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40oz

Playing Doom on a Joystick

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I bought a PC Logitech F310 Gamepad (pictured below) a while ago at an electronics store and was excited to play Doom with a controller instead of my keyboard as I usually do. I plugged it in and was unfortunately unable to get it to function with prBoom or Odamex, however it seemed to work fine on Skulltag and GZDoom. It wasn't until recently that my cousin informed me about programs you can download that map buttons on your joystick/gamepad to keys on your keyboard. So i dug out the controller and tried playing Doom with it again using a program like he described.



There's a pretty good number of these type programs. I tried one called JoyToKey because of how simple the programs layout was. It really was a piece of cake to work with and it works pretty cool except that it doesn't appear to detect that my gamepad has two thumbsticks on it instead of one, which renders the right one useless.

Anyway, I'm just making this thread to ask if I'm going way ahead of myself by downloading one of these programs, and if there are simpler ways to play Doom with a gamepad. Also if I am on the right track, which program for mapping gamepad buttons to the keyboard is best?

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I would use xpadder to map keys to your gamepad. It's what I use. I used to use joytokey as well, but didn't like how it couldn't map both joysticks.

xpadder will let you map both joysticks and the dpad all at the same time. It has mouse emulation as well. It's also pretty simple to use. You can even set a button on your gamepad to switch between mappings so you can map more commands than your gamepad actually has if you wanted to.

I definitely recommend it very highly.

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Brewtal_Legend said:

I would use xpadder to map keys to your gamepad. It's what I use. I used to use joytokey as well, but didn't like how it couldn't map both joysticks.

That's because you didn't check "Show all hats and axes" (or whatever it was) on the Advanced tab. You'll see up to 8 stick axes and 2 hat switches.

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It should be noted that if you own a Xbox 360 or a PS3 people should just use a Xbox360 or a PS3 controller.

The X360 controller is supported by Windows out of the box, and its very easy to download and use custom drivers for the PS3 controlller. I personally use a PS3 controller when I am playing PSX Doom via emulator (my PS2 is broken and my PS3 doesn't play it since PS1 games aren't region free so not all of them work on my PS3).

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Have you tried searching your product on the Logitech website? You should find a program, I think it's called Logitech Gaming Software, which should recognize the exact model of that joystick, and is easy to configure since it shows a reference chart (if you've used SetPoint for mice it should be familiar).

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I started using XPadder. I soon realized that I had joystick on Odamex disabled (doh!) but it still didn't recognize the buttons, so I used XPadder to fill in the remaining buttons.

I've got a pretty cool layout. I knew I wasn't going to need so many buttons for a game as simple as Doom, so instead of having two buttons that rotate through the weapons, I instead mapped a button to each gun. A is pistol, B is shotgun, X is chaingun, Y is rocket launcher. Then the back triggers are plasma and BFG, and if you push in the right joysick its pistol/chainsaw. I let my brother try it. It takes a little getting used to but after a few maps he felt pretty attached to the concept. I think I'm going to be using Logitech Gamepads for my Home Doom Station

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I didn't even know classic DOOM games supported joysticks until I watched/saw this new LGR Oddware's video:

 

I have never seen or met anyone who used joysticks to play classic DOOM. Are there any members who does/did?

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I used and required a joystick for many years to play Doom. The only reason I stopped was that it became more and more difficult to set up. I can't use those thumbpad deals. I grew up on Atari-2600 (yeah!), and so I needed a joystick that was and actual stick, with 2 buttons. Button 1 was Fire, and button 2 was Strafe/Open Doors.

 

On older PCs, the sound cards used to have 9-pin joystick ports on them! Nowadays you'd go USB, or they make a 15-pin to USB adapter. The main problem with joysticks? Fixed max turning speed.

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6 hours ago, kb1 said:

On older PCs, the sound cards used to have 9-pin joystick ports on them! Nowadays you'd go USB, or they make a 15-pin to USB adapter. The main problem with joysticks? Fixed max turning speed.

I thought that most sound cards came with a standard (for PCs, anyway) 15-pin analog joystick port or "game port", which also doubled as a MIDI port. In general the ones built-in into sound cards were better than any "onboard" ones because at least they were fully implemented (4 axes, 4 buttons). The 9-pin "Atari" style joysticks were never natively supported on the IBM PC compatibles, though adapters did exist. The IBM PCjr and the Tandy computers used their own custom, incompatible style of ports. There were some more exotic RS-232 and parallel port joysticks as well, but good luck finding software that supported them. More complex controllers like Microsoft Sidewinder for flight sims used either custom gameport protocols or combined gameport/RS-232 inputs, and needed special drivers and/or specific support from a game to be taken advantage of.

 

In any case, I once tried playing Doom II with a (digital) Quickshot 4-button gamepad for the gameport ...not really impressed. 4 buttons and 4 possible directions on the D-pad weren't really enough to map to all possible functions or play smoothly. The concept of a PSX "dual shock" controller with analog inputs and shoulder buttons didn't really exist when Doom was first released, and even if it did, it would have to be supported through external drivers somehow (maybe using Doom's obscure control API).

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That's a thing you can do? I have a modern joystick that I bought for a flight sim game, I wonder if I could use it to play doom. Though it would take me FOREVER to figure out how to control it properly, I'm so used to my keyboard :')

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Dualshock 4 will also work with DS4Windows

Doom works perfect with a controller because it was made with no Y-axis aiming in mind, so it controlled perfectly fine on the PS3 and 360 ports for this reason.

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2 hours ago, Major Arlene said:

That's a thing you can do? I have a modern joystick that I bought for a flight sim game, I wonder if I could use it to play doom. Though it would take me FOREVER to figure out how to control it properly, I'm so used to my keyboard :')

I once tried to map a flight sim stick to ZDoom, pretty much using helicopter-like mappings: the stick was the cyclic, the rudder controlled yaw, and the throttle (!) controlled view pitch. Plus there were a lot of buttons and triggers to map to common actions.

 

The outcome? Well, in theory you did have complete and very precise control over everything. In practice, this was really awkward and clunky to use and not suited to the pace of the game at all. Maybe good for a leisurely Jetranger flight in Microsoft Flight Sim X, not so good for circlestrafing Revenants in slaughtermaps. Even in ordinary IWAD maps, each encounter became almost as hard as a Doom 3 one O_o

 

Doom cannot be played efficiently with small, precise inputs and controls with (relatively) large and slow physical inputs. Keyboard + mouse really give an unmatched combination of precision and speed/reaction.

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On 9.9.2017 at 11:47 AM, ant said:

I have never seen or met anyone who used joysticks to play classic DOOM. Are there any members who does/did?

I tried playing doom with a madcatz fightstick some time ago. Like, years ago. The reason being that I was more used to these arcade sticks instead of WASD for movement at the time. Even back then I had mixed feeling about it, to be honest, and here's why:

 

First off, that stick I used occupied quite a bit of space on my not very large desktop.

 

Second off, with the keyboard being basically inaccesible I had to do some remapping of my mouse bindings to get everything I needed to play in a semi-convenient spot I could reach. Binding a "use" key alongside 7 keys for weapons to a mouse with 6 buttons + mousewheel isn't easy for obvious reasons, and it kinda felt wrong to do so much with just one hand, while the other hand on the stick was limited to movement exclusively.

 

Third off, when it comes to movement there are things a keyboard is objectively better at when compared to such an arcade stick. For instance tapping keys is less stressful than constantly giving small nudges to an arcade stick.

 

As for analog joysticks, or even worse joypads (which by the way I hate and avoid like the plague) I can't say much about those other than analog input kinda doesn't mingle well with a game such as doom for me personally.

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I've played the PC version with a joystick quite a lot because I was accostumed to it and that's not mentioning that I did played a LOT of the PSX version of Doom...

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When I was a wee one my Dad had Doom set up with a joystick for a while, one of those old 15 pin ones. Simply playing the game using something that wasn't a keyboard amazed me at the time. My dad was definitely better with the joystick and still is as I learned last time I visited him, he never liked using the keyboard even on PC games.

 

I can play pretty well using a joystick for my right hand and WSDA for my left, but nothing beats the precision of a mouse!

 

I managed to find the exact model joystick my dad had far easier than I thought with a google search:

 

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in gzdoom it works pretty heckin good! aiming can be a bit awkward but overall it feels very nice

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I have a Qanba fight stick that I use for Tekken and MvC on my ps3. I remember I tried setting it up for Doom and I wasn't able to map certain keys for it. I think my computer/gzdoom was able to pick up the buttons, but not the input from the actual joystick, so I wasn't able to use it for Doom/Wolf3d. There should be a way for it to work. The stick is built to work for PC and ps3 fighting games.

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1 hour ago, Doomkid said:

I can play pretty well using a joystick for my right hand and WSDA for my left, but nothing beats the precision of a mouse!

Let me reveal you a little secret on why that is: because unlike almost every other method of "analog" control on a PC or game console, a mouse doesn't have automatic return AND, unlike a trackball or a wheel-paddle, it "locks" your hand/wrist while you're moving it, thus unconsciously giving you a reasonably accurate tactile sensation of how much you have moved it ;-)

 

Plus, unlike a thumb stick on a gamepad, it allows you to dedicate almost your entire dominant limb (the right arm/hand, in 90% of humans) to the task of controlling the direction, rather than delegating it to one thumb of one hand, already pretty busy with working 4 or more buttons. Simple ergonomics, really.

 

The closest there would be to a mouse, IMO, at least for purely directional control, would be a pair of "locked" rudder pedals (where pushing one would lift the other). Perfect yaw control and sensation everytime, and both hands free for other tasks. They could even be used in combination with a mouse, allowing the player to choose, e.g. mouse for more rapid  maneuvers, pedals for more protracted ones, e.g. circlestrafing without moving your wrist, or performing a very slow, controlled yaw as you speed forward.

 

 

Edited by Maes : lol typo "raping maneuvers"

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On 9/9/2017 at 0:47 PM, ant said:

I have never seen or met anyone who used joysticks to play classic DOOM. Are there any members who does/did?

In all honesty I can't imagine anyone playing Doom with a joystick for more than five minutes. I think joystick support is only included in vanilla Doom so that it can be used with gamepads which connect to the PC joystick port, specifically the Gravis Gamepad (which at the time of Doom's release, may have been the only gamepad on the market for the PC). I've previously documented how the default button mappings make a lot of sense if you have a Gravis Gamepad connected.

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I have played Doom with my dualshock 2 sometimes :) it was nice but mouse and keyboard is better.

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I tried playing Doom with the exact same controller @40oz has, and, well, shoot, let's just say I didn't have a good time with it. It felt cumbersome, was difficult to setup, and using it was downright unpleasant. Sure, I could use JoytoKey or xpadder, but JoytoKey is no longer free, and the last freeware version of xpadder doesn't support Win 8.1.

 

Lesson learned: If you are skilled with a certain game with the keyboard, stick with it; don't try something different. Make a long story short: gamepads are meant for emulators/game consoles and games that recommend one; but NOT for games that recommend a keyboard and mouse!

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I have a Saturn USB controller which I tried playing Doom with, I had to use the L and R buttons for turning.

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2 hours ago, HavoX said:

Lesson learned: If you are skilled with a certain game with the keyboard, stick with it; don't try something different. Make a long story short: gamepads are meant for emulators/game consoles and games that recommend one; but NOT for games that recommend a keyboard and mouse!

A specification is necessary here: if you're skilled with a certain game under a certain control method, stick to it unless you're introduced to a control method that's demonstrably superior. E.g. at one time I was probably as good as someone can get at Doom with the keyboard only (default layout), and I stuck to that layout even as I started playing other FPS with the "classic" WASD + mouse layout. It simply didn't occur to me that my Dooming would benefit from such a layout and yet when I tried it....no contest, and no re-training needed. It was like an instant upgrade. And yet, before I tried it, I too would say "I can play Doom just fine with the keyboard only".

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On 9/26/2017 at 9:57 PM, kb1 said:

I used and required a joystick for many years to play Doom. The only reason I stopped was that it became more and more difficult to set up. I can't use those thumbpad deals. I grew up on Atari-2600 (yeah!), and so I needed a joystick that was and actual stick, with 2 buttons. Button 1 was Fire, and button 2 was Strafe/Open Doors.

 

On older PCs, the sound cards used to have 9-pin joystick ports on them! Nowadays you'd go USB, or they make a 15-pin to USB adapter. The main problem with joysticks? Fixed max turning speed.

Nice. I grew up with my Atari 2600 too. Simple controllers. ALso, used its joysticks with my next door neighbor's Commodore 64. :D

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