Button box - how to

Hi everyone, I got myself Voice attack! I had a vision of telling my ship what to do and it working perfectly. No luck, I have a mild Geordie accent so I’ve no chance.
I’ve had a mess about, came up with some work arounds and I’ve got about 95% accuracy. It’s not accurate enough for a combat scenario. Tbh, I recommend caution if you get VA as it could inadvertently install some bad habits.

So, I’ve now decided to make a button box. Does anyone have any experience of making them? Any tips or suggestions?

Touch screens for the win.


There are a few options, the one I have gone with is a midi device (synthesizer, launchpad, etc.) and a midi translator. The catch with this is it will only bind to keyboard buttons or combinations. I would not recommend this option, but it works.

1 Like

I use the 15-button Stream Deck. Not as cool as a touch screen, but Game Glass is not very secure, and I’m not sure what other options are out there (unless you program it yourself). The nice thing about the Stream Deck is that you can create folders, so one button can open up another set of 15. And, the software to do that is Free. Just gotta buy the box, which can be gotten for around $100 on sale. The buttons themselves can be assigned icons, for that graphical pizazz. There are icon packs out there for free, but others are available that come with programming (that costs). Import the “module” into Stream Deck and you have icons plus key names and key binds built in.

I have VA down and added additional functionality. Works great in combat for me and only had minor issues in the beginning. I really wanted an easy way to request landing and departures easier. It works great now. My accent is not issue… so there is that… I guess.

Let me know if you need some help with it.

1 Like

it always depends, how much money you want to spent, there are cheap solutions, selfmade solutions and high end expensive solutions.

You could use an Arduino, some buttons and build yourself a button box - completly individual, here is an example Video how to build something like this:

You could use some Input Devices from Logitech (Farmsimulator, Flight Simulator)


or from Thrustmaster the MFD Cougar Pack:

Or you go with the Highend like this babies here:
Blackhog Gaming Controllers:

or Virpil:

1 Like

Hi @Pohlie, I was looking at the stream deck models and they seem quite good. Do you have to map buttons to the keyboard or are they identified independently?

I’ve been tempted by Gameglass. I have access to a lot of tablet’s but I’ve read on here that it’s not secure so I’ve not committed. @JayC is it Gameglass that you’re using? Could you share your recommendation?

@Quelsar I’ll keep working on VA. I noticed yesterday that I instinctively say some commands while flying that I hadn’t thought of while creating the command list’s. Fortunately it’s easy to tab out and add something. It’s things like ‘of’ instead of ‘off’. ‘landing gear’ and ‘landing gear down’ kept getting recognised as ‘shields front’ which completely baffled me. I had to remove the landing gear commands all together but now have the shield commands working well. Like I say, it’ll be a work in progress. I’ll review the word identification list that I’ve kept within the next month and I’ll see if anything has changed. I’ve done the voice training a lot of times but the ‘correction function’ goes a long way to helping add accuracy. Subconsciously it’ll probably change the way I talk while playing too.

@waterwalker that video is something I’ve watched on YouTube before. It’s what I’m aiming for. I’ve ordered two boxes so far, one one the outside of my throttle and the other on outside edge of joystick. I’m leaning towards the no connection BBI 32 by Beo Bodnar. The boxes I’m getting are 220 long X 120 wide and 50 high (mm). They’re relatively small but Ideal for my first attempts. The height allows dial / rotary fittings on the front and side wall. Because of the limited space but decent function count I’ll go for mainly momentary on-off-on switches.
I’d like led functionality too but that’s not as easy as you’d think - if I press a momentary button to turn on shields and it lights up a beautiful blue but I then crash in to a building, tree, space station (they always place these in awkward positions) or another player then what happens to the led? When I respawn my ship and get back in the led will already be on… :thinking:
Sure, I could just press each button in turn to make sure the LEDs are off / on appropriately when out of the ship or vehicle but it’s not ideal and I want to have it right. The other issue is that cig are needing to add functionality to the UI for controls. I didn’t truly realise how bad they are until I was setting up hotas last week.
It leaves the issue of when they add options and streamline it, my requirements will change drastically.

I do not recommend SpyGlass, errr GameGlass… Touchscreen programs shouldn’t be constantly talking to a third party server while you’re using them from both your PC and the touchscreen device.

Touchbuddy would be a good place to start, it allows you to design the screens with a simple interface, and drastically customize multiple screens you can access like an MFD at anytime.


I took the cheapskate approach, as usual, and looked at programmable keypads (I had gotten a 10-key-less KB to bring my control arms onto my chair arms). I ended up with a Penclic one, but unfortunately (as at least one warns), the macros are not implemented in such a way that games pick them up. So don’t go that route. :slight_smile:

1 Like

The app the programmable keypad uses on your PC must be run as administrator for games to be able to pick it up. Doing that should fix the issue.


I’m going to put a tablet or two under my monitors. I imagine using them for emotes and Comms but I’ll see where it takes me.
I’m going to stick with physical buttons and switches for being next to the Hotas. I’m just looking at LEDs and switches then I’ll do the designs before ordering part’s.

Also, while pricy, tekcreations make some replica button boxes for modern aircraft. Most are HID compatible as well as DCSbios

I’m thinking about selfmade panel. I can 3d-print whatever I like and order some light buttons. Those buttons go for like 2-3 bucks on aliexpress. You can order standard logos or send manufacturer your own design so each button has unique logo and light color combination.
Also there’s infrared touchless sensor buttons that triger and change light color when you hover your hand over it. The range is quite good so with a simple jedi move you can start up your ship or spool quantum drive and then hold your hand to make a jump :grinning:

1 Like

I just drilled holes in an electrical box. It’s worked really well. I spent and age choosing the right sized box and positioning the buttons but it was worth it.
I’ll post a pic later

© 2013 - 2019 Atlas Defense Industries LLC