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Analog Gamepads

I bought this gamepad from Wal-Mart, it’s a "Gemini Game Elements GGE908"  
and it sucks so don’t buy one.

However, before I take it back, I thought I should determine if it sucks  
worse than anything else I’m likely to find.

The problem I have with it is its analog controls.  The don’t work  
correctly at all, at least with respect to how I believe they should work.

My previous experience is with connecting two cheap 2-button joysticks to  
a normal sound-card joystick port (via a special cable that allows you to  
do this) and using that to play Descent.  Using that method I then became  
so good at Descent that I had to restrict myself to using only
the flare as a weapon, otherwise my friends wouldn’t play against me.  
Using this gamepad, I can’t play for shit.

To investigate the problem, I used a program that displays a little dot on  
the screen showing where the joystick is pointed at, something like this:

   +———-+———-+ +127
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   +———-+———-+ 0
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   +———-+———-+ -127
-127         0        +127

There’re a couple of problems with this gamepad.

First, you’ve got the stick, which in ascii art looks like this:

        /XXXXXXX\
        XXXXXXXXX
            X
          _.X._
        /XXXXXXX\
——/XXXXXXXXX\——

This thing can only be tilted about 40 degrees in each direction.  I would  
expect that -40 degrees will report -127, and +40 degrees will report +127.

Here’s a graph of what I actually get:

                   |+127
                   |              ****
                   |            **
                   |           *
                   |         **
                   |       **
                   |      *
                   |    **
————–*********————–
-40         **    |               +40
            *      |
          **       |
        **         |
       *           |
     **            |
****              |-127

Basically, there’s a huge area in the center where the gamepad reports no  
movement at all, and a similar area at the extreme positions where no  
movement is reported.

This has the effect that I try to turn a little in Descent by moving the  
control about 10 degrees, then I see very little movement on the screen,  
so I move it another 10 degrees expecting to get two times very little  
movement, and instead get half of full speed.  Very annoying.

Ordinary PC joysticks don’t do this, with them there is a straight  
diagonal line from (-40, -127) to (40, 127) which is how it should be.

The other problem is that once the control is moving in one direction, it  
has to move about 15 degrees back in the other direction before any  
movement in that direction is reported.

I set up the program to leave points drawn where the stick has been, and  
then tried to draw a box in the upper-right corner.  This is what I ended  
up with:

   +———-+———-+ +127
   |          |          |
   |          **    *    |
   |          |     *    |
   |          *     *    |
   +———-*******—-+ 0
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   |          |          |
   +———-+———-+ -127
-127         0        +127

Basically, starting at the origin and going right, it draws a dot at every  
point going to the right.  Then it does the same going up.  Then when I  
begin going left, it ignores the left movement until I’ve moved about 20%  
of the range back to the left, at which point the dot jumps over to where  
it should be and begins moving correctly again.  It does the same thing  
going down.

It basically does that wherever you move the dot, whichever direction the  
axis last moved in, it has to move 20% of the way back in the other  
direction before movements in that direction are reported.

This makes movement a real pain in the ass.  Say I want to turn to the  
right at a certain speed, and so I move the stick, but decide that I went  
just a little too far.  I can’t just move it a little back to center,  
because that won’t register, I have to move it much further than that so
that it registers, and then begin moving it to the right again, but then  
that doesn’t register until it’s gone it’s 15 degrees, and so it skips  
over where I want to be again, and so then I figure out that I’ve got to  
just move it way over to the left, then slowly back to the right, and make  
damn sure not to pass the point where I want it to be at or else I get to  
do it all over again, and by then I’m too pissed off to want to play a  
game.

Anyway, I can’t find a comment anywhere on the internet about this sort of  
problem, which means one of a few possible things:

1.  All game pads with analog controls work like this, and in fact,  
everyone but me actually prefers it that way.

2.  No one else can play games well with this thing either, but they don’t  
have any idea what it’s doing to make things so difficult, so they don’t  
post about it on the internet.

3.  When people buy a bad gamepad, they don’t post about it on the  
internet, but instead they just throw it in the closet and go buy a new  
one.

So anyway, hopefully someone has experience with several gamepads and can  
tell me if this is usual gamepad behavior or if I’ve just bought a piece  
of shit.  If they’re all like this then I’m just going to keep this one  
and wire it up to go through the ordinary joystick port (thus fixing it’s  
problems, but limiting me to only four buttons), otherwise I’ll take it  
back and get a different one hoping that it doesn’t suck as bad.

.
posted by admin in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Analog Gamepads”

  1. admin says:

    On Fri, 30 Sep 2005 18:02:42 GMT, "Richard Cooper"

    - Hide quoted text — Show quoted text -

    <spamandviru…@rr.com> wrote:

    >I bought this gamepad from Wal-Mart, it’s a "Gemini Game Elements GGE908"  
    >and it sucks so don’t buy one.

    >However, before I take it back, I thought I should determine if it sucks  
    >worse than anything else I’m likely to find.

    >The problem I have with it is its analog controls.  The don’t work  
    >correctly at all, at least with respect to how I believe they should work.

    >My previous experience is with connecting two cheap 2-button joysticks to  
    >a normal sound-card joystick port (via a special cable that allows you to  
    >do this) and using that to play Descent.  Using that method I then became  
    >so good at Descent that I had to restrict myself to using only
    >the flare as a weapon, otherwise my friends wouldn’t play against me.  
    >Using this gamepad, I can’t play for shit.

    >To investigate the problem, I used a program that displays a little dot on  
    >the screen showing where the joystick is pointed at, something like this:

    >   +———-+———-+ +127
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   +———-+———-+ 0
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   +———-+———-+ -127
    >-127         0        +127

    >There’re a couple of problems with this gamepad.

    >First, you’ve got the stick, which in ascii art looks like this:

    >        /XXXXXXX\
    >        XXXXXXXXX
    >            X
    >          _.X._
    >        /XXXXXXX\
    >——/XXXXXXXXX\——

    >This thing can only be tilted about 40 degrees in each direction.  I would  
    >expect that -40 degrees will report -127, and +40 degrees will report +127.

    >Here’s a graph of what I actually get:

    >                   |+127
    >                   |              ****
    >                   |            **
    >                   |           *
    >                   |         **
    >                   |       **
    >                   |      *
    >                   |    **
    >————–*********————–
    >-40         **    |               +40
    >            *      |
    >          **       |
    >        **         |
    >       *           |
    >     **            |
    >****              |-127

    >Basically, there’s a huge area in the center where the gamepad reports no  
    >movement at all, and a similar area at the extreme positions where no  
    >movement is reported.

    >This has the effect that I try to turn a little in Descent by moving the  
    >control about 10 degrees, then I see very little movement on the screen,  
    >so I move it another 10 degrees expecting to get two times very little  
    >movement, and instead get half of full speed.  Very annoying.

    >Ordinary PC joysticks don’t do this, with them there is a straight  
    >diagonal line from (-40, -127) to (40, 127) which is how it should be.

    >The other problem is that once the control is moving in one direction, it  
    >has to move about 15 degrees back in the other direction before any  
    >movement in that direction is reported.

    >I set up the program to leave points drawn where the stick has been, and  
    >then tried to draw a box in the upper-right corner.  This is what I ended  
    >up with:

    >   +———-+———-+ +127
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          **    *    |
    >   |          |     *    |
    >   |          *     *    |
    >   +———-*******—-+ 0
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   |          |          |
    >   +———-+———-+ -127
    >-127         0        +127

    >Basically, starting at the origin and going right, it draws a dot at every  
    >point going to the right.  Then it does the same going up.  Then when I  
    >begin going left, it ignores the left movement until I’ve moved about 20%  
    >of the range back to the left, at which point the dot jumps over to where  
    >it should be and begins moving correctly again.  It does the same thing  
    >going down.

    >It basically does that wherever you move the dot, whichever direction the  
    >axis last moved in, it has to move 20% of the way back in the other  
    >direction before movements in that direction are reported.

    >This makes movement a real pain in the ass.  Say I want to turn to the  
    >right at a certain speed, and so I move the stick, but decide that I went  
    >just a little too far.  I can’t just move it a little back to center,  
    >because that won’t register, I have to move it much further than that so
    >that it registers, and then begin moving it to the right again, but then  
    >that doesn’t register until it’s gone it’s 15 degrees, and so it skips  
    >over where I want to be again, and so then I figure out that I’ve got to  
    >just move it way over to the left, then slowly back to the right, and make  
    >damn sure not to pass the point where I want it to be at or else I get to  
    >do it all over again, and by then I’m too pissed off to want to play a  
    >game.

    >Anyway, I can’t find a comment anywhere on the internet about this sort of  
    >problem, which means one of a few possible things:

    >1.  All game pads with analog controls work like this, and in fact,  
    >everyone but me actually prefers it that way.

    >2.  No one else can play games well with this thing either, but they don’t  
    >have any idea what it’s doing to make things so difficult, so they don’t  
    >post about it on the internet.

    >3.  When people buy a bad gamepad, they don’t post about it on the  
    >internet, but instead they just throw it in the closet and go buy a new  
    >one.

    >So anyway, hopefully someone has experience with several gamepads and can  
    >tell me if this is usual gamepad behavior or if I’ve just bought a piece  
    >of shit.  If they’re all like this then I’m just going to keep this one  
    >and wire it up to go through the ordinary joystick port (thus fixing it’s  
    >problems, but limiting me to only four buttons), otherwise I’ll take it  
    >back and get a different one hoping that it doesn’t suck as bad.

    Fascinating.

    The useful part of your post was:

    "I bought this gamepad from Wal-Mart, it’s a "Gemini Game Elements
    GGE908 and it sucks so don’t buy one."

    Just a hint.

    Lemming

    Curiosity *may* have killed Schrodinger’s cat.

  2. admin says:

    Richard Cooper wrote:

    The graph you describe is actually pretty normal for most cheap
    joysticks. Only very few offer linear response.

    As far as the missing dots go however that more sounds like a broken
    device to me.


    Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
    [Delete the karl after the @ to avoid my spam trap]