In order to even be able to implement our undertaking, we need a little helper. I chose the Xpadder program. Of course there are alternatives, but we shouldn’t care about them here. All future videos, configurations and ready-made input profiles for certain game titles will therefore be available for Xpadder.
Let’s start with the download. Xpadder is a paid program (only 7.99 euros, so not the world) that allows us to freely configure pretty much any PC gamepad and adapt it to our needs. In addition, there are practical functions that enable double assignment of the keys and even intelligent input combinations. Don’t worry: we don’t want to use Xpadder for cheating – only for alternative control. You can also directly download the full version of Xpadder from https://lisanilssonart.com/xpadder-download-latest-official/
Go to Xpadder.com and click through the download process step by step. Select the appropriate language and your country of origin (determine the currency and price during the ordering process via PayPal). Then you have to complete the order via PayPal. There is no legal alternative, i.e. no other payment options. Unfortunately. As soon as the payment is completed, you will receive the valid download link for the full version. Move it to any directory (e.g. D: / Games / Xpadder /) and we can start.
Set up Xpadder
You don’t even have to install it to use Xpadder. The EXE file that you have just downloaded is already the fully functional start-up file. When starting for the first time, you only have to determine where the gamepad and game profiles should be saved in the future. Your Xpadder folder makes sense for this. Xpadder.exe also inserts an INI file in which all program information is saved. It has to happen somewhere.
The standard view for setting up a new gamepad in Xpadder.
As soon as you have survived the information window at the first start, you can already see our future workspace. This is where the magic will happen.
Before that happens, we have to set up a gamepad first. To do this, connect your gamepad to the PC by cable or wireless adapter and switch it on. In my case, I will set up a wireless Xbox 360 controller for PC with Xpadder and use this example to illustrate the process.
As soon as the gamepad has been switched on, Xpadder should have recognized the connection. You can now use the small gamepad symbol on the left to make the “settings” so that Xpadder can use all buttons, sticks and triggers correctly.
In order to make our work easier in the future and to graphically illustrate the assignment of the individual gamepad buttons, we should first select a suitable gamepad background image. In my case it is the Xbox 360 controller. The background file must be in BMP format and measure 512 × 256. Other image formats are not accepted.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ve uploaded pictures of the Xbox and PS3 controllers to our server. Download the image suitable for your controller (right-click -> save image as) and open it in Xpadder via “Image -> Open”.
By the way, the beautiful pink background is used to be displayed transparently in the actual program after finishing the setup.
Now it’s time to get down to business. One after the other, we set up the two analogue sticks (left and right), the D-Pad, buttons (all buttons, including the two analogue sticks, if you can press them as buttons) and the two rear triggers.
On-screen instructions help set up all of the gamepad buttons, sticks, and triggers.
Sticks: We activate the tick next to “Activated” and follow the instructions on the screen. First, we move the left analogue stick to the left, then up. We proceed in the same way with the right analogue stick: press the tick “Activated”, left, top. Should something go wrong, you can use the “search” to set up the sticks again.
D-Pad: You can continue with the menu item “DPad”. Click “Activated” again and follow the instructions. First, we press the D-Pad buttons up, then down, left and right. Finished.
Buttons: We activate the individual buttons one after the other. But not too many at once, because for every button we press on the gamepad, an unlabeled box appears in the controller settings screen. Who should keep the overview?
So we first press the A button on the controller. We drag the box that has now appeared with the mouse over the A key of our background image. And we proceed in the same way for all the remaining buttons on our gamepad: B, X, Y, the back button, the start button, LB (the left shoulder button), RB (the right shoulder button) and of course the two buttons that we get by pushing in the analogue sticks. And always remember to move the buttons to the correct position on the background image.
Trigger: The two triggers behind the shoulder buttons must be set separately using the “Trigger” option and, of course, the checkmark for “Activated” again. Triggers differ from normal keys in that we can use them later to configure gradations when the key is pressed. Sounds complicated? Just imagine it like a gas pedal in a car that you don’t always press it all the way, but occasionally just tap it gently. This is exactly what the two trigger buttons are used for.
By the way, you should use the mouse to drag the schematic representation of the analogue sticks and the D-pad that appeared in the controller settings when we configured them, as well as all the other buttons and triggers, to their correct position on the controller background image. If we have set everything up correctly, our controller scheme in the main Xpadder window should look like this.
You can check whether you have dragged all button boxes to the correct position on the gamepad background image by pressing all buttons/sticks/triggers on the gamepad one after the other. The corresponding boxes should now light up green.
We save these settings via the “controller symbol” -> “save”. Best in the Xpadder folder, of course.
And we’re done. After our freshly set up gamepad cannot pass any commands to games. To do this, we first have to assign commands to the individual buttons and sticks. It’s not difficult. In the next episode, we’ll look at how you can assign simple commands to individual keys. Then we go straight to the first video game. Simple as an introduction, of course.