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Razer Hydra for TF2: Using and Customizing Hydra
So, got yourself the Sixense-made Razer Hydra? Great! This guide will help get you started on using the Hydra in Team Fortress 2. Getting comfortable with this new device is important, and customizing will help that!
You do not need any additional software to use the Razer Hydra on TF2, multiple Source-engine games have native support for it! However, if you've just opened it up and followed instructions in the box, you may have found and installed the driver at RazerSupport.com ("Razer Hydra Driver v1.01[www.razersupport.com]"). The Razer driver software needs to be fully closed when using TF2's built-in support, however the Razer driver has been replaced altogether, so you can delete it. Instead, Sixense's "MotionCreator[sixense.com]" is now the primary software for using Hydra across 250+ games. By default, MotionCreator has TF2 deselected as one of the games it is active for, so there's no conflict with TF2's built-in support.
While this guide only explains how to use TF2's built-in support of Hydra and therefore doesn't need MotionCreator, it is worth being aware that MotionCreator can be used instead of the built-in support. Both have some advantages over the other, such as TF2's implementation offering direct integration of and solutions for things like the Spy's disguise menu, while MotionCreator has more ways you can control it such as the "Akimbo" dual-wield style.
There is no UI or menu for customizing the Hydra in TF2, unlike in Portal 2, so all changes are done with commands in the console.
To understand the ways you can use the Hydra to control aim, this video covers the primary styles:
TF2's built-in support can directly use both mouselook and freelook modes, and hybrid is just freelook with a large deadzone added. Dual-analog and akimbo cannot be done with the TF2's built-in support.
Using the default controls
To activate the Hydra for full use in TF2, type "sixense_enabled 1" in console or add it to launch options as "+sixense_enabled 1". If it is enabled and the Hydra controllers are on the base unit, the mouse and keyboard will still function normally, so there is no need to turn this off normally. If you plan to use MotionCreator instead, then turn it off with "sixense_enabled 0" to avoid conflicts.
The default controls as taken from http://sixense.com/tf2: Note: This is accurate except for missing "Reload", which is done with twisting the left controller counterclockwise.
As Sniper, when you zoom in with a scoped weapon, you switch to a scoped mode. It functions as mouselook mode with its own sensitivity, regardless of which control mode you started in. While zoomed, press the Ratchet button (right 1) if you need to adjust your overall facing direction (see "Customizing mouselook-mode sensitivity" for more information on mouselook behavior).
As Engineer, push the right control stick to the right ("next weapon") when your melee is out to pull out the Construction PDA. Buildings are set to the buttons in a left-to-right order of 3-1-2-4. Push the right control stick to the left ("prev weapon") when your primary is out to pull out the Destruction PDA. Push the right control stick down ("last weapon") to exit either.
As Spy, push the right control stick left or right to cycle to the Disguise Kit. Push the right control stick left, up, or right to select the Offensive, Defensive, or Support group. Then push left, up, or right again to choose the specific class. Click the right control stick anytime while choosing to swap team color. Push the right control stick down ("last weapon") to cancel the disguise menu. In the screenshot, right was already pushed once, and you would push up to choose Sniper.
You can view the control bindings in "team fortress 2\tf\cfg\sixense_bindings.cfg". The default is:
Note: The "left point_gesture up slot3" and "left point_gesture down slot4" are not used because an additional "+sixense_left_point_gesture" button is required to access them.
Loading preset sensitivity settings
If you want to just do some quick switching through sensitivity settings to get a feel for it, "sixense_sensitivity_level <0-5>" will load multiple settings. 0=Low, 1=Medium, 2=High, 3=Custom, 4=Static Crosshair, 5=Quick Turn. Read through "Customizing freelook-mode sensitivity" and "Customizing mouselook-mode sensitivity" for an explanation of what each sensitivity command affects.
Note: "Custom" is unrelated to customizing here, it was implemented for Portal 2's UI. Loading "Custom" will do nothing.
Customizing freelook-mode sensitivity
To use freelook mode, set "sixense_mode 0". Freelook mode lets your gun/crosshair move independently from your view, and your facing will automatically spin based on how far you're aiming to the edges. You never have to "ratchet" (except when sniping).
"Heading" is your horizontal aim and "pitch" is your vertical aim. Usually these two values are kept the same. These will multiply how far you moved your right hand to how far your crosshair moves across the screen. So a value of "2" will make the crosshair move twice as far as your hand, and a value of "0.5" will make the crosshair move half as far as your hand. This setting does not affect your view or overall rotation, just aim.
This decides how fast you will "spin" when you're pointing at the far edges of the screen. This affects how fast your view is moving at all times, though the speed is reduced the closer your are to the center based on other settings. Depiction of low and high max speeds.
This is roughly "how far" you must aim to reach maximum spin speed. A larger value stretches the speeds over a greater distance. The effect of this setting is noticeable even at narrower aims, creating higher or lower speeds long before reaching maximum. Depiction of large and small accel bands.
This multiplies and imbalances the distribution of speed, to create a speed curve. If the value is above 1, the higher speeds will be a little more distant and if the value is below 1, you will experience higher speeds sooner than normal. Depiction of accel band multipliers above and below "1".
Creating a deadzone will create a centered area where your view will be static and unaffected by your aim. This lets you have a steady view while aiming, only turning your view when you get further to the edges. Depiction of small and large deadzones.
When you zoom in with a scoped weapon as Sniper, your control mode will switch to mouselook mode and a separate sensitivity. See "Customizing mouselook-mode sensitivity" for more info on mouselook behavior, and see "Customizing shared settings" for adjusting scoped-sensitivity.
Customizing mouselook-mode sensitivity
To use mouselook mode, set "sixense_mode 1". Mouselook mode is easier to understand and customize because it most resembles using an actual mouse. When aiming with mouselook mode, your crosshair will stay attached to the center of the screen and your view will turn to only where you point, giving you a consistent peripheral vision. This means how far you can turn your view is limited by your physical movement, so you will need to occasionally "ratchet". The default ratchet button is the right button 1, which will temporarily stop your view from moving so you can reposition your hand and take over from there upon releasing button 1. This directly imitates the behavior of moving a mouse and occassionally "picking up" the mouse to reposition it.
"Heading" is your horizontal aim and "pitch" is your vertical aim. Usually these two values are kept the same. These will multiply how far you moved your right hand to how far your view moves. So a value of "2" will make your view move twice as far as your hand, and a value of "0.5" will make your view move half as far as your hand. Functionally it is the same as setting traditional mouse sensitivity.
This a boolean value (1=enabled, 0=disabled). If set to 1, ratcheting will reposition both your horizontal and vertical aim. If set to 0, ratcheting will only reposition your horizontal aim, never locking your vertical aim (your "horizon" will always be locked to your hand's position). This is an option because there's more importance in turning horizontally than vertically. Note: this also affects scoped-mode, including when the primary mode is freelook.
When you zoom in with a scoped weapon as Sniper, you will switch to scoped-mode with a separate sensitivity. See "Customizing shared settings" for adjusting scoped-sensitivity.
Customizing shared settings
Here's some additional settings that always apply regardless of what your primary mode is.
0 for normal, 1 for left-handed mode. Everything swaps between the left and right controllers, making the left controller for aiming and the right controller for walking. Simply swapping the controllers in your hand doesn't work well because of their detection relative to the base unit.
As a Sniper, when you zoom in with a scoped weapon, you use mouselook mode with these settings. "Heading" is your horizontal aim and "pitch" is your vertical aim. Usually these two values are kept the same. These will multiply how far you moved your right hand to how far your view moves. So a value of "2" will make your view move twice as far as your hand, and a value of "0.5" will make your view move half as far as your hand.
This a boolean value (1=enabled, 0=disabled). If set to 1, ratcheting will reposition both your horizontal and vertical aim. If set to 0, ratcheting will only reposition your horizontal aim, never locking your vertical aim (your "horizon" will always be locked to your hand's position). This is an option because there's more importance in turning horizontally than vertically. Note: This affects both scoped-mode and mouselook-mode.
This is how far you have to push the control stick before it starts actually walking at minimum speed. Most controllers apply a deadzone to control sticks to reduce unwanted input from minor control stick "wobble" when it's in a neutral position, and to nullify minor nudges when keeping your finger ready on the control stick.
This multiplies and imbalances the distribution of walking speed, to create a speed curve. If the value is above 1, higher walking speeds will be a little more near the edges and if the value is below 1, you will experience higher walking speeds sooner than normal.
This is how far you have to pull a trigger button before they activate their corresponding action. In most games, when a trigger button is analog ("pressure sensitive"/many values of input) and the game doesn't use analog trigger functionality, the trigger is set to a relatively low sensitivity so very little pressing sends a button signal.
A tilt gesture is done by angling the controller itself without the need for a button press. This setting determines how far you must tilt it in a particular direction for the gesture to activate. In the default controls, the left controller's "jump" (tilt up), "crouch" (tilt down), "spray" (tilt right), and "reload" (rotate counterclockwise) are tilt gestures, with the default setting requiring you to tilt it 35 degrees in the needed direction.
A point gesture is similar to a tilt gesture, but is done using a button bound with "+sixense_left_point_gesture" or "+sixense_right_point_gesture". This setting determines how far you must tilt in a particular direction after pressing the button for the gesture to activate.
If you have too much jitter or "shakiness" on the Hydra's aim, filtering can be adjusted to smooth out motion. Increase filtering with caution, as it will also marginally increase latency on aim ("sluggish" behavior). "near_range" and "far_range" is the distance from the Hydra base to the controller, measured in millimeters (you can get x/y/z measurements in the Sixense SDK and apply math to that, or use a tape measure physically). "near_val" and "far_val" are the percentage of filtering to apply. If you are closer than "near_range", exactly "near_val" filtering applies. As you progress further toward "far_range" it progressively scales up the filtering to "far_val". The Razer Hydra Configurator driver used "800 .93 1200 .98": in that case, if you are 800mm or closer to the base, 93% filtering is applied to smooth out aim. Note: "sixense_set_filter_params" is not saved between sessions. You will need to add it to autoexec.cfg or similar.
sixense_bind is used instead of bind for setting commands. You can bind anything you'd normally bind to other things, but you have to put in more parameters to specify what is being bound. The first and easiest part is to specify "left" or "right". Both controllers have identical parameters to specify, so you're specifying the controller first.
After specifying the controller, name which type of action, followed by identifying which specific action. The possible types of actions and their valid arguments are:
You can put these into the console, but they will not be saved once the game is closed (this only true for control settings, sensitivity settings are saved to config.cfg and will correctly save). sixense_bindings.cfg will always overwrite the defaults when the game is started up, so you'll need to put these into autoexec.cfg or their own .cfg file. autoexec.cfg automatically executes console commands in it when the game is started up. You can create a .cfg text file with any name and execute it directly with "exec <configname>" (no extension needed for executing).
Displays in console a complete listing of all commands set with "sixense_bind" and all of their parameters.
Overwrites "sixense_bindings.cfg" with current bindings. sixense_bindings.cfg will rewrite itself to the default on next game launch however.
Deletes all sixense_bind settings. There will still be some lingering functionality.
Use with the same parameters as "sixense_bind" to delete specific commands.
This reverts all bindings to their defaults.
Bind "+sixense_ratchet" to a button so you can fully use mouselook mode or scoped mode. Ratcheting is explained in the "Customizing mouselook-mode sensitivity" section.
Bind "+sixense_right_point_gesture" if you want to use "point" gestures on the right controller. Press the button this is assigned to then gesture to activate a command.
Note: The following controls are hard-coded and cannot be removed:
Right controller always aims
Left control stick always is for movement
Left start button always opens main menu and cancels other menus
Both control sticks always navigate spectate camera selection
Right 3-1-2-4 select a building with Engineer PDA
Right control stick down cancels Engineer PDA
Spy disguise menu is controlled with right control stick left, up, right, click, and down
If you would like to have a starting point different from sixense_sensitivity_level, my settings are listed below. I consider myself to be on the higher end of serious play, and these have worked well for me, so these are serious non-casual controls. These settings have worked for me with all classes, although I haven't gotten comfortable with motion-control rocket-jumps yet.
alias specialpda "use tf_weapon_pda_engineer_build; use tf_weapon_pda_spy" //On RStick alias specialdropengyspy "dropitem; use tf_weapon_pda_engineer_destroy; lastdisguise" //On R4 alias +ratchetpointgesture "+sixense_ratchet; +sixense_right_point_gesture" //On RBumper alias -ratchetpointgesture "-sixense_ratchet; -sixense_right_point_gesture"
This covers nearly everything. The main thing missing that others may find important is a Special Attack button for the Vaccinator. With powerful "alias" scripting, it is easy to tack on that on as well, but I wanted to keep aliasing to a minimum. Voice commands in this setup aren't too tough to memorize, there's a logic to their placement, such as "Positive", "Cheers", and "Yes" all going the same general direction, and all text-printing ones requiring the point_gesture button.
You can type "find sixense" in console for a listing of all commands implemented for the Hydra. Most of the commands not explained in this guide are not functional or don't appear to be useful, several probably implemented for various development reasons.