MIDI controllers - what are the limitations?


I run WWT on a mobile dome. I have been thinking of getting a MIDI controller to ease some processes during live presentations, i.e. not pre-made tours. If I’ve understood everything correctly (I probably haven’t) then the things you can get a MIDI controller to do are more or less the same things that you can get custom buttons and sliders to do in the View-menu. Is this more or less accurate?

I have already encountered some issues in experimenting with buttons and sliders, where I can’t get them to behave exactly the way I want. E.g. I have tried to make a button or slider to orbit whatever object I am looking at. However, this results in the view “stepping” around the object, one step for each click, rather than orbiting smoothly.

Does anyone have any experience in using MIDI-controllers? They strike me as a potentially powerful addition to a planetarium setup, but it would be nice to hear some thoughts and experiences before I invest in anything expensive.

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I think that MIDI controllers are most useful for toggle type layers/fadetoblack or for slider based opacity of layers, but yes, with similar functionality to the user made buttons (but easier to use I think).

In terms of orbiting, an xbox controller is definitely my go to, especially since you can fly in realtime and then map the rest of your buttons to specific toggles.

I haven’t tried it, but it occurs to me that you might be able to map out “hold” to a button so that you have orbital inertia and continue to move/orbit in the direction that you pick until you “unhold” or change direction (useful for midi or xbox, if possible).

I’d say that it really depends on how many functions you hope to map at a time and if it is more than ~6 plus flying, than midi is the way to go, otherwise, xbox controller for ease of use.

I should add that you definitely don’t need anything expensive or fancy, just draw out what buttons you would like and then find a midi controller with the right combo of sliders/buttons/etc.