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How to get your joystick or HOTAS working in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Fans have found workarounds for Thrustmaster, Saitek, Logitech, CH Products, and more

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A red-and-white Catapult-class BattleMech stomps through traffic in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Image: Piranha Games

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries launched with only partial support for a limited set of peripherals. If you’re having trouble getting your flight stick, HOTAS, or rudder pedals working correctly, you’re not alone. Luckily the community has come together with a pile of workarounds for many of the most popular setups — including solutions for Saitek/Logitech, Thrustmaster, and CH Products equipment you might already own. Here’s how to get your PC gear up and running with the first simulation-style ‘Mech combat game of its kind in nearly 20 years.

First, a few caveats. Even after lengthy delays and a big post-launch patch, things are still a bit rough for MechWarrior 5. Understand that additional updates currently in the development pipeline mean that this guide may not apply forever. Your mileage may vary, and take careful note of what you change as you go along so you can roll back to the original state if need be.

Also, be aware the the developers at Piranha Games are likely adding more and varied default controller settings, so keep tabs on the official website as well for more info as patches continue to roll out. Hopefully your setup is added to the catalog soon, and you won’t need these workarounds at all.

Job one is to find your local AppData file in Windows. You can head there directly by hitting the Windows key and inputting the location manually (C:\Users\YOUR_USER_NAME_HERE\AppData\Local) or by typing out %appdata% and noodling around a little bit. Then, head into the MW5Mercs > Saved > SavedHOTAS folder. Inside you’ll find a REMAP file titled “HOTASMappings.” Copy it and rename it to “HOTASMappings_old,” then double click on it, assign it to Window’s Notepad program, and open it up.

Next, you’ll want to head over to the community-generated guide on Google Docs. Right now it’s a little intimidating, coming in at over 40 pages, but that’s because it includes instructions for everything from the Steam Controller to the ancient n52 Nostromo Speedpad. The instructions are fairly simple, and don’t require anything more than cutting and pasting a few dozen lines of code. Follow them to the letter for your particular setup, save your new “HOTASMappings” file, and you should be good to go.

If something goes wrong, you can delete the original version of “HOTASMappings” that you’ve been working with, change the name of “HOTASMapings_old” back, and thereby revert to your original settings. Easy peasy.

Be advised that there are likely a couple of different configuration options for your given setup. So have some patience, and read through everything listed for your equipment before you commit to trying any one configuration out.

For example, I’ve been trying to play with Polygon’s Thrustmaster T.16000M Flight Control System, a retail product that comes with a flight stick and a throttle in one box. But, come to find, there’s multiple ways to setup the included TWCS throttle included with that set. It all depends on whether or not it’s connected directly to the TFRP rudder pedals (which are sold separately) or if they’re attached via USB on their own.

It took me three different attempts, but now I finally have access to all the axes that I need to safely drive a ‘Mech. That means I’m able to map the legs to the pedals, the torso to the stick, and speed to the throttle where it belongs. Compared to wrestling with a mouse and keyboard, it’s made the game tremendously more fun to play.

Finally, there’s a persistent bug in the game when using joysticks of any kind where occasionally MechWarrior 5 will zero out your control sensitivities. If you find that your axes aren’t responding, just go into the menus and make sure that the sensitivity isn’t set to zero.

If you need additional help with troubleshooting the guide, the best place to go is the dedicated MechWarrior 5 Discord channel. Piranha also has dedicated tech support emails, which you can find on the official FAQ.

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