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ControllerBuddy is an advanced gamepad mapping software that supports the creation of input profiles for complex target applications such as flight simulators.

In addition to the simple mapping of buttons and axes of a physical game controller to keyboard and mouse input, ControllerBuddy also supports feeding input commands to a virtual joystick device (vJoy / uinput).

The goal of ControllerBuddy is to allow the user to control target applications exclusively with a gamepad without ever having to reach for a keyboard or mouse.

Download and Installation

Tip: Check out the ControllerBuddy-Install-Script, it automates all the steps below and much more!

Windows x86-64

  1. First download and install vJoy on your system.
  2. Click here and download the latest build of ControllerBuddy for Windows as a ZIP archive.
  3. Extract the ControllerBuddy directory from the archive to any desired location on your hard-drive.
  4. Run ControllerBuddy.exe inside the extracted ControllerBuddy directory.

Linux x86-64

  1. First, make sure you have libsdl2 installed on your system:
    • Debian / Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install libsdl2-2.0
    • Red-Hat-based: sudo yum install SDL2
    • Arch Linux: sudo pacman -S sdl2
    • SUSE Linux: sudo zypper install SDL2
  2. Configure uinput and hidraw:
    1. Create an uinput group: sudo groupadd -f uinput
    2. Add yourself to the group: sudo gpasswd -a "$USER" uinput
    3. As root, create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/99-input.rules with the following content:
      KERNEL=="uinput", SUBSYSTEM=="misc", MODE="0660", GROUP="uinput"
      KERNEL=="hidraw*", SUBSYSTEM=="hidraw", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="05c4", MODE="0666"
      KERNEL=="hidraw*", SUBSYSTEM=="hidraw", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="09cc", MODE="0666"
      KERNEL=="hidraw*", SUBSYSTEM=="hidraw", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0ba0", MODE="0666"
      KERNEL=="hidraw*", SUBSYSTEM=="hidraw", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0ce6", MODE="0666"
    4. As root, create a file /etc/modules-load.d/uinput.conf with the following content:
  3. Reboot
  4. Click here and download the latest build of ControllerBuddy for Linux as a TGZ archive.
  5. Extract the ControllerBuddy directory from the archive to any desired location on your hard-drive.
  6. Run ControllerBuddy inside the extracted ControllerBuddy/bin directory.


  • Maps gamepad axes and buttons to highly customizable actions:
    • vJoy axis movements (absolute and relative)
    • vJoy button presses
    • Keyboard inputs
    • Mouse inputs
    • Cycles of actions
    • Mode switching
    • etc.
  • Powerful user interface:
    • Allows the creation of mapping profiles
    • Configuration of settings
    • Support for a light and dark UI theme
  • In-game overlay:
    • Displays current mode
    • Can show current position of virtual axes
    • On-Screen-Keyboard that can be controlled by gamepad
    • VR support (OpenVR)
    • Customizable position and colors
  • Two operating scenarios:
    • Local
    • Server to client (experimental! use only in trusted networks!)
  • Supported gamepads:
    • Xbox 360 Controller
    • Xbox One Controller
    • Xbox Series X|S Controller
    • Dual Shock 3
    • Dual Shock 4
    • Dual Sense
    • etc. (to check if your controller is supported please refer to the SDL_GameControllerDB project)
  • Supported operating systems:
    • Windows / Linux (local / client / server)
    • macOS (server only - no binaries provided!)
  • Language support for:
    • English
    • German


Profiles are used to configure your gamepad for a specific target application.
The general structure of a profile is as follows:

Profile (.json file)
├── Default Mode
│   ├── X Axis
│   │   ├── some Action
│   │   └── another Action
│   ├── Y Axis
│   │   └── some Action
│   ├── A Button
│   │   ├── some Action
│   │   └── another Action
│   ├── B Button
│   │   └── Switch Mode Action (switches to 'Another Mode' and back)
│   ├── X Button
│   │   └── Switch Mode Action (switches to 'Yet another Mode' and back)
│   └── Y Button
│       └── Cycle Action (performs 'Action 1', when pressed again 'Action 2', then 'Action 3', then starts over)
│           ├── Action 1
│           ├── Action 2
│           └── Action 3
├── Another Mode
│   ├── X Axis
│   │   └── some Action
│   └── A Button
│       └── some Action
└── Yet another Mode
    └── X Axis
        └── some Action

When switching from one Mode to another, all the axes and buttons that are not used by the other mode retain their function from the previous mode. This works across multiple levels of modes.

Mode switching can be configured to work in two different ways:

  • Default: works like the SHIFT key on your keyboard
  • Toggle: works like the Caps Lock key

A number of well thought out profiles for the most popular flight simulators are available in the ControllerBuddy-Profiles repository.


Local mode:


     Physical Controller
    vJoy + Win32 / uinput
      Target Application

Server-Client mode:

             Server:                                 Client:

       Physical Controller
                v                  UDP
         ControllerBuddy  -------------------->  ControllerBuddy
                                              vJoy + Win32 / uinput
                                                Target Application

Example Screenshots

Modes Tab

Assignments Tab

Component Editor - Button

Component Editor - Axis

Dark Mode

Visualization Tab


VR Overlay

Command Line Parameters

Parameter Arguments Description Available for scripting
-autostart local / client / server starts the specified mode of operation after launch yes
-export file destination exports a visualization of the current profile to the specified path yes
-help prints the help and exits no
-profile file source loads the specified profile after launch yes
-gamecontrollerdb file source adds the SDL controller mappings from the specified file yes
-quit quits the application yes
-save file destination save the current profile to the specified path yes
-skipMessageDialogs skips all message dialogs no
-tray launches the application in the system tray yes
-version prints the version information and exits no

If one instance of ControllerBuddy is already running, starting a second instance with the parameters marked as "available for scripting" will trigger the corresponding action in the first instance and immediately shut down the second instance.

This can be used to integrate ControllerBuddy into third party applications.
For more information see ControllerBuddy-DCS-Integration, an exemplary integration of ControllerBuddy into DCS World.


ControllerBuddy makes use of these awesome software technologies and libraries:


If you want to build ControllerBuddy from source, this section might be helpful to get you started.
ControllerBuddy uses the Gradle build system, the following Gradle tasks are supported:

Task Command
Generate version source file gradlew generateVersion
Run SpotBugs and Spotless gradlew check
Apply Spotless formatting gradlew spotlessApply
Run ControllerBuddy gradlew run
Install a jpackage image gradlew installDist
Create a ZIP-compressed jpackage image gradlew distZip
Create a TGZ-compressed jpackage image gradlew distTar
Delete build and gen directories gradlew clean

License Information

GNU General Public License v3.0