If guests are having issues controlling when in Parsec, here are some things to try. Note that if the host is having issues controlling outside of Parsec, it's not a Parsec issue.
Keyboard and mouse issues
Arcade does not give guests an actual keyboard or mouse. The guest's keyboard has a specific set of keys (shown below) that will act like a controller on the host, and the mouse has no function at all.
If the guests are having issues controlling with the keyboard on Arcade even using the correct keys shown above, look into the "Controller issues" part of this article instead. If you want guests to use the actual keyboard and mouse, use desktop sharing at the Computers tab.
If one player is on keyboard and the other on controller, some games like Cuphead require the person on keyboard to join the game first, instead of the controller first.
If multiple people are using the keyboard or mouse, note that, unlike controllers, all keyboards and mouses are seen as one, because Windows and the game can't tell which belongs to who.
Some games (like Overcooked) let you use different keys for each player (e.g. player 1 uses WASD, player 2 uses arrows). It's not very common, but you can check the settings for your game to see if it allows for it.
If you absolutely must, you can check a tutorial on how to emulate a controller using the keyboard.
The host needs to give permission by clicking the profile picture of the people connected at the bottom of Parsec.
Parsec could be lacking permission. The person hosting should see this article. If that is not the case and you're playing a game with an anti-cheat, it might be blocking Parsec's inputs.
Some games are confirmed to have issues, like Valorant (anti-cheat), Resident Evil 7 and Mortal Kombat X.
Some games will require you to do additional steps in order to split the controls. Keep in mind that if your game doesn't actually have a split-screen mode, you can't do anything about it.
- Enter the Gungeon: You need to talk to the purple Cultist in the hub to enable coop
- A Hat in Time: You need to enable coop in the pause menu
- Cuphead: If one person is playing on keyboard, they must be the one that joins the game first, instead of the person with the controller joining first
- Emulators: Make sure you haven't misconfigured the emulator. Everyone's controllers may be going to the same port in the console being emulated. If you've configured the emulator correctly, then there may be additional actions in-game just like the games listed above
As long as the inputs are working, Parsec is passing the controller, and it's up to your game/emulator to use them properly. Parsec's controllers don't do anything special, and they work as if an ordinary xbox controller was plugged on the host via USB. If you're confused about how to configure your game/emulator or whether the game has multiplayer, look it up online.
To check whether the problem is actually Parsec, instead of just the game, the person hosting the game needs to follow the instructions below.
- Open gamepad-tester.com on the host computer
- Do the following on the host, depending on where the game is being hosted:
- Arcade: Keep both the game and browser visible in the screen, and click on the game so that Parsec can send inputs
- Desktop sharing: If Parsec settings > Approved apps is enabled, approve your internet browser there so that Parsec can send inputs
- Ask the people who are connected to press a lot of buttons, then check if it shows on the website
If the guest controllers work on the website, it means Parsec is passing the controller correctly, and the rest is up to the game/emulator. Most emulators need you to configure the controllers in their settings, and some games require you to enable multiplayer somewhere, or configure it further.
Parsec's controllers are not special and just work as if an ordinary xbox controller was plugged on the host computer via USB. If you're confused about how to configure your game/emulator or whether the game has multiplayer, look it up online.
Some games don't detect controllers that got plugged in after the game was opened. This means if the game is being hosted on Arcade, you might only be able to play it using the Computers tab in that case.
If the guest controllers do not work on the website, chances are the controller is not working properly on the guest, or the drivers on the host are not working properly. Check the things below for potential fixes.
Check that the controller is working on the guest
The guests can go to Settings > Gamepad to check that Parsec recognizes the controller. If it's not showing up, check if the controller is properly plugged in. If the controller isn't working properly on the guest, then Parsec won't see any on the host.
If guests cannot see their controllers in their own settings when plugged in properly, here's what can be attempted depending on their operating system.
Most popular controllers should work just fine, especially Xbox controllers. However, guests can use a program below for non-Xbox controllers that will convert it to Xinput (the Xbox controller API), which should guarantee that it works.
You should be able to use bluetooth Xbox controllers as they are officially supported by Apple. Dualshock 4 should also work just fine. If you're having issues with controllers, generally try it both with bluetooth and USB cables.
Catalina or older
- Catalina and older does not recognize Xinput controllers, so you'll need this driver when trying an xbox controller. If the driver requests security permissions, you must approve them to get the controllers working
- Bluetooth controllers may not work properly. If in doubt, use it with a USB cable
- Dualshock 4 controllers should work out of the box (given you use it with a USB cable)
Controller support on Android is inconsistent due to the large amounts of phone makers offering different levels of compatibility. Your best bet is to update your gamepad firmware (e.g. there was a major firmware update for Xbox One controllers with Bluetooth that improved compatibility with Android). You may also have different results with an OTG cable instead of Bluetooth.
- Xbox controllers will need drivers. The best one we found is xboxdrv (sudo apt-get install xboxdrv)
- Bluetooth connection on Xbox One S controllers will need xpadneo
Controllers on Linux work via evdev, using kernel drivers already on your system. You will likely need a kernel driver to make your controller work, such as;
- xpad or xboxdrv for Xinput
- hid-sony for PS3/PS4
- hid-nintendo for Switch Pro
- hid-playstation for DualSense (PS5)
Reinstall the controller drivers on the host
In case you are certain things are working properly on the guest, the host can reinstall Parsec and restart the computer. That should reinstall the controller drivers, but if that didn't work, the host can also try to install the drivers directly from ViGEmBus' github releases and restart the computer.
Check if you have drivers that conflict with Parsec
On the host, go to Device Manager (Press Windows key + R, type devmgmt.msc, press Enter), and check if you see something named SCP Virtual Bus in the System devices section. This is used for Dualshock 3 controllers, but it may conflict with our drivers. If you have it, try uninstalling it, restart the computer, and test if your issue is fixed.
The guests can go to Settings > Gamepad to remap it.
If things are mapped properly on the guest, the rest is up to how the host's game uses it. If it is not correctly mapped in Parsec's settings and you cannot remap it for whatever reason. Here's what you can look into.
Most popular controllers should work just fine, especially Xbox controllers. However, guests can try using a program for non-Xbox controllers that will convert it to Xinput (the Xbox controller API), which should guarantee that the mapping works properly in case it's not already doing so.
If you're using an xbox controller with the 360Controller driver (for macOS Catalina or older), go to its preferences in System Preferences and turn on "Pretend to be an Xbox 360 Controller" in the advanced tab.
Steam has an option that sets xbox controllers to desktop mode by default, making them act like a mouse and keyboard. Disable it here.
That person may be using a program like DS4Windows or BetterJoy to convert their controller to Xbox, resulting in both the original controller and the converted Xbox controller being detected by Parsec. Ask the person with the issue to look into Parsec's settings > Gamepad and completely unmap one of the detected controllers.
Xbox One S bluetooth controllers are known to get triggers and other buttons stuck sometimes, specifically when they vibrate. To fix this, update the controller's firmware to something above version 4 using the Xbox Accessories app.