Coders: better gamers than you? Take FreeSpace 2

(Because we cheat!) Well that's the theory anyway. Except then we stop gaming because we're bored and we go back to coding our cheats.

So I recently dusted off the game FreeSpace 2. Still fantastic, and thanks to the FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project it has new and pretty graphics and mods. Metacritic thinks it's awesome too, scoring a 91… if that means anything.

MediaVP updated graphics screenshot, enemy ship targeted at 367 meters.

In a space combat sim, deftness and accuracy are your best friends. Unfortunately in FreeSpace it didn't seem that you could have both. With the sensitivity maxed you could pivot, bank, and pitch with maximum speed, but your target would bounce around your reticle, and you'd miss most of your shots.

Perhaps a very nice gamepad joystick would register a wider range of the slower, gentler movements. Mine certainly didn't, and that might be the most common experience. A standard computer mouse absolutely doesn't work, because there's no "center" to return to: you're constantly turning.

I of course thought, "Ha ha! I can fix this" and turned toward AutoHotkey. I was going to code an ugly hack, and have a button or joystick open the key configuration and adjust the sensitivity in a lightning quick second, preserving the state of my other buttons and ship movement.

That is until I spotted an example script in the very awesome AutoHotkey documentation for using a joystick as a mouse. Programmatically controlled sensitivity, some significant rewriting, and yeah: dominating.

I have one joystick for movement, the other to adjust the sensitivity/speed of that movement for excellent ship tracking, and a button which brings it to the absolute maximum for rapid orientation changes. Also many other intuitive combinations for interacting with enemy/friendly/escort ships such as targeting, targeting attacker, and so forth.

Here's the codez.