Quick Note About Controls

Update 10.22

Thanks to some help from Rewired, the game has much better integrated support for joysticks and gamepads. The old config system has gone away in favor of the middleware.


Control Standards

As Starfighter gets closer to alpha, I've been getting some emails and tweets like, "You've been working on gamepads and mouse controls, but what about <X>?" I think I've been pretty up front about Starfighter's focus and pseudo-sim nature, but to be absolutely clear, the only officially supported control schemes will be:

  1. Keyboard and Mouse
  2. XInput Gamepad (XBOX360 controller or equivalent)
  3. DualShock4 (PS4 controller)

You can still rebind your controls in menus and even tweak some crazier settings by hacking the config files. You can do all sorts of things with the config files like set custom dead zones or even change the strings the tutorials/menus display for your buttons. Many other sticks and controllers will work with a little bit of effort on your part, but they are not a focus.


  1. Most of the other controllers are completely non-standard in their layout and button/axis configuration. This makes it really hard to troubleshoot what's wrong, and that eats up time that I would absolutely rather spend working on gameplay. This is also a logistics issue -- I don't have another programmer to whom I can assign these tasks.
  2. Starfighter was designed around gamepad controls. Everything from how the tactical mode unit selection works, to the radial menus, to the fighter input response curves and throttle controls were designed for a gamepad. If a mechanic could not be implemented because there was no room on the controller, it was cut or refactored.
  3. Pretty much my whole professional career has been designing with gamepads. The control scheme feeds heavily off of my experience with console tactical games (Full Spectrum Warrior 2) and console action games (Halo: Reach).
  4. Everyone has a keyboard and mouse, so a good chunk of time has been spent working on that control scheme too.
  5. A lot of people have gamepads. The Oculus Rift consumer model will even be shipping with an XInput gamepad.
  6. It makes porting to consoles easier if that ever happens.

Starfighter is an action game first and foremost. It might have some simulation elements, but it's never been concerned with the mechanical aspect of actually flying a starship. It's concerned with more action-game (or abstract) elements like target prioritization, twitch skill, and allied unit control. 

Again, your non-standard controller will likely work if you're not afraid to hack some easy-to-read config files. Most of my testers that use these sticks say that this experience comes with the territory.

Hopefully this clears things up!