How to use an XBox 360 controller with steam on mac

Written by mark r. frechione
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Steam, the online publisher of game titles like "Portal" and "Team Fortress 2," does not feature in-program compatibility with any controller aside from the keyboard and mouse. There is unofficial software that can make the connection from the Xbox 360 controller to the Mac, with varied results. To connect a controller, you need the "GamePad Companion" software that allows keyboard keys to be mapped onto an external controller. The Xbox 360 controller can use this program, combined with an Xbox 360 controller driver, to play games in Steam on a Mac.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Xbox 360 controller driver
  • GamePad Companion software

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  1. 1

    Download and install the "Xbox 360 controller driver" and "GamePad Companion" onto your Mac. These are free and available online. Once installed, they can be accessed in "System Preferences."

  2. 2

    Connect the Xbox 360 controller to your Mac and check that it has been recognised in the "Xbox 360 Controllers" pane in "System Preferences." Once connected, the controller will display in the "Device" drop down menu.

  3. 3

    Open the Steam game you want to play. Open the options menu and select "Keyboard." Map all functions to keyboard buttons, including any mouse actions. For instance, in "Portal," you would change "Fire blue portal" to the "1" key and "Fire red portal" to the "2" key. This will allow you to map the buttons onto the Xbox 360 controller. Exit the game when done.

  4. 4

    Open "GamePad Companion" from "System Preferences." "Controller" should be displayed in the "Devices found" menu. If not, click the "Start" button on the Xbox 360 controller until it appears. Select each element from the "Selected element" drop-down menu and map to the corresponding keyboard keys in the Steam game. When mapping the Y-Rotation, turn all sliders for sensitivity and tracking completely down.

  5. 5

    Open Steam and choose the game title again. Start the game and play using the Xbox 360 controller.

Tips and warnings

  • You may need to remap the keys for different games. For instance, the mouse actions for "Team Fortress 2" will differ from those in "Portal."
  • The functionality of this set-up varies from game to game, the analogue sticks being the major issue. As of 2011, Steam for Mac does not include gamepad compatibility and this is the only way to connect an Xbox 360 controller.

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