General QuestionUnable to work keyboard controls absent labeled 10-keypad - UPDATE

Gothmog

Member
(Computer specs follow at bottom of post)

(Thread title changed to focus on the numpad/numlock issue, which is resolved (Thanks, Helior!). There may still be mouse issues in some of the GUI based controls, in the generic and specialized virtual cockpits.)

I recently got a two-in-one notebook computer*, and like with all computers I've bought in the last eight of so years, installing Orbiter is one of the first things I've done. I've been using both 2006 and 2010.

There's no function lock or embedded numpad, and obviously there's no physical 10-key pad. I've tried an Android app that sets up my smart phone to function as an external numpad. This works for typing numbers, but provides no method for doing CTRL or FN combination keystrokes.

But even without a numpad, I'd think I would be able to control the spacecraft using a combination of the standard cockpit controls--like HLevel, KillRot, and Prograde, plus the custom external control module, but this usually doesn't work either. The exact behavior varies from spacecraft to spacecraft, and I will provide more details of that. But a couple of specific scenarios will serve to illustrate a general pattern.

In Orbiter 2010, under Delta Glider, using the "DG-S Ready For Takeoff": I can use the graphical sliders, or RControl, to start accelerating down the runway. However, the "U" button on RControl will not engage and the DG never takes off, but continues along the ground. When the scenario is started, "ROT" in the upper left of the generic virtual cockpit is disabled (set to "OFF"), and I can seemingly enable it with a click of the mouse. However, the "U" button still doesn't work.

Again in 2010, under Gemini--Reentry: The thruster setting is LIN, but I can mouseclick it to ROT. However, the RControl attitude control buttons remain ineffectual. From the behavior of the display it does seem that the mouse button click is recognized, as the button graphic visibly responds to being "pushed". The same is true of the standard attitude controls in the generic virtual cockpit--if I left-click on them with the mouse button, they will light up and appear to be activated as they should, but nothing happens. It's like being in a spacecraft with zero fuel in the RCS system.

In sum, I seem to be experiencing a general problem with using Orbiter in W8.1, beyond just not being able to use the keyboard shortcuts. Is this experience typical? I see quite a bit of posting about the difficulties posed by the lack of a numpad, but nothing about a wider problem for 8.1 users. (As I said, I haven't seen it, but it's certainly possible I've missed something.) This concerns me as it suggests that mere keypad workarounds won't solve my problem.

*i.e., the kind that lets you pivot the screen all the way around so it's flat against the bottom of the keyboard, so you can then use the touch screen like a tablet.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HW and OS specs:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WINDOWS EDITION: Windows 8.1

OEM: ASUS
MODEL: Q301L
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i3-4020U CPU @ 1.90 GHz 1.90 GHz
SYSTEM TYPE: 64-bit OS, x64-based processor
PEN AND TOUCH: Full Windows Touch Support with 10 Touch Points

Installed Memory (RAM): 6.00 GB (5.89 GB usable)
HDD 500 GB (61 GB currently used)

MOUSE: Just the standard two buttons and touchpad on the computer keyboard. When I say "mouse" I mean this configuration rather than a true external mouse.

---------- Post added 03-26-15 at 12:18 AM ---------- Previous post was 03-25-15 at 10:13 PM ----------

ETA: I just found this post from Donamy, explaining that the Remote Control module doesn't work correctly for Spacecraft3 vehicles. So that explains a big part of my problem right there.

Last edited:

MikeB

Member
I think that model has USB and Bluetooth. Can you connect an external keyboard (preferably with a numeric keypad) and try that?

Gothmog

Member
I think that model has USB and Bluetooth. Can you connect an external keyboard (preferably with a numeric keypad) and try that?

Perhaps I'll look around for such a device. It's hard for me to justify the expense, but then on the other hand...Orbiter!

There might be some better Android apps out there, too.

Siliconaut

Member
I never have been a fan of the tablet or two in one models or anything like that. Anything I'd do on it my Note performs well enough for, and such a device is just too puny for what I would need a PC for.

After all, if one is going to one should do it on a proper platform, perhaps this is the punishment for your sins.

jedidia

shoemaker without legs
After all, if one is going to one should do it on a proper platform, perhaps this is the punishment for your sins.

This might be a bit over the head for a lurker looking for help, you know... :shifty:

PhantomCruiser

Wanderer
Moderator
Tutorial Publisher

Can be gotten for >$10 at Wally World Gothmog Member I never have been a fan of the tablet or two in one models or anything like that. Anything I'd do on it my Note performs well enough for, and such a device is just too puny for what I would need a PC for. After all, if one is going to one should do it on a proper platform, perhaps this is the punishment for your sins. This is a PC*. The screen is just as big as one of my two old laptops, although it is a bit smaller than that of the other one, which was marketed partly as a media player. In every way it's superior to the old ones--RAM, HDD space, and processor speed. It's not like I'm trying to run this program on a$49 phablet from Wally World.

*A Win8.1 PC, but still...

OTOH, I wish I'd thought to ask if there would be function key combos when I bought it, but how could I? It never occurred to me that they might not be there.

Gothmog

Member
OK, so, even not withstanding all that's been said here, i should still be able to remap the key assignments in keypad.cfg, right?

Wrong.

After changing just two--COMMA to "increase main engine thrust" and PERIOD to "decrease main engine thrust"--and making sure there was nothing else in the config file that would overwrite or revoke my edits, I found those keys still don't work, whether alone or with an conceivable combination of ALT, FN, and CTRL. (Can you imagine a three-point shift combination? Ridiculous, of course. But I did try it.)

I've also tried the DirtyHandMe keypad app, which, in a nutshell, lets you use your Android device as if it were a USB-attached numpad. Here the + and - buttons on the keypad work as they should, including the correct variations in behavior depending on whether the CTRL key is being held down or not. But just like with the custom RControl module in Orbiter, pitching, banking and other attitude control is impossible, because the actual numeral keys 0..9 don't do anything at all. That is they don't do anything in Orbiter, but for everything else, like putting numerals in to DOS window, they work fine.

I'm afraid this is probably related to the fact that even through the virtual control panels, the standardized one-touch controls will not do anything when clicked, although they do appear to work by lighting up in acknowledgement of a mouseclick.

Aside from the foregoing, is there any "extremely verbose" mode of running Orbiter, so I can confirm that my keypad.cfg changes are in play? Preferably this would be for the 2006-P1 version; still, a method or setting that does this for just 2010 would still be significantly helpful.

Hielor

Defender of Truth
Donator
Beta Tester
Possibly stupid question.

Numlock?

Gothmog

Member
Possibly stupid question.

Numlock?

Not a stupid question at all, but unfortunately not applicable to this situation, since there is no such capability on this computer. In an earlier experiment, I did try remapping the letter keys where the hidden numpad would be if it existed--i.e. "I" for KillRot, "U" for RCSBankLeft, and so on, but that didn't work either, again with all conceivable combinations of the special keys.

When I first used Orbiter, some ten years ago, it was on a typical desktop PC and its standard keyboard had a separate numpad, making this a non-issue. Since then I've used laptops almost exclusively, and except with the present specimen I was always able to engage the basic Orbiter controls -- i.e. the hidden numpad--by using the Function key. On one of these earlier laptops, numlock was available, but even without numlock, I could still engage the hidden numpad by keeping Fn pressed down while working the numpad, e.g. FN-"I" for KILLROT or FN-"I" to bank left.

None of that works with the new computer, though, except for main engine thrust and then even that only with the virtual keyboard Android app I mentioned. It's disappointing that the function shift seems to work with only a handful of the other keys on this computer, but truly discouraging to find that most of the GUI-based controls are likewise non-functional.

Hielor

Defender of Truth
Donator
Beta Tester
Not a stupid question at all, but unfortunately not applicable to this situation, since there is no such capability on this computer. In an earlier experiment, I did try remapping the letter keys where the hidden numpad would be if it existed--i.e. "I" for KillRot, "U" for RCSBankLeft, and so on, but that didn't work either, again with all conceivable combinations of the special keys.
Even if the computer doesn't surface a "numlock" key, it still has the numlock functionality. If that Keypad app of yours doesn't have the ability to toggle numlock on, and it's already set to off, that could possibly explain the behavior you saw with the app.

You might be able to find or code something to enable numlock on the computer, which might allow that app to start working.

You can do it in powershell:
Code:
$wsh = New-Object -ComObject WScript.Shell$wsh.SendKeys('{NUMLOCK}')
(source)

Just run "powershell" on your machine and copy/paste that into it, one line at a time. I just verified it works for me to toggle numlock.

All I can really say at this point is that I've used Orbiter successfully on several Windows 8/8.1 machines...the only recommendation I have left if the above doesn't work would be one of those USB numpads. Just make sure it has a numlock key...

Gothmog

Member
Even if the computer doesn't surface a "numlock" key, it still has the numlock functionality. If that Keypad app of yours doesn't have the ability to toggle numlock on, and it's already set to off, that could possibly explain the behavior you saw with the app.

You might be able to find or code something to enable numlock on the computer, which might allow that app to start working.

You can do it in powershell:
Code:
$wsh = New-Object -ComObject WScript.Shell$wsh.SendKeys('{NUMLOCK}')
(source)

Just run "powershell" on your machine and copy/paste that into it, one line at a time. I just verified it works for me to toggle numlock.

All I can really say at this point is that I've used Orbiter successfully on several Windows 8/8.1 machines...the only recommendation I have left if the above doesn't work would be one of those USB numpads. Just make sure it has a numlock key...

It's certainly good to know that W8/8.1 does not in and of itself prevent Orbiter from working. However, I don't have a num lock LED or other indicator, so, if I do run the powershell script, where would I find the numpad on the keyboard? Would it be on the same group of keys where it was marked on my older computers? (This would be: M=0, while 3x3 block of keys bound by "L" and "7" map to the calculator-stye keypad.

Hielor

Defender of Truth
Donator
Beta Tester
It's certainly good to know that W8/8.1 does not in and of itself prevent Orbiter from working. However, I don't have a num lock LED or other indicator, so, if I do run the powershell script, where would I find the numpad on the keyboard? Would it be on the same group of keys where it was marked on my older computers? (This would be: M=0, while 3x3 block of keys bound by "L" and "7" map to the calculator-stye keypad.
I meant to use it for the numpad on that android app of yours--it apparently respects numlock. I doubt the keyboard will have a numpad if it's not labelled.

Ripley

Tutorial translator
Donator
It's similar to what Hielor suggested, and maybe you found it already:

Gothmog

Member
Would it be on the same group of keys where it was marked on my older computers? (This would be: M=0, while 3x3 block of keys bound by "L" and "7" map to the calculator-stye keypad.
I meant to use it for the numpad on that android app of yours--it apparently respects numlock. I doubt the keyboard will have a numpad if it's not labelled.

I tried it and it works like a charm without the Android virtual numpad keypad. The 9 x 9 block of keys I described work just as they do on my older machines, so for example "K" maps to "2" and does a pitch-up, "8" is pitch-down, and so on. I also confirmed that my remapping of the PERIOD and COMMA keys worked, so I now for certain that the keymap.cfg file I edited is the one being used by Orbiter. To verify the functionality fully, I should probably start with an unedited version of the .cfg file.

I also find that I need to run Orbiter from the PS window for this fix to work, or else a script that includes the above commands and then starts Orbiter would also work fine. In the Stackoverflow thread you sourced this to, I think the person who said the changes didn't stick probably ran the PS script and then simply tried using another app through the regular Windows UI.

So the TL;DR version is that this does indeed work for me and I thank you again.

Ripley

Tutorial translator
Donator
Good you sorted this out, Gothmog.
Now, could you please edit this thread's title to better reflect what your issue was, in order to help other Orbinauts who might encounter a similar one?
"Nothing works" is way too generic.

Hielor

Defender of Truth
Donator
Beta Tester
I tried it and it works like a charm without the Android virtual numpad keypad. The 9 x 9 block of keys I described work just as they do on my older machines, so for example "K" maps to "2" and does a pitch-up, "8" is pitch-down, and so on. I also confirmed that my remapping of the PERIOD and COMMA keys worked, so I now for certain that the keymap.cfg file I edited is the one being used by Orbiter. To verify the functionality fully, I should probably start with an unedited version of the .cfg file.

I also find that I need to run Orbiter from the PS window for this fix to work, or else a script that includes the above commands and then starts Orbiter would also work fine. In the Stackoverflow thread you sourced this to, I think the person who said the changes didn't stick probably ran the PS script and then simply tried using another app through the regular Windows UI.

So the TL;DR version is that this does indeed work for me and I thank you again.
That's kind of amusing that it works. I guess they just took the labels off the keys and removed the numlock key, rather than actually getting rid of the firmware code to handle it...

Gothmog

Member
Good you sorted this out, Gothmog.
Now, could you please edit this thread's title to better reflect what your issue was, in order to help other Orbinauts who might encounter a similar one?
"Nothing works" is way too generic.

Done.

Gothmog

Member
Unfortunately, this isn't resolved after all. I tried swapping in a virgin keymap.cfg, and nothing works, once again. I'm not sure how I got lucky before, but now I'm dead in the water once again, after trying the two Powershell commands both together as a single paste, and individually, pasting one after the other before trying to run Orbiter.

Ripley

Tutorial translator
Donator
Sorry to hear that Gothmog.
Couldn't you save yourself some troubles and get an external USB keypad?