Solutions At Hand

Handhelds, smartphones, mobile technology and the digital lifestyle.

Advice sought from (Linux) gamers on controllers…

Posted by Michael Brown on July 14, 2007

I know a fair number of people read this blog every week, many looking for answers to their problems, or looking for new ideas and solutions. I’m hoping some of you readers may help me by way of your own experiences.

Earlier this week, I wrote about installing Childsplay on Freevo, our Home Theatre PC. Childsplay is normally run on a PC, so it normally expects a mouse and keyboard. I’m hoping to get a game controller to be able to have my kids play with it, but I’m not really a gamer. I’m not really sure which type of controller to get, but I do know I want to get a wireless controller.

I know there are Linux drivers available for Xbox 360 Wireless controllers (xpad), the Wiimote (Cwiid), and the Playstation 3 controller. The xpad drivers have been around for a while and are pretty stable, but I don’t know as much about the Cwiid (Wiimote) or PS3 drivers. I haven’t really spent any “hands-on” time with any of the controllers, so I’d be interested in hearing people’s advice or recommendations on the controllers in general, and under Linux in particular.

I think the Wiimote concept (pointing device with optional accessories) may be the best for my application, but I’m not sure if the drivers are mature enough for use. Here are my specific questions:

How would the three of them compare as general purpose game controllers?
(either under Linux or on their native platforms) I know it’s an “apples vs oranges” comparison in some ways, but I’m thinking along the lines of general compatibility/usability with a variety of educational games by non-gamer type adults and young kids.

How are the linux drivers?
I’ve already compiled the ones for the Xbox 360 Wireless, so it’s straight forward. I don’t have any experience with the Cwiid or PS3 ones… Is there a mouse emulation mode for the Xbox (xpad) or PS3 drivers?

Anything I’m missing? The last time I played games, it was on a Commodore 64 or Atari 2600 (I know, I’m dating myself!)

Thanks for any and all help rendered! Please feel free to use the comments for your replies, so that others may also benefit from your advice. Much appreciated!

Have a great weekend!
/Michael

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