Saturday, October 3, 2009


ControllerMate ($15) is an application for Mac OS X that allows you to easily customize the behavior of controllers with drag-and-drop blocks. You can easily customize the controls for your favorite game, make your controller work in applications that don't support it, or even make your controller act like a mouse. ControllerMate is a must have for any Mac gamer.

ControllerMate has so many features that it would take forever to name them all. Controller mate include over 50 types of building blocks and 3 types of virtual devices. It supports multiple controllers of the same type. I even was able to use the PS3 controller with it over bluetooth. (It didn't support motion sensing, trigger pressure, and the 4 led lights kept didn't stop blinking.) ControllerMate also has a helper application (that can be disabled) that allows you to use your controllers without the application running.

ControllerMate has a simple, but intuitive interface. The left sidebar has 3 different categories, "Programming," "Controller Types," and "Virtual Controllers." The selected category changes what is shown in the main view. When "Programming" is selected, sidebar shows your pages and groups and the main area shows the building blocks on the current page. You can sort your pages into groups. Also, you can have many pages active at the same time. Near the top of the sidebar, there is a master enable checkbox. When the "Controller Types" tab is selected, you are presented in a list of all the devices connected to your computer from mice to joysticks to keyboards. You can then customize their name, their controls names, and many other settings relating to the devices. The final tab, "Virtual Controllers," allows you to create your own virtual mice, virtual tablet, or virtual joystick. These allow you to control a virtual mouse, the cursor location, and a virtual joystick.

On the right side of the screen, there is a palette window, an inspector window, and an output window. The palette allows you to browse through the building blocks and drag them into the main windows. The categories (of blocks) in the palette are "Controllers," "Outputs," "AppleScript," "Logic," "Basic Math," "Calculations," "Timers," and "Extras." When in the controller view of the palette, controllers glow when they receive input (from button presses, joysticks, etc.) so it is easy to find the correct controller. When you double-click the controller, you are presented with a list of buttons (joysticks, etc.) on the controller. The buttons being pressed glow her too. You can read about the different types of blocks here. The inspector windows allows you to edit the different attributes of the currently selected block. The output window behaves like a basic text box. It is used for testing your page.

In the main windows, you arrange your blocks in a similar way as a flowchart. The beginning of an action starts with an input, such as a button on a controller. When pressed, the input passes a yes onto the next item. When and item receives a yes, it preforms its action; be it math, logic, an output, or anything else. The above example would make a Playstation 3 controller act as a mouse with the left joystick, scroll with the right joystick, left click with "X," right click with "O," initiate exposé with with the "L2" and "R2" triggers, and move the mouse slowly with the arrows.

ControllerMate's website contains many tutorials and info on the application. ControllerMate is a great application that is very user friendly. ControllerMate can also be downloaded and used for free as a trial. The trial is limited to only 10 output, timing, math, or logic building blocks and controller configurations only last 20 minutes when controller mate is not in the foreground.

If you are you using Windows, GlovePIE is a great free alternative. It does not contain a drag-and-drop user interface, but it has a very easy to learn programming language and can also automatically create scripts for you.

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