I used to play Elite on ZX Spectrum and Atari ST back in the late 80s and early 90s. Like most people here, I played it a lot.
So last April I discovered Oolite. I got hooked very quickly as a flood of nostalgia and childhood memories hit me really hard.
And it made me remember one thing from the days spent playing Elite. Back on the Spectrum version, I bought a back military laser, but I couldn't really use it because no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get used to the reversed controls. It reached a point where I was so frustrated that I opened my QuickShot II joystick, cut the PCB traces that lead to the contacts for the two axes, and rewired them to a switch. The switch was supposed to reverse or 'correct' the orientation of the axes when in rear view. So the idea was, you select rear view, flip the switch and the controls work as if you were in front view. You select front view, flip the switch back and the controls are back to normal. I must have been 12 or 13 when I did this, and I was very proud of myself when it actually worked. The downside was that I had the wires sticking out of the joystick through the hole of the auto-fire switch which I removed. It was ugly and wasn't very reliable, but I had a blast with it.
So fast forward to last April and Oolite. I bought an MS SideWinder 3D Pro Plus joystick on ebay and built a 3DP-Vert which is a gameport to USB converter for the MS SideWinder gameport joysticks (3D Pro, 3D Pro Plus, Precision Pro and Force Feedback).
And again, I felt the same frustration I did when I was a kid. I couldn't use my back lasers! But this time I didn't cut the PCB traces - I patched the firmware of the 3DP-Vert converter. Now there is no need for a switch, since the firmware tracks the ship's orientation by monitoring the hat switch controls of the joystick. So, for instance, if I select back view with the hat switch, the firmware will know that we are facing back, and it will reverse the controls. It turns out you can actually do this for all three views (back, left and right) - the patched firmware will just modify the axes data and have the pilot intuitively control the crosshair from any view.
I know this is a dirty cheat, and I do feel guilty but I just had to do it. Sharing this makes the burden of guilt feel a lot lighter
By the way, if anyone is using 3DP-Vert and wants this patch, let me know.