Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Logitech F710 Gamepad

UPDATE (2/18): See my new post on the wireless range.

This is part one of a two part post. This part focuses on the gamepad itself, while part 2 is a look at the absolutely terrible customer service I received from Logitech.

Once upon a time, I bought a Logitech Cordless Rumblepad 2.
It was great. I liked the button layout, the feel in my hands, the weight, everything. It used DirectInput at the driver level and it worked well in both Windows and Linux.
And then Microsoft started pushing a new input method, XInput, which was incompatible with DirectInput and they started selling the XBox 360 Controller for Windows. Many newer games only support XInput. Logitech could have extended support for XInput games to the Rumblepad 2 through a driver update, but they decided to release a new series of gamepads instead. The flagship of this new series is the F710.
Look familiar? It should. It's the Rumblepad 2 all over again. The only real difference is that there is now a physical switch on the back that changes it from DirectInput to XInput mode. So, I bought one and it, as the Rumblepad before, worked perfectly in Linux.

Windows was another story.

I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with Service Pack 1 installed. That is the absolute "best" version of Windows you can have right now for gaming. Everything should be compatible with it. And I use this computer for gaming and gaming only, so the firewall is shut off and there is no anti-virus software. In other words, I've done everything I can to make sure that this computer is as compatible with everything as it can be.

So I plug in my F710, install the drivers off of the included CD and I find that when the switch on the controller is set to XInput, Windows can't find the driver to make it work. So, I check the manual and it says that when set to XInput, the drivers will be installed automatically.

Just to verify, I tried playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, which according to Logitech's own compatibility page, should work in XInput mode. Nope, nothing. I finally managed to make it work by force installing the XBox 360 controller driver. To do so, tell Windows you want to install a driver from off your hard drive, then ask it for a list of all drivers, select all drivers, select Microsoft as the manufacturer and then "XBox 360 Controller" is one of the last entries in the hardware list.

In the middle of the process of figuring this out, I emailed Logitech's customer service to see if they could help. That exchange is the focus of my next post.

In the end, I'm glad I got this controller and it is awesome. But it shouldn't have been so much work to make it work.

UPDATE (2/18): See my new post on the wireless range

1 comment:

  1. Nice article! But could you elaborate a bit more on the F710 under Linux? I just tried to play Awesomenauts with it, and it doesn't seem to recognize the gamepad as XInput device, meaning everything is called Btn1, Btn2, etc. instead of A, B, X, Y. Also, I can't use the digital cross as input, which sucks. Do you know how to solve that?