In decreasing order of frequency of use:
Keyboard + Mouse
Saitek Cyborg X joystick.
When someone got too lazy to translate from the mouse button's index in the array of buttons to a normal counting-style number, I suspectQuote:
When did Mouse 1 become Mouse 0?
I use a Logitech F310, Razer Hydra, and Razer Onza
A lovely Logitech K120, because I love the feel and sound of it when typing.
The mice that came with this wireless keyboard. I hate wireless keyboards, because when the battery turns low, everything turns to shit.
Gamepad; went from two Saitek P220 (for emulation, six face buttons and 2 shoulder buttons are perfect) to the excellent Logitech Rumblepad 2. Which I supplemented later with one of those XBox 360 Controllers, because AssCreed and Mirrors Edge had issues with the Rumblepad. Fair deal though, I love the 360 controller.
Joystick: Saitek Cyborg Evo Force, though I almost always autopilot my 6+ hour journeys in FSX.
And back in my laptopdays, I also had a Nostromo n52, though that is gathering dust right now.
In recent years I've come to accept that the PC has become a neglected platform by major publishers, and if I want to play their second-rate ports, a gamepad is a necessary tool.
I've got RSI in my wrist so I use a vertical mouse (Evoluent - I swear by it) but still prefer to use M+K though I definitely find an Xbox controller more comfortable to use, for games designed to be played with them - I wouldn't FPS with a gamepad fr'instance.
Also got a M'soft sidewinder, largely superseded with a Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas set-up for X3 and other sims.
Why don't we actually keep that discussion out of this particular thread.
On the topic of fps and gamepad, I did play Dear Esther with one. Since you don't shoot at anything (or interact with anything at all :P), the lack of quick precision was a non-issue, and I rather liked the smoother movements. It is after all a game about beautiful vistas and mysterious caves.
I have recently been looking into controllers and combinations of controllers with high analog axis count for playing Descent-like games, and I have to say the options do not look so great. There is professional equipment like 3dconnexion's gear, there's the Hydra, hacked Wiimotes, etc. Even HOTAS setups tend to have surprisingly few axis constantly available.
I've got a 360 controller to supplement my keyboard and mouse.
Also got a Logitech joystick but it's currently gathering dust at home, planning to take it with me next time I'm there so I can play some of the excellent looking Freespace mods that have come out.
I still fondly remember (but no longer own) my first joystick, a simple two axis, two button affair.
I've got the cheapest mouse and keyboard I could get. And recently bought a 360 Pad.
I'm looking forward to buying a joystick on the next months (likely un December) and am thinking of the Cyborg X. Any other recommendation? note that I wont spend more than 35€.
Keyboard: Cherry G83
Back in the day the keyboard was my primary input device. GTA1,2, Mechwarrior2(no mouse), Re-volt, 1nsane, and later alot of MultiTheftAuto racing.
I have grown very accoustomed to the standard cherry keyboard after 15 years now.
Mouse: Razer Abyssus (removed the LED)
Nothing fancy. I like cheap light mice.
Gamepad: XBox360 wired
Because it is the standard for PC now. GTA4, Lunar Flight, Off Road Drive.
Also for my flight games IL-2 Sturmovik, Aerofly, FSX.
Wheel: Saitek R220 (R440/660 suck)
I love this thing. Digital, without Force Feedback. ---->high precision
Great for Richard Burns Rally, Live for Speed, NetKar, GTR1, Rfactor.
But I'm getting too lazy (dis)mounting it to my desk, and I'm using gamepad more and more.
I had a TrackIR4 for a while but I sold it. Too nerdy for me, and I'm not a hardcore flight simmer.
For flight sims it is amazing though.
My dream wheel: ECCI Trackstar 6000http://www.ecci6000.com/6000/6006Proto_6.jpg
Arcade, for certain. I'm thinking of space sims, mechwarrior and the likes.
Well space sims are sort of flight with the thrust and all.
And Mechwarrior has thrust too.
Razer had a recent Mechwarrior Online protoype:
If the biggest diference between a more flight-oriented Stick and a mor Arcade Stick is thrust then I guess flight it is. Any good one that's not more than 35€ and has force feedback? that's my main aprehension on the Cyborg X.
And that thing is beautiful.
I dont have much experience with different flight sticks. But I had that Saitek Cyborg! for a short time. I couldn't get used to it (IL-2 Sturmovik) and gave it away. Dont remember it that much anymore, sry.
I highly doubt you will get good FF at 35€. I had a wheel at that price with FF, and the bad FF did more bad than good.
Well, knowing that I'm most likely to get bad FF at that price is already a great deal of help, now I know I shouldn't want it that much, so thanks.
I use a logitech K120 and some cheap, bog standard mouse from novatech.
KB/M for first person perspective, although I play skyrim with an XBOX 360 pad (its just more comfortable over long periods). I use the direction keys in FPS with the mouse in my left hand, feels pretty cramped sometimes and I've yet to find a key binding that places jump and crouch in a convenient place. Moving house next week and getting a new desk so that should solve some of the space issues.
Generally use a pad for everything else, obviously barring RTS.
Does a proper gaming mouse actually improve performance? The only game I play online with any real conviction is BF3, and I'm quite happy with how I do. I assume the players that are getting the highest scores whilst being better than me also use 'gaming' inputs.
My tale of peripherals is one of using completely overspecced devices for what I'm actually doing. I get a new toy, I use all the advanced things it can do and over time I end up dropping them bit by bit until I'm only doing the basics with it, just like I did on the simple peripheral it replaced.
I used a logitech MX revolution for a long time and loved the extra rocker on the thumb. The primary use ended up being volume but it's an otherwise empty part of the mouse that I wish more mice would copy. Sadly, when I moved last the wireless stopped being reliable for quick movements and I had to switch back to a wired mouse. I'm now using a G9X (cheap because it was Call of Duty branded) and I don't do lots of the things I could do with it. I set the weights to what I wanted and forgot all about the feature. I picked the shell I wanted and forgot all about the feature. I changed the sensitivity buttons into volume buttons and forgot about the feature. I do like the feel of it, I just don't think I'm really taking advantage of all it could do.
Similarly, I have a G15 keyboard and now don't use any of the functions or macros. The screen is either a clock, the current music or a list of who's talking on voice chat. Again, completely overspecced for what I've ended up doing.
The last move of apartment also meant a change of desk and chair, which has made it nearly impossible to use my wheel (Logitech G25) at my PC. I got a wheel stand to use it on my sofa but getting the PC connected to the TV requires more cables and extra cards than I want to spend at the moment, so PC racing sims are basically out of the question. A good wheel with pedals was definitely worthwhile and I highly recommend it to anyone who plays more car games than just arcade racers. I still think the wheel sucks for anything vaguely arcade as I have to saw it back and forth, destroying my arms.
My joystick (an old Cyborg) is abandoned because of a lack of games I want to play. I have some fun memories of games played with it but any recent game that I might have considered a joystick for has been easier with a pad. I guess I don't play many flight sims now and nobody seems to make space sims. Luckily I've managed to resist getting a newer joystick with separate throttle controller, though I came close quite a few times.
My pad (360 wired) is a frequent companion and I couldn't go back to not having a pad available. I don't think it's because of terrible ports, I think some games just work better when you have an analogue input. Sometimes I don't need 30 keys and a cursor to hand. Games for Windows is great for making so many games work out of the box with a 360 pad with sensible binds and prompts changed to reflect my buttons. I don't miss old pads where I had to go bind the keys and remember which button was 'button 7' when I looked back at the bindings again later.