Many games are initially designed for consoles, so controlling them with a gamepad is much more convenient. Also, a wireless controller or a gamepad with a long cable allows you to recline in a chair or even lounge on the couch while playing, which appeals to many gamers.
However, you may have trouble connecting third-party peripherals with old or not-so-well-transported games on your computer. In this case, the gamepad setup becomes a real challenge, and we have collected tips on overcoming it in this article. Also, soon you can play the best online casino in India with a gamepad.
Such different buttons
Since gamepads can be used with different devices (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, and smartphones), they are labeled for other platforms.
The most frequent designations are icons with Xbox: it is green button A, red B, yellow Y, and blue X.
Do not confuse this layout with the one used on Nintendo consoles: there are the same letters but in different places and colors. However, when choosing a gamepad for PC, you will see many Xbox-shaped and only a few variants compatible with Nintendo.
And the symbols for PlayStation, though stranger, are probably known to everyone: a cross, a circle, a square, and a triangle.
In some cases, manufacturers combine the symbols of PlayStation and Xbox to make the game controller comfortable using both types of systems.
Another obsolete format of the controller buttons is numbers. This standard was popular before the invention of XInput when it was not clear that most games would use a set of controls with Xbox.
When choosing a gamepad for PC, it is better to pay attention to those similar to the Xbox controllers in terms of the characters depicted on the buttons. It will make it more comfortable to use the device later on.
Sticks and their axes
Analog sticks, also known as “mini-joysticks,” are control devices that allow for continuous coordinates and are not limited in the number of directions. As a result, they can more accurately convey the order in which the player is pointing.
On modern gamepads, these sticks are usually two, with two axes: vertical and horizontal. In addition, they often have a button built inside (a click when the bar is pressed), but this does not count as an axis.
For some games, users may prefer to invert the stick axis: for example, to take off the plane, someone will want to assign a downward movement, which will reflect the usual activity of the steering wheel. Some, however, prefer to invert directions in other games.
Though configuring the joystick on the PC depends only on the user’s preferences, programs, API interfaces, and games must correctly reflect the axes pressed on the gamepad.
Almost all modern gamepads are equipped with vibration systems. Special motors react to what is going on in the game, transferring the haptic recoil to the players.
These motors are present only in very low-end models, so you are unlikely to buy a gamepad without them. But some manufacturers leave a special button on the body, which turns off the vibration by software.
In this case, the new controller DualSense, designed for PlayStation 5, has the most advanced vibration in the history of controllers. However, few games on the PC still support this particularly advanced vibration.
Sometimes you will find gamepads with unusual designs or additional features beyond the standard. For example, some controllers allow you to rearrange the whole blocks of keys at your discretion or have backlighting. There are also gamepads with backlighting, such as Sven GC-5070.
Two ways to connect your gamepad to your PC are wired and wireless. The first one is quite clear: the wire is inserted into the USB port of your computer, and then the setup starts.
- With a Bluetooth connection, it is more complicated. First, your computer must also have a transmitter of some kind: either an external USB “whistle” or a built-in adapter. Some manufacturers have such adapters with their gamepads, but, for example, they are not in the box with gamepads from Sony and Microsoft game consoles. To connect the gamepad, you need to put it in detection mode (usually, there is a separate button or a combination of buttons for this), after which the computer will detect the Bluetooth device, establish a connection and start installing the driver. Later on, this process will go faster.
- However, almost all wireless gamepads can be connected to the computer by wire.
How can I test a gamepad without playing a game?
Before setting up a gamepad on your computer, it is worth checking its condition. Of course, you can inspect any peripheral gaming device without starting the game, using the built-in means of Windows itself.
To do this, press the Win+R key combination, and then in the window that will open, type joy.cpl. In the Windows utility that opens, your device should already be displayed, confirming the connection to the system.
Highlighting the controller and pressing “Properties” will open a window where you can test keystrokes and axis detection. If there are any issues with the buttons or sticks while trying in this window, there is likely a problem with the device itself.
For Windows to interact with peripheral devices, there are unique program interfaces in the operating system itself, which help to interact with the device.
Unlike software interfaces that act between programs and devices (such as the APIs we mentioned above), drivers often require the user’s attention and a separate installation, which is why they have become so well known even among ordinary users.
X Input gamepad drivers
In most cases, drivers for XInput-gamepads are loaded automatically and do not require user intervention. However, sometimes the device is not detected correctly, so user intervention is required. If your gamepad supports both XInput and DirectInput, it makes sense to download the utility XBOX 360 Accessories v1.2 and use it to switch the gamepad mode to the correct library.
Also, if the driver is not loaded automatically, it is worth going to the manufacturer’s website and downloading the driver.
Keyboards and mice
Keyboards and mice also usually install drivers without problems and start working automatically. It even applies to wireless peripherals, which, unlike some gamepads, always come with a USB adapter. It is enough to insert it into the computer and wait for the device to work, but sometimes it is necessary to update the driver. It is also done through the official website.
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How games interact with gamepads
In addition to connecting the gamepad to the computer, problems sometimes arise with the games themselves. Again, it is because each project interacts with external devices differently. For instance, most games that support XInput can switch between the keyboard and mouse controls on the gamepad without any problems.
At the same time, some games require selecting one input device in the settings and do not respond to using other devices. It usually happens in those projects where the interface is heavily tied to the selected controller, and changing the device causes a noticeable change in the display.