The PS3 Controller and Ubuntu

I found that one thing I’ve always wanted to do with a media center is run some sweet emulators for some classic gaming action whenever I felt like it. One of the big problems is input. You can’t really play SNES or NES games on a wireless keyboard or IR remote can you? Well no, of course not, it just wouldn’t feel like a game then. I was going through a box in my brother’s room looking for a cable when I saw a PS3 Sixaxis controller. Apparently he had no use for it anymore since he got a Dualshock so I thought “Hey, this thing is bluetooth, what better way to play some classic games than with a real controller?” It turns out that the process is pretty simple.

The first thing you’re going to want to do, assuming that you have a bluetooth dongle with drivers installed for Ubuntu, is add a repository so that we can install the one utility that we need. We will do this by typing the following code into Terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:falk-t-j/qtsixa
After that, we’ll want to update our repository list and then install QtSixA:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install qtsixa

Now you can close Terminal, that’s all we needed it for. Go find your PS3 controller and plug it into your computer with a mini USB cable (the charging cable).

Next, you’re going to want to open QtSixA by going to Applications->Accessories->QtSixA

If you look at your instance of QtSixA, instead of saying (no devices found) like mine does, it should have a hexadecimal number in the format 00:00:00:00. This is the bluetooth MAC address of your controller. You don’t need to remember this number, but it means that your PS3 controller was detected. From here you’ll want to go to Tasks -> Pair Device to PC -> Check Sixaxis/DualShock3, click Next -> Enter your password -> Click Finish.

We’re almost done! Before I wrap it up, I suggest you go to Settings -> Configure QtSixA and make QtSixA open at startup. Finally, you’ll want to do a reboot. At this point you can unplug your controller from USB and hold down the Playstation button. The LED’s on the controller should flash a couple of times, then light up sequentially back and forth, and then the first LED should remain solid. This means that the controller was connected successfully.

And we’re done! That wasn’t too hard was it? Fire up a game/emulator and go have some fun!