Game Controller is Added

Hello Boaters,

Many of you have requested a game controller option and we have responded.  Currently, it only works in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, but not in Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, or Safari. Your feedback is appreciated. The control mapping is as follows:

  • Right throttle up = right joystick forward and L1 and R1 buttons not pressed
  • Right throttle down = right joystick reverse and L1 and R1 buttons not pressed
  • Left throttle up = left joystick forward and L1 and R1 buttons not pressed
  • Left throttle down = left joystick reverse and L1 and R1 buttons not pressed
  • Left shifter up (separate controls) = left joystick forward and L1 button pressed and R1 button not pressed
  • Left shifter down (separate controls) = left joystick reversed and L1 button pressed and R1 button not pressed
  • Right shifter up (separate controls) = right joystick forward and L1 button pressed and R1 button not pressed
  • Right shifter down (separate controls) = right joystick reversed and L1 button pressed and R1 button not pressed
  • Rudder to port side = right joystick left and L1 button not pressed and R1 pressed
  • Rudder to starboard side = right joystick right and L1 button not pressed and R1 pressed
  • Left Bow thruster = left joystick left and L1 and R1 pressed
  • Right Bow thruster = left joystick right and L1 and R1 pressed
  • Left Stern thruster = right joystick left and L1 and R1 pressed
  • Right Stern thruster = right joystick right and L1 and R1 pressed


TheBoatdocker Group

15 thoughts on “Game Controller is Added”

  1. I am trying to use the simulator with a game controller but I am having problems. I can operate the left engine with the left joystick but I cannot operate the right engine with the right joystick. The right engine will only work with the keys on the controller. Is anyone else having the same problem? Any idea how to solve this, maybe a setting? Or maybe can someone indicate whether you found a controller which works perfectly fine?

      1. Thanks for your quick reply. I went into the website that you indicated and the right joystick is showing as Axis 5 in its up/down movement, and Axis 2 in its left/right position. In the meantime I found a small program called JoyToKey and have used it to bypass the problem, as it enables each movement / button press on the joystick to be assigned to a particular equivalent keypress on the keyboard. If I may pass a small general suggestion about the game, I noted that the wind indicator shows where the wind is going towards, however to be better and to correspond to electronic wind instruments on boats and also to how weather forecasts report wind, can I suggest that this is changed to reflect where the wind is coming from? The norm is boating is to identify wind direction by where it is blowing from not towards. It is current which is identified by where it is flowing towards. Thanks for this great simulator – I find it very useful as it is great for training purposes.

        1. Thanks for your comments Jonathan. I appreciate you finding and sharing the JoyToKey program with other users as I did not know about that one. With regards to your second suggestion, I had originally designed the simulator to do exactly what you suggested. I changed it when a number of boaters told me it was exactly the opposite. It is an easy fix to make so I will leave this comment out there for a while to let others weigh in to see if I should change it back.


          1. Hi John, would it be possible to have an option where when one is using separated shifters / throttles, for the shifter part there will be a optional mode of operation similar to that presently used for thrusters, i.e. the engine will go on gear only when a particular button is pressed, and when no button is pressed it would automatically go on neutral. This would be very helpful for those of us using dual joysticks and a gear bumping technique to manoeuvre. With this suggestion, when for example, one pushes port joystick forward, the port engine will go on forward gear, and if one releases this joystick and the joystick automatically returns to the vertical physical position, the engine would likewise automatically go back to neutral and one would not have to physically put the joystick in ‘reverse’ to bring the engine back to neutral. It would make the operation more similar to the engine controls on a boat. Thanks once again for this great simulator.

          2. Hello Jonathan. The simple answer is yes. I can create a menu option in which all controls return to neutral and/or idle when not activated. Is this what you are looking for? Just curious, do most modern boat controls return to neutral/idle when released?
            Regards, John

          3. Thanks for your immediate reply. It’s only for the engaging of the gear shifters that I would recommend adding this option not for all controls. As for the controls on real boats, no none return to neutral unless touched, but on a real boat, lever forward=forward gear, lever in middle=neutral, lever back=engines astern. The problem when using a dual joystick controller is these are sprung and return to neutral position when untouched but the gear on the simulator is remaining unchanged which is confusing. With the simulator as it presently is, if one is on forward gear and wants to go in neutral, one has to move the controller all the way back to reverse, to notch the gear one stage back from forward to neutral. So as it is, the joystick can be in the middle position and the engine will be on forward, or neutral, or reverse which is confusing. With the setting we’re discussing it would be joystick forward = forward gear, neutral joystick=neutral, joystick backwards =reverse. 🙂

          4. Jonathan, Thanks for that detailed response. Now just one more question: Are you using the controller directly into the simulator or are you using one of those mapping routines that maps controller actions to keystrokes. That information is important so that I know what to modify. Also, if I understand this correctly, you will have to hold the shifter in place to keep the engine propelling forward. This creates one more problem: I put safeguards in place (I think) so that one would have to reduce engine speed to idle before shifting – this was done to promote good habits. Thoughts?

          5. Yes I am using a software which maps controller actions to keystrokes as per user’s desired customisation. The software I am using is named Joytokey and I find it great. As for engines having to be on idle to change gear, I dont think there is any such feature in the simulator and I don’t think that would be needed anyway.

          6. OK – Try this: map the left shifter Neutral position to key ‘C’ and the right shifter Neutral position to key ‘V’. Let me know if that does it for you.

          7. Nope this doesn’t solve it as it doesn’t work since you cannot map the neutral position of the joystick to a keystroke.

          8. Hi John, many thanks for this. It works perfectly now. You might wish to give this option from the settings page for other users as it is great for anyone who like me is using the simulator with a controller having two joysticks. If I may pass another suggestion, it’s regarding the wind that we had spoken about. The indicator should show where the wind is coming from not where it is going. That is how all wind indicators work on all boats. As regards current indicator, don’t change it as that is fine as it is since we always describe current direction in terms of where it is going. It is wind that is always described in terms or where it is coming from. Many thanks once again.

          9. Jonathan, Can you describe the joystick mapping software you use to map your joystick to the keys. I will then add that to a post and the permanent instructions. With regard to the wind, I have changed it back and forth to accommodate different user’s requests, which is why it is called Wind Heading and not Wind Direction. I can go either way.

  2. Hello:
    Thank you for this. Can someone please share/recommend which game controller is best to use with a Mac to have the best “twin throttles” experience?
    Many thanks,

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