CONTROLS & KEYBINDINGS

Elite isn’t known for user-friendly behaviour. A learning curve is all very well, but hurdles aren’t. Have a read of this and make sure you start using sensible key-bindings, as early as you can. so they are second nature before you enter advanced arenas.

The first thing to do before embarking upon this is to ensure you are able to back up your Appication Saved Data to USB or Online (PSPlus), and to fly just outside of a station and park up. Familiarise yourself with the approx 1-second delay in holding down the S, T, X, and C buttons before the menus appear. This is important for later.

First Principles:

Of course we all understand the PS4 controller. But to fully utilise it as a ship contol device to rival the HOTAS (which it can, superbly) we need to re-evaluate it.

Take a look at the Default Context bindings of Elite, the available buttons, and re-familiarise yourself with them.

It may surprise you that without alts, you have 23 inputs (4 analogue) on the DS4, and Elite uses additional hold functions.

 

Expanding the control-set:

You’ll notice that l, r, and the D-pad direction buttons can all be bound to a held-down combination of the S, X,T, and C buttons, giving you 24 further inputs. With approaching 70 combinations including touchpad (another 16 here) this gives you plenty of options for configuring your ship.

Despite having to combine keys to achieve this, it does put the PS4 DS4 controller very much in the league of a PC keyboard if utilised correctly – with the added advantage that your fingers are much closer to vital buttons. So don’t worry about people talking about HOTAS, or keyboard/mouse being the only way to fly pro – like everything in Elite, they are valid, but not a prerequisite for mastery.

Changing Bindings in Elite:

Its done from the Pause menu and can be done as you fly. I recommend for the purposes of this you fly outside a starport and remain out of supercruise.

You’ll see on the right that S, applies changes (and takes you back to the options screen), and T expands/contracts nested menus. It will only actually contract them if you have the menu header selected, it won’t contract from within a menu.

C cancels changes (and takes you take to the options screen). Note also that the right stick doesn’t function well to scroll, so you are better using the D-pad Up/Down, together with L1/R1 to flip between sections.

Note also that you can make 2 bindings for each key. At present we’ll be overwriting bindings.

I suggest at this point that you go ahead and reset the top drop-down to Default once you’ve backed up your previous settings.

Getting Started:

Back up your control settings (this involves quitting the game, write instructions must be to USB) if you have existing bindings and think you might want to return. See our separate section on how to do this. Note that any online binding would be overwritten overnight by PSPlus so you can’t save your bindings that way if you wish to hold multiple configurations to reload.

However we’d also suggest you use a scribble sheet for this, and to take the plunge and change your bindings early on. This way you’ll get used to them quickly.

Finally note that crashes in CQC can cause save data corruption. All this means is your save data (setup, options and keybindings) is lost on the PS4; your CMDR data, ships and credits are stored on the Frontier servers. Therefore its wise to save these bindings again when you finish (an online backup to PSPlus will work fine for this, although you may want to use USB instead or even as well to be safe).

When you’re ready, go and set your controls to Default Context to get a clean slate from the top drop-down highlighted in orange.

Screen Centre Dot:

The first recommendation is to switch on the screen centre dot. This makes targeting easier so its a must for combat. If you feel it breaks immersion you can leave it absent for now, but remember that the option exists.

If you are going to switch it on now head to Miscellaneous and activate the option.

Boost, Supercruise and Basic Flight Controls:

Firstly, Boost. You’ve been used to this on the C button and its such a universal move, that we recommend leaving it bound to the C key.

Secondly, throttle. You’re already used to this on l and r, so again we suggest leaving it there. However, the first change we’re going to make is to make l / r make stepped, instead of analogue, changes. There’s a lot of reasoning for this.

Using “Digital” Throttle Control

You’ll have read docking guides suggesting binding a key to 70%* for approaching stations at 0:07 time-to-arrive, and to 50% for planetary landings. Well, that takes up 2 additional key-bindings already. Using l and r to adjust gives you 0%-25%-50%-75%-100%, so everything is available from one pair of buttons plus it easily allows you to enter reverse. You’ll know your throttle position at all times and can get to the blue zone in combat or when the throttle bar range is too small to easily make out, within one click.

So go ahead and head down to Flight Throttle, press T to expand it, go to Throttle Increments and change continuous to 25%. The number of clicks you need for certain operations (i.e. to get back to zero after exiting super cruise at a station border is now 3 clicks l, plus a boost, to get you to within 7.5km and request docking) will become muscle memory very quickly.

The only downside to this is that you are now unable to “crawl” at slower than 25%. This may be an issue for some when docking, cargo scooping or navigating around asteroids. You can of course flip this setting back and forward and thats what I recommend doing; using “digital” throttle most of the time, and switching to analogue as needed if you’re mining or not using a docking computer, and manually setting your 70% approach throttle (which means you can work to 0:06s as well). Its all personal preference; mine is just to leave the throttle digital all the time and use 2 taps r > l for a quick boost.

*The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that our bindings give you 75% of throttle, not 70% as you may have been taught to use approaching stations. In fact 75% and 0:06s time-to-arrival will get you there quicker, but with less room for error. This has multiple advantages; faster station arrival to avoid interdiction, lower journey times which will add up over time; but note your Supercruise Assist will over-ride this and reduce your speed somewhat. For the fastest journeys avoid SC assist en route to stations; as it slows your long-term approach and leaves you at 70% throttle when you come out of frame shift, its much less useful than when travelling between systems with only one eye on the cockpit!

Supercruise:

Finally, we’re going to change the Supercruise configuration. This is something you can use your own judgement for, but lets leave T to toggle frame shift for the same reasoning as leaving boost on C, and change Supercruise to my suggested binding of T+l.

Click into Flight Miscellaneous and highlight the Supercruise configuration, press X to change it then hold down T and press l. Confirm and you are set.

Ship Range Increased:

Checking the Ship tab of the System panel on the right will show your newly increased range.

NB in this example I used a white dwarf star as it was the closest thing to hand, so you’ll see my 64ly ship gets a little over 50% boost to just under 100ly. With a true neutron star once you get out of the bubble, you’ll see 300% – this would put my jump range at about 240-250ly.

WATCH THE VIDEO

Replot your route:

If you already selected Jet-Cone Boost, the GalMap will now replot your route; or you can do this too. You’ll see my route now shows 2 blue boosted journeys and a final orange journey so I can now get there in 3 jumps where previously it was 6. Over a 5-10,000 journey or more this really adds up.

NEUTRON BOOST COURSE COMPLETED

You can now use the Neutron highway to boost your journeys to far-off regions. Remember you can combine boost with FSD Injection to get even further off a single jump.