Two joysticks on one gameport on Windows XP does not
work properly with any major Commodore 64 emulator (Frodo,
or Atari 2600 emulator (Z26, Stella). The software sees
one of the
joysticks turned left or top almost all the time. (At least turning the
stick right or down is not detected reliably.) There may be also
cross-talk between the joysticks, although the joysticks seem to work
completely in Windows XP's joystick test/calibration window!
The solution is to install the joysticks as one 4-axis joystick, but the run a background software which reads the joystick movements from the 4-axis "joystick" and shows the data as two 2-axis joysticks to other applications. PanuWorld JoyAdapter XP is such program and it is free!
PanuWorld JoyAdapter XP runs in the background and reads the
4-axis primary joystick and updates two virtual joysticks with the
data. Those virtual joysticks may then be used in the programs without
any problems. PanuWorld JoyAdapter XP needs the PPJoy
generating the virtual joysticks.
Note that PPJoy is actually a driver for parallel port
However, JoyAdapter XP uses its great virtual joystick interface only.
PanuWorld JoyAdapter XP needs that your joysticks are connected
normally to the gameport, not to the parallel port (which is, in my
case, already filled with an old Compact Flash reader and printer).
Game Controllers applet shows now three joysticks, one 4-axis and two virtual ones. Legacy applications (like most of the emulators) will see the 4-axis custom joystick as the Joystick #1 and Virtual joystick 1 as Joystick #2. There is nothing to configure in such applications.
In new applications using DirectInput you may select which joysticks to use. Try those same two. However, if the 4-axis, 4-button custom joystick is not working properly as Joystick #1 (e.g. in Commodore 64 emulator VICE) select Virtual joystick 2 instead of the 4-axis joystick (see picture below).
You may not need Virtual joystick 2 at all. In such case you
may remove Virtual joystick 2 in PPJoy configuration utility.
In my case, PanuWorld JoyAdapter XP was a perfect solution. Now I could use both joysticks simultaneously in any Commodore 64 or Atari 2600 emulator. (Currently I prefer Frodo for C64 and Z26 for Atari 2600.)
The instructions described above may look complicated. However, there are only many steps, not so much things to configure. If PanuWorld JoyAdapter XP helped you with your joystick problems, please tell me about it. Tell me also if you find out another ways to utilize JoyAdapter XP!