game three times thinking I had a corrupt config file someplace. So don't be sorry, we are all smarter at the end of the process.

 

S!

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As a newly disabled gamer/sim pilot & WOT commander, I was put onto JTKey by a helpful WOT admin, I used to be right handed till I lost my right arm in may 2018 after some very nasty times , with it all starting with losing my fingers, then the hand, a vascular bypass which worked for a week then, after too much pain, asked them to cut the dying thing off. 

So I am amputated just below the right elbow. SUX !, but it is what it is eh ?, I do have "spirit fingers' and can still feel and move them, flying isn't too bad,  except for when I need to operate flaps and gear, and getting used to left hand is a trial as well, in WOT, i now "strap" my stump to my Jstick which frees up my left hand for aiming and shooting, setting the stick to the keys I needed was easy, and i can now , of sorts, get back into brawling in my tanks instead of being stuck in arty.still some tweaking needed, but a great little program and very versatile, my next go is to get some flight pedals and alias them.

nice to see JTK mentioned !

cheers

Sharkzz

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Hey Sharkzz! Glad to see you’re adapting instead of letting it define you.  

Have you looked into Voice Attack for the switches, like gear and flaps?  It’s a voice recognition program that you can customize to perform actions based on phrases of your choice.

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