So RDC was generous enough to sell me his spare prototype and after receiving it today and playing with it for a couple of hours I can categorically say it is everything I could ever possibly ask for in a controller. RDC said that while this project is for all intents and purposes finished he'd be interested to hear some feedback so I thought I'd post some of my early thoughts.
The build quality is superb. I mean, man, the USB port looks like it was always there! Buttons are tight, thumbsticks are tight (they do feel like they travel just a bit further than stock, but they still have just that right amount of tension), triggers are tight, everything feels like it just came out of the package.
The response time is for all intents and purposes identical to a stock controller. You wouldn't know that there is any additional processing going on in this thing at all.
The mapping software install went without a hitch (Win7 64). It's easy to understand and intuitive to program with. It's stable too. The instructions specifically state to leave your PC alone while updating maps but it uploads the maps so quickly (a couple seconds) it's not a hardship in any way. If everyone made software this user friendly the world would be a better place.
RDC incorporated 2 tac switches in the bottom of the thing specifically for macros (I believe you can still program macros on any button you like, including stick clicks and direction pads)), and the software can program those commands easily as well. I haven't messed with them much as I don't generally use macro commands but they are discreet and perfectly located where I rest my middle fingers if I should ever feel I need them.
And of course, there is this thing's bread and butter....full mapping capability. It's no joke. You really can map anything in any way you can possibly imagine. I'm a longtime Legacy thumbstick player (and left handed to boot) and for the first time ever I was able to play Gears Of War tonight without resorting to some weird arthritic hand contortions. It was a godsend. There's a lot of games that I've always wanted to play and wasn't able to but now I'm gonna go on a shopping spree.
Changing maps is quick and easy. I was worried that I was going to be constantly resyncing the controller by accident when I change maps but it's pretty forgiving as long as you don't hold down on the button. LED #4 blinks to let you know which map you're on when you cycle through them. It changes maps instantaneously as well.
All in all I'd be hard pressed to find anything worth complaining about. In fairness, I found exactly one weird thing going on, and that's that the controller never goes to sleep if you leave it sit there. I walked away for an hour while I ate dinner and the thing was still on when I came back. The solution is obvious and wasn't an issue anyway as even after several hours of playing my rechargeable batt is still juiced with 3 bars.
SO I'd like to say, RDC and Jamz, with this I think you guys outdid yourself and made the ultimate controller mod, and my only complaint is that I didn't find out about it sooner. I'm still not sure how I missed this for so long, but better late than never. It's a shame that more people don't have something like this as I could see it being a game changer. I know that there's a couple controllers out there that give you some level of customization but they never feel
like a first party controller, and I've never come across one that has this thing's breadth and depth of tweakability.
So rock on guys. Perhaps we'll see a new version when the next generation of consoles come out?