Monday, June 9, 2014

LMT#2 - Fixing Xbox 360 Controller Input in Steam For Linux

Linux Mint Tips #2: Fixing Xbox 360 Controller Input in Steam For Linux

Linux Mint Tips series is a list of tricks I've picked up after having switched away from Windows for good in 2013, after dabbling for years. I'll do my best to go back and edit posts that contain any erroneous information, but keep in mind that I'm a relative newcomer to the Linux scene. I wrote this tutorial running the MATE desktop environment in Mint 16.

I ran into trouble in Steam for Linux getting my controller working. Though its a cheapo Gamestop knockoff, it is Xbox 360 compatible, which should mean it'll work on just about any PC these days no matter what OS its running. One of the benefits of the long life of the last console generation has been the driver support for these ubiquitous controllers; I wouldn't be surprised if there were an Xbox 360 controller driver for OS/2 Warp at this point. I figured it would work straight out of the box in Mint 16, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Even though the controller was clearly powered up, Steam games didn't recognize it and even the Steam controller configurator widget couldn't fix the issue.

The good news is that it only took a short bit of research to fix the issue. Here's the steps I ended up taking to fix it.

  • Open Software Manager.
  • You'll need to enter the password for your elevated/Admin account.
  • Search for jstest-gtk.
  • It should be the top item, with the subtitle "Joystick testing and configuration tool".
  • Double click on that item.
  • Click on the install button.
  • When it finishes, close out of software manager.
  • Open a terminal window.
  • Type jstest-gtk and hit enter.
  • This will bring up the configuration tool. Your Xbox 360 compatible controller should already be listed.
  • Click the properties button.
  • You can now test the various inputs, thumbsticks, buttons and so forth.
  • If you find that some of the inputs aren't mapping properly, click the Mapping button. Here you can drag items around and watch for the effects in the properties window.
  • Once you've gotten everything lined up, you can save the profile in the properties dialog using the button next to the dropdown box in the upper section.

Now for the Steam portion.

  • First, open Steam and change to Big Picture mode. You can select this option by right clicking on the Steam notification icon or by clicking the Big Picture option in Steam in the upper right side in just about any Steam screen.
  • Once Big Picture mode starts, click on Settings in the top right (the gear icon).
  • Click on the Controller option.
  • Click the Edit Controls button.
  • You should now be taken through a first time setup tutorial. Follow the prompts and push the correct button/input at the correct time.
  • When finished use the Save option.
  • It will ask you to upload, but you can decline to upload it and just save it locally.
You're now finished, your gamepad should work in Steam games now!

Hopefully this helps somebody out there. Happy gaming.

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