GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

Guild Wars 2 featured

Why Playstation Controllers ROCK for GW2

Somehow there’s the idea that XBox controlers are better on PC than PS4/PS5 controllers.

I can only guess that there’s just not a general understanding of how useful the gyro and trackpads on the recent PlayStation controllers are. They’re not as good for mouse and keyboard replacement as the (overly bold and now discontinued) Steam Controller, but when it comes to cramming every action in Guild Wars 2 onto a controller there’s no contest between the XBox and PS controllers

The touchpad isn’t in a great position for quick use but is a great place for menus and buttons that you don’t need to use in-combat.

The gyro’s less straightforward, but I’ve at least managed to persuade it to be a mouse for steering a Griffon or Roller Beetle while they’re doing their aerobatics/drifting.

Gee El’s ActionCam (GEAC) 4

Introducing GEAC 4

  • PS5 version – steam://controllerconfig/1284210/2861486038
  • PS4 variant – steam://controllerconfig/1284210/2861494796

GEAC is a PS4 DualShock4 and PS5 DualSense controller binding for Guild Wars 2.
It’s set up for snappy response and versatility, as well as being as simple as it can be while giving access to just about everything you’d do with a keyboard.

NOTE: There are things you still can’t do with this controller profile. Due to using Long Press activators you can’t hold down (for instance) 1-5. You’ll still want a keyboard handy for fishing (add something in to support that on the LB mode) and for typing in chat.


  • Best response time for frequently used buttons (IMPROVED)
  • Minimize time when you can’t move (ie. not touching movement controls)
  • Minimize chord use (it tires my fingers, and adds complexity)
  • Provide access to as many game controls as practical
  • Make it easy to see what a button does
  • Automatic mount mode for Griffon and Roller Beetle (NEW)
  • Let the player jump with the X button if they need to. (NEW)

For the new GEAC 4 I’ve done away with a couple of double press activators to reduce delays on the buttons they were on.
I’ve also done away with a few chord-ed control changes on joystick and reliance on a shift button in favour of a whole new Action Set (active while holding LB/L1)- which makes it much easier to see what’s a combination button action.

Tier 1 Actions – Instantly available

  • Movement and Dodge
  • Weapon skills

Tier 2 Actions – Available with slight delay

  • Utility skills
  • Profession skills
  • Weapon swap
  • Interact (aka F)

Tier 3 Actions – Available with delay via chord

  • Elite skill (powerful but infrequently available)
  • Non-combat (eg. mounts, novelties, stow weapon)
  • Tab – does it even affect targeting in action cam?

Instantly available buttons are all on the main action set, along with some less frequently used actions that require a slightly longer press.

To use the main layout use short presses for the primary actions and slightly longer presses for the “LP-” actions.

I’ve tuned the press time for long press actions down to make them a bit quicker to activate, I’m not a twitchy gamer so I think this should work well for most people, but if you’re having issues with them have a look at the troubleshooting section below on how to tune them.

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

On the left side are another seven buttons, with the bottom left being “Special Action” sometimes required in combat.

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

On the right half of the touchpad is a menu with 13 on screen buttons you may want to use out of combat.
Most important of these is probably the “Action Cam” toggle button in the bottom right – which changes GW2 into it’s built Action RPG like mode.

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

For the “Tier 3” controls we have the Action Set requiring L1 pressed.

The most important button to know about here is the quick LB+RB combination for the Elite skill (zero key on the keyboard). It’s important for combat but usually on a loooong cooldown so in GEAC4 is relegated to a chord.

I was occasionally finding precision jumping to be trouble with the left stick click , so for GEAC4 I’ve added Jump/Dodge as chorded button pad actions (in addition to the joystick presses).

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

The secondary LB set has also given space for a dedicated mount menu on the right side of the touchpad.

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

Having a mount menu with expectations about which mount is on what keybind also opened up the chance to have an automatic mount control mode that triggers when using Griffon or Roller Beetle.

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

There’s some extra fiddliness with an LB modified mount action set – but there’s nothing you need to know about there – it’s just mechanics required to give as clean an experience as I could manage when changing to or from Mount Control mode.

Gee El’s ActionCam (GEAC) 4 – Troubleshooting, Tuning and quirks

Tuning mouse movement
When using the standard joystick mouse I found it annoying to get the cursor to small buttons in the GW2 UI even on the “wide”est response curve.
For my configuration I set a custom extremely wide curve so that small joystick movements moves the mouse cursor very slowly spiking up to maximum as the joystick is pushed more. This gives fine cursor control but can feel like the mouse is accelerated, so iif it’s annoying you may want to tune it back to a standard setting (but be warned you may find clicking UI buttons difficult).

You can get to the response curve by opening the profile settings for the right joystick and going into the Advanced settings:

GEAC PS4/PS5 Controller Design Notes

Tuning Long Press sensitivity
Most buttons with Long Press activators have had their sensitivity dialed up – the long press button fires quicker than the Steam default. This makes those buttons (eg. Utilities and Heal skill) more responsive in combat.

The drawback to increasing the sensitivity is that it’s raised to the borderline of where you may accidentally trigger those LP skills when trying to use the regular press.

If you’re finding that the LP actions are firing when you didn’t mean to or Autorun isn’t going when you want it to it’s a sign that the Long Press period needs to be raised a little bit.

To tune this

  1. go into the controller configuration
  2. select the button that’s giving you trouble
  3. select the “Long Press” activator
  4. tune the long press time (right is longer, left is shorter)
  5. repeat until you find a long press time that doesn’t interfere with the regular press

Touchpad acting as mouse (probably Linux only)When I first set up this configuration I found the touchpad was acting like a mouse (and clicking when pressed) when that’s not how it’s configured in the profile.

I thought this was an issue with the “Single Pad” setting somehow bleeding through when it’s not in use, but seems like it may be a Linux issue. I don’t see an option to disable just the DS touchpad in Gnome.

There is an option to disable touchpad input when an external mouse is enabled (TODO: check if this works after restart – it doesn’t seem to affect the PS5 pad despite changing the touchpad slider in Gnome settings).

Disable on external mouse:

  • gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad send-events disabled-on-external-mouse

Enable touchpad

  • gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad send-events enabled

You can also disable the touchpad directly in Gnome mouse settings, but be wary of this if you’re on a laptop and may not have a mouse plugged in next time you use it on the go.

Thanks go to this

Quirks in this configuration are mainly around the mount control mode. The controller has no way to tell when you’ve successfully mounted or been dismounted and it’s set up to make guesses based on what you’ve pressed and what mode it was in.

You may occasionally need to give it a hint about what your mount state is so that controls match up .

Being dismounted while in mount mode
If dismounted without pressing X press L1 (aka LB) or the menu button to trigger the change to normal mode.

Mount mode going away when mounted
Mount mode will automatically disable for a few reasons

  • You press a mount button (X or a mount that doesn’t require MC mode)
  • You press a menu item that you’d need a mouse for (eg. Hero panel, most of the things on the right touch menu)
  • You press L1 to make a mounted attack

If you’re kicked out of mount control mode you can manually switch back by holding down (long pressing) the physical map buttion (I think it’s called “Share” these days) just left of the touchpad.
To prevent issues with this also bringing up the map when pressed the button can’t be used to view the map while in mount control mode, use the left toucbpad button instead.

GEAC 2 : Mistakes were made, but not by me

Lessons learned from GEAC 2.x

  • Double Press buttons are slow

In the previous GEAC 2 I tried to avoid chords entirely. With the number of buttons required for combat use (for which the touchpad is pretty bad) I had a few double click activators.

The problem with double press activators is that Steam can’t tell if you’re using one until it waits the full double press period to see if you press the button again. Any other activator has to wait to be fired – and that’s awful when the double press is a button with anything you need quick access to.

When it comes to fast response from controls – JUST SAY NO TO DOUBLE PRESS.

  • Joystick jump can be trouble

Pretty early on in GEAC2 I had jump on the camera stick press and almost immediately found that I had issues accidentally turning when jumping. This was particularly annoying with the Skyscale where holding down jump would mess up my heading.

Moving the jump to the left stick at least meant that I wasn’t turning unexpectedly, and as movement keys are only in four directions a little bit of stick deflection during jumping isn’t normally an issue.

Still, it’s fiddly and for more precise platforming in Jumping Puzzles a backup was needed – and so the Jump on X on the modified layout was born. It may mean having a tired finger at the end of a jumping puzzle but it may mean fewer falls.

  • Taking away movement controls is a bad idea

Version 2 had a very comfortable and handy scroll wheel on the movement stick – hold down L1/LB and the stick would change to a mouse wheel. This mostly worked fine but meant that while using that chord button (which was also Shift for any Shift+something bindings) ruled out using the movement stick or I might suddenly end up in first person view or watching the action from orbit.

Version 4 leaves the movement and camera sticks alone in all situations – NO TOUCHING!

Buttons – How to use them

Minimizing delay

  • Regular Buttons
  • Long Press Buttons
  • Double Press Buttons
  • Chord Buttons

Keep it Simple, Sweetie

Visibility of configuration

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