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Hi everyone, this post is just to share ways on how to improve the user experience for the Kunai 3 Gamepad for both the ROG Phone 3 and ROG Phone 5 as it has the potential to be a great controller.
I bought the gamepad primarily to accommodate my emulator needs (PS1, PS2, Gamecube, 3DS, etc) however I found out that the controls does not accommodate physical diagonal inputs on the direction pad (dpad) and the virtual game mapping provided mixed results (accidental button pressing, not acknowledging several inputs, just to name a few). After searching around, I found several methods to address these issues;
Dpad Diagonal Input
Credit must be given to dosmod from Reddit who shared his thorough guidance under the ROG Phone 3 thread; https://www.reddit.com/r/ROGPhone3/comments/lwk1x1/kunai_3_dpad_diagonals_fix_taking_it_apart/
I was optimistic thinking it was a software issue but it turns out to be a hardware issue; the dpad has a plastic support in the middle meant to prevent opposite directions from being pressed which is too tall to allow it to reach buttons beside it (up and right for an example). This involves taking apart the left controller controllers using a Phillips 1 and Phillips 0 screwdriver. As a person who has never taken devices apart before, the fix is actually quite easy. Remove the case using the Phillips 1 screwdriver to unscrew the 4 screws, then pry the case open from the rail side. Next, use the Phillip 0 screwdriver to unscrew all the screws (I think there was like 6 or 7, 4 on top and 3 more at the bottom or something like that) holding the board down. Be sure to check if all screws are unscrewed if you have problems prying out the board but please unscrew carefully as the screw heads can be easily stripped and worn out as it is a poor-quality screw. Once it is all unscrewed, carefully pry the board and analog and take the dpad out. Do be careful to not rip the soldered wires (which is very thin by the way). All you need to do is slightly cut or file (I used a metal file which was way easier and more accurate) the middle portion of the dpad by less than a millimeter to reduce the height of the dpad to allow it to press multiple direction buttons. Once you've finished cutting or filing it (don't cut or file too much), assemble everything back together and try it out. Careful with the lighting strip positioning; it's quite tricky and will not let the board sit flush properly if it is not positioned correctly. It's easier to take photos as you disassemble piece by piece to remember it's original position. I highly recommend this fix due to the low level expertise required, especially when we have already paid a lot for the gamepad and it not fully living up to its full potential
As mentioned, I got mixed results using the Game Genie virtual button mapping for my emulators. After some setting testing, it turns out the key mapping experience is much better using the emulators' own key mapping feature. However not all will detect the Kunai 3 Gamepad and to overcome this issue, all you need to do is remove the emulators from your Armoury Crate game list. You can do this by going to the 'Console' tab at the bottom of the Armoury Crate and choose 'Manage my games' under Game Genie and simply untick the emulator if it is listed under 'Allowed'. The emulators straight away recognised the Kunai 3 Gamepad and I managed map my buttons accordingly with accurate presses. The experience was even better after fixing the dpad diagonal input issue
The key mapping issue may also help address other third party gamepads mapping issues if you have any. Hope this helps anyone having problems with the Kunai 3 Gamepad. Besides the dpad issue and lack of weight and rumble support, it is actually quite a nice gamepad especially with the wireless feature