Black lazyboy armchair with HOTASAS attached to arms and VR headset and keyboard on the seat

The Commander’s Chair

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but the chair in question keeps going through different incarnations. I’m fairly sure the current incarnation is the final one, though, so now is the time.

One of the first computer games that I sunk hours into was Elite on the Acorn Electron. It was also the only game I was unable to hack and transfer from tape onto floppy disk when that technological advancement reached the Electron (I never worked out the compression algorithm). So I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

When Elite: Dangerous was announced on KickStarter, I didn’t need to think twice. I’ve been playing it since beta, and it is the sole reason for me getting into VR (currently with an HP G2 headset). I do have dozens of other VR games (courtesy of Steam sales and Humble Bundle), but many of them I haven’t actually played (I may eventually get around to it!). Elite Dangerous lets me fly a spaceship. And drive across alien planets in a fabulous buggy (SRV Scarab… we won’t discuss the Scorpion). So I needed a suitable cockpit.

First choice was the chair. As the PC is in the lounge, I decided on a lazyboy style armchair. The first one I got was faux leather, which I will never buy again (it wasn’t long before the vinyl started flaking). I found a full leather chair at an auction not so long ago.

HOTAS and how to mount them was the next choice. The first incarnation was with X-56, and as the arms of a lazy boy don’t lend themselves to direct mounting joysticks, I built a mount for either side. X-56 was a reasonable option at the time I bought it (cheaply made, even for the relatively cheap price, but jam-packed with buttons of which Elite Dangerous requires dozens). After many repairs, I replaced the X-56 stick with a Turtlebeach stick and was very pleased with the improved accuracy. I kept the stick with the X-56 throttle for a while, until I noticed that Turtlebeach had released FlightDeck.

The Turtlebeach VelocityOne flight stick can be used right or left-handed, so I decided to take the opportunity to build a HOTASAS set-up. I’d wanted to try flying with dual sticks for a while.

I’m very happy with the (probably) final incarnation. and even happier that I won’t have to change it. The new chair is a much better design for adding the mounts, as I have been able to add a clamp onto the arms. The previous set-up wasn’t clamped, and could suddenly become unstable (usually at the most inopportune time, such as during a race… More on that in another post).

Black lazyboy armchair with monitor set up in front and HOTASAS attached to arms

The old chair and set-up:
Black lazyboy armchair with X-56 throttle and stick on mounts built over the arms, with a VR headset and keyboard on the seat

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