Gaming Software


About a month ago, I bought a graphic tablet for gaming-unrelated purposes. I wondered if I could use it in DCS to replace the plethora of paper I waste every time, perhaps on a second PC. It turns out there is an open-source app that solves this issue, and provides much more than I expected: OpenKneeboard.

This is the tablet I bought from Amazon, a HUION Inspiroy H640P Graphics Drawing Tablet (6.3″ x 3.9″). I have never used a graphic tablet before, and this fits greatly to my needs (plus, it seems to be permanently 30% off).
The usage is rather straightforward: plug it in, install the drivers for additional features, and that’s pretty much it.

I use a lot of paper when flying to annotate information such as:

  • contracts amendments / reminders / notes;
  • data from ATIS (QNH, info code, active runway, etc);
  • pictures and instructions from the controller when flying air-to-air;
  • echo point, 9-line briefings, notes and so on in air-to-ground.

I wondered if the tabled could replace all that.

The first thought was using a second computer and write on GIMP, LibreOffice or any program, really but, after a bit of Google-fu, I ran into OpenKneeboard. This app is as simple as it is powerful. It is still in active development, and was created by Mr Fred Emmott. Questions, information, and the dev process can be followed via his Discord server.

OpenKneeboard in DCS – The only drawback? It takes a bit of time to get used to writing on a tablet!

OpenKneeboard can be downloaded via GitHub. The installation is straightforward, and in a few minutes you can use it in-game. Via some hooks automatically installed, it can extract radio / chat comms and, depending on the map in use, it can provide useful aerodrome charts.
When I installed it about a month and a half ago, I just wanted additional pages, so I simply added three blank pages, ready to be used in-game. I prefer having aerodrome charts in the Kneeboard MDC I generate myself. However, this is a great aspect of OpenKneeboard: it offers great customisation possibilities.

VR Friendly

This simple yet great app can really help VR players, since taking notes is not the most straightforward operation for them. Since the mouse can be used to write rather than pen and graphic tablet, any mouse emulator for VR should allow players to write there (check the documentation and the Discord server linked above for additional information).

Controls & Setup

I liked OpenKneeboard so much that I have immediately re-arranged my setup.
This app supports multiple controllers. I have not thoroughly checked, but it seems that most gaming HID devices can be used to control the kneeboard.
In my case, I have assigned a rotary encoder on a custom-made control panel, adjacent to the similarly purposed encoder I use for the in-game kneeboard: pushbutton to toggle the kneeboard visibility, CW and CCW to move through the pages.

A glimpse of the usage in DCS of OpenKneeboard is available in the first few minutes of this video:

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