Friday, December 30, 2011

Peeps' Updated Profile: Explained

After recent discussions motivated me to look over my profiles again, I decided to update them to remove some of the redundancies I'd created that were already covered by my keypad, and take advantage of some of the tweaks offered by Pinnacle Game Profiler.

I also felt it's time to better explain some of my settings, as a lot of the features I utilize are unbound by default.

I've created an XPadder version that's essentially identical to the PGP version (after jamesyfy showed me what I was doing wrong).  My older profiles are still available via previous posts, and I'll create a download page soon with all of this stuff in a single location.  Links and details after the jump.

Side-Topic: Optimizing Windows 7 for SWTOR

SWTOR forum member renegadeimp posted a guide a couple weeks back on how to take all the pretty out of Windows 7 and make low-med range systems run SWTOR ridiculously fast by comparison.  It involves tweaking and/or disabling a lot of system settings and getting deep into the weeds on what services you'll keep running (I didn't go for all the suggested settings, but I did most).

Of course, for those that don't want the permanence of these settings, there's also Game Booster, which takes care of most of the services renegadeimp shows you how to disable.  Game Booster temporarily shuts off the biggest resource hogs not needed during gameplay, then reenables them with the click of a button.

This intrigued me, especially with the resources I'm already sacrificing running two separate programs to use my controller.  And seeing as I play SWTOR on my 2-year-old MacBook Pro, and only use Windows 7 for gaming (and therefore don't care how ugly it looks), I decided to try this out by using both options.

Holy crap.

No really, holy crap.  I went from playing at 1280x800 on medium settings to 1600x1000 on max settings.  And no framerate issues.  Oh good god this is amazing.  I even dialed up the grass and tree quality!  If you guys don't have the most powerful system ever, and you want to improve your performance, at least give Game Booster a shot.

(And for the love of God, set a System Restore point before you try fiddling with your registry!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pinnacle Game Profiler works now (with tutorial videos)!

Okay, I figured out what the problem was, and apparently it has to do with how your PS3 controller is configured in MiJ.  Thus, non-PS3 controller users shouldn't have any problems as long as they run PGP as an administrator.

ja_4251 on the PGP forums posted a great tutorial on how to get MiJ properly configured (the only error is you need to have L1 & R1 set as buttons 5 & 6, and L2 & R2 set as buttons 7 & 8.  Then disable the z-axis):

Video tutorials after the jump.
Part 1: Getting your PS3 controller working in PGP via MotioninJoy.
Part 2: Creating a PGP profile for SWTOR (You can download my SWTOR profile here).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Playing a MMO with a CONTROLLER?!?! Are You Effing Nuts?


Well, I may be a little effing nuts, but that has nothing to do with playing with a controller.

There's this stigma about controllers that has polarized the console vs. PC crowd as heatedly as the Mac vs. PC debate.  And for some games (and some MMOs), it's with a damn good reason.  But SWTOR is not that game.  And playing with a controller is not only feasible, but effective in this game.  I'll explain in detail, and provide counterpoints to several common misconceptions after the jump.

Monday, December 5, 2011

RUN IT AS AN ADMINISTRATOR (and other troubleshooting tips)

If XXXXXX program is not working with SWTOR, make sure you are running it as an administrator.

I've opted to stop answering this question in the forum thread because it's asked far too often.  So I figure I'll create this blog post as a catchall for any time it comes up.

SWTOR runs at the administrator level.  As a result, any program not running at this level will be ignored by it.  Therefore, in order to get XPadder, Pinnacle Game Profiler, MotioninJoy, etc, etc, to work in SWTOR, you must right-click its executable file (xpadder.exe, pinnaclegameprofiler.exe, etc), go to its properties, and under compatibility mode, set it to run as an administrator.

If after you've tried this you're still having problems, ask away.  Just make sure to start your post with "I've tried running (program name) as an administrator, but..."

Note: If you're using MiJ in conjunction with XPadder or PGP, only the latter two need to be run as an administrator.

Update: A few users have noted that they're still having trouble getting XPadder to communicate with SWTOR after following these steps.  Errol has provided these suggestions in the comments:
  • Firstly if you have windows running as Administrator and your game is running as Administrator then Xpadder will have to run the same or else windows will block the signals from reaching Xpadder. So then the best thing to do is place the Xpadder directory in the root of the C drive or your desktop or Documents folder.
  • Secondly if all the above recommendation is so then check and see if there is any other major program that is working when you're about to launch your game because Xpadder will start to emulate the other apps instead of your game.
  • Thirdly if Xpadder is in the system tray right click on it and choose your controller which should be on the top of the list and then link or choose the game of choice to play, only if you have several other profiles in Xpadder because for some strange reason which I myself don't understand. Xpadder will run another profile to emulate your game. Yes strange indeed but as I said select the profile and then launch the game.
  • Fourthly if your windows is running with UAC disabled like my own windows 7 x64 and you're still having the same problem to run the game then follow my third option above right click on Xpadder while in the system tray and select your profile. That should resolve your problem/s.
  • Another item that may cause some problems is if you have not enabled the AutoProfile feature within the options of Xpadder. Then you'll have to enable it because SWTOR is a Launcher and its really executing another file. So you'll need the AutoProfile. Hope that was helpful.
Update 2: There's an issue with using MotioninJoy in conjunction with Pinnacle Game Profiler where PGP will randomly stop reading the controller properly, and refuse to work right afterward.  The current workaround is to set MotioninJoy to run in XBOX 360 emulation mode.  You will lose the ability to map your PS button, but otherwise it works.  I will let you know if/when a better solution arises.

A Challenger Appears: Pinnacle Game Profiler

While up until now, I've been using XPadder for my SWTOR needs, Malloci recommended I consider Pinnacle Game Profiler as a more robust alternative.  While I still have yet to test it out, this program looks very promising (albeit slightly pricier than XPadder).  At least one functional profile has already been created for the game (though its present form needs a massive was configured by someone who has yet to play) Edit: Several well-informed PGP users have notified me that I'm talking out my arse here. Apparently this profile was a collaborative effort by several SWTOR players that game competitively with it. I recommend you check it out and see if you like it.

I will post details on this program later once I have a chance to put it through its paces.

Again, like any other configuration program, this must be run as an administrator to work with SWTOR.

Configuring XPadder for SWTOR

The typical response to playing SWTOR with a controller is "You're gimping yourself. This game has over 25+ abilities you need access to at any one time.  The camera can't rotate fast enough in PvP!  How can you live with the knowledge that you're teaching people to play MMOs wrong?" (Okay, that last one is atypical, but it made me laugh when they said it.)

These responses are normally the result of an uninformed opinion on the utilities available to a controller user.  The bottom line is you can map 25+ abilities to a controller, and you'll find you can configure the camera to rotate as fast as you want.  I'll explain how to do this using XPadder and show you some sample SWTOR configurations after the jump.

XBOX 360 Controller/Chatpad Installation Instructions
More conveniently located than the PS3's, but wires are balls.

I do not have detailed instructions here, as I have not tested this process out myself. Others have confirmed this method works. Let me know if someone is interested in writing up instructions, else feel free to add comments below.

Microsoft offers several official options for hooking up your XBOX 360 controller.  In fact, several games, such as Skyrim, are preconfigured for use with a 360 controller.  Wired controllers can also use the XBOX 360 Chatpad as a portable keypad using drivers linked after the jump.

I must stress this: as of the latest info, the Chatpad drivers only work with the wired "Made for Windows" XBOX controller. THEY WILL NOT WORK WITH ANY XBOX 360 CONTROLLER.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

PS3 Controller/Keypad Installation Instructions

NOTE: You do NOT need Bluetooth or the keypad to use your PS3 controller with your PC: you can follow the same instructions below to play via USB.
You don't need it, but you know you want it.

These instructions summarize how to set up your PS3 controller/keypad for use with Windows.  You have two driver options: MotioninJoy and Tamamy's drivers. MiJ is by far the most common option, but as some have expressed concerns about viruses (see warning below), I've provided links to Tamamy's drivers as an alternative.

Playing Star Wars: The Old Republic with a Controller

Hi, everybody!  I've created this blog specifically as an instructional guide to setting up and playing Star Wars: The Old Republic with a video game controller.  This blog is a compilation of information and suggestions provided by myself and other players in a thread I created on the SWTOR forums.

Since people like to waste a lot of time arguing the merits of using a controller in a MMO, I have disabled comments.  If you have any constructive input or questions, go to the thread linked above.  I say constructive because the moderators have been very good at weeding out the griefers.