Force Feedback/Haptic Feedback Request
#1
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Hello to the many contributors of Descent Rebirth (including Zico & KP)!

I am new to this forum but I have been playing Descent 1 & 2 Rebirth a bunch and I have a  Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro joystick. With all the recent integration of Haptic Feedback on Nintendo Switch and Steam Controllers, it got me wondering whether it is possible to implement Force Feedback into the Descent 1 & 2 Rebirth project. How amazing would that be?

I scanned this forum a bit and it appears to have been mentioned a bit but not sure if anything came of it or whether such a thing is even possible.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and thanks for all your hard work over the years, one and all!
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#2
It's probably possible, with the right code setup. As a classic mouse user and sometimes joystick user, I don't find the idea that amazing, but I don't mind if the project supports it. I haven't done any work on it, nor do I recall reviewing anyone else's work on it. I don't see anything in the logs suggesting it was done:
Code:
$ git log --grep=haptic -i
$ git grep -i haptic
$
I see one reference to force feedback, which you will not like:
Code:
$ git grep -i tactile
d2x-rebirth/CHANGELOG.txt:2619:main/collide.c, main/newmenu.c, main/object.c, main/physics.c, main/weapon.c, main/weapon.h, main/gameseq.c, main/laser.c, main/kconfig.c, main/gamecntl.c: Removed old Tactile-code since ForceFeedback is currently out of question
$ git blame -w -L2619,+1 -- d2x-rebirth/CHANGELOG.txt
928a542b88 CHANGELOG.txt (zicodxx 2007-07-22 02:01:02 +0000 2619) main/collide.c, main/newmenu.c, main/object.c, main/physics.c, main/weapon.c, main/weapon.h, main/gameseq.c, main/laser.c, main/kconfig.c, main/gamecntl.c: Removed old Tactile-code since ForceFeedback is currently out of question
$ git log -1 928a542b88
commit 928a542b88f0b67b50669eb7a37b66529f276b07
Author: zicodxx <>
Date:   Sun Jul 22 02:01:02 2007 +0000

    Removed old Tactile-code since ForceFeedback is currently out of question
Removed old Tactile-code since ForceFeedback is currently out of question

As an aside, zico's not the only regular contributor on this project, although he's been involved a lot longer than some of the more recent contributors. Wink You can list the contributors, and their counts, using git shortlog --numbered --summary revision-range, where revision-range specifies the usual start/stop for Git. As a trivial example listing all history currently included in the main branch (and therefore overcounting pre-unification work (where most commits had to be written twice, once for each game), but also undercounting D1X pre-Rebirth (which is not grafted into the main repository due to lack of a Git branch of it) and misattributing any work that was written by one person, but placed into source control by another):
Code:
$ git shortlog -s --numbered github/master
  6487  Kp
  2103  zicodxx
  1242  Bradley Bell
   473  Chris Taylor
   461  kreatordxx
   236  zico
   131  Martin Schaffner
    37  md2211
    27  derhass
    15  michaelstather
    13  kiplingw
     8  vobject
     6  John Ackerman
     5  Christian
     4  Matt Vandermeulen
     4  Skywing
     2  BuildTools
     2  xatmes
     1  Adam Gensler
     1  Conn O'Griofa
     1  Drakona
     1  Lukasz Pawelczyk
     1  Thimo Neubauer
     1  nobody

I don't have any force-feedback capable devices (that I know of), so developing this would be difficult for me. According to the SDL website, it has haptic support - but this appears to be present only in SDL2. Rebirth still uses SDL1. An SDL2 conversion is planned, but not under active development at the moment.
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#3
KP, thank you very much for your thoughtful response. It's great to see how many of you are involved in this project and to learn more since I am new to this forum. I'll edit my original post to better reflect everyone's contributions.
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#4
It's great to hear that there is the possibility that Force Feedback could be recoded in the future into Descent Rebirth with SDL2. It is true that I am disappointed to hear that old Tactile-code has been removed "since force feedback is currently out of the question". Back in the day wasn't Descent 2 released originally with some force feedback optimizations for a few sticks? Is that the code that has currently been removed?

The work you all have done on the project Descent Rebirth is amazing so far, the updated visuals to HD resolution, the plethora of options to customize the experience to individual preference. Now, IMO, we just need the tactile sensation to go along with those upgrades if we wish to bring Descent into the modern age.

As one of many people who currently use haptic feedback devices on a daily basis, from our smartphones to eReaders to gaming consoles, the lack of Force Feedback is becoming an increasingly glaring omission in Descent. I dream of one day feeling the pulse of the lasers, the rush of the afterburner, my ship colliding with missiles; to feel the turbulence of the action. The benefits of this tactile sensation would up our games and immersion through the additional sensory signals.

Many of us are still using Force Feedback joysticks from the golden age of the flight sim that could really benefit. And maybe if the haptics become an option in the future, we'll have more fans grabbing old Sidewinders off their shelves and eBay to join the party. And new big-budget flight sim games such as Star Citizen are on the way that will likely push the need for haptics in Joysticks once again. It's only a matter of time. So I hope as a loyal fan of Descent Rebirth that SDL2 might be able to pushed to a higher priority in the near future.

Thanks for listening and considering, one and all!
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