There are Games that work well with pretty much any controllers and there are games that are trying to give you the worst experience unless you are using that specific controller.
and since nobody likes buying the “cat in the bag” as we Germans tend to say, so I’ll be reviewing all the stuff I have under my new steam group Controller Compatibility Control (short and url tag: ConComCon). Anyone who wants to join, do so, and feel free to discuss the maze of compatibility of controllers and games.
My Motivation for this is the recent purchase of Tetris Ultimate on Steam, which aside from needing the uplay client to run all the time while playing (this wasnt mentioned on the store page, just that I would need an account from them, but there’s worse things) also has horrible controller support, as evidenced by using the xbox one Wireless Controller I use on my desktop (on laptop I only use dongle-free Bluetooth controllers)
When using the Wireless USB Stick or using the thing on Windows 10 they made a change which is good in general but opens a whole box of Pandora.
with the Xbox 360 Controller, the LT and RT buttons (what Playstation people like me know as L2 and R2) are both aligned on the Z axis which serves to tell the game the difference of pressure between those 2. Problem: with Directinput you cannot see when both are fully pressed, you need xinput for that.
now to the xbox One controller which got a new Driver in windows 10, which changed a lot in that regard.
RT is now on the Full Z axis, with LT being the same but on the Z-Rotation axis, which does allow for independent sensing of the pressure on those two, but as said before, this has a lot of problems. most games expect the x/y/z and their rotation axes to be centered, but the neutral state on both of the Z and ZR axis is on low.
Some Games (like tetris ultimate) are made to accept Xbox 360 Controllers via Directinput (or another API that behaves similarly) and dont have a remapping option for that. this causes the game to pick up a signal that the Z axis is on Low which gets interpreted as LT being pressed all the way, so making your game to work based on directinput without remapping options or similar things means that not only 3rd party controllers may get problems but even the Controllers by Microsoft.
and it doesnt just affect Windows 10 either.
If you use the Wireless stick to use your controller, well… wirelessly (kinda obvious, I know) then you are also getting this new layout, which is REALLY annoying.
and the Problem is that many games exist that dont help with your experience of using a controller, especially if it’s not a microsoft controller.
Portal for example force binds DirectInput button 8 (counting from 1) on any controller it finds to pause. In case an xbox 360 controller it makes sense as it’s the start button there, but on most 3rd party DirectInput controllers I saw, Buttons 7 and 8 are LT and RT respectively and with it just automatically picking up the controller with no visible option to ax this into oblivion you cant even go and use joytokey to remap you controller to mouse/keyboard to at least somehow use your controller because when you wanna use that button, you can forget it.
And Portal 2 isnt better. while with Portal 1, you could bind the other buttons as you liked with an open rebinder, with Portal 2, you have listed a few buttons and stuff from an xbox360 controller and assign the features to those (reverse-binding, essentially) which is definitely not helpful, because this can mess up a lot and as far as I remember (it has been a few years since I last played portal) there was also no obvious way to kick that as far as possible away from my computer.
Portal 1 had the Console where you could use obscure commands to also throw the sole remaining controller binding away, and even if the same is true for Portal 2 as well, these games are quite literally trying to make your experience as bad as possible unless you use an xbox 360 or equivalent controller.
and here we come to the scoring Criteria:
- 5/5 Full forward-binding (you select a function, then press a key on controller) with support for at least directinput or another API supporting most if not all controllers (for example NFS: Hot Pursuit)
- 4/5 No Direct Remapping but Good Controller Support with Support for a Universal API and configuration files (or all the configs in one file, same thing) for the button layout of many controllers including possibility of changing those files for different mappings or new controllers (Spike Chunsoft games Like Zero Escape really like to do this)
- 3/5 xinput only but can be intercepted with x360ce and other tools.
- 2/5 no rebinding but basic support for the most common controller layouts (xbox 360, “standard directinput”, aka xbox 360 without analog acting triggers [being button 7 and 8 movong everything from that spot onwards 2 forward in the counting], maybe even Dualshock 4)
- 1/5 Only support for a very specific subset of controllers (for example xbox 360) with no remapping or other helpful things.
- 0/5 same as above but Interfering with mouse/keyboard remapping tools by automatically grabbing the controller without an obvious way to disable (Portal)
Bonus gets awarded (not as points but as extra mention) for:
- option to use Icons differing from the xbox controller layout (zero escape, the nonary Games allows for xbox or PS Icons)
- automatic detection of the controller and using icons based on that (for example distance or rocket league)
- other helpful things I may see in the future (as these wont change the points this shouldnt be too much of a problem)
With this I think there is a very specific scale of how ideal controller support looks like in my eyes.
I hope to be able to give out good curator reviews as part of this Project.
If you have anything to say about a specific game, joing and open a discussion.