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A place to collect info on how to connect game controllers/joysticks to computer games.

giphy.gif This page is more of a technical how-to guide. As it is a wiki, feel free to edit it.

Types of Controllers

Joysticks you can also make your own, you can do that with PIC, AVR, there are probably lots of resource to make your own DIY USB-HID device. It will cost you more of course, as these cheap USB console pad clones are mass-produced. But you could source your own sanwa or seimitsu stick and buttons if you wanted to make your own arcade-like controller for instance.

SEIMITSU STICK stick-seimitsu-boule.jpg
SANWA STICK js01_11.jpg

Modding existing input devices or making your own

When it comes to using/making your own controllers there are different approaches:

  • repurpose a keyboard (USB or PS/2), take apart the PCB and use the key connections as triggers that can be connected to any hardware you like (your software/code just has to be mapped correctly to read the good keycode, you can make absurdly advanced interfaces give the number of keys at your disposal).
  • repurpose the PCB of a cheap USB joypad, you basically get a small PCB and a USB HUD chip, and it's up to you to whatever you want with it. These cheap USB pads often comes with analogue sticks, so you get fine grained input controllers
  • joycon/wiimote: always fun for spatial/motions sensors and vibration feedback. There are plethora drivers that will allow you to connect/use them from the OS, python, Pure Data, etc. (spoiler: it's just bluetooth really)
  • you can also work with existing universal controllers chipsets meant to repurpose a format stick/pad into a universal one, see MC Cthulhu for more info. There are also probably arduino equivalent project. A common trick for the plugs is then to use RJ-45 as universal cable plug for such modified pads/sticks.
  • Further down the spiral you could also design a whole arcade grade stick by sourcing Sanwa/Seimitsu parts (ie buttons, and stick) yourself, and connect these to whatever board you're using, regardless if it's a hacked keyboard or a universal chipset. The Shoryuken forums a re a good place to get help/inspiration for that
  • PIC and AVR chips can be used to work as controller chips for USB-HID, usually FLOSS/PD firmware and DIY PCB layouts can be found easily
  • generally *any* USB HID or BT input gadget you can think of, could be repurpose in an interesting controller (trackballs, analogue or optical mouse, cheap tablets, etc)