Minecraft, Your USB Gamepad and You



So, you wanna play Minecraft using your USB game pad do you? Well its easier than you might think! While Minecraft was initially programmed for keyboard only controls, there is a way to play using your USB game pad. How? By assigning certain keyboard strokes to the buttons on your game pad.

To do this, you’ll need a program called “Joy2Key”, which can be found on Download.com and other sites around the net. Once downloaded and installed (You know the drill there), you’ll want to open up the program with your USB game pad of choice plugged into your computer. The program won’t even run if you don’t do this. Now next you’ll begin assigning keys. How do we go about that?

Well first you need to set up your preferences based on your controller type. If you’re using a plain, non-analog controller then you’re already set preference-wise as the program is initially set for button-press directionals. If you’re using a Dual Analog game pad like I am (And if you’re going to be playing Minecraft with it, it actually needs to be a Dual Analog!), then you’re going to want to click the “Preferences” tab to the right of the commands list window. Once in your preferences, be sure to check the boxes “Use Axes other than X and Y” and “Use POV switches”. Now you’re ready to set up for a Dual Analog controller!

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Now to start our set up. To assign a key you’re going to find the key of your game pad you want to program in the commands list. Double click the key and you’ll get a menu for assigning functions. Let’s say you want to set button 1 on your controller as your right mouse click. You’ll double click “Button 1” in the command list first, then when the menu comes up you’ll select the “Mouse” tab. Check the box that says “Right Button” under Button Click, then hot “OK”. Button 1 on your game pad will now act as your right click! Here’s a listing of the basic button commands I have set up for my game pad in Joy2Key and what said keys do in Minecraft:

Button 1: Left Click (Use items) 
Button 2: Right Click (Place items/Open chests) 
Button 3: “I” Key (Opens Inventory) 
R1: Space (Jump) 
R2: “Q” Key (Sneak) 
Button 10: Escape (Pause Menu)

Now comes the tricky part: programming your actual movement controls for analog sticks. Now as you Minecrafters are well aware, in Minecraft you can pivot your view using the mouse as you move about using WASD or whatever keys you’ve assigned for movement. In my setup, the left analog stick will be set up for what I call “POV Pivoting” and the right analog stick will be set for movement. Axis X and Axis Y keys in the command list refer to your left analog stick while the Axis3 and Axis6 keys refer to your right analog stick.

So to start, double click on the “AxisX(<0)” key to open the key assignment menu. This key refers to “left” on the analog stick, so we’re going to want to assign it to whatever moves you left in game, most likely the “A” key unless you’ve customized your Minecraft control scheme. Click on the “Keyboard” tab in the menu and in the top text box on the left (Which should say “Disabled”), type in A or, again, whatever key you’ve got set to move you forward in the game. Click “OK” and that’s set. Now do the same to “AxisX(>0)” (Right movement), AxisY(<0) (Forward Movement) and AxisY (>0) (Backward Movement). Now your movement is set.

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Now to set your POV Pivoting. Double click “Axis3(<0)” in the key command list and click “Mouse” in the menu that comes up. You’ll see two scroll bars, one horizontal and one vertical, whereas you’ll be setting your POV Pivoting controls. For “Axis3(<0)” you’ll want to go to the horizontal scroll bar and move the slider to the left. Now this next part is to your discernment, as the percentage shows you the sensitivity you’re placing on the key. I wouldn’t put it to 100% or just a tap of your analog stick will have you pivoting in circles faster than you can say Spork. I’d suggest 50% or a little less. I’m personally comfy with 35%. Anyway, now you’ll click “OK” and go to do the same to”Axis3(>0)”, “Axis6(<0)” and “Axis6(>0)” keys. For “Axis3(>0), you’ll want to move the slider in the horizontal scroll bar down to the right for a positive number of whatever you set “Axis3(<0) to. This will pivot you right. For up and down, you’ll do the same except you’ll be using the horizontal scroll bar on your Axis6 tabs. For “Axis6(<0)”, go to the vertical scrollbar and set it to the same positive number that you set “Axis3(>0)” to. You want to keep your numbers even so that one direction isn’t more sensitive to the analog stick than the other. Now finally, go to “Axis6(>0)” and set it to the negative of the number you used for “Axis6(<0)” using the vertical scrollbar. Now your analog stick controls are set! The hard part is done!

Finally, you’ll probably want to set a wheel scroll for scrolling through your toolbelt. What I’ve done is taken my two left shoulder buttons (Buttons 5 and 7) and opened up the mouse settings. Now if you noticed whole setting up your Axis3 and Axis6’s before, you’ll remember to the right was a “Wheel Rotation” option with a scroll bar. Set the slider to positive numbers for a forward scroll of the scrollwheel and negative number for a backward scroll. Keep in mind sensitivity again, so use a number of 50 or below so that you’re not flying through your toolbelt too quickly to land on the item you want! Click okay and you’re all set!

Now that you’ve got all your keys set, keep in mind you’ll need to leave Joy2Key running for your USB game pad to emulate the keyboard keys. You can minimize the program to get it out of the way and yet leave it running. Also, if you don’t like the settings I’ve shown you, don’t be afraid to experiment! Set the keys to however it feels most comfortable to you!

Now go open Minecraft and have fun!