Turning a military joystick into a windows game controller

Years ago my brother picked up a military joystick from an army clearance sale, I mucked about with it a few years ago, reverse engineering the buttons and pots to a raspberry PI board with some custom software to show you something moving about the screen.

But I couldn’t find a way to use it as a controller on a PC where all the simulator games I want to play live.

I’m a bit excited about the new Microsoft Flight Simulator and Star Wars Squadrons games coming out soon so I’ve dragged out the old stick to build some custom controls.

Real military joystick as a windows game controller

Recently I stumbled across this project online using an Arduino Leonardo board and this joystick library to create a fully custom made joystick that is detected as a standard windows game controller.

The code is super simple, it’s heavily based off what Rudy did for his project. The main difference is that I customised the 2 switches on the top (Coax and He) to send joystick button presses on state change. As they are hard switches you had to flick them twice to do a single button press, now it’s just a single flick.

The source code is here on my Github page.

I’m really happy with how the project turned out, I’ve been playing a bit of the old version of X-Wing on steam to get ready and the Military joystick plays really well.

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