Gamepad Input

MonoGame handles gamepad input in a similar fashion to Keyboard and Mouse input. For example, there is a static GamePad class and a GamePadState struct.

Player Indices

However, XNA was originally designed to work with the XBox 360, which supported up to four players connected through XBox 360 gamepads. Thus, instead of using GamePad.GetState() we would use GamePad.GetState(PlayerIndex playerIndex), where the PlayerIndex enumeration value corresponded to which player’s gamepad we wanted to poll.

However, MonoGame can (in theory) support more than four gamepads, so it also added a GamePad.GetState(int index). You can find out how many gamepads are supported on your system with the property GamePad.MaxiumumGamePadCount.

Thus, to get the first gamepad’s state, we would:

    GamePadState currentGamePadState;
    GamePadState priorGamePadState;

    public override void Update(GameTime gameTime) 
        priorGamePadState = currentGamePadState;
        currentGamePadState = GamePad.GetState(1);

        // TODO: Add your update logic here 


GamePad Capabilities and Types

Also, the XBox controller had a standardized number of buttons and triggers, but MonoGame supports a wider variety of gamepads. You can check the capabilities of any connected pad with GamePad.GetCapabilities(int index), which returns a GamePadCapabilities struct, i.e.:

GamePadCapabilities capabilities = GamePad.GetCapabilities(1);

The GamePadType property is one of the GamePadType enumeration values, which include options like the various Rock band/Guitar hero instruments, dance pads, arcade sticks, flight sticks, and wheels. Note that each of these types still provide their input through standard button and axis properties.

The various other properties of the GamePadCapabilities are booleans corresponding to different types of buttons pads, and sticks. You can see them all listed in the documentation.


The GamePadState is actually implemented as a partial struct, so additional data can be added based on the platform. The various buttons, pads, and sticks are broken out into individual sub-structs.


For example, the GamePadState.Buttons property is a GamePadButtons struct representing the traditional buttons (those that are either pressed or not - A, B, X, Y, Start, Back, Big Button, Left Shoulder, Right Shoulder, Left Stick, Right Stick). As with the mouse buttons we saw before, these are represented using the ButtonState enum. Thus, to determine if the A button is pressed, we would use:

    if(currentGamePadState.Buttons.A == ButtonState.Pressed)
        // A button is pressed

And to determine if the X button was _just pressed this frame:

    if(currentGamePadState.Buttons.X == ButtonState.Pressed 
    && priorGamePadState.Buttons.X == ButtonState.Released)
        // X button was just pressed this frame


The GamePadState.DPad property is a GamePadDPad struct, also composed of ButtonValues for the four directions of the DPad (Up, Down, Left, Right). I.e. to check if the right direction pad button is pressed:

    if(currentGamePadState.DPad.Right == ButtonState.Pressed)
        // Right Dpad button is pressed


The GamePadState.Triggers property is a GamePadTriggers struct representing the two triggers (Left and Right). Unlike other buttons, these measure the travel, or the amount of pull that has been applied to them. Thus, they are represented by a single floating point number between 0 and 1.

To see if the left trigger is pulled back 3/4 of the way, we might use:

    if(currentGameState.Triggers.Left > 0.75)
        // Left Trigger is pulled at least 3/4 of the way back


The GamePadState.Thumbsticks property is a GamePadThumbSticks struct representing the two thumbsticks (Left and Right). These are represented by Vector2 values with the X and Y falling between -1 and 1.

Thus, to get where the right thumbstick is pointing, we might use:

    Vector2 direction = GamePad.Thumbsticks.Right;


The GamePadState also implements convenience functions IsButtonUp(Button button) and IsButtonDown(Button button) that operate like the keyboards’ equivalents.


Many gamepads come equipped with two vibration-inducing motors (left and right). These are exposed through the GamePad.SetVibration(int index, single left, single right) method, where you can set a vibration in either motor using a floating point value between 0 and 1.

Thus, to start vibration in both of player one’s gamepad’s motors at half-strength, you would use:

GamePad.SetVibration(0, 0.5f. 0.5f);

To stop them you would need to send:

GamePad.SetVibration(0, 0, 0);