HIDDevices 2.1.12

Install-Package HIDDevices -Version 2.1.12
dotnet add package HIDDevices --version 2.1.12
<PackageReference Include="HIDDevices" Version="2.1.12" />
For projects that support PackageReference, copy this XML node into the project file to reference the package.
paket add HIDDevices --version 2.1.12
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#r "nuget: HIDDevices, 2.1.12"
#r directive can be used in F# Interactive, C# scripting and .NET Interactive. Copy this into the interactive tool or source code of the script to reference the package.
// Install HIDDevices as a Cake Addin
#addin nuget:?package=HIDDevices&version=2.1.12

// Install HIDDevices as a Cake Tool
#tool nuget:?package=HIDDevices&version=2.1.12
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Description

This library provides a cross-platform service for asynchronously accessing HID devices, such as Gamepads, Joysticks and Multi-axis controllers and programmable button pads. It support Plug & Play, correctly identifying when controllers are added and removed, and Reactive frameworks. It also allows the creation of custom Controller implementations which are matched automatically against devices for easy use.

Important Notes

  • The project is currently based on HIDSharp, but deliberately does not expose any of its library explicitly as it may well be replaced in future.
  • Although the project isn't actively maintained, I do occassionaly refresh the usage tables, and will respond to issues if raised in the issue tracker.
  • As the Usages and UsagePages are auto-generated they can change between versions whenever Integrated Circuits update their code-readable tables. This can cause breaking changes in your own code, so be careful when updating versions of the NuGet. In particular, any time the HID tables are updated, I will update the minor version number (at least). One notable change was from 2.0-2.1, when many of 1-indexed usages were changed to 0-indexed, e.g. ButtonPage.Button1 became ButtonPage.Button0.
  • It appears that the XInput-compatible HID device driver only transmits events from the HID device whilst the current process has a focussed window, so console applications/background services don't appear to work! This is not a bug in this library, although I have been unable to find where this 'feature' is documented. This affects the "Microsoft XBox One for Windows Controller".

Installation

The library is available via NuGet and is delivered via NuGet Package Manager:

Install-Package HIDDevices

If you are targeting .NET Core, use the following command:

dotnet add package 
Install-Package HIDDevices

Usage

There is a sample program included which demonstrates using the library in various scenarios.

Devices

Initialisation

To start monitoring controllers add the following code:

using var devices = new Devices();

Note this instantiates a new instance of the Devices class which immediately starts listening for new HID devices. In practice you should only ever create one of these. The Devices class implements IDisposable for asynchronous disposal, which cleans up all listeners.

Alternatively, the library is fully compatible with Dependency injection frameworks. Register the service as a Singleton (so only one instance is created) using code similar to:

services.AddSingleton<Devices>();
...
var devices = serviceProvider.GetService<Devices>();

Modern DI frameworks should correctly handle instantiation and disposal automatically, as well as suppplying a logger if registered.

Logging

The Devices constructor accepts an ILogger<Devices> for logging, this is normally injected via dependency injection, but an example of a simple logger can be found in the samples - SimpleConsoleLogger.

Detecting changes in devices

The Devices service implements a IObservableCache<Device, string> property which can be subscribed to, to detect add/update/remove events for devices. For more information on IObservableCache<,>, and how to consume them, see DynamicData. e.g.

using var subscription = devices.Connect().Subscribe(changeSet => { ... });

The standard Connect() method retrieves an observable collection of all devices, but does not actually attempt to connect to them; which is useful when you only want to see what is known to the Operating System. However, you can also use the Connected() extension method, which does attempt to establish a working connection to the devices, and only includes devices that are currently connected (whilst they remain connected). As such it is a subset of the observable collection returned by Connect(). A disconnected device is one that is still connected to the system, but to which a connection can not be established by the library. For example, Windows prevents access to Keyboard and Mouse devices, but they are still listed. Devices that are physically disconnected (and hence not seen by the Operating System) will be removed from both collections.

Both methods accept a predicate that can be used to efficiently filter devices to only include those you are interested in, for example:

using var subscription = 
    devices.Connected(
      device => device.UsagesAll(GenericDesktopPage.GamePad &&
                device.ControlUsagesAll(GenericDesktopPage.X, GenericDesktopPage.Y))
    .Subscribe()

This uses the UsagesAll extension method to filter devices that don't implement the GamePad usage, and the ControlUsagesAll extension method to only select devices that have controls that implement all the specified usages (i.e. must have an X and Y axis - which, according to the HID specs, all GamePads are supposed to expose, but there's no guarantee). There are also UsagesAny and ControlUsagesAny extension methods; and DeviceUsages* and ControlUsages* extension methods that can be applied to Devices directly (and are equaivalent to calling Connect(...) with the appropriate delegate).

Supplying a delegate to filter the Connected() extension method is particularly recommended as it prevents unneccessary connection attempts to devices which you are not interested in.

Connecting to a device

Each Device classs implements IObservable<IList<ControlChange>> which can be used to obserbe changes in control values. A connection to the device is not established unless there is at least one subscriber to this interface. There is also an IObservable<bool> ConnectionState property that changes value when the device connects/disconnects; subscribing to the ConnectionState will also ensure that there is a subscription to the main observable - attempting a connection. To see the current connection state, you can use the IsConnected property, which returns the instantaneous value, but doesn't attempt a connection itself. Using the Connected() extension method on the Devices collection will also ensure there is a subscription, and hence connection attempt.

Detecting changes in controls

As mentioned above the Device object implements IObservable<IList<ControlChange>> which returns batches of changes reported by a device when subscribed to. Device also implements IReadOnlyDictionary<Control, ControlChange>, which can be used to find the last observed state of the Device's controls - however this doesn't establish a connection itself, so you should first connect by subscribing to the Device. A control's value is always mapped to a value between 0 and 1, or double.NaN to indicate null. For convenience you can look for control changes across all devices using the ControlChanges extension method. e.g.

using var subscription2 = devices
    // Watch for control changes only
    .ControlChanges()
    .Subscribe(changes =>
    {
        ...
    });

A ControlChange indicates the changed Control, the PreviousValue and the new Value. It also indicates how stale the change is by having Timestamp and, the derived Elapsed properties.

Note: HID devices are not required to report their initial state on connection, and frequently do not. It is common for the device to only report it's entire state the first time it communicate (e.g. on a button press); as such the ControlChange retrieved for a given Control may by a default struct until such a time as an update is received. In such a cash the Timestamp property will be 0 (and so the Elapsed will be Timeout.InfiniteTimeSpan).

Controllers

To make devices easier to consume, the library contains a Controller concept which is effectively a device definition. These are easy to define using attributes (see Gamepad for a complete example).

To create a new Controller definition, extend the Controller class, and, optionally add zero or more DeviceAttribute attributes. The specified DeviceAttributes must be satisfied for a Device to match the controller. DeviceAttributes can specify multiple Usages, all of which must match, or multiple DeviceAttributes can be used to provide alternatives. They can also filter by Product ID, or Version, for example:

// The following controller will match devices that have either the GamePad
// or the Joystick Usage (if the Joystick has a ReleaseNumber starting with '1.').
[Device(GenericDesktopPage.GamePad)]
[Device(GenericDesktopPage.Joystick, ReleaseNumberRegex = "1\\..*")]
public class Joystick : Controller { ... }

In a similar way, you can then indicate properties that you wish to bind to a Device's Control, using the ControlAttribute. Again, multiple usages on the same attribute must all match, but multiple attributes can be specified per property. Where multiple attributes are specified, a weighting can be given to indicate a preference during the matching process (see example below).

If a RequiredAttribute is placed on a Control Property, then a device that does not supply such a property will not be matched to the controller.

Finally, properties can be converted using TypeConverters by specifying a TypeConverterAttribute.

// The following example indicates a required control, that must match the 'GenericDesktopPage.X'.
// It also converts the normal 0->1 range of values to -1->1 using the 'SignedConverter'.
[Control(GenericDesktopPage.X)]
[Required]
[TypeConverter(typeof(SignedConverter))]
public double X => GetValue<double>();

// The following example matches controls with the 'GenericDesktopPage.Select' in preference
// to those with 'ButtonPage.Button6', a match is not required.
// A default converter is registered for booleans already which returns false for values < 0.5.
[Control(GenericDesktopPage.Select, Weight = 2)]
[Control(ButtonPage.Button6)]
public bool Select => GetValue<bool>();

To register a default type converter for control properties, use Controller.RegisterDefaultTypeConverter, e.g.

// Note this registration occurs by default, but can be overriden with your own default converter.
Controller.RegisterDefaultTypeConverter(typeof(bool), BooleanConverter.Instance);

Once a device is matched to a controller it exposes the latest values of the controller via easily accessed properties. Changes can also be observed via the Changes property. To listen for specific controllers from Devices use the Controllers<TController> extension method, e.g.

// Holds a reference to the current gamepad, which is set asynchronously as they are detected.
Gamepad? gamepad = null;
var batch = 0;

// Controller to any gamepads as they are found
using var subscription = devices.Controllers<Gamepad>().Subscribe(g =>
{
    // If we already have a connected gamepad ignore any more.
    // ReSharper disable once AccessToDisposedClosure
    if (gamepad?.IsConnected == true)
    {
        return;
    }

    // Assign this gamepad and connect to it.
    gamepad = g;
    g.Connect();
});

As demonstrated, a Controller doesn't start listening for changes until you call the Connect() method on it.

Usages

For convenience, the full HID Usage tables are exposed and described via the Usages, UsagePages and UsageTypes classes. These can be retrieved either directly using the uint identifier, or using the convenience enums, all of which have the Page suffix, for which implicit casts are available.

// The enums can be cast to a Usage to retrieve full information about the Usage and it's page.
Usage usage = ButtonPage.Button0;
Console.WriteLine($"Usage: {usage.Name}; Page: {usage.Page.Name}");

TODO

  • More documentation, examples
  • Support Output to devices
  • More Tests!
  • Automate NuGet Release notes

Testing status

The following controllers have been tested:

  • Saitek X-52 Pro Flight Control System,
  • Razer Sabertooth Elite
  • Microsoft XBox One for Windows Controller (Note that it appears XInput-compatible HID device driver only transmits events from the HID device whilst the current process has a focussed window, so console applications/background services don't appear to work! This is not a bug in this library.)

The following OS's have been tested:

  • Windows 10 Pro 2004 (19041.330)
  • Windows 11 Pro 21H2 (10.0.22000.194)
  • Ubuntu (limited testing so far)

Please let me know if you've confirmed it as working with other devices/OS's by raising an issue.

Acknowledgements

NuGet packages

This package is not used by any NuGet packages.

GitHub repositories

This package is not used by any popular GitHub repositories.

Version Downloads Last updated
2.1.12 109 10/14/2021
2.0.1 353 11/16/2020
1.2.11 118 10/19/2020
1.2.10 142 10/7/2020
1.2.9 137 10/7/2020
1.2.8 151 10/7/2020
1.2.7 246 7/30/2020
1.2.6 203 7/29/2020
1.2.5 297 7/25/2020
1.2.4 196 7/24/2020
1.2.3 164 7/22/2020
1.2.2 180 7/20/2020
1.2.1 165 7/20/2020
1.1.3 164 7/19/2020
1.1.2 285 7/18/2020

Stable release.