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Using Xbox Elite (One) game controller on Win 98, possible?

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zoltan87
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Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:16 pm
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Using Xbox Elite (One) game controller on Win 98, possible?

#1 Post by zoltan87 » Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:49 pm

I know this post would be a lot better suited for a gaming related forum (Vogon comes to mind), but honestly I don't want to go through the whole registration process, just to ask this one question, and then never use my account there again. So I thought I would try my luck here.

I have an Xbox Elite game controller (technically speaking it's an Xbox One controller with better build quality and some extra features) that I use to play games on my Thinkpad T60 (Win 8.1). It works great with the wireless usb adapter, Richard Burns Rally, GTR2, F1GP4, DosBox etc. all play fine.

But there are a few Win 98 games that just won't run on newer systems like the T60, and also The Need for Speed (the original from 1996) is just too sluggish under Dosbox, the T60 is just not strong enough to emulate it with good enough framerate.

I also happen to have a Thinkpad T22 with Windows 98SE on it, that would play these games perfectly. Problem is, I don't know if it's possible to use my controller under Win 98? I know that old controllers used DirectInput protocol, but newer controllers like the Xbox One controllers use XInput. But I remember reading that even these new One controllers can work in Directinput mode, if plugged in directly via a micro USB cable. And I seemed to verify this, as when I plugged it in, it's behaviour was different compared to wireless mode (had the widely talked about trigger axis issue, where the two triggers control the same axis).

I also read on Vogon, that someone wrote a driver for Xbox 360 controllers, so that they work under Win 98. I tried to use that driver with my Elite controller (both plugged in, then wireless, just in case), but I had no success.

So my question would be: is there any way to make an Xbox Elite (Xbox One) controller work on Win 98SE? I have googled around quite a bit, but I couldn't find any info about this. Would a different driver be needed for it, or maybe I did something wrong?

I saw a few people mentioning that Playstation 4 DualShock 4 controllers apparently still use DirectInput, and they work on Win 98, but I don't like their ergonomics and layout, and also don't want to spend extra money, when my Elite controller is perfect for me in every way.

So any info and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Thinkpad T60, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad T601, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu pin mod for FSB change and undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad X32
Thinkpad A21e
NEC ProSpeed SX/20

zoltan87
Sophomore Member
Posts: 247
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:16 pm
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Re: Using Xbox Elite (One) game controller on Win 98, possible?

#2 Post by zoltan87 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:16 pm

I will write down my experiences, that could potentially benefit others, who will stumble across this topic.

I couldn't get my XBox Elite controller work on Win98. I managed to get a Playstation Dualshock 4 controller for a good price, and it's indeed plug and play in Win 98SE (with a micro usb cable), quite amazing. Now the bad news: for some reason the two triggers are detected as analogue axes and buttons simultaneously. Extremely annoying, as it makes it impossible to use them as throttle and brake in a nice analogue way, they are either full on or off. So most racing games with some realism are far from being ideal with this controller. I could use the thumbstick for acceleration and brake along with steering, but I hate that setup.

Then I tried out Commander Keen 4. Again, this controller is pretty useless for this game (and I suspect for many other DOS games) as the directional pad is not recognised by the game (it would be fine under Windows). I can set up the thumbstick as a joystick, but only two buttons are supported. That's not enough for most games, even Commander Keen needs 3 buttons.

I am sure it would work great for many Windows 98 games, but in my case (racing sims and old DOS platform games) it's really not a great option. So I just stick to DOSbox on my T60, using any type of game controller, mapping buttons and analogue axes is just so easy there. Also I discovered that even NFS 1 runs smooth in emulation on my T60, the lagging problems were caused by my CPU undervolting/managing software (CPUGenie). It's default frequency scaling policy is way too much geared towards power saving, and kept throttling down the CPU to it's lowest frequency, even when it wasn't justified. I sorted that with some adjustments, so now all DOS games run fine with DOSBox.
Thinkpad T60, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad T601, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu pin mod for FSB change and undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad X32
Thinkpad A21e
NEC ProSpeed SX/20

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