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Trackmania

Playing Trackmania with the keyboard or the controller

Trackmania is a racing game and as with any game of the genre, you naturally think it's best to play with the controller. However, you see many players using the keyboard and making incredible times. So which peripheral should be preferred? Can you be as good on one as the other?

The whole game is playable with either the keyboard or the controllerBoth methods have their advantages and disadvantages.


Playing the keyboard ⌨️ - Advantages and disadvantages

  • The benefits

It sounds silly, but if you're reading this it's because you probably already have a keyboardNot all players have a controller. Trackamania does not require you to play with a controller, so you don't have to invest in a peripheral to test the game and see if you like it.

Also, the keyboard has a big advantage over the joystick in terms of the initiation of speed drifts.

  • The disadvantages

This is the big disadvantage of the keyboard: it will be impossible to smoothsteerThis is to manage the precision when you are steering in one direction or the other. On the keyboard, steering is all-or-nothing: either you are turning (press a directional key) or you are not. You will only have no analogue keyboard feedback.

Due to this inability to smoothsteer, keyboard players will encounter more difficulties on ice circuits when it comes to setting the fastest times. A keyboard player will have to try to maintain a steering angle by tapping his directional keys, which is not the case for the joystick player.

Please note that this does not mean that the circuits are impossible to complete.


Playing with a joystick 🎮 - Advantages and disadvantages

  • The benefits

The biggest positive point of the controller, as you will have understood, is the analog direction allowed by the pads.
You can smoothsteerand thus better manage the ice.

Lever allows for precise steering

With regard to bends more generally, in particular when you drift, the controller can give you a more natural feel thanks to the precision of the analogue steering. This is something that can help you to better master this essential skill. However, the controller is not mandatory for successful drifting!

  • The disadvantages

By default, the joystick sets acceleration on the triggers as you might find on other racing games. If it seems convenient because you are used to this kind of input, it's a mistake to play Trackmania this way.

In Trackmania, acceleration is not considered as analogue, but as binary. You either accelerate or you don't. Therefore, playing with the triggers creates an unnecessary margin of error.


The verdict? The joystick being more adapted to different situations You will find these on the racetrack, especially on the ice, so they are a safe bet. However, if you are new to the game, test both types of devices and choose the method you feel most comfortable with.

Also, you can consider learning to use both. If you feel more comfortable with the keyboard, keep it for most tracks, and practice with the controller for the ice tracks as well.

For those of you who are wondering, it is possible to play with a steering wheel and pedals.


Now that your choice is made, you can continue your Trackmania adventure by visiting our guides to learn more about the different pilot cameras, on the ice or simply on how to get started!

All Trackmania 2020 guides
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