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XIM360 Bible & FAQ - READ ME FIRST BEFORE POSTING (12/02/09)  (Read 33041 times)

Offline tweak

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Hello to all visitors both newcomers and long time forum members.  The time has come for a comprehensive guide to all things XIM related so that we can eliminate the unnecessary threads in the forums that continually ask the same questions.  While there is an FAQ available, some members seem to have more trouble than others interpreting and understanding everything that goes into the XIM including how it functions.  This purpose of this guide is to eliminate the majority of the common questions as well as aid in the initial set-up and configuration of your XIM device, which in itself can be a daunting task to someone new.

This guide is going to be broken up into the following sections: Introduction & History, XIM 1, XIM 2, Installation & Setup, FAQ, XIM & PS3, The Notion of Cheating

Introduction & History


The XIM project began as a small personal project for OBsIV who, like many other people, were massively disappointed in the performance of the XFPS (http://www.xcm.cc/xcm_xfps_360.htm).  To this author's knowledge, this was the first device that enabled mouse and keyboard input on the Xbox 360.  Unfortunately, however, the performance of the device was very underwhelming.  The people behind this device, XCM, started selling new, "updated" versions of the device with little to no visible improvement in performance.  Put simply, the XFPS was not and is not capable of providing customers with the gameplay that they expected from mouse and keyboard input.  Something had to be done.

OBsIV recognized that while the native mouse and keyboard support in the XFPS lacked severely, that the inclusion of the PS2 to Xbox 360 converter in the XFPS performed quite well for all intensive purposes and it was this that made the XIM project possible.  Initially this project was geared towards making a Wiimote work with the Xbox 360 as evidenced in his blog post from August 2007: http://obsiv.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!948789BF56FAF394!177.entry

The best part about XIM--that any input device connected to your PC could be used as a controller for the Xbox 360.  An improved method of mouse and keyboard input was born!


From OBsIV's blog:

Quote from: OBsIV
Why a project like this?
XIM is, by far, the most ambitious side project I have ever worked on. It took most of my spare time over many months to complete and there were a lot of failures along the way. People may wonder why I'd spend so much time on a project like this. I have no agenda behind it. The answer is simple: I enjoy it. I like working on hardware, software, and firmware. Given that I also like gaming, I felt this sort of project was a natural fit with my interests.
No matter what, I wasn't interested in creating vaporware. The end result had to work. I wanted something that I could play on daily that performed well.
Where to start?
The initial hurdle was to figure out where to start. We've seen devices come and go that let you use alternate input devices on the Xbox. Of course, there was the SmartJoy FRAG (SJF) for the Xbox, and now the XFPS 360 for the Xbox 360. Both these devices enable gaming using a mouse and keyboard with various levels of success. I own both of these devices and I can tell you that the SJF worked well on the Xbox (all my time with the device was spent on Halo 2). It was far from perfect, but, it was workable. As for the XFPS, that's a different story. It's performance is horrific (not to mention its hefty price tag). A lot of "SJF people" like me bought this device only to be very disappointed.
One redeeming trait of the XFPS is that it can also accept Playstation 2 controllers. It turns out that it does the translation to Xbox 360 very well. The XFPS also has another important feature: it circumvents the Xbox 360s security which prohibits 3rd parties from creating alternate input devices. Because of this, I decided to take my XFPS (which, at this point was collecting dust) and use it in my project.

His next hurdle was figuring out a way to translate signals from the PC into something that the PS2 module on the XFPS could use and relay to the Xbox 360.  Fortunately for him, documentation of the PS2 controller protocol was fairly well documented and he was able to find the information he needed (http://www.gamesx.com/controldata/psxcont/psxcont.htm).  Here's a bit more of the technical breakdown from his blog:

Quote from: OBsIV
It turns out that the PS2 protocol is very similar to the standard Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) (4-wire Master/Slave) that many microcontrollers support in hardware. It's not exact though. The PS2 protocol includes an controller-side acknowledgement (ACK) signal and it delivers bits in reverse relative to SPI. There was another issue too: the XFPS itself is emulating a PS2 console so, there may be slight differences in how it implements the protocol. Despite all these differences, I decided to go down the SPI route, and, I was glad it did.

OBsIV found Silicon Labs' Toolstick which offered a fairly cheap performance to dollar ratio and was sufficiently powerful enough to handle the tasks he was going to throw at it.  In short, what the toolstick or XIM1 did, was establish an interface between the PC and PS2 port on the XFPS.  On one end was the USB cable and on the other end he soldered the wires from a PS2 extension cord.  The result was a cheap microprocessor and SPI inteface capable of receiving PC input and relaying these signals along the SPI interface to the PS2 port of the XFPS.

The PC's Role:

OBsIV has a great explanation for why the inclusion of the PC was so integral in making XIM 1 as functional as it is:

Quote from: OBsIV
The requirement of a PC could be considered pretty "heavy-weight". Even though an underpowered PC is good enough, we are still talking about gaming on a console after all. But, the PC in the overall XIM-equation is a vital piece of the puzzle for a few reasons:
1) The ability to interface with just about any input device
As I mentioned before, the system can interface with any input device that the PC supports. Given that the Wiimote is a standard Bluetooth HID (Human Interface Device), existing OS interfaces could be used access the device.
2) The ability to model complex input translation "profiles"
Input translation is how input from the Wiimote is ultimately converted to input to the Xbox 360. The more I worked on this project, the more I realized that a "one-size-fits-all" solution just isn't enough.
Games for the Xbox 360 are simply not designed for anything other than a dual-analog game pad configuration and it differs per-game. First Person Shooter games are especially difficult due to extensive "aim assist" features (in the form of look acceleration and auto-aim) to make aiming with your thumb possible. These assist features make simplistic translations result in a mediocre play experience (i.e. "jumpy reticule") when using a Wiimote or mouse.
Every combination of game and input device truly requires a different (potentially complex) translation method (i.e. "profile") for best experience. My first profile is Halo 2 played with the Wiimote.
3) Shareable input translation profiles
It wasn't easy building a good translation profile between the Wiimote and Halo 2 on the Xbox 360. Since I'm using a PC, I could share the profile with someone else by publishing it online.

As luck would have it his personal project exploded through the forums at the time and OBsIV released instructions on how to build one's own XIM as well as the necessary software in his blog post on September 28, 2007:  


I highly recommend reading this for anyone who is interested in the project and how it works.


There are now better, cheaper alternatives to the XFPS for use with XIM1.  For more information search the forums and google for 'xconverter 360' and 'blazepro'.


As with just about any product, there are always room for improvements.  XIM 1 was a prime example of how much better mouse and keyboard support could be over its predecessor the XFPS.  However, in chosing to keep the XFPS as part of the equation, XIM 1 was inherently constrained by the XFPS's limitations.  The XFPS equation included a small noticeable amount of input lag.  NOTE: This input lag is remedied with a better adapter (blazepro or xconverter).  The goal with XIM 2 was to eliminate the XFPS from the equation.  This meant going straight into the controller hardware itself to avoid having to crack the console's security with input peripherals.

Unlike the XIM 1 project, there exists very little documentation as to the work behind the scenes in the creation of the XIM 2 chip.  We do know that derektm, OBsIV, and OMGsus worked to determine which points in the controller were responsible for their corresponding button inputs as well as implementing DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters) into the chip design so as to maintain full functionality of the analog sticks and their trigger counterparts.  OBsIV also dramatically improved the software performance of XIM 2 with better translation logic.

This simple diagram breaks down the connection between your PC, XIM 2 and the Xbox 360:

Picture of the XIM 2 Revision B chip installed in a controller:

This is a picture of the original XIM 2 prototype chip, also called Revision A:

XIMFlex or XFlex

Many users come to the forum having heard about XIM 2 or read about XIM 2 and then see posts relating to XFlex.  From a functionality standpoint these two things are IDENTICAL.  However the PCB work is not the same.  XFlex is a new solution to expedite and simplify the installation process so that more units can be built in less time.  To the consumer there will be no difference as to whether you have an original XIM 2 chip or an XFlex installed in your controller.  It's simply a logistical decision made on behalf of the XIM development team to implement this updated design.  If anything, those of you who have a XIM 2 Revision B chip installed in your controller have a more exclusive and rare chip since only a few hundred were produced and sold.  The majority of XIM 2s available on the market will contain the XFlex revision of the XIM 2 chip.

Xflex installed:

For those interested, the original installation guide for the XIM 2 chip can be found here:

Installation & Setup

At the time of this writing XIM 2s will no longer be offered as DIY kit, therefore an installation guide for the chip is no longer necessary or relevant.  I did include a link to the old guide for those of you who may feel a bit nostalgic or curious as to the prior installation process.

We do, however, still need to install the XIM software and drivers.  This essential package can be found here:

Note: Some people are experiencing issues with XIM2 because they are connecting their USB cables through a hub.  DO NOT USE A HUB DURING INSTALLATION.  Connect both cables directly to your computer's USB ports (these are ports wired straight to your motherboard).

Installation is fairly straight forward.  To make things easier I recommend plugging in the gray Xbox 360 controller cable into an available USB port.  Windows will automatically locate and install the driver software.  Once that's finished and the controller driver is successfully installed run the installation program and follow the instructions.  When the time is appropriate, the installer will prompt you to connect BOTH cables to your PC (Xbox 360 and the XIM 2's USB cable) so plug them in and let it go to work.  This is necessary in order to calibrate your chip and controller in order for the translation logic to function correctly.  Failure to perform this step will have a significant effect on in-game performance with your XIM 2.  

After software installation is complete you will need to create a configuration file for the game you want to play.  A section of the forums is dedicated to helping people create configuration files that suit their playing styles:

nickstudy also created a great thread that explains the various elements of a configuration that are integral to good performance:

This tool, XIMTweak may also come in handy when creating your configuration (download on 3rd page):

Here's a brief rundown from OBsIV's blog about the various elements of a configuration file:

Quote from: OBsIV
DeadZone: All games have a threshold where stick movement isn’t registered until it reaches a certain point. This value makes it so that the smallest mouse change will result in on-screen movement. (More on this later.)
DeadZone Type: The shape of the dead zone (Circular or Square). (More on this later.)
YXRatio: The ratio between Y and X movement for games that don’t have independent adjustable X/Y sensitivity. For example, 2.0 means Y movement should be twice as much as the equivalent X movement.
TranslationExponent:  When converting mouse movement to stick, this value allows you to do more than just a simple linear conversion. An exponential translation helps alleviate some of the acceleration that is there for controllers.
SensitivityPrimary: Movement sensitivity multiplier. This combined with the YXRatio provides any combination of X/Y sensitivity.
SensitivitySecondary: A second sensitivity value (typically higher than the primary). When activated, can be used for less-sensitive, non-aiming actions (such as driving vehicles).
SensitivityToggle: The button to use to activate the secondary sensitivity.
Smoothness: Smooths out sudden movement by moving to the next translation position over time. The more smoothness results in a less jerky, but “heavier” moving reticule.

OBsIV also explains the significance of the dead zone for those of you not familiar with it:

Quote from: OBsIV
Dead zone is something that most gamers don't realize exists, but, is a very important part gaming when using a controller. A dead zone is the area of stick positioning that doesn't register as actual movement within the game. Without it, the reticule would constantly drift as thumbsticks generally never settle to a rest position (and where they do stop is typically different every time). Resting your thumb on the stick also constantly moves it slightly off center.
Where dead zone is necessary for thumbsticks, it is terrible for mice. Mice don't have the same rest-position problems as thumbsticks and the slightest movement is tracked by a mouse. At a minimum, a constant value needs to be added to any mouse movement that occurs to compensate for the dead zone. Otherwise, small movements wouldn't register and your movement will constantly "stall" if you aren't moving the mouse fast enough. Mouse and keyboard adapter devices like the SmartJoy FRAG (SJF) have this dead zone setting, whereas, the XFPS's mouse and keyboard feature does not. The XIM MK profile, of course, has this dead zone setting as well. But, it goes beyond this with allowing you to customize the shape of the dead zone too.

That pretty much covers XIM 2.  One cable goes from the chip to your PC, the other from the controller to your Xbox 360.  You can play on any screen that hooks up to your Xbox 360 no matter what size or resolution.  The necessary components to make it work are the XIM 2 Chip installed within an Xbox 360 wired controller, an Xbox 360, a PC with the XIM software installed, some sort of monitor or TV, and your favorite PC gaming peripherals.  

Why Wired?

One final note to the XIM 2 design...Many have asked as to why the chip must be installed in a WIRED controller as opposed to a WIRELESS controller.  There are several reasons behind this decision and maybe more that I'm not aware of.  The first is the concern with proper voltage and amperage being provided to the chip.  As of now, the chip draws it's power from the Xbox 360 Controller's supply from the USB line.  Whether the wireless controller could provide the steady and appropriate amount of power is something I cannot answer.  In addition, wired controllers are cheaper to purchase and the PCB layout is different enough from the wireless design that the XFlex PCB would not work if installed into a wireless controller.  Plus, would it really be that advantageous to have a wireless controller?  You'd still have to plug it into your PC in order to facilitate communication between the XIM 2 chip and your computer.
« Last Edit: 06:03 PM - 12/02/09 by tweak »

Offline tweak

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I had to split this up into two posts because I hit the 20,000 character maximum.  Oops!  ;)


If there are still questions remaining about XIM and XIM 2 here's your place for answers.

When will it be available?
XIM360s are not currently available.  See here for the most up to date information: http://xim3.com/community/index.php?topic=3769.0

Alternatively, customers will now have the opportunity to send a compatible controller in for modification. See the link above for more details.

How much will it cost?
$189.95 including shipping.  International buyers have increased shipping charges and thus pay $204.95.

Why is it so expensive?
There are A LOT of factors to consider when you look at the price tag.  First consider how much the components cost.  I'm estimating the XFlex chip to cost roughly $70 considering the technology and the price of the previous chips.  Then throw in another $40 for the wired controller.  You're already up to $110.  Now you also have to consider that shipping is included and the unit is warrantied by the XIM team.  If your unit malfunctions they'll fix it for you (barring foolish user error).  So that takes the price up to $130 if we're being completely honest.  The remaining cost is installation and overhead.  Consider that this project is not for profit.  OBsIV, as far as I know, makes nothing on this.  Derek will get a small portion for his time spent building the units.  So that leaves hundreds if not thousands of dollars unaccounted for when you consider how much time and money has been spent by the devs with prototypes and mishaps along the way.  They need to recoup their costs as well, it's only fair.  This isn't Microsoft or Sony, they can't sell the XIMs at a loss for months and years with the hopes that hardware costs will fall and software sales will keep them afloat.  If you still feel the price is unfair don't purchase one.

I  read  the creator doesnt get any money. yea rite these r expensive. hes probably rich laffin at you fools who r thinkin hes doin it for free.
First, you're a @#$% idiot for not being able to spell correctly, use proper punctuation, or use proper grammar.  Secondly, it's true.  OBsIV has not earned a dime on this project.  Prior to the current third party involved, things were done at cost with any proceeds being used exclusively for future development.  Since the third party is building and selling the units now, it receives all revenue.

Why isn't there a DIY option?
A couple of factors were involved with this decision.  First, XIM 2 was never meant to be sold for profit.  Certain individuals ignored this and sought massive profits on certain auction sites.  This just isn't acceptable behavior.  Secondly, the nature of the XFlex design doesn't allow for an easy testing platform to confirm that the chips are entirely functional (yes, there are always a few failures in a given batch).  You wouldn't want to receive a dead chip would you?  Additionally, having the team install the chip enables them to offer the warranty because they are fully accountable for your XIM install.  The XIM team can't be held accountable for you if your installation were to fail.  All in all, not offering a DIY option saves them a lot of headaches and understandably so.

How is XFlex different from XIM 2?
Functionally speaking, it isn't.  If you go back and read above there's more information about XFlex under the XIM 2 chapter.

What if I want to use my PS2 controller with my Xbox 360?
That's kinda what the XFPS can do already and it's really not what XIM 2 is designed for.  Having said that, if you do manage to connect your PS2 controller to your PC and it's fully recognized and functional in Windows then I see no reason as to why it wouldn't work on your Xbox 360.  The real question is why would you want to do this?

Can I use my wired headset?
Yes!  With XIM 2 you can use your wired headset.  This wasn't possible with XIM 1.

Do I have to use certain keys on my keyboard or a certain mouse?
No!  The XIM software is totally customizable for just about any type of input you would like to use.  Feel free to map whatever keys you would like or throw in a joystick for some fun.  Many of us like to use specialized gamepads like the Saitek Cyborg Command Unit which has an analog stick similar to what you would find on a controller in addition to many programmable keys.  Mix and match, do whatever you like.  The options are virtually limitless.

Does this work on a Mac?
There is no native software to run XIM in OS X.  However if you have an Intel powered Mac you have a few options.  The first option is to run VMWare Fusion which emulates a Windows environment.  I've tested this personally and it didn't work too well.  If your mouse movement causes the emulated Windows environment to lose focus while XIM is running, translation will be canceled and your in-game movement will no longer work until you restart the program.  The second and best method is to run boot camp.  It creates a Windows partition on your hard drive and allows you to dual boot OS X and Windows.  Running Windows this way ensures that you won't have any issues losing focus to an external operating system.  

What about the console's security?  Are you breaking it?
Nope.  The XFPS did circumvent it, but the XIM 2 does not.  By installing it inside the controller there's no need to since it is an authorized device.

Isn't this cheating...?
From a design standpoint, no. XIM 2 doesn't allow you to do anything you couldn't do with a controller.  For more on this read the chapter on Cheating (below).

If I buy a XIM 2 Prebuilt, do I need anything else?
No.  As long as you already have everything you need to game connected to your computer (by that I mean a keyboard and mouse) then you don't need to purchase anything else to play.

What versions of Windows will this work with?
Currently the software runs perfectly on Windows XP both 32- and 64-bit versions as well as Windows Vista 32- and 64-bit versions.  I have also tested it with the Windows 7 32-bit version and nickstudy has confirmed that it works with the 64-bit version as well.  I don't believe it works with anything prior to Windows XP, but I could be wrong and this will be corrected if I am.

What are the minimum system requirements?
Basically if you can run XP you can run the XIM software.  Not much is needed to power this, so you really don't need to be concerned that your machine won't be able to handle the software.

How well does this work with (insert game title here)?
That all depends.  Check the configuration section to see if someone has posted any configs for that game.  XIM works best with FPS style games but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it with other titles.  My suspicion is that you're looking to buy it for playing FPS titles and if that's the case it's worth buying.  Most titles perform very well with many people reporting that it feels almost exactly like playing on the PC.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wouldn't have my 50 in Halo 3 without it.  You be the judge.

Does this need to be connected to my PC every time I use it?
Yes, the PC is integral in XIM 2's functionality.  Your PC runs the software responsible for translating mouse and keyboard input into something understandable that the XIM 2 chip can relay to your controller and subsequently the Xbox 360.  Without the PC this wouldn't be possible.

When is there going to be a XIM 3?
For all information regarding XIM3, please see OBsIV's developer blog here: http://xim3.com/community/index.php?topic=3819.0

What about the next Xbox?  Will this work with it then?
The Xbox 360 will last at least another 5 years before a new console takes its place.  There's no way of knowing whether current peripherals will be backwards compatible.  And 5 years is a long time.  There will be plenty of great games to enjoy with your XIM 2 between now and then.

Is XIM 2 really that much better than XIM 1?
In short, yes.  Why?  Well the translation logic is significantly improved in XIM 2.  Also the elimination of the XFPS means there is 0 input lag.  With XIM 1 you can feel the delay between a button press and on screen action.  This lag doesn't exist with XIM 2.  The best way to appreciate XIM 2 is to play with it for a day or two and then try using XIM 1 again.  You'll be amazed at how much better it performs.

My XIM2 is behaving strangely/Driver issues & Windows 7/Vista x64
Your configuration file (XIMCalibrate.ini) which is located in %systemroot%/Program Files/XIM 360 by default is a vital component to having a properly functioning XIM.  If it is not properly calibrated you may experience weird issues with mouse translation resulting in a funky feel on screen or complete chaos all together.  Visit this thread for some more details:

Update - The best method for using XIM in a 64-bit environment is by following these instructions:

How do I eliminate mouse acceleration or change its USB polling rate?
Mouse acceleration native to windows and third party mouse software (like Logitech's Setpoint) can have a severe negative impact on performance with XIM.  It's highly recommended that you turn off mouse acceleration from within Setpoint.  Furthermore if you would like to eliminate all mouse acceleration from Windows, download the CPL Mouse Fix from the link below.

If you want to change your mouse's USB polling rate (to reduce input lag--mostly for older or cheaper mice that run at less than 500 Hz) follow the link below:


My analog sticks/triggers aren't working! (XIM2)
Your analog sticks and triggers won't work unless the XIM USB cable is connected to your computer and the XIM software is running.  

My question isn't on here...where should I ask?
If it's a thoughtful question that hasn't been answered in the FAQ or elsewhere in this guide then please post it in the appropriate section.  If it's something that I feel will be helpful to the community I'll update this section.  Feel free to PM me with any questions as well and I will try to help as much as possible.  You could also stop by the IRC channel (details on that are near the top of the page and scrolls periodically).

Why are you such a jerk sometimes?
I get tired of answering the same questions over and over and yet I still want to be helpful.  That's why I made this guide.


Juncti this section is for you.

The Notion of Cheating

A LOT of people who are hesitant about XIM come to the forums or blast the device on another forum or blog because they feel that using XIM is cheating.  I would like to address those concerns as best as I can.

Consider me biased if you will but based on the way XIM was designed and the software that was written for it I cannot label this device as one that promotes cheating in any way.  When analyzing how the device performs one must consider that it works within the confines of a normal Xbox 360 Controller.  It is therefore inherently restricted by what the controller is capable of doing.  These controllers do not have rapid fire or any pre-programmed macros.  You push a button, move a stick, or pull a trigger and its assigned function is performed on screen.  XIM simply takes this capability and remaps it to alternative devices such as a mouse and keyboard.  

"But aiming is more accurate with a mouse than with an analog stick..."  Yes and no, I guess it depends on who you are.  I'm sure everyone who's interested in XIM has at one point and time been completely out gunned by a random 9 year old kid on Xbox Live.  Was that kid using an analog stick?  Yep.  Some of us learned to play games on a console and thus adapt to the controls of an analog stick.  Some of us learned on a PC with a mouse.  To say that a mouse user will always be better than an analog stick user is unsubstantiated.  Until there are real world studies that prove that a mouse player is better than a controller player this argument simply cannot carry any weight in the cheating debate.  For now it's a matter of preference.  Plus, you must consider that we are still working within the confines of the analog input of the controller.  The mouse translation is not the equivalent to what it would be in a PC game.  While excellent, it still has its flaws and one must take this into consideration.

It's also important to question how level the playing field is.  Aceright started a good thread about this here:

If online gaming were a truly controlled environment then perhaps altering the method of input between controller and XIM could possibly be considered an unfair advantage.  There are simply too many factors involved to consider it a cheating device.  Things like lag and screen size have substantial effect on how one's gaming experience can be.  

Intent is as an important factor as any other.  OBsIV created this for those incapable of using a controller effectively.  Video games are meant to be enjoyed and the method of input has a massive impact on how much one can enjoy them.  If using a XIM makes the game more fun then it has served its purpose.  Some may try to exploit the device in other ways.  This is neither condoned nor endorsed by the XIM community or its developers.  If you feel the need to use XIM in an unfair way, please do it in an arena that won't affect our ability to enjoy the games we love.

Additionally, there are now a number of XIM users throughout the community who are able to play games again because of XIM.  Would you called a disabled veteran from Afghanistan a cheater because it allows him to play his Xbox again because he doesn't have to grip a controller to play?

OBsIV didn't create the device with the intention for using it as a way to cheat in games.

However, there are people out there who buy it with that intention.

Many of us, I believe, do
not use it to gain an unfair advantage.

I hope that you have found this guide useful.  If you'd like to see updates or changes feel free to PM me and I'll answer or update this guide.

Thanks to the XIM team for a great device!
« Last Edit: 03:11 AM - 12/17/09 by tweak »