Add tactile feedback to your iPad using the Fling joystick

By , Jul 6, 2013

Fling iPad

A child of the console revolution, there is nothing better than tactile feedback when gaming. None of these new age children know the feeling of a Game Boy D-Pad. Instead they are stuck with slick screened iPod touches, where the most tactile feedback they will feel is the orange peel rubberized drag of a ZAGG invisibleSHIELD. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of iOS gaming, but there is just something more than nostalgic about tactile feedback.

Some day, not in the near future, Apple will finally include haptic feedback in their screens courtesy of a Senseg-like interaction between the screen and electrons on the finger. However, until then, we are stuck. In an effort to match the desires of similar tactile fans, Ten One Design provides the Fling analogue joystick for iOS devices…

Design and function

The Fling package comes with one or two joysticks and a microfiber carrying pouch to keep things tidy. Each joystick has a plastic, coiled design which allows movement within a specific diameter. The coiled arm is twisted into a circular frame with an approximate 1.5″ diameter. The large diameter is great for controls, but can often cover on-screen menus when in menu screens.

Fling Ultraviolet

The coiled design is perfect for feedback, providing just enough resistance to really feel the game as you play it. I spent a while playing Street Fighter IV on my iPad mini. Yes, it is made for iPhone, but the x2 mode is decent. Prior to using the Fling joysticks, I could barely tell where my thumb was on the virtual keyboard. Consequently, performing a combo move like Ryu’s Hadouken spirit Ki attack is nearly impossible. After locking the Fling double suction cups onto my mini, the combo directional attacks became extremely simple.

I did find a particular drawback to using Fling for virtual joysticks. As I mentioned, the diameter of the device is fixed. Therefore, if the virtual joystick on your game is in excess of 1.5″ across, the Fling will not reach the edge of the control area. Virtual joysticks that are not digitally proportional are not usable with Fling, unless it can reach the absolute edge of the directional area on the screen.

Fling Street Fighter

To help control the expectations of users who purchase Fling, there is a compatibility list on the Ten One Design website and a crowd sourced Google doc, where users have posted games for use with the device. When shopping the App Store, certain games also feature a Fling compatible designation in their app description or logo on their screenshots.

When it comes to screen scratches, I did have my reservations. The joystick button is exceptionally smooth, but the plastic is a little less forgiving. There were no scratches on my mini after some rough gameplay, but I am still leery. Coating the bottom of the coil with a microfiber would eliminate the smooth controls, but would offer some protection. Sliding anything across your device screen is always a risk.

Conclusion

At the very reasonable price of $8.99 for one, $13.92 for two, it is a no brainer for avid gamers. If you are a lover of tactile feedback or need extra grip on your virtual joystick, give these a try. As I mentioned, my screen did not suffer any scratches or degradation because of the sticks, but I still want to throw out a word of caution to would-be purchasers.

For those interested in a small option, Ten One Design also sells the Fling mini Dual Pack for iPhone and iPod touch. These are offered for $12.95 and also utilize the dual suction cup and coiled design.

What do you guys think about these joysticks? Has anyone else used them? Give your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • Linton Findlay

    looks pretty good, clever idea. im just hoping that apple create a kinda touchable bezzle so games have more real estate to use

  • Danuel Carr

    Aw man this looks awesome. But right now, Blutrol gives me all the controller possibilities I need and more.

  • Falk M.

    Why waste the money. Wait for iOS7 and then do your considerations.
    Although this will have some general compatibility and when iOS7 lands, this might get cheaper even, as many folks will want full fledged controllers over these. :)

    • Scott

      Full fledged controllers will be way more expensive. I just bought a pair of these for my mini so I will let you all know how they are after I receive them. Overall, a full fledge controller would be better and is in my future eventually.

      • Falk M.

        The point is that many would usually buy these rubber joysticks to replace a controller that would be universally compatible or because they merely heard of them as an option.

        If there were Apple certified controllers, these sure would grab a bunch of those buyers, too, effectively making these rubber sticks sell harder. Guess what you need to do in order to brush up your competitiveness if you lose in the features/quality department: reduce the price! :)

        Because let’s be honest: 13 dollars is quite hefty for a pair of rubber… An eventual 30$ controller seems much more plausible, even though the price is higher.

  • Dani Hayes

    A good option if you’re not jailbroken.

  • Gorgonphone

    These crappy things never work right am just glad that ios 7 has control apis open

  • smtp25

    welcome to about 2++ years ago, and they don’t scratch your screen because you have a screen protector on

  • Yasser Kaskas

    I got em about a year ago. They do the trick but can be a bit uncomfortable because when ur constantly moving, ur constantly pushing against the coil which can get uncomfortable after a while on games like Modern Combat. But I do think its the best option for physical controls.

  • Hugh Jassol

    I’ve used this fling joystick (& a Flyfish joystick w/ suction buttons) for over a year. It works better than expected but it has some minor issues.

    - It scratches your screen over time (but that is to be expected).
    - sometimes the joystick will get “stuck” or “jittery” due to friction between the joystick pad base/screen and the amount of pressure you apply.
    - the clear plastic ring & suction cups turned yellow.

    It does the job but I obviously prefer using a physical controller with blutrol or even my iCade over these suction joysticks. Any type of joystick/controller is better than using nothing though. ;)

  • http://mikelightman.com/blog mikelite

    Wow, did this post get stuck in the draft folder from 2010? ;) One thing to note – these guys do NOT work with screen protectors. They just stick & refuse to move.