Controller support for X3TC / X3AP

General discussions about the games by Egosoft including X-BTF, XT, X², X³: Reunion, X³: Terran Conflict and X³: Albion Prelude.

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KlausM
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Controller support for X3TC / X3AP

Post by KlausM » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 17:02

We are currently investigating how much work it would be to add full support for console controllers to X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude, so that these games can be played completely without keyboard and mouse. That way you could play the X games on a TV screen, for example using the Big Picture mode that Steam introduced recently.

If you have an Xbox 360 controller or a similar controller, it would be great if you could help us finding answers to the following questions:
  • Is it possible to play the game (either X3TC or X3AP) only with the controller? Are there features that cannot be accessed that way?
  • What problems do you encounter? What would have to be changed to make the game more controller-friendly?
  • How would a perfect control configuration look like?
  • Would it be helpful to use a specific button as a qualifier button like Shift on the keyboard, to access more functions? Which button could that be?
Known issues, which can be fixed:
  • Currently you cannot get past the launcher window without keyboard/mouse
  • It's not possible to enter text with the controller yet, e.g. when renaming ships or stations. We can add a text input overlay when playing on Steam with the controller.
  • The game recognises controllers as joysticks and does not use standard names for controller buttons
  • Menus and other UI should display controller button names instead of keyboard shortcuts when playing with controller
  • Left Trigger and Right Trigger of the Xbox controller are mapped to the same axis
Thanks for your input!

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Post by CBJ » Tue, 11. Dec 12, 16:17

Nobody got any feedback for us?

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Post by Alan Phipps » Tue, 11. Dec 12, 16:27

@ CBJ: If nobody replies with new stuff, I can compile a reference list of previous posts/threads asking for help or giving advice with controller problems and profiles for X games if you wish.

PS: I would advise making this a (temporary) Sticky thread.
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Post by DiArmada » Tue, 11. Dec 12, 17:02

one thing I like about X is the control you have using a keyboard.
when reading this post I can't help thinking about GTA.
it is, and surely feels, like a ported game.
all advantages from a keyboard are nullified by the simple commands.

making X mainly for PC and secondly for console users could work.
(sounds like a lot of work to me though)
but I would be disappointed if X will get simplified to reach a bigger audience.

personally I play X using a joystick and keyboard.
commands I use most are under a joystick button.
I don't own a console but sometimes play with one.
IMO, PC games can be more complex due to more advanced controls.

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Post by TTD » Tue, 11. Dec 12, 23:36

I did PM direct with some of my concerns. The last post reminds me of why I never bought a console.
Console games were usually far more expensive than PC (or Amiga,in the day) games and seemed to lack the control you had with a keyboard,mouse and joystick.
as i said in my pm, if this project got off the ground , then I would consider adding a console controller to my rig :)

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Post by Triaxx2 » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 00:31

As long as the main menu can be mapped to function with the stick, perhaps with a down click or the start button it shouldn't be difficult.

The one thing that seriously needs to be tested is to ensure that Strafe can be mapped functionally to a stick. As it is if you try and strafe with a stick, it only allows one key at a time.

Fix those two issues and everything else will take care of itself.
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Post by Bernd » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 00:52

Hi guys,

we are not going into the pro/con console game controls. Nobody is suggesting to take any controls OUT of the game. Our goal is only to ALSO make it completely playable with gamepads which it currently is not.

The reason for this, is because of the wonderful new Steam BigPicture mode. Valve is trying to establish PCs as an alternative to consoles in the livingroom with this, and that is definitely in the best interest of all of us.

Here is a suggestion for a profile that I think would be the best compromise and which is coincidentally a bit similar to the default layout of an upcoming space game from egosoft ;)


- Left trigger: (*)Directly sets forward speed analogue
- Right trigger: Fire primary
- Left shoulder: Brake
- Right shoulder: Select missile / Hold to fire missile
- Digipad: Menu control in menu mode + 4 hotkeys
- Right stick: (*)Steering
- Left stick: Strafing
- Y Open / close sidebar
- X Next target / Hold = track target
- B ??? / Menu back
- A (*)Open context menu of current target
- Left thumb: (*)Lock max speed until speed is changed again.
- Right thumb (*)Cycle through viewmodes
- Start: Seta
- Back: Options menu

Those mappings I marked with (*) are not currently possible. There are a couple of small features missing that we would have to add to the game in order for this profile to be possible.

But I wanted to know what you guys think of this? Which functions would you put on the digipad, what would still be missing?

-Bernd
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Post by Donziboy2 » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 01:14

It certainly sounds interesting to try. The menu's could be a pain.

One thing is that if you put a menu system in for the controller there needs to be a way to drop out of all menu's and go right back into flight mode, i can just see someone navigating thru a menu as there ship barrels towards a cruiser that just changed direction and they need to get out of the menu's fast.

Maybe use d-pad to select a different menu's or use the d-pad and the left stick since you can get 8 directions from that and maybe do a circular web that branches out.

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Post by Bernd » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 01:23

Donziboy2 wrote:It certainly sounds interesting to try. The menu's could be a pain.

One thing is that if you put a menu system in for the controller there needs to be a way to drop out of all menu's and go right back into flight mode, i can just see someone navigating thru a menu as there ship barrels towards a cruiser that just changed direction and they need to get out of the menu's fast.

Maybe use d-pad to select a different menu's or use the d-pad and the left stick since you can get 8 directions from that and maybe do a circular web that branches out.
This should be possible already. Menus can be controlled with the digipad by default and you can map a "back" button as well as a close all menus quickly button. All you have to do is change your default profile a bit.

-Bernd
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Post by JackBNimble » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 01:34

I only use the controller for when I am in battles in an M3. My only problem with the controller support now is that I can't seem to use both analog sticks or all the buttons.

I am very content using controller as well as m/kb as long as the controller is fully functional .

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Post by Bernd » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 02:20

JackBNimble wrote:I only use the controller for when I am in battles in an M3. My only problem with the controller support now is that I can't seem to use both analog sticks or all the buttons.

I am very content using controller as well as m/kb as long as the controller is fully functional .
Ok, but for the sake of this discussion please imagine yourself playing without a keyboard or a mouse, cause that must be the goal if we want X games to run in living rooms too.

-Bernd
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Post by JoeVN09 » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 02:50

This certainly seems like a worthwhile venture if you guys think it could be done. I can't say I ever imagined playing X solely on a controller :P Are you thinking of trying to put Rebirth on the consoles?

When I think of functions in X3 I use all the time, I come up with SETA, basic look movement, four strafe directions, two roll directions, two throttle controls, weapons fire, missile equip, missile launch, weapon profile, command console, comms, dock/autopilot, jumpdrive, target, sector/universe maps. even if you make concessions on menu shortcuts (such as r for the property page or M for the message log), I'm still not sure you'd be able to manipulate the view modes (which by keyboard default you do with the numpad), Auto-aim setting, match throttle with target etc without help.

Bernd, the control profile you put forward looks promising to me and should cover all the basic functions.

If I could make a suggestion: The Options menu is used infrequently enough that I believe you could easily access it through the sidebar. That would then free the [back] button to be used as a qualifier as you suggested, or for a more commonly accessed function such as best buy/sell or jumpdrive. :)

Speaking of which, could you maybe hold an existing button to provide a different function? That way you could map similar functions (like SETA and Jumpdrive) to the same button.

I would miss being able to access menu shortcuts, but having practised with the cursor mode I don't believe it's essential.

However you do it, don't sacrifice the breadth of control options universally in order to cram every little feature onto a controller!
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Post by LTerSlash » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 03:53

Bernd wrote:
JackBNimble wrote:I only use the controller for when I am in battles in an M3. My only problem with the controller support now is that I can't seem to use both analog sticks or all the buttons.

I am very content using controller as well as m/kb as long as the controller is fully functional .
Ok, but for the sake of this discussion please imagine yourself playing without a keyboard or a mouse, cause that must be the goal if we want X games to run in living rooms too.

-Bernd
You need to dumb down the game for that, thats why we have so many dumbs games today. There is not much choice on that.

Also a living room is not a good place for slow and complicated games like the X ones, Freespace 2, a space shooter is a good example of a game for a living room, still is a old and very complicated game, as such its imposible to have full funcionality on controller.

For example, how you whould do the weapon group on a controller? assigning the weapons on UI and add/remove them from groups? its impossible, group switching is 1 button, thats OK, another button for missile select, other to fire primary, fire missile, target control is a PAIN on X series, it never feel right, thats why im using mouse to select targets so many times, and limiting the number of targetable objects on screen because is there is too many targets on screen just complicate the things even more.

I have lot of experience on space combat games because im a old fan of both Freespace and X series, so at my stimation, you need the following funtions before even start to think about controller only:

-Auto target (that means it will auto-target the next closer hostile ship when the current one is destroyed or lost)

-Option to auto match target speed

-Option to remove the limit of HUD targetable objects.

-Target system for next hostile attacking player based on distance AND threat (let say, im being hit wih a ship with PBG, it must target it)

-Target next incoming missile based on distance from player, if not missile is present it will target M8 and M7M.

-Target the ship that is on my reticle.

-Option to target next incoming missile based on threat to player

-Cycle weapon groups with 1 control

-Diferent Weapon groups can have diferent weapons on the same slot.

-Weapon groups must incluide turrets too.

-Add/remove weapon from weapon group must be on weapon menu too.

-Option to buy ships at shipyard already fully equiped(and i mean fully equiped, even the equipment not present at EQ, and that incluides weapons too, looking for equipment for multiple ships is not fun on later games and certanly is not fun on controller), same for creating ships at HQ.


Thats the minimum needed for a aceptable combat control (it should be also a ship monitor list on screen, with the option to add/remove ships from the monitor list and cycle target trought them, but it will be asking way too much), and there is not enoght buttons for everything(unless support for button + button control and hold button can be added), not to mention that many of those feature are missing.

Still i rather play a fast, action based game on my living room, like FS2, X series are games that i rather play on my pc with keyboard and mouse. Ill suggest to keep it that way, ill hate to see the game (or X:R) dumbed down to fit for gamepad usage.

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Post by Hippotastic » Wed, 12. Dec 12, 14:02

Here is a suggestion for a profile that I think would be the best compromise and which is coincidentally a bit similar to the default layout of an upcoming space game from egosoft


- Left trigger: (*)Directly sets forward speed analogue
- Right trigger: Fire primary
- Left shoulder: Brake
- Right shoulder: Select missile / Hold to fire missile
- Digipad: Menu control in menu mode + 4 hotkeys
- Right stick: (*)Steering
- Left stick: Strafing
- Y Open / close sidebar
- X Next target / Hold = track target
- B ??? / Menu back
- A (*)Open context menu of current target
- Left thumb: (*)Lock max speed until speed is changed again.
- Right thumb (*)Cycle through viewmodes
- Start: Seta
- Back: Options menu

Those mappings I marked with (*) are not currently possible. There are a couple of small features missing that we would have to add to the game in order for this profile to be possible.
I use a controller, with a few problems that the keyboard overcomes. I am left handed, makes a difference too ;)

- Left trigger: Target Next Enemy
- Right trigger: Slow down throttle control
- Left shoulder: Match Target Speed
- Right shoulder: Speed up throttle control
- Digipad: Looks around (generally unused)
- Right stick: cant get it to work, sometimes roll y
- Left stick: Steering
- Y Previous Target (Unused really seems to get ramdon targets)
- X Next target (same as above, maybe I should think about using itfor target what I am looking at, hold for information)
- B Fire missile / Hold Select Missile. (switched default)
- A Fire Primary
- Left thumb: . Sector map
- Right thumb , Universe map
- Start: select (ok)
- Back: back (cancel)

Works for me, on the keyboard, I use CRTL+C, ESC, F, and G mainly, so I suppose I could map those the the unused functions above.

My biggest gripe is that the controller is not recognised and therefore not all of the controls can be mapped. That would make me happy, just being able to use the right stick and then get the config to something *I* can use and be happy with.

I have to agree with others though, I could not imagine playing this game without keyboard support.

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Post by anthonysavatar » Thu, 13. Dec 12, 06:02

My mappings are very similar to what Bernd posted with more liberal use of hold presses. One problem is strafing is reversed and no way that I can tell to invert the controls. In my setup the right stick is strafing. Pushing left makes the ship strafe right. Likewise right is left, up is down, down is up.

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