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kolepard's Avatar kolepard
08:25 AM Liked: 10
post #1 of 39
07-21-2013 | Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2002
All

I would like opinions the practicality of gaming on a PC using an Xbox-style controller instead of mouse and keyboard. I used to game fairly extensivly on PCs, but have more recently been doing more with consoles.

I've been satisfied with my Xbox 360, but the next generation of consoles aren't really looking compelling to me, and I'm considering building a gaming HTPC instead. My budget would be reasonably generous (total would need to be less than $2k) and my reading here suggests I could construct a very good system for that price.

I mostly play games like Fallout 3, the Mass Effect series, Dishonored, SW:KOTOR (back in its day), etc. I don't do any significant online multiplayer gaming, aside from an occasional round of Left 4 Dead.

I acknowledge that a mouse and keyboard offer superior control when compard to an Xbox-style controller, but for my recreational play, sitting on a couch, usually working around one of our pets, who is trying to occupy my lap, a mouse and keyboard isn't something that works well for me.

My question is this: is it realistic to use an Xbox style controller with games that are basically designed for a keyboard/mouse combination?

Thank you for any help and feedback.

Kevin


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Marafice Eye's Avatar Marafice Eye
08:28 AM Liked: 236
post #2 of 39
07-21-2013 | Posts: 949
Joined: Jul 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by kolepard View Post

All

I would like opinions the practicality of gaming on a PC using an Xbox-style controller instead of mouse and keyboard. I used to game fairly extensivly on PCs, but have more recently been doing more with consoles.

I've been satisfied with my Xbox 360, but the next generation of consoles aren't really looking compelling to me, and I'm considering building a gaming HTPC instead. My budget would be reasonably generous (total would need to be less than $2k) and my reading here suggests I could construct a very good system for that price.

I mostly play games like Fallout 3, the Mass Effect series, Dishonored, SW:KOTOR (back in its day), etc. I don't do any significant online multiplayer gaming, aside from an occasional round of Left 4 Dead.

I acknowledge that a mouse and keyboard offer superior control when compard to an Xbox-style controller, but for my recreational play, sitting on a couch, usually working around one of our pets, who is trying to occupy my lap, a mouse and keyboard isn't something that works well for me.

My question is this: is it realistic to use an Xbox style controller with games that are basically designed for a keyboard/mouse combination?

Thank you for any help and feedback.

Kevin


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Absolutely. If all you're really playing are games that you like and want to relax with, there's nothing wrong with a controller. In fact I think most of the ones you listed have full controller support anyway.
bd2003's Avatar bd2003
09:47 AM Liked: 1518
post #3 of 39
07-21-2013 | Posts: 11,044
Joined: Jun 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by kolepard View Post

All

I would like opinions the practicality of gaming on a PC using an Xbox-style controller instead of mouse and keyboard. I used to game fairly extensivly on PCs, but have more recently been doing more with consoles.

I've been satisfied with my Xbox 360, but the next generation of consoles aren't really looking compelling to me, and I'm considering building a gaming HTPC instead. My budget would be reasonably generous (total would need to be less than $2k) and my reading here suggests I could construct a very good system for that price.

I mostly play games like Fallout 3, the Mass Effect series, Dishonored, SW:KOTOR (back in its day), etc. I don't do any significant online multiplayer gaming, aside from an occasional round of Left 4 Dead.

I acknowledge that a mouse and keyboard offer superior control when compard to an Xbox-style controller, but for my recreational play, sitting on a couch, usually working around one of our pets, who is trying to occupy my lap, a mouse and keyboard isn't something that works well for me.

My question is this: is it realistic to use an Xbox style controller with games that are basically designed for a keyboard/mouse combination?

Thank you for any help and feedback.

Kevin


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

It used to be iffy, but most games nowadays support the 360 controller. I played through dishonored and fallout just fine on the PC with a 360 controller, it was just as seamless as the console. But there are still exceptions....none of the mass effect games support controllers. BF3 did, but you still needed a keyboard for the quicktime events.

I'd say they're about 80-90% there, and getting better. As long as the game specifically supports the 360 controller, it's usually excellent.
Anthony1's Avatar Anthony1
01:25 PM Liked: 171
post #4 of 39
07-21-2013 | Posts: 6,109
Joined: Sep 1999
I never use Keyboard and Mouse.


I'm a console gamer that just happens to be using a PC right now, because of the higher resolutions and steam sales, etc etc.


I hate it when I get a game that doesn't work with controllers (COD:MW2). You have to do a bunch of tricks to get it to work with a controller, and even then it just seems kinda crappy. Of course I don't play real time strategy games or anything like that, and I'm not a competitive multiplayer guy, so it's all gravy to me, to use a 360 wired controller.
DaverJ's Avatar DaverJ
09:10 PM Liked: 793
post #5 of 39
07-21-2013 | Posts: 6,867
Joined: May 2003
Oh OP, you are singing my song! biggrin.gif

I went from gaming on early consoles (Atari, NES), to PCs (486, Pentiums, 3Dfx), back to consoles (Xboxes, Playstations), and am now gaming on PC only. And this is mostly because of how much PC gaming has improved with gamepad (x360 controller) support.

I love playing console style games. I love playing games on a gamepad. I love playing games on a TV and surround sound. I love gaming while sitting back in a recliner with a controller in hand and not sitting up at a desk with a mouse and keyboard. I love being able to jump into a game without much configuration or hassle. This is the "game console" experience, and surprisingly, it can be done, and arguably done better, on a PC*. (Please see footnote)

For the most part, as you can see from my sig, I think the PC is the best "game console" available. And I've even adjusted to a wireless mouse + keyboard while lying back in my comfy chair as an alternate method of control for such non-gamepad games like Torchlight 2, Grim Dawn and The Adventures of Van Helsing. But I almost always pick up the wireless x360 controller first for PC gaming, especially action and first/third person games. And now that I'm back in PC gaming, I've found because of the console influence it's so much better than it used to be. (Hardcore PC gamers might say it's "worse" now because of the console influence, but that's an argument for another thread.)

As Anthony and BD mentioned, there's some older games that weren't ported well, so gamepad support for these older PC ports range from fair, poor, to not-at all. The first Mass Efffects, Bioshock 2, Homeland, and a couple others have disappointed with bad to non-existent built-in gamepad support. But these are very few, and there are 3rd party software controller solutions such as this one that can offer at least some sort of controller support for these games. Thankfully, most games within the last couple years have perfect built-in gamepad support, and even allow you to switch from gamepad to mouse/kb on the fly. For example, if you are using the gamepad, the prompts will include the A,B, X, Y and triggers, but touch the keyboard or mouse and those same prompts will switch on the fly to mouse and/or keyboard icons. cool.gif

When I'm buying an older game and am concerned about gamepad support, a simple Google search of the game name + "PC gamepad support" always finds in seconds if the game supports gamepad and if the support is good or not.

OP - be advised you will need some sort of keyboard such as this popular one, and maybe also a mouse, to get around Windows and setup many games. But once the game launches, if it supports gamepad well, as most games these days do, you can sit back on your couch and game "console-like" with much better framerates, resolution, and an all-around better experience than consoles currently offer. It's not perfect, but if you are like me, which is sounds like you are, you will love a modern PC as a game console. And $2k is plenty to build a kick-ass PC game console.

I've been thinking about creating an AVS thread that would be a guide to setting up a "PC game console", so people who have built a PC for gaming and love game consoles can share the joys and frustrations of this task. Would there be interest in this? confused.gif

===

*Footnote - I have to be clear here - PC gaming still isn't 100% perfect, and everyone's satisfaction/frustration with setting up a PC as a game console varies. Configuration snafus happen from time to time. PC games do crash, hang or unexpectantly minimize on certain occasions. And PCs don't have the ease of a game console OS with gamepad, and the simplicity of install, configuration, and launching a game for the first time that a true game console has. But in my experience, it's much better than it used to be, and it's getting to the point that a game not working right on first launch is rare. But understand it does happen, and Google is your friend - these instances usually only take about 10 minutes to fix.
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg
07:51 AM Liked: 1003
post #6 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 9,023
Joined: Jul 2005
No shame in using the controller. In fact I count it as one of the reasons I have been enjoying my return to PC gaming in the last year.
bd2003's Avatar bd2003
07:51 AM Liked: 1518
post #7 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 11,044
Joined: Jun 2004
Yup, same here....I took a little detour into console gaming for a few years, because XBL put PC to shame in so many ways. The DRM on discs was getting out of control. Patching still had to be done manually. Games were too buggy more often than not, and there never was a good controller standard. Everything just worked on console.

Steam tied up most of the loose ends, and the 360 controller became the defacto standard. It's constantly getting better and better, but now what we really need is for the rest of the PC UI to support a controller. It's a shame that the Xbox one controller didn't come with a touchpad, but if someone can get the dual shock 4 to be recognized as a 360 controller....that's going to make everything about a thousand times easier to deal with.

As an aside, has anyone yet figured out a way to get the Xbox home button to call up steam big picture or overlay with 100% reliability, from a fresh boot? The only method I could find requires steam big picture to be launched first before it works, and even then, it's still kind of iffy.
Marafice Eye's Avatar Marafice Eye
08:05 AM Liked: 236
post #8 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 949
Joined: Jul 2012
There's a few programs out there that let you map mouse/kb functions to the 360 controller so you can use it as your mouse for navigating. I'm not sure about the 360 chat pad (would be cool to use this to chat via steam) and also not sure about making the program launch with windows... will have to do some more research
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg
08:12 AM Liked: 1003
post #9 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 9,023
Joined: Jul 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Yup, same here....I took a little detour into console gaming for a few years, because XBL put PC to shame in so many ways. The DRM on discs was getting out of control. Patching still had to be done manually. Games were too buggy more often than not, and there never was a good controller standard. Everything just worked on console.

Steam tied up most of the loose ends, and the 360 controller became the defacto standard. It's constantly getting better and better, but now what we really need is for the rest of the PC UI to support a controller. It's a shame that the Xbox one controller didn't come with a touchpad, but if someone can get the dual shock 4 to be recognized as a 360 controller....that's going to make everything about a thousand times easier to deal with.

As an aside, has anyone yet figured out a way to get the Xbox home button to call up steam big picture or overlay with 100% reliability, from a fresh boot? The only method I could find requires steam big picture to be launched first before it works, and even then, it's still kind of iffy.

I need to make myself use Big Picture for a week or two.
bd2003's Avatar bd2003
08:38 AM Liked: 1518
post #10 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 11,044
Joined: Jun 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

There's a few programs out there that let you map mouse/kb functions to the 360 controller so you can use it as your mouse for navigating. I'm not sure about the 360 chat pad (would be cool to use this to chat via steam) and also not sure about making the program launch with windows... will have to do some more research

The main problem is that the home button isn't an assignable button like the rest. By default it just calls up a little battery meter, and there's no setting anywhere to force to to call up something else. I found some program that was supposed to do it...but it only works if steam was already booted into big picture.

All I want is to be able to just pick up my controller, press the home button, and pick a game....so close, but so far....
Marafice Eye's Avatar Marafice Eye
08:43 AM Liked: 236
post #11 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 949
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

The main problem is that the home button isn't an assignable button like the rest. By default it just calls up a little battery meter, and there's no setting anywhere to force to to call up something else. I found some program that was supposed to do it...but it only works if steam was already booted into big picture.

All I want is to be able to just pick up my controller, press the home button, and pick a game....so close, but so far....

I found a driver that's in alpha stage that enables the use of the chatpad (if you have it) and it can accept fully custom configs, including setting a hot key for the Steam overlay. Progress, but not complete yet. I may try it out later.

What I'm trying to do is use a program that will run at start up so I can use the controller as my mouse (close enough to having steam launch in BPM) to launch Steam, then use the driver for the chat pad to set a hotkey for the Steam overlay and be able to type with the chatpad so I don't have to grab my keyboard to respond to people.
bd2003's Avatar bd2003
09:38 AM Liked: 1518
post #12 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 11,044
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

I found a driver that's in alpha stage that enables the use of the chatpad (if you have it) and it can accept fully custom configs, including setting a hot key for the Steam overlay. Progress, but not complete yet. I may try it out later.

What I'm trying to do is use a program that will run at start up so I can use the controller as my mouse (close enough to having steam launch in BPM) to launch Steam, then use the driver for the chat pad to set a hotkey for the Steam overlay and be able to type with the chatpad so I don't have to grab my keyboard to respond to people.

It's still kind of ridiculous that you can't do this in a simple way....but that's PC gaming for you.
Monger's Avatar Monger
10:08 AM Liked: 62
post #13 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 1,376
Joined: Feb 2005
What I would love to see is Battlefield 4 and other competitive fps's have servers for controller players only with a way to lock out keyboard/mouse controls. That's the one thing that is missing for me.
bd2003's Avatar bd2003
10:16 AM Liked: 1518
post #14 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 11,044
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monger View Post

What I would love to see is Battlefield 4 and other competitive fps's have servers for controller players only with a way to lock out keyboard/mouse controls. That's the one thing that is missing for me.

I'd love that too...but I wouldn't trust that seedy players wouldn't find a workaround and ruin it for everyone.
Monger's Avatar Monger
11:36 AM Liked: 62
post #15 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 1,376
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

I'd love that too...but I wouldn't trust that seedy players wouldn't find a workaround and ruin it for everyone.

Probably, I still hate using that rationale as a reason for them not to try it though.
joeblow's Avatar joeblow
11:58 AM Liked: 217
post #16 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 12,209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post


For the most part, as you can see from my sig, I think the PC is the best "game console" available. And I've even adjusted to a wireless mouse + keyboard while lying back in my comfy chair as an alternate method of control for such non-gamepad games like Torchlight 2, Grim Dawn and The Adventures of Van Helsing. But I almost always pick up the wireless x360 controller first for PC gaming, especially action and first/third person games.

Actually, someone made a fantastic mod for Torchlight II that allows us to play it with a game pad. Even casting AoE spells is handled well, similar to the mechanic of tossing grenades in action shooters. Check it out if you are still playing the game. Unlike FPS games, top down dungeon crawlers is a genre that I no longer will play unless I can use a controller.
MikeKlim's Avatar MikeKlim
06:41 PM Liked: 23
post #17 of 39
07-22-2013 | Posts: 651
Joined: May 2004
Hard to add to all the great points here. I was console-only gamer until about a year and half ago, and when I started PC gaming, I knew from the start that I wanted to do it on my TV from my couch. Keyboard and mouse just seemed awkward and impractical, and I was used to the xbox controller anyway so it was just a no-brainer for me. I love PC gaming!
kolepard's Avatar kolepard
08:06 AM Liked: 10
post #18 of 39
07-23-2013 | Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2002
Thank you for all the responses. I am happy to hear controllers are well-supported these days.

Kevin
MarkcusD's Avatar MarkcusD
03:08 PM Liked: 24
post #19 of 39
07-23-2013 | Posts: 640
Joined: Aug 2007
Just check each game for support before buying it. Most games that are also on console will have support but occasionally some don't like Mass Effect and the IW CODs.
joeblow's Avatar joeblow
08:25 AM Liked: 217
post #20 of 39
07-24-2013 | Posts: 12,209
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I think all Steam "Big Picture" games have controller support.
number1laing's Avatar number1laing
09:08 AM Liked: 32
post #21 of 39
07-24-2013 | Posts: 5,993
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Support can be dodgy. Trackmania 2 is listed as "partial support" but the menus are so awful that it becomes really hard to navigate with a pad. And I needed to fiddle with an old-school PC options screen to get the triggers working right.

Also, Magicka has full controller support but its just not nearly as good as with a KB+M.
DaverJ's Avatar DaverJ
09:29 AM Liked: 793
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07-24-2013 | Posts: 6,867
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The best way to use a gamepad controller on a PC is to have a mouse+kb handy.

For example, Assassin's Creed III works great with a gamepad, but if you launch the game without the gamepad active, the control type switches to mouse+keyboard - and the only way to switch back to gamepad is navigate the menus with the keyboard to get into the options.

And setting up some "partial controller supported" game sometimes launches a pre-game configuration screen - often these screens need mouse support. And don't get me started on U-play. rolleyes.gif

OTOH, I've had good luck with many games listed as "partial controller support", or no controller support listed, having no trouble using only a gamepad, so it varies from game to game.
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg
09:41 AM Liked: 1003
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07-24-2013 | Posts: 9,023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by number1laing View Post

Support can be dodgy. Trackmania 2 is listed as "partial support" but the menus are so awful that it becomes really hard to navigate with a pad. And I needed to fiddle with an old-school PC options screen to get the triggers working right.

Also, Magicka has full controller support but its just not nearly as good as with a KB+M.
Magicka's controls kill the game for me.
number1laing's Avatar number1laing
11:17 AM Liked: 32
post #24 of 39
07-24-2013 | Posts: 5,993
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post


For example, Assassin's Creed III works great with a gamepad, but if you launch the game without the gamepad active, the control type switches to mouse+keyboard - and the only way to switch back to gamepad is navigate the menus with the keyboard to get into the options.
.

Yea this is annoying. Nowadays a good chunk of games automatically switch based on the last button pressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darthrsg View Post

Magicka's controls kill the game for me.

even with a keyboard? Or just controller?
Marafice Eye's Avatar Marafice Eye
11:34 AM Liked: 236
post #25 of 39
07-24-2013 | Posts: 949
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In most any case you can fake controller support with a program like Joy2Key (which I've used before) , works great in most cases.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 4 Beta
slvrM3's Avatar slvrM3
09:33 AM Liked: 10
post #26 of 39
07-26-2013 | Posts: 45
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Maybe you guys can help me out with the functionality of the 360 controller as I'm working on designing a new build right now. I see that for wirless controllers there is a dongle that plugs in where you press a button to sync the controller to the pc. Does this have to be done EVERYTIME? I really hate the idea of this random dongle with a push button hanging out of my htpc in the living room. I am planning on launching steam from xbmc if that matters. Thanks!
Marafice Eye's Avatar Marafice Eye
09:42 AM Liked: 236
post #27 of 39
07-26-2013 | Posts: 949
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No, the button is just to sync the controller the first time, so unless you take that controller and sync it with an xbox or a different dongle, you shouldn't have to push that button more than once.
darthrsg's Avatar darthrsg
09:57 AM Liked: 1003
post #28 of 39
07-26-2013 | Posts: 9,023
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I'd like that center button to launch Big Picture....
Marafice Eye's Avatar Marafice Eye
09:59 AM Liked: 236
post #29 of 39
07-26-2013 | Posts: 949
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darthrsg View Post

I'd like that center button to launch Big Picture....

I think we all would, but unfortunately Windows doesn't recognize that button as something programable, it's a shame
DaverJ's Avatar DaverJ
10:10 AM Liked: 793
post #30 of 39
07-26-2013 | Posts: 6,867
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvrM3 View Post

Maybe you guys can help me out with the functionality of the 360 controller as I'm working on designing a new build right now. I see that for wirless controllers there is a dongle that plugs in where you press a button to sync the controller to the pc. Does this have to be done EVERYTIME? I really hate the idea of this random dongle with a push button hanging out of my htpc in the living room. I am planning on launching steam from xbmc if that matters. Thanks!

As Eye said, just a one-time setup and you are good to go - even after a shutdown or power outage. I think some people put the MS dongle inside the computer case.

Speaking of that dongle - most of the ones available, even those that say Microsoft on them, are knock-offs. I believe the only way Microsoft sold this dongle is with a controller, not separate. With that said, I have one of these knock-offs and it works great.

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