Game Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional and independent game developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Can you use the XNA framework to write games for XBox Live Arcade that require Rock Band or Guitar Hero instruments?

share|improve this question
I used to play the guitar hero demo with my controller – Spooks Dec 15 '10 at 13:58
up vote 8 down vote accepted

According to this site (, the Guitar Hero buttons map directly to the standard control on an Xbox 360 controller. Here's what it says (has a video and everything):

10). Determining What's What On The Guitar Controller The controller for Guitar Hero games maps directly to controls on a standard Xbox 360 controller, but It's not immediately obvious what exactly the whammy bar, strum bar, and orange button do. Rather than go hunt for documentation, we can find out by experimentation in less than 5 minutes.
Download WMV (4:45, 14.5 MB)

I haven't watched it, but I have seen other games that used a Guitar Hero controller in XNA. Good luck!

share|improve this answer
This is really great, thanks for teaching me to fish! – Jeremy Wadhams Dec 15 '10 at 5:23

The XNA documentation includes an article that lists how various alternate 360 controllers map to the gamepad buttons and triggers: Using Alternative Input Devices (Xbox 360).

Also, despite the article title, the information applies to PC as well, since those alternate controllers will still appear as the gamepad under XInput on Windows (and therefore to XNA).

share|improve this answer

The short answer is yes-ish. The controllers for the most part just send standard button inputs which is why they can be used in the dashboard. More recent stuff like the Pro Guitar for Rockband3 probably aren't accessible with XNA, but the standard controllers sure.

You should be able to use this older utility to see what maps to what on the controller

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.