RetroPie Tips (PS3 Controller and Light Guns checked)

The PS3 controller is an important equipment for gaming, given its high-tech features and comfort. Therefore, you need to know how to connect your PS3 controller to RetroPie for a better gaming experience.

So, how do I connect my PS3 controller to RetroPie? You can connect your PS3 controller to RetroPie via USB cable or Bluetooth. Connecting via the USB cable is the easiest option, as all you will do is plug your controller into your console as EmulationStation is running, and it will detect your gamepad and configure. Connecting your controller via Bluetooth is complex but possible; it will require a few installations first.

Maintaining class while remaining competitive in gaming is a priority for most online gamers. This explains why most do not want to let go of their PS3 controller, which can serve as a masterpiece in retro gaming as long as you learn how to connect it to RetroPie and use it.

Connecting your PS3 controller to RetroPie is possible via the USB cable and Bluetooth. As earlier mentioned, the USB cable connection is the easiest, and the connection may fail if you have a faulty cable, which you should replace. To connect your PS3 controller to RetroPie, you will need to install a special PS3 driver.

You can do this by scrolling to the RetroPie icon on your Home screen and selecting it using the key you mapped A on your gamepad. Next, navigate to RetroPie Setup GUI and select Manage Packages, then Driver. You can then select the Driver, the PS3 controller in this case, then click on Install from Source.

There are two types of drivers available for PS3 controllers. These include Sixaxis and PS3controller. The Sixaxis driver is a helper service in the BlueZ plugin and kernel driver configuration. It is a suitable option, though its third-party support is yet to undergo testing.

The PS3controller, on the other hand, is well tested and works well with third-party controllers. However, it constantly cripples the Bluetooth stack and will require a different button mapping to be defined.

Before connecting your PS3 controller to RetroPie via Bluetooth, you should start by setting it up. To do this, connect a Bluetooth adapter to your Raspberry Pi. If you have your PS3 with you, you should switch it off completely by unplugging or switching it off. Leaving your PS3 on will make it attempt to pair automatically with your console, blocking your intended connection.

After booting up your Pi, the next step will be setting up RetroPie. There are two ways you can do this, either using the RetroPie Setup GUI or RetroPie shell. These processes feature a slight difference in performance, and your choice of either will depend on how familiar the process is to you.

Also, in both cases, there is room for third-party navigation. If you choose to use RetroPie GUI, start by navigating to the RetroPie icon on your home screen, select it using the key you mapped A, and then go to RetroPie Setup.

On the RetroPie Setup GUI, select Manage packages then Driver. Next, select the Sixaxis driver and then install it from the source. If you have a third-party controller, you will navigate to the configuration options and enable support of this feature. The installation may take a few minutes, and you should be patient until it completes.

After successful installation, close it from the RetroPie Setup page and then return to the EmulationStation Home Screen. On the RetroPie section, click on Bluetooth, Register, and Connect to Bluetooth Device option, and follow the onscreen prompts for successful pairing. Once done, exit this window, and your controller should work using the mappings you configured through USB.

If you are using RetroPie to configure your controller, press F4 at the EmulationStation screen to close out of this window and then run the RetroPie Setup script, which is available on the terminal. You can update the script if need be though this is not mandatory.

Either way, if you choose to update, use the appropriate command. With the above setup, you can now proceed to Manage Packages, Manage Driver packages, Sixaxis, then install from source.

If you need a third-party controller, like in PS3controller, you will go to the configuration options and enable, noting that this process may take some time to complete. Once complete, pair your controller by navigating to Configuration tools then Bluetooth.

Click Register and Connect to a Bluetooth Device on the Bluetooth menu, then follow the onscreen prompts for successful pairing. Finally, while connecting your PS3controller via Bluetooth is a lengthy process, disconnecting is pretty simple. Once done gaming, you will hold down the PS3 button for about ten seconds, and the connection will abort.

Which Are the Best Light Gun for RetroPie?

With more technological advancements in retro gaming, more light guns are available in the market. However, not all of them will work well with RetroPie; therefore, identifying the best is necessary.

There are generally two scenarios when it comes to the best light gun for RetroPie. The first is the Wiimote and Mayflash Dolphinbar, and the second is the Aimtrack gun and sensor. In both cases, the Dolphinbars and Wiimotes test the light gun code and should work if the rest of the hardware is to work.

To add the Mayflash and Wii remote sensors, you will need some hardware, including a Wii gun, Wii remote plus, and Mayflash W010 sensor DolphinBar for Wii. To setup these hardware, starting by setting up your Pi with RetroPie. Next, connect your Mayflash to the USB port on your Pi and set the sensor bar to 2.

You should then Sync your Wii remote to the sensor bar, and you will see the LEDs 1 and 4 light up, indicating a successful pairing. Insert the Wii remote into the gun, then set the sensor bar at an appropriate position, below or above your display.

With your hardware set, you will need to install the game you intend to play and do a software setup for your Wii remote and In-game. Generally, when using the light gun, you should rely on the second controller to Start and Exit the game instead of the Wii remote. This is because relying on Wii remote will force you to remap the game’s UI settings, which could be problematic.

Also, avoid changing the light gun mode in-game, as this will stop the functions of your light gun and restart the game. For optimal performance, the distance between you and your sensor bar should be anywhere between 3 and 8 feet.

Lastly, if you are playing a game where you need to reload ammo, you will notice that moving your light gun left and right will likely yield results than pointing downwards. However, this condition may vary depending on the game, as some may delay picking the reload.

Whichever light gun you get, you should know how to make it work in RetroPie on your Pi. The process will vary on different emulators like Genesis, NES, Master System, and SNES. If you are on NES, you will start your light gun, then press the hotkey and Y button.

Next, head to the settings menu and adjust the Zapper settings to the touch screen. While at this, enable the crosshair and set Port 2 to light gun or Zapper. Lastly, save your game and restart the game. In SNES, you will follow a similar process but use the Super Scope.

What Is the Sinden Light Gun for RetroPie?

With the development of light shooter games, there was still a challenge by gaming companies to develop hardware or software that could ensure effective gaming. Also, with the switch to flat screen LED and LCDs, the older version light guns had issues, as these screens required different mechanisms to point. Therefore, I will help you understand the breakthrough from the Sinden light gun for RetroPie.

The Sinden light gun is one of the best inputs for RetroPie and can take your retro gaming to the next level. This true LCD gun provides a gaming experience and functionality similar to the CRT light guns. All this, you can get without adding extra hardware like infra-red sensor bars.

To communicate using the Sinden light gun, you will use your mouse. This light gun is also compatible with most Linux and Windows applications using a mouse, including RetroPie and RetroArch. Thus, you can play your favorite games with the Sinden gun, including Battle Clash, Terminator 2 Arcade, Duck Hunt, and Battle Clash, among others.

The Sinden light gun combines software and math in its image recognition. To do this, it features a high-speed camera that captures the screen output while calculating where the user points. It also has a rectangular border that serves as a refereeing point.

When you point the gun at the screen, it will look for the rectangular border and use smart image recognition and software trickery to find out where you are aiming within that border.

The software trickery receives the images captured every 16ms and then calculates the necessary mouse movements. It is this function that makes its performance similar to CRT light guns. Another thing to note is the minimal to zero lags with Sinden light guns. Also, you will not need cursors to operate unless you really need one.

To install and use Sinden software on your Raspberry Pi, connect your monitor, keyboard, and game controller, then power on your Pi. Once your screen loads, it will display which gamepad is connected and prompt you to configure it.

You should follow the prompts on the screen for the configuration. Next, you will connect your console to the internet. This, you can do via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable. You will also need to give your Windows PC access to your Pi. To do this, select RetroPie on the main screen, then raspiconfig. Next, select Interface Options, then enable Remote Command Line access using SSH.

Now that your Windows PC can access your Pi, the next step will be installing WinSCP, a file transfer protocol to enable you to drag and drop files from your PC to Pi. At this point, download the driver software from the Sinden website, then load WinSCP, and your PC file system should be visible on the Pi on the right.

Next, copy the folder called light gun to the /home/pi/ directory on your Pi. At this point, you will also install a game before you can plugin and use your light gun. To do this, go to RetroPie set up, Manage packages, Manage optional packages and install your chosen game, then restart your Raspberry Pi.

On the main menu, you will have two options, RetroPie, and Ports, after restarting your Pi. On RetroPie, press F4 to open the command prompt and input the onscreen commands, pressing Enter tab after each command to set up your light gun. Finally, plug in your light gun and select the SINDENLIGHTGUNTESTP1 option under the ports menu.

You will see a black screen with a white border enabling you to move your cursor with the gun. After installing the light gun, install the game you want to play, and you should be good to get started. Given its functionality and accuracy, gamers project that the Sinden gun might replace CRT over time.

Wrap Up

Connecting your PS3 controller is possible via Bluetooth. The USB cable connection via USB cable is straightforward, but a Bluetooth connection requires the installation of special PS3 drivers. There are two types of drives that you will install for a successful connection, namely PS3controller and Sixaxis.

When it comes to the best light gun for RetroPie, the Wiimote and Mayflash DolphinBar sensors stand out for their effective performance. The Sinden light gun also ranks on top, and gamers are slowly switching to this light gun for RetroPie.

Sinden light gun features a high technology functionality that utilizes calculations and smart software. These features make it rank almost similar to CRT, and it may not come as a surprise should it overtake CRT in terms of popularity. Finally, with the proper setup for your controller and light gun, it is no doubt that your gaming will go to the next level.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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