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Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices
Written by Jonathan Jessup - Editied by: Olin Coles   
Friday, 03 August 2007
Table of Contents: Page Index
Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad
Design and appearance
Hands On
Application and Programming
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Application and Programming

I tried the controller in Gran Turismo 4 (PS2), Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2) and Overlord (PC). The controller I find just as, or more comfortable and functional than Sony's PS2 controller for all of each game. It does feel significantly bigger. I find that this controller type is not the best for VF4 or Gran Turismo 4. I prefer fighting sticks for VF4E and a real wheel & peddles for Gran Turismo. This kind of controller shape is the default for PS2, PS3, XBOX and XBOX 360 so I don't mean to fault Thrustmaster for games that work best with custom controllers. It's just important to know that one controller can not be best for all games. In Gran Turismo, the vibration feedback is very nice. For example, the gravel road on the dirt courses feels just right! On the oval shaped race track, it felt like my tires were warping under the stress of taking a long gradual turn too fast. The dual triggers work for GT4 and operate the gas pedal and brake pedal and are a nice improvement to using the thumb buttons. There is much more control as to how much gas or brake you want to apply and the triggers work well without distracting from the game. In VF4E I found that the top thumb buttons are too close for best game play but this is just due to the size of the standard button pad. I'm used to arcade sticks for Virtua Fighter. I think many people would be able to play fighting games with the controller, especially since you can remap buttons to the larger front shoulder buttons that are easier to do simultaneous presses either in-game or on directly on the controller.

Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad for PC / PS2 / PS3

For Overlord, I find the controller works better than the mouse/keyboard combo because I can use one mini-stick to move the minions and the other to control the hero. So if you like Overlord on the PC, then this controller will offer a big improvement. Yes, some PC games that support a gamepad controller will play better on a gamepad than using the keyboard/mouse combo. This is especially true in more recent years because console ports are coming more to the PC than the other way around. Some of these console ports are worth playing, too!

Reprogramming

If you have games that don't allow button/stick/d-pad assigning as you'd like, this gamepad gives you a great alternative that others don't. All sticks and buttons can be re-mapped to other sticks or buttons so you can assign the d-pad to function as the stick or many other possibilities are there too. The two triggers can be mapped as buttons or mini-sticks (a single direction) but not the other way around. It's easy to reassign a stick to the four primary buttons, for example. Since the buttons are 'progressive', how hard you push the button is reflected in how much the stick is moved, in this example. Even the d-pad is pressure sensitive and so can function as a mini-stick, which is very nice. I didn't have any problems reprogramming it once I understood the four step process. It works well.

Software

Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad for PC / PS2 / PS3

The Thrustmaster Control Panel is installed with the drivers if you use the controller on a PC. You can get the drivers either from the included mini-CD or from the Thrustmaster web site. I had some confusion installing the drivers because after plugging in the controller, Windows XP would initially start detecting a "USB Human Interface Device" and then a "HID-Compliant game controller."

Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad for PC / PS2 / PS3

The instructions in the booklet and Thrustmaster's web site said nothing about this phase. So I initially canceled these prompts thinking that the detection wasn't working. Instead I was expecting to initially see something like "Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Controller detected." However after a few reboots and question marks floating out of my skull, I decided to go ahead and let windows automatically do the install those on both prompts. This let the controller software detect the controller and suddenly the controller appeared in the Windows Game Controllers panel.

Open the Thrustmaster Control panel by opening up 'Game Controllers' in the Windows Control Panel (WinXP). Select the controller then click 'Properties'. There seems to be no other way to launch it. After installing the software, the Thrustmaster entry in the start menu says "Control Panel" but instead launches the Windows 'Game Controllers' panel.

Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad for PC / PS2 / PS3

The control panel has two tabs. A 'Test Input' feedback test and a 'Test Forces' tab. The Test Input panel is gives you one thing to change: You can switch between '4 axis mode' which doesn't activate the underside analog triggers and '6 axis mode' which immediately activates the triggers. This can also be done on the controller itself using the Mode button. Otherwise, the the Test Input panel is a great testing feedback tool to be sure the controller is working as you want or reprogrammed as you intend.

Using this page, I find that the center return function of both mini-sticks is very fast and consistently accurate. They have a nice smooth circular motion. There are no corners or stop zones in the whole circumference of movement. The center return area is felt by an absence of resistance. There is no sloppy movement in the center position. If you move either stick just a little bit, it shows as movement to your PC or PS2/PS3. If there's one thing I don't like in a joystick or mini-stick, it's sloppy movement in the center area and this controller has none.

Both of the underside analog triggers have a small dead zone at the beginning and end of the movement axis so as perhaps to avoid accidental pressing just by resting a finger on the trigger. I'm using the phrase 'dead zone' in a good sense here, not a bad one. So the little extra movement at the fully depressed state assures that you can get a full depress signal to your PC or Playstation 2/3. Both triggers are identical in this sense. Also the triggers move freely, quietly, smoothly and don't rub on the frame of the controller.

Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force Gamepad for PC / PS2 / PS3

The Thrustmaster Control Panel's 'Test Forces' screen lets you test the vibration, or 'rumble', effects of the controller and set your force feedback power level. There are eight effects to test such as Engine Start, Backfire, Earth Quake, Bump and Rattle, etc. Each is distinctive. There is a 'master' power level to set between 0% and 150%. It seems that the settings greater than 100% are to amplify weaker rumble effects but for the strong effects there seems to be no difference between 100% and 150% as long as the 'Aggressivity' bar is set to 100%. Also you can set aggresivity to between 0% to 200%. With aggressivity set to 0% the pad still rumbles but less 'aggressively'.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Thrustmaster Dual Trigger 3-in-1 Rumble Force GamepadJohnny Kelley 2010-05-21 14:23
This review was very helpful to me. I have Cerebral Palsy which greatly effects the dexterity and movement of my hands. It is frustrating when great games fail to include custom button mapping. I have been looking for a solid, well-built, corded PS3 controller that will allow me to map buttons as I choose. I'm hopeful that this is the controller.

Thanks again,
Johnny
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# problem....PLease Help meMárcio Lopes 2011-02-04 08:52
Hi ppl, my gamepad is pushing button nº2 automaticly, and i cant reset that, i dont know what else to do, the buttons isnt stuck, but is configured like that and i cant fix it.... Please help me, thanks!!
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# Button problemPeter 2011-10-11 06:21
My gamepad is pushing button No4 too have you find the answer???if you had please notify me...
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# RE: Button problemIonut 2011-10-23 03:26
I have the same problem. Did you find any fix?
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# problemLilly 2011-10-20 08:22
Hi everyone, I have no clue if I am writing to the right place, but since Thrustmaster has no forum on their own...
I recently bought Thrustmaster Drual Trigger 3 in 1 rumble forces.
I played twice with it and since today, it does not seem to work anymore.
The green lamp on the mode button does not light up anymore and of course neither my computer nor my laptop recognize the controller. So...am I right to think that it is completely broken or is it something that I can do to fix it?
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# RE: problemOlin Coles 2011-10-20 08:50
Does it take batteries? If it's USB, it sounds defective and you should contact the merchant you purchased it from.
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# problemLilly 2011-10-21 00:40
It is USB. Unfortunately it is defective, yes. Thank you for the quick response!
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# ProblemFrancisco Silvrio 2012-03-23 11:43
I acedently made a custom preset, but i dont have the manual, so it is stuck in that preset and dose not work well in any platfor. dose any of you know how to reset to the factory settings??

Thanks in advance
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