Tweak It: DualShock 3

“Nearly perfect” and “pretty much perfect” were two of your comments about Halo 3.  “I absolutely loved the Halo 3 campaign” and “Halo 3 is the best FPS I have played” were two more.*

Like fellow Xbox 360 title Forza 3 it was not a great success from a Tweak It point of view.  Nevertheless, you did come up with a handful of tweaks that could be applied to Halo 3:

  • Genetically-enhanced super-soldiers shouldn’t need to rely on an armour ability to be able to sprint. ~ Kennykazey, hazelam
  • A compass on the H.U.D. so that “when they tell you to go east or west” you know which way to go. ~ hazelam
  • Smarter allied A.I. when using vehicles. ~ Kennykazey
  • Co-op matchmaking. ~ Armonster9000

*Glowing comments from Armonster9000, Sad Panda, a inferior race and Sad Panda (again) respectively.

Will it take more than a splash of Urban Camouflage to hide the ageing design's deficiencies?

The PlayStation’s controllers have remained remarkably unchanged considering that we are not that far away from the twentieth anniversary of the brand’s launch; the addition of the two analogue sticks being the only really significant difference that is immediately apparent.

Contrast this with how Nintendo’s controllers have changed over a similar timescale, starting with the N64’s ‘tri-hulled’ design; then onto the Gamecube’s controller, which is still one of my all-time favourites; and then from the wireless Wavebird to the Wiimote, and finally next year we’ll have the Wii U’s ‘tablet’ controller.

Clearly there must be something about the design of Sony’s PlayStation controller that just works.  Either that or whenever they show something different, like the infamous PS3 ‘boomerang’ controller concept, the negative reaction is so venomous that it frightens them off from making any changes.

It is not surprising that we tend to have strong feelings about a controller.  A console’s controller is arguably its most important feature.  It is the part of the system that you continually interact with throughout your time with the console.  Whether wireless or not it is your physical connection to the console being thrust triumphantly skywards in victory or hurled floor-wards in anger and frustration.

All that means that controllers are a very personal preference and we will all have likes and dislikes about them.  Personally, this is how I would tweak the Sony’s DualShock 3:

  • Produce a version which is essentially a PS3 Dual Analog controller.  The “arms” of the original PlayStation Dual Analog were longer than those of other PlayStation controllers and were pitched at slightly less of an angle in relation to the controller’s ‘face’.  The Dual Analog’s analogue sticks themselves also had concave tops rather than being the mushroom-like appendages we are now left with.
  • While on the subject of concave-y-ness, I would also prefer concave triggers.  I have tried some of the various third party add-ons to make the triggers but there is something not quite right about the feel, the pivot point feels wrong.  I suspect integrated concave triggers would not have that problem.

With what must collectively be hundreds of thousands of hours of holding PlayStation controllers in your sweaty little hands, you must have some great ideas for how you would tweak it to perfection…

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88 Comments

  1. I agree with the triggers, i feel my trigger fingers slowly slip off from time to time.

    • Jump on Amazon and search for PS3 triggers, by Gioteck. They’ve lovely. Cheap. Awesome.

      • Totally agree, Gioteck triggers are a must. I’ve got a set on both of my DS3’s.

      • ++1 £2 max. Sorted.

      • No problems with them breaking? Never had them myself, but I was put off them by the negative reviews on Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B001AW156U/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

      • Just ordered some, at just over £2 they’re worth a try. I always thought the triggers could do with being a bit longer.

      • I hate those slippy DS3 triggers and find them very uncomfortable to use and jumped on the clip-ons as soon as they were available.
        I’ve had two sets of the Giotek triggers and each of them split or came apart where the rubber joins the plastic. I’ve also got two solid plastic sets which were free with magazines. Not sure who made those but i still have them intact. A problem i’ve had with all of them however was that they would fall off, usually at the most opportune moment. I considered super-glue-ing them on but it seemed a little extreme.

      • I don’t know but Giotech is awful, the first triggers I got ws from 4gamers I think? it was more like a PS3 controller but Giotech just breaked more often, bloody con artists.

      • I’ve had my Gioteck triggers for over two years and not had any problems with them breaking … they do slip off very occasionally, but only if I’m pressing down really hard on the very ends of them.

      • I’ve had a couple of sets, but they’ve both broken. Having said that, they lasted quite a few months under heavy use, so they’re definitely worth the price.

    • Twice iv’e had to replace the springs below the triggers, with spares from old controllers. The triggers got so loose, they felt as if they would fall off. I’ve been lucky & escaped this flaw, for a substantial period since.

  2. In all honesty, the DS3 is nearly perfect IMO. The 360 controller just doesn’t sit right in my hands, mainly because of the battery pack but I also don’t like the lack of symmetry with the sticks.

    Maybe better triggers? That’s all I can really think of to be honest. It feels lovely, the analogue sticks are nice and loose and the weight is perfect.

  3. Have different materials for the analogue sticks. I mean, I like the plastic over them on the dualshock, but I have had times while playing games like FIFA where my thumb has fell off the stick, but I have never had that problem on an Xbox 360 controller, maybe material used for them, but just the way it’s made

    • Agree with you there, the slick rubbery material on the 360 controllers is nice.

    • If they made the top of the sticks concave it would be much better. I’ve had the same problem playing FIFA where my thumb will slip across the top of the stick.

  4. I love them, since using them on the original PS1 through to PS3, they are my favourite controller. There are a few things I’d change though. They added dualshock which is perfect in function and added the much needed weight to make it more usable in your hands. The sticks could do with being a little less domed, but the size is lovely. I have big hands and very long fingers, so sometimes its hard to jump between some controls. This could be fixed easily with more outward arms which aren’t so diagonally facing down, thus them being a bit more horizontal facing. The size is great but a bit more length would be nice. I always use the add-on trigger extenders and built in flaps would be so much better than the shitty convex trigger things. Would not change the d-pad or buttons at all. All of this is is based upon my countless weeks (or even months) worth of gaming with them. I have learnt to use them effectively though and after spending a total of 18 days of playing various Call of Duty games, the small problems become negligible :P

    • “The size is great but a bit more length would be nice.” – teeheehee…..

  5. Triggers! The R2 and L2 buttons are horrendous on the PS3 controller, I have a steady supply of clip on triggers that make it infinitely better. Problem is most are so flimsy they break after a few weeks.

    I bought the EA Sports controller add-on thingy a while back and love it. The triggers are really sturdy, and it comes with two rubber attachments that fit over the DS3 arms, making it slightly more chunky and easier to hold. The stubby arms are really noticeable without it now.

    Other than that, the controller is pretty much perfect, functional in all the ways you need it to be, and comfortable to hold (though the stubby arms don’t help).

    • yeah got the ea sat too. triggers are very grippy and sturdy. the arms are just right for me now too. although the analog stick covers broke pretty quickly. overall a good buy

      • Yeah the analogue stick covers broke for me too! Shame as the rest of the pack is very good quality

  6. It would be nit-picking but maybe making the DS3 out of stronger plastic, all the ones I’ve had have creaked badly. And that’s the ones that haven’t been thrown…;)
    I’ve even used the DS3 on the PC for the odd game – it’s more comfy than a mouse/keyboard when lounging on the sofa ;)

  7. concave triggers are on the top of my list, but other than that, my only gripe is the fact that the official controllers cost £40! That is way too much money, surely it doesn’t cost sony that much to produce it.

  8. I would like to see a slightly longer handle for the controller and concave triggers too. I think they should have explored the original PS3 controller prototype, as it looked comfortable. Otherwise the controller design is flawless, and until we get full VR it should stay as it is :D

  9. Tougher material for me so when I have a “things ain’t going my way” moment I don’t end up going down to Currys to spend another 40 quid.

    • Am confused? don’t get what you mean

      • I think he means when he rages and chucks the controller at the wall. ;)

      • Bang on Steven. Surely I’m not the only one who has broke the sound barrier with a Dualshock am I :)

      • That you are not ;)

    • Haha, perhaps get a wrist strap (or chain) for the controller to attach it to your arm. I don’t suppose you have any portable consoles do you?

      • Only the iPhone, don’t get the same frustration whilst playing Flight Control luckily

      • ARRGH God damn Biplanes! (Rage Destruction)

    • Would be cheaper & more practical, to up your game.

  10. I much prefer the PS3 controller over the 360 one, it feels lighter and I prefer the location of the sticks. I’m not too bothered about the triggers, I like them the way they are, any anyone can pick up stick-on triggers for 99p off amazon. The charge is decent, and the Sixaxis is great (although only properly used by some games). Only thing I would probably change is the directional pad, I’d prefer a lighter feel to them. The only other thing that annoys me is the price, as others have said.

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