Dashboard Mnemonics fail the panic test

Every Sidewinder is different from the other, if in no other way than in how the dashboard is configured.

When you take possession of your first Sidey, you generally inherit the objectively worst dashboard and control panel layout in the known galaxy.  If you’re really unlucky, the dealer that sold you this lovely fixer upper opportunity forgot to reset the dashboard controls, so you’re inheriting the dashboard of either someone that has moved on to something else before s/he got it configured right, or you got one configured by someone that got himself killed first time he went up against a Hauler equipped with nothing but harsh language and meaningful glares.

Either way, you’re gonna wanna redo that shiznit, and fast.

The big problem with Sidewinders is that they do not employ Adaptive Touch technology – that is, the control panel display doesn’t change no matter how you reconfigure it.  You might reconfigure F1 to be “external camera”, for example, but it’ll still show up as “F1” on your dashboard.  And that’s just the easy stuff.

The really rough stuff is clustered around the throttle and joystick – the two places your hands will generally be resting during 90% of all space battling, for example. The default Sidewinder configuration puts all of the power distro box’s settings over on the buttons clustered around your throttle, for example, meaning that you have to unhand your joystick to change power settings with your joystick hand, which is generally busy joysticking.  Or, the chaff launcher is bound to your secondary fire key on the joystick, which is only hit, oh, roughly 100x more often than the main joystick button during docking.  Wanna cheese off the local constabulary? Sure, leave the chaff launcher bound there. Wanna land safe and unfined? Move that sucker off to one of the function keys on your may key panel in the middle. You will be happier, moderately richer, and a lot less annoyed with your cockpit layout.

There are a lot of buttons in a Sidey cockpit.  A LOT. So, when you first start out in one of these things, it’s not uncommon to use, say, a lot of post-it notes to remind you of what is where until you get it committed to muscle memory.

Unfortunately, post-it notes rarely present themselves in a sensible manner when you’re trying to dodge a plasma beam on the edge of known space. So do yourself a favor and get used to the controls of your spacecraft prior to moseying into a war zone. Your mechanic will thank you.

And keeping your mechanic happy is a lot more important than you might think. Especially at repair time. She’s the one ultimately dealing with your fuckups, and a mechanic in a good mood might decide not to hit you for an extra 200 creds just on principle.

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