Get Your Game On - Playing PlayStation Games in Linux

Run your favorite PlayStation games on Linux with PCSX.


find / -name* 2> /dev/null

As an example, your result might include:


If so, notice the difference in the filenames. To make a symbolic link so PCSX can find the library, using the example above, type (as root):

ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

Adjust what you type accordingly.

Installing padJoy

I've saved the “worst” for last. You don't have to use a game controller to use PCSX (the keyboard works too), but you may want to use a game controller to get a genuine PlayStation experience.

I say this is the worst because there's more to padJoy than simply installing the plugin. You also have to get your game controller working, but one thing at a time. First, make sure you installed the tools necessary to compile C programming code (such as GCC). You also need the GNOME development tools. In addition, make sure that you have gtk-devel—though it may be called something like gtk+-devel in your package management system.

Once you have everything you need in place, compile the padJoy plugin. The padJoy file you downloaded looks similar to padJoy082.tgz. Unpackage it in the Plugin folder, and it creates its own subdirectory called, not surprisingly, padJoy (for example, ~/Downloads/Pcsx/Plugin/padJoy). Enter padJoy/src (so, for example, ~/Downloads/Pcsx/Plugin/padJoy/src), and type make. This command should compile the plugin. If the compilation fails, you may be missing a dependency—hopefully, there are hints available in the output displayed.

You now find the files cfgPadJoy and in the src directory. Copy cfgPadJoy into Pcsx/cfg (so, ~/Downloads/Pcsx/cfg) and into Pcsx/Plugin (so, ~/Downloads/Pcsx/Plugin).

Before you proceed, consider the game controller you intend to use with padJoy. Do you already own one? Is it digital or analog? Does it have a connector that can attach to your computer, such as USB? Does it require a game port, and do you have one? (Check your sound card if you aren't sure.) Does it have its own funky connector? If you own an Xbox controller already (not the Xbox 360, which uses USB, but the original Xbox), you can go to Dan Gray's site (see Resources) and read how to use a bit of soldering to convert the controller's connector to use USB—use these instructions at your own risk, of course. If you own another type of controller with a proprietary connector, you can usually purchase a third-party converter on-line.

I tried two different controllers with PCSX. First, I dug around and found a joystick that connects to a computer's game port. Then I discovered that my SoundBlaster Live! card has a game port. The first thing I noticed is that the joystick devices didn't exist by default on my system (look for /dev/js0 and/or /dev/input/js0, these are often symlinked together); however, that's because my distribution uses devfs and creates only the devices it needs at the time. All I had to do was become the root user and type the following two commands:

modprobe analog
modprobe joydev

Then, when I typed ls /dev/j* /dev/input/j*, I found that the device /dev/input/js0 had been created, showing that the system found my joystick. If you think that you have everything set up properly and are just missing the device file, type mknod /dev/input/js0 c 13 0 to create it. To test your joystick (or gamepad, or whatever you're using), you need the joystick tools installed if they aren't already. Then, type jstest /dev/input/js0 (adjusting the path for your driver file). You should see output such as:

Joystick (Analog 3-axis 4-button joystick) has 3 axes and 4 buttons.
Driver version is 2.1.0.
Testing ... (interrupt to exit)
Axes:  0:     0  1:     0  2:-22892 Buttons:  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off

If you see this, it's a good sign. Move the joystick controller around and press some buttons. The numbers should change and the button positions should change. If this happens, you're ready to move on. Press Ctrl-C to get out of the tool. If you see an error message or nothing, the joystick isn't being recognized. You can find a list of all supported input hardware on SourceForge (see Resources). It is often possible to get third-party converters that allow you to hook up game console controllers such as PlayStation 2 gamepads. Typically, if you can attach a gamepad through USB, you can use it.

If you have an original Xbox controller, you can modify it to connect to regular USB (again, see Dan Gray's site for details); however, it will no longer be usable with your Xbox after that. Xbox 360 controllers, on the other hand, have USB connectors. Gentoo users can turn to the Gentoo Wiki (see Resources) for more information on using the Xbox 360 controller. Users of other distributions can as well, but will have to adjust their instructions for their versions of Linux. For example, they will have to learn how to build a kernel from scratch if their kernel's xpad driver isn't as new as the one linked to from the Gentoo site (the driver for Fedora Core 4's kernel 2.6.14-1.1656_FC4-i686 was far older at version .5 compared to the 1.6 of the version that supports the 360 controller, so you likely will need to update). Those using Xbox controllers will need the xpad driver. Because they are USB controllers, your system will load the driver for you when you plug in the gamepad—if the pad is properly recognized. The same jstest program works here as well.

Once you're (relatively) sure you have your hardware working and all of your plugins properly installed, you can finally move on to configuring your emulation software.