Hands-on with Steam’s DualShock 4 support

Last month, word started spreading that Steam would soon support DualShock 4 controllers. During a talk at Steam Dev Days, Jeff Bellinghausen from Valve talked about using other controllers with the Steam API. He noted that the DualShock 4 had a lot of overlapping functionality with the Steam Controller, including the gyro and touch pad, and talked about what a good fit the controller was for the Steam API.

That support was recently added to the Steam beta client. I’m a big fan of the DualShock 4, so I was excited to try it out.

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A brief history of PlayStation 4 controller software on Windows

When I posted the article on how to use a Playstation 4 controller on your PC, there were some interesting comments on Reddit. A lot of people preferred InputMapper, and thought that DS4Windows was deprecated. It’s not true, but there’s a very good reason they thought it was. These applications all share a common history, and today I’m going to start at the beginning and talk about how we got the software we have today.

Edit: It’s been pointed out that this article doesn’t mention that Steam’s new support for the DualShock 4 controller. What Steam is doing is great, and will get it’s own post very soon. For now, I wanted to show you the lineage of the tools we’ve all been using, because the way these developers built on each other’s work is interesting. Think of it as a history lesson.

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How to use a PlayStation 4 controller on PC

ds4-main

One of my favorite things about PC gaming is that you can play with whichever controller you like best. There are controllers made specifically for PC, but if you want to, you can just use a Playstation or Xbox controller. You can even use controllers for older consoles like Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64.

My personal favorite is the DualShock 4 wireless controller for Playstation 4. It’s a form factor I’ve used since the first PlayStation. They haven’t changed it much over the years, so it’s good for both modern games and older classics. It’s also wireless, which is nice for playing on a TV, and the touchpad can be used as a mouse.

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How to back up your saves to the cloud with GameSave Manager

Cloud saves are an important feature of modern consoles. Xbox One and Playstation 4 are both able to save your games to the cloud, even of some people aren’t quite happy with them. Steam has cloud saves, but out of the thousands of games available on steam, only some of them support it. Uplay and Origin also have cloud saves, but it’s still doesn’t support all of their games.

GameSave Manager is a program that will back up saves for over 4,000 games, many of which aren’t supported by any of the software listed above. With it’s built-in support for Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and FTP, it means a lot of games can be backed up to the cloud that otherwise couldn’t be.

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How to hide your mouse cursor while playing games

This is a simple guide to a simple but mildly infuriating problem – some controller games don’t automatically hide the mouse cursor when you are playing them.

I came across this recently when playing Final Fantasy VI. I’m playing the game with a controller, but my mouse cursor is stuck in the middle of the screen. Since I’m playing the game on my Steam Link in the living room, I have no way to move it aside either. It’s just stuck there.

ff6-mouse-cursor

The way I’m removing it is by using a very small program called AutoHideMouseCursor, which does exactly what the name implies.

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Microsoft is not building an Xbox 360 emulator, and we don’t need them to.

A lot of people are talking about news that Microsoft wants to build an official Xbox 360 emulator for the PC.

This post made the rounds on Reddit, and plenty of other sites were quick to report the same news. Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, mentioned in an interview with Gizmodo Brazil that it’s something he would love to see.

“I would love to have the ability to play Xbox 360 on PC at some point too, so have different things we have to think when we plan these things”.

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An introduction to game emulators

It occurred to me recently that not everyone knows what an emulator is or how to use one. Particularly among console gamers and other people who haven’t used PCs so much. Every gamer with a PC should know how to use an emulator, so this post is going to serve as an introduction for those who need it. If you already know how to use emulators, you can probably skip this one, but if you don’t know how to use emulators, this post will change everything for you. Let’s get started.

What is an emulator?

From Wikipedia:

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How to stream games to a Fire TV using NVIDIA GameStream

An alternate title to this post could be, “How to play Watch Dogs on a FireTV,” because that’s what I’m doing right now.

One of the things I want my console to be able to do is stream games. If I keep my console in the living room, I want to be able to play it from the bedroom without needing a second console. For anybody who hasn’t put the money into a computer that they can keep next to the TV, streaming this way can also help. You can keep your PC in a bedroom or office, but still use it to play games in the living room.

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How to play SNES games from Steam (with the Steam overlay)

In my quest to build the best console ever, I’ve decided to start with Steam as a base. Moving from Xbox to a custom built console means losing the overlay that lets me do things like chat with friends. Steam provides things like that, and I buy most of my games via Steam, so it makes sense to start there. And with Steam’s big picture mode, it will work perfectly with a controller.

Steam Big Picture Mode

The first challenge, then, was setting things up so I could launch my emulated games as easily as my modern games. This is how I did it.

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My quest to build the best console ever.

I’ve gone back and forth between being a console gamer and a PC gamer a few times in my life. Most recently, I loved my Xbox 360. When the Xbox One and Playstation 4 were announced, I had to decide which one I was going to buy. After a lot of consideration, I decided not to buy either of them. They were all too limited. I’m going to build my own console. One that does everything I want.

Here are some of the things I considered along the way.

1. Buying a console locks you into a particular company’s ecosystem.

I had been playing my Xbox 360 for a while – so I had a lot of content stuck in Microsoft’s ecosystem that couldn’t be moved anywhere else. Customized avatar, game purchases, friend list, achievements, etc. I thought that all of my stuff was on Xbox, so I should stick with Xbox. When I realized that, I got a little mad. A game is a game, right? But a game for the Xbox is a separate thing from games everywhere else. Somebody playing Portal 2 on the Xbox 360 can’t play with somebody playing it for PC, because Valve was not allowed to include Steam in the game. Sony let them do it, but not Microsoft. This kind of thing happens everywhere. If I buy a new console, my achievements, purchased games, and other things can’t come with me. The only company that seems to have any interest in breaking this model is Valve. I can buy a Steam Machine, and then buy a different one, and everything comes with me. I know it’s still locked into Steam, but at least that’s a step in the right direction.

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