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Which Gamepad for the Mac is best?


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#1 andrewlennox

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:04 PM

With games such as FIFA 12 and Assasins Creed Brotherhood butchering how the control layout should be on a keyboard, the only option that we have is to use a Gamepad. The problem with this is that there is always issues with these devises. I have tried using an Xbox 360 controller before and, in my experience, only resulted in frustration. I used this driver thing which didnt seem to do anything. Am I doing something wrong? I am running Lion so could that be an issue?

But besides that little issue ive had, What do you guys think? Is there a Gamepad out there that plays in most games and doesn't suffer compatibility issues? Surely there must be one :P

Thanks Guys :)
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#2 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 06:15 PM

First of all the assassin's creed series is not compatible with any gamepads on Mac no matter the brand. You could use a keyboard + mouse gamepad emulator but that wouldn't give you the benefit of analog control for movement. Personally I've never had any problems with the keyboard and mouse controls in that game but that's just me.

But second of all in my experience the Logitech Cordless Rumblepad II is the most compatible although I bounce between it and my wireless Xbox 360 controller for Gamepad games. But... the drivers one has to use for the wireless 360 controller are not compatible with any Aspyr games which have been written to only accept the wired 360 controller with no drivers installed as they have their own driver. The wireless 360 controller wont even connect without those drivers so that counts it out.

But it works great in Feral's games such as Batman Arkham Asylum and Mafia II which has full rumble with it. The analog triggers work great with games like Mafia II during the driving portions as gas\peddle.

The logitech hardly gets rumble with anything except I noticed a little bit of rumble with my wrapped version of Silent Hill 2. :P It also doesn't have analog triggers so you don't get the benefit of having those when driving.


I warn against getting the newer Silver logitech wireless controller for Mac use because it doesn't work in xinput mode even with drivers installed and it's hellah difficult to impossible to hack the driver to get it to work. One has to put it in dinput mode but then you don't get all the new features of the pad and the receiver doesn't have as good reception as the old one I noticed when used with my Mac.

Also unfortunately it appears the Cordless Rumblepad II seems to have been discontinued and some of the prices at places for it are inflated as a result. So if you must have something that's currently in production from them I would suggest thew wired ones over the new wireless one even though I hate wires just by my experience with the newest wired one which really only works best if you use it with a PC. I used that newer one to play LA Noire on my PC.

Some people use the PS3 controller via Bluetooth but I can't vouch for it because I've never used it. But may actually be your best bet. Although again, Aspyr's ports don't support anything but the wired 360 controller specifically so if you intend on using gamepads with those well.. you'll need to keep the wired 360 pad around and uninstall those drivers you installed for it completely and plug it in for those games.

One last thing, if you are using a 360 pad it seems to me is has to be first party and not a third party one because they have different product IDs and the drivers are picky about that. That's one reason why I can't use the new silver logitech controller in xinput mode.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#3 Tetsuya

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:38 PM

http://www.amazon.co...33945869&sr=8-4

Have several of these that we got to test the PS2 to PS3 compatability (works great)but they also work fine adapting a PS2 or PS1 to computer.  

2 bucks, and you can convert a controller you already own to work perfectly, and not have to use that awful dpad on the xbox controller.

#4 UmarOMC1

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:11 PM

PlayStation 3 controller via Bluetooth. Flawless. Drivers included in OS X since 10.6 I believe...
OS X 10.9.x/Windows 7 Pro/2009 MacPro 4,1 Xeon W3520 2.66GHz/8GB RAM/NVIDIA GTX680 2GB

#5 andrewlennox

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:15 AM

View PostSmoke_Tetsu, on 08 April 2012 - 06:15 PM, said:

First of all the assassin's creed series is not compatible with any gamepads on Mac no matter the brand. You could use a keyboard + mouse gamepad emulator but that wouldn't give you the benefit of analog control for movement. Personally I've never had any problems with the keyboard and mouse controls in that game but that's just me.

But second of all in my experience the Logitech Cordless Rumblepad II is the most compatible although I bounce between it and my wireless Xbox 360 controller for Gamepad games. But... the drivers one has to use for the wireless 360 controller are not compatible with any Aspyr games which have been written to only accept the wired 360 controller with no drivers installed as they have their own driver. The wireless 360 controller wont even connect without those drivers so that counts it out.

But it works great in Feral's games such as Batman Arkham Asylum and Mafia II which has full rumble with it. The analog triggers work great with games like Mafia II during the driving portions as gas\peddle.

The logitech hardly gets rumble with anything except I noticed a little bit of rumble with my wrapped version of Silent Hill 2. :P It also doesn't have analog triggers so you don't get the benefit of having those when driving.


I warn against getting the newer Silver logitech wireless controller for Mac use because it doesn't work in xinput mode even with drivers installed and it's hellah difficult to impossible to hack the driver to get it to work. One has to put it in dinput mode but then you don't get all the new features of the pad and the receiver doesn't have as good reception as the old one I noticed when used with my Mac.

Also unfortunately it appears the Cordless Rumblepad II seems to have been discontinued and some of the prices at places for it are inflated as a result. So if you must have something that's currently in production from them I would suggest thew wired ones over the new wireless one even though I hate wires just by my experience with the newest wired one which really only works best if you use it with a PC. I used that newer one to play LA Noire on my PC.

Some people use the PS3 controller via Bluetooth but I can't vouch for it because I've never used it. But may actually be your best bet. Although again, Aspyr's ports don't support anything but the wired 360 controller specifically so if you intend on using gamepads with those well.. you'll need to keep the wired 360 pad around and uninstall those drivers you installed for it completely and plug it in for those games.

One last thing, if you are using a 360 pad it seems to me is has to be first party and not a third party one because they have different product IDs and the drivers are picky about that. That's one reason why I can't use the new silver logitech controller in xinput mode.

Fantastic Break-down you've got there :)

Since there seems to be many options out there to use controllers I already have, I might stick to the Wired X360 solution or the PS3 / PS2 suggestions that you said and the others have talked about.

However if worst comes to worst I'll try and track down that old Logitech one you mentioned. If it still works for you now, it must work for me!

Oh and is there any good step by step guide online in how to hook these controllers up. I'm pretty dumb when it comes to these things :P Any suggestions?

Also what is this X and D input you speak of... Again with the not so clever thing...


View PostTetsuya, on 08 April 2012 - 10:38 PM, said:

http://www.amazon.co...33945869&sr=8-4

Have several of these that we got to test the PS2 to PS3 compatability (works great)but they also work fine adapting a PS2 or PS1 to computer.  

2 bucks, and you can convert a controller you already own to work perfectly, and not have to use that awful dpad on the xbox controller.

Cool :) I do have a couple of PS2 controllers laying around which haven't been touch in a few years. I might try some of the free options first before I start to spend of that expensive $2 adapter.


View PostUmarOMC1, on 09 April 2012 - 02:11 PM, said:

PlayStation 3 controller via Bluetooth. Flawless. Drivers included in OS X since 10.6 I believe...

I also have a PS3 controller. How do you get it to connect? How do I get it to run in a game such as FIFA?



It's a shame none of these solutions are universal. That being said its only a few games on the Mac which I wish I could use a controller for.

Oh and I get the sense that these options you speak of are plug and play. Is it really that simple? Or does it require digging through menus and other very complicated stuff? :P

After doing a bit more digging, has anyone used ControllerMate before? It sounds like the best option which allows you to use any controller. What are your thoughts?

Thanks again guys!
Andrew Lennox
Writer, Inside Mac Games
http://andrewlennox.tumblr.com/

#6 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:40 AM

Yeah, the thing is none of them are universal. So this causes me to maintain at least two different types of controllers as well as using keyboard and mouse for some games. It's like I have to pair the game to the controller. Some genres like FPS I simply use keyboard and mouse no matter what. Some like I use gamepad... like platformers. Some games I found simply work better with certain controls than others.

Using controllermate (or other keyboard+mouse emulators like it ) works in a pinch but has its drawbacks too I use it as little as possible. One thing that is a drawback to it is movement (the left stick) has to be mapped to WASD and keyboard keys are digital meaning ON or OFF.. there's no inbetween. So you don't get the benefit of analog controls for movement and also it never support such things that. Or onscreen prompts showing gamepad buttons instead of keyboard ones. Feral's newer ports support like force feedback rumble which works in games such as Batman Arkham Asylum and Mafia II. But if you don't care about that you could technically do that if you wanted. But again it's best to use the buit in support in a game and one of the supported pads and use a keyboard+mouse emulator as a last resort. I think Feral's ports even support showing the symbols of the PS3 pad buttons on screen when using that pad during onscreen prompts.

It's true the PS3 pad is plug and play, you just need your USB cord to set it up. Edwin has a small tutorial on how to do that somewhere... I forgot exactly off the top of my head though. Wait.. here it is: http://www.insidemac...ndpost&p=399795

BTW, xinput and dinput refer to the type of controller API a PC game uses. This in OS X means Xbox controller support vs just plain old gamepad support like old gamepads for PC have for controllers like the silver wireless logitech. So the newer silver logitech controller can run in xbox mode (xinput) or plain old PC mode (dinput). The dinput mode doesn't support analog triggers (pretty handy in games that have driving as it gives you analog gas peddles for example). So in my opinion for use with Mac it's best to get the older black Logitech Cordless Rumblepad II which is only dinput and has better reception.

The Xbox xinput controller mode on the newer one I found doesn't work on Mac because the drivers are not compatible with it and the reception to the little receiver you have to plug in isn't as good as the older pad anyway when used with a Mac when I tested it. It's possible to get certain other models of Xbox compatible gamepads IDs into that driver and get them to work but I found it difficult to impossible to get that one to work in xinput (xbox) mode even with hacking.

In other words it's better not to get third party xbox compatible gamepads. And also the wireless 360 pad works well but not for Aspyrs ports which again ONLY support the wired 360 pad specifically. So again I bounce back and forth between my wireless 360 pad and my logitech cordless rumblepad II in gamepad games. Luckily both of Aspyr's recent ports are FPS and I actually found i prefer doing the driving in RAGE with a keyboard ironically... unlike Mafia II or LA Noire where I prefer gamepad.

But yeah between those two types of controllers you already have (The PS3 and Wired 360) you should be covered as far as compatibility goes. I mean, the PS3 pad probably works well for most games. But again if you intend on using a pad with Aspyr's games it's the wired 360 pad or nothing.

I can't speak for FIFA as I don't play it but if you list any other games which you might want to play with a gamepad (besides Assassin's Creed) I might be able to give you tips.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#7 andrewlennox

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 12:51 AM

View PostSmoke_Tetsu, on 10 April 2012 - 06:40 AM, said:

Yeah, the thing is none of them are universal. So this causes me to maintain at least two different types of controllers as well as using keyboard and mouse for some games. It's like I have to pair the game to the controller. Some genres like FPS I simply use keyboard and mouse no matter what. Some like I use gamepad... like platformers. Some games I found simply work better with certain controls than others.

Using controllermate (or other keyboard+mouse emulators like it ) works in a pinch but has its drawbacks too I use it as little as possible. One thing that is a drawback to it is movement (the left stick) has to be mapped to WASD and keyboard keys are digital meaning ON or OFF.. there's no inbetween. So you don't get the benefit of analog controls for movement and also it never support such things that. Or onscreen prompts showing gamepad buttons instead of keyboard ones. Feral's newer ports support like force feedback rumble which works in games such as Batman Arkham Asylum and Mafia II. But if you don't care about that you could technically do that if you wanted. But again it's best to use the buit in support in a game and one of the supported pads and use a keyboard+mouse emulator as a last resort. I think Feral's ports even support showing the symbols of the PS3 pad buttons on screen when using that pad during onscreen prompts.

It's true the PS3 pad is plug and play, you just need your USB cord to set it up. Edwin has a small tutorial on how to do that somewhere... I forgot exactly off the top of my head though. Wait.. here it is: http://www.insidemac...ndpost&p=399795

BTW, xinput and dinput refer to the type of controller API a PC game uses. This in OS X means Xbox controller support vs just plain old gamepad support like old gamepads for PC have for controllers like the silver wireless logitech. So the newer silver logitech controller can run in xbox mode (xinput) or plain old PC mode (dinput). The dinput mode doesn't support analog triggers (pretty handy in games that have driving as it gives you analog gas peddles for example). So in my opinion for use with Mac it's best to get the older black Logitech Cordless Rumblepad II which is only dinput and has better reception.

The Xbox xinput controller mode on the newer one I found doesn't work on Mac because the drivers are not compatible with it and the reception to the little receiver you have to plug in isn't as good as the older pad anyway when used with a Mac when I tested it. It's possible to get certain other models of Xbox compatible gamepads IDs into that driver and get them to work but I found it difficult to impossible to get that one to work in xinput (xbox) mode even with hacking.

In other words it's better not to get third party xbox compatible gamepads. And also the wireless 360 pad works well but not for Aspyrs ports which again ONLY support the wired 360 pad specifically. So again I bounce back and forth between my wireless 360 pad and my logitech cordless rumblepad II in gamepad games. Luckily both of Aspyr's recent ports are FPS and I actually found i prefer doing the driving in RAGE with a keyboard ironically... unlike Mafia II or LA Noire where I prefer gamepad.

But yeah between those two types of controllers you already have (The PS3 and Wired 360) you should be covered as far as compatibility goes. I mean, the PS3 pad probably works well for most games. But again if you intend on using a pad with Aspyr's games it's the wired 360 pad or nothing.

I can't speak for FIFA as I don't play it but if you list any other games which you might want to play with a gamepad (besides Assassin's Creed) I might be able to give you tips.

Thanks again for the advice. I used the Feral Interactive Support Video guide in combination with this Mac Rumours Forum Article (Response #24) in order to use my PS3 controller. It works really well :) Lego Batman works, no setup required. If anyone is having trouble with connecting their PS3 controller, refer to the links I mention, they worked for my computer which is running Lion 10.7.3 :)

It seems like it's pure luck whether it works or not. I only have a smattering of AAA titles which have gamepad support, but the ones I have tried have worked. As you said the Feral Interactive games I have work flawlessly while others, have mixed responses. I'm yet to get Valve titles to work (I don't think they support at all) and other indie titles.

I might invest in ControllerMate but I'll see how this goes. It seems like an awful lot of work just to controls to work. I might as well use my keyboard and mouse or even just purchase the console version.

Also, when I get an Aspyr game I'll have to try the wired 360 controller I've got. But until then I can only dream... :P

Any other suggestions guys? If you find any cool set-ups or controllers out there feel free to post here :)
Andrew Lennox
Writer, Inside Mac Games
http://andrewlennox.tumblr.com/

#8 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:32 AM

Most valve games don't have support except for Portal 2 and that seems to favor the 360 pad as far as I can tell. But then again those are FPS games and I stick to KB+M for those.  :cool:

If you insist on playing all your games no matter the type with a gamepad though you may want to get those games for a console though I guess. Because the support is not consistent on Mac some games support it better than others some don't and some support some controllers better than others like I said. But with my tastes it's worked out well for me pairing the controller to the game... like:

FPS: Keyboard and Mouse
Third Person Shooters: Keyboard and Mouse with a couple of exceptions... LA Noire (on PC) and Mafia II.
Third Person Action: Depends on game and what it supports. But I can play them with either.
Platformers: Gamepad
Twin Stick Shooters: Gamepad
Driving Games: Gamepad

So it's like some examples:
Bioshock 1& 2: Keyboard & Mouse
Batman Arkham Asylum: Wireless 360
Asassin's Creed: Keyboard & Mouse
Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Keyboard & Mouse
Mafia II: EIther gamepad for driving and keyboard and mouse for shooting or lately just gamepad for everything.
LEGO Games: Wireless 360
RAGE: Keyboard and Mouse even for the driving parts

WINE games:
Rayman Origins: Logitech Pad
Evil Dead Regeneration: Logitech Pad
FEAR series: Keyboard & Mouse
X-Men Origins Wolverine: Wireless 360
Saw The Video Game: Wireless 360

Dolphin: WIreless 360 pad for gamecube games & real Wii remote for Wii games.
N64:Logitech Wireless Rumblepad or Saitek P880 Wireless because it has 6 face buttons like a N64 Pad.

I also have a fighter joystick for SNES that I use every now and then with a SNES to USB adaptor that I use to play MAME.

I actually have quite a few input devices but my main ones are keyboard and mouse and either the wireless 360 or Logitech pads.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#9 Shane Green

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:33 PM

I've started a site dedicated to using gamepads with a Mac.  It's still under construction, but has a lot of (useful) information about compatible gamepads, and game support.  Please take a look at www.macgamepads.com.  Hopefully you find some useful information there, and please feel free to email me with information you think may help!