XBox Controller Setup.

This is a quick tutorial and demo of setting up XBox One Controllers for Unity. I personally use an elite controller because they are so awesome :).

All the things I have built I have used the following links. With all of this it becomes easier to make the quick demo of working XBone Controller demo.

XBox Controller

The things I am currently programming are single player systems which means there is only ever one xbox controller. Therefore I am simply creating a single Empty GameObject with the attached component XBoxController. This Component will, on every FixedUpdate, update its public values. What this means is that anyone can find the controller and use the values with the following line.

void Start() {
    XBoxController controller = GameObject.

Now I can check, on my Update, FixedUpdate, LateUpdate, whatever update, the values of the xbox controller and react accordingly.

Getting Started

#### Input Manager First, the Input Manager controls all virtual axes, buttons, and joysticks. These can be referenced via a string, such as Vertical or Horizontal. This makes programming controls a bit easier since Vertical could be fulfilled by more than one type of device.

So lets setup the Input Manager. First go to Edit > Project Settings > Input. You may have to adjust the size of the Input Manager if you do not want to overwrite any of the current values.

All of the settings have most properties in common, here are the common properties:

    Gravity: 0,
    Dead: 0.19, // No Reason, just went for that.
    Sensitivity: 1,
    Type: "Joystick Axis", // Yes, even for triggers
    Joy Num: "Get Motion from all Joy"

Here are all the fields that diverged:

Left Joystick
    Name: "Horizontal",
    Axis: "X axis"
    Name: "Vertical",
    Axis: "Y axis"
Right Joystick
    Name: "HorizontalTurn",
    Axis: "3rd Axis (Joystick and Scrollwheel)"
    Name: "VerticalTurn",
    Axis: "4th axis (Joysticks)"
Right Trigger
    Name: "RightTrigger",
    Axis: "6th axis (Joysticks)"
Left Trigger
    Name: "LeftTrigger",
    Axis: "5th axis (Joysticks)"

This means I only have 6 inputs in my Input Manager settings. Therefore, Fire1 would not work (currently).


The code for the xbox controller is rather simple. Every Update I check the values of those virtual axes and update the public properties of my controller. Pay particular attention to the precompiler #if statement. This allows us to program specific logic for WebGL, which acts differently than Mac OSX Stand alone.

using UnityEngine;

public class XBoxOneController : MonoBehaviour {

	public float horizontal { get; private set; }
	public float vertical { get; private set; }
	public float horizontalTurn { get; private set; }
	public float verticalTurn { get; private set; }
	public float rightTrigger { get; private set; }
	public float leftTrigger { get; private set; }

	private bool rTriggerUsed;
	private bool lTriggerUsed;

	private DebugController debug;

	void Start() {

		// Debugging must be manually turned on by the unity editor.
		rTriggerUsed = false;
		lTriggerUsed = false;

		debug = DebugController.GetController();

	void Update () {
		horizontal = Input.GetAxis("Horizontal");
		vertical = Input.GetAxis("Vertical");
		horizontalTurn = Input.GetAxis("HorizontalTurn");
		verticalTurn = Input.GetAxis("VerticalTurn");
		rightTrigger = Input.GetAxis("RightTrigger");
		leftTrigger = Input.GetAxis("LeftTrigger");


		// Trigger start values have been a bit odd
		if (!rTriggerUsed) {
			if (rightTrigger != 0) {
				rTriggerUsed = true;
			} else {
				rightTrigger = -1;
		if (!lTriggerUsed) {
			if (leftTrigger != 0) {
				lTriggerUsed = true;
			} else {
				leftTrigger = -1;

		// right and left triggers tend to have a value of -1 after their first use.
		// I think it is better to normalize.
		rightTrigger = (rightTrigger + 1) / 2;
		leftTrigger = (leftTrigger + 1) / 2;

		if (debug.debug) {
			Log("Horizontal", horizontal, "Vertical", vertical,
			    "HorizontalTurn", horizontalTurn, "VerticalTurn", verticalTurn,
				"RightTrigger", rightTrigger, "LeftTrigger", leftTrigger);

	void Log(params object[] vals) {
		string str = "";
		for (int i = 0; i < vals.Length; i += 2) {
			str += vals[i] + " = " + vals[i + 1] + "\n";


	private void _WebGL() {
		float hTurn = horizontalTurn;
		float vTurn = verticalTurn;
		float lTrigger = leftTrigger;

		horizontalTurn = vTurn;
		leftTrigger = hTurn;
		verticalTurn = lTrigger;


Here is a simple demo app that will use the xbox controller values to color a black piece of material. There are no buttons considered here.