2.3. Game Controllers
Windows XP's built-in game controller software works very simply. When you plug your game controller into your PC's USB port (Section 1.8.1), Window greets you by name and lets all your games know what model of controller lies waiting in your twitching hands. It can even test the buttons to make sure they all work.
But the real power lies when you install the game controller's bundled software. That software lets you program your controller's buttons to match the particular game you're playingthat same left button can be a block during a football game, or a rocket launcher in a shoot-'em-up. The software saves each game's settings as a Profile . When you switch games, switch to that game's Profile to swap buttons quickly, something that's beyond the intelligence of Windows XP's built-in software.
To save you from programming your own buttons, head to the manufacturer's Web site and visit the Customer Service or Downloads section. Download and install the game controller's latest driver, as well as custom-built Profiles for games you own or plan to buy.
Tip: Computer games and their accessories represent the PC industry's technological leading edge. Visit the controller's Web site often to grab the latest drivers as they appear.
Although you can start playing the kid down the street immediately after plugging in your new game controller, fine-tune your game controller's action by calibrating it. The game's software asks you to move the controller's pad around in all directions so it can measure the response. As the software notices any discrepanciesperhaps the controller doesn't move to one corner as far as it does to all the othersit stores those settings and compensates for them during game play, automatically "padding" a weak corner's movements to perform as well as the others.
Note: Digital controllers, unlike analog controllers, don't need calibrating.