I thought there was very little information on the topic, and lots of people seem to either be interested in this or have such a setup, and due to some of the difficulties, I figured it'd be nice to have a dedicated area to discuss it.
Lots of people enjoy the whole "console experience" of a gamepad and a couch, but still choose PCs as their platform, or want to use their gaming PC with a nice home theater setup. There's a few issues with this kind of setup though, which are a bit of a barrier to entry.
The default size of things in Windows is designed for close use with a monitor, and unless you have an enormous TV or are sitting very close, you'll strain your eyes. Windows has some (shitty) scaling options, so use of those is a good idea. They're under "display" in Control Panel.
I use 150%, but you can customise it with the option to the left. Be warned, putting it absurdly high is likely to break things even more than it already does.
Anyway, this option breaks a lot of games - but you can disable it for individual applications. Right click an application and go to properties to disable it.
The only game I've encountered so far that this doesn't fix is Mount and Blade: Warband. For anything that doesn't work, you'll have to make a separate user account to run.
Personal preferences come into play here, but here's my suggestions.
I generally try to use wireless stuff where I can due to convenience. Here's some ideas, please suggest more that I can add to the OP.
I own one - perfect keyboard for general browsing or to pair with a gamepad. Couldn't recommend it more - it's compact enough to be comfortable but still large enough to be useful.
An excellent gamepad, particularly if you're used to PlayStation controllers. The receiver does play up if there's large objects in between, however, it comes with an extender cord that can be used to put it somewhere where it won't be too visible but still function fine.
Exepnsive as hell, however, if you can pick up a cheap older one, then it might be a good idea. I wouldn't recommend it myself as any games you play with a keyboard and mouse would probably be affected by the input lag, as well as the huge price and lack of decent wireless gaming keyboards, but if you're desperate for wireless, then it's an option.
A smaller, cheaper Razer wireless mouse. Still wouldn't recommend it due to the above reasons.
Logitech option here. Once again, I wouldn't recommend it, but it's probably reasonable if you really want wireless.
I myself use an F710 and a K400 and they're a great combo.
For FPS games and other things where input lag and keyboard/mouse are important, you'll probably want wired peripherals. However, the short length of USB cables makes this problematic.
USB Active Cables/Repeaters
Some people use USB repeaters or active extender cables, although these are limited and often need a powered hub on the other end. Not sure how these affect latency, although if you need a powered hub, that can be annoying.
I'll be picking up some of these soon, as they have much better range as well as supposedly carrying power too, and I would expect them to have decent latencies too. Not recommended for use with a hub, however, if you use two of them, you should be able to connect your keyboard and mouse with no problems. Most only do USB 1.1 speeds, but this isn't a problem for input devices. They're also quite cheap on ebay.
These are actually quite useful if you have limited space on a lapdesk or table. There's the Razer Nostromo and its identical Belkin cousin, the N52te, and Logitech's G13 (a bit pricier) that I currently know of. Razer have also introduced an update to the Nostromo, the Orbweaver, though it's pretty expensive.
If you're playing with a keyboard and mouse, a table or lapdesk is a good idea. Look around local office supply shops for either. If this isn't any good for you, consider a solid mousepad. Aluminium ones are usually quite good.
I use the IKEA Dave, it's very good.
These are AA batteries that charge over USB. Great for any wireless equipment you have. A tad expensive so regular rechargeable batteries with a USB charger may be a better choice.
Mostly the same as building any PC, but those without the room for a full tower should consider smaller form factors.
Very good price, fits normal ATX power supplies, room for water cooling, long graphics cards, anything you'd normally have in a larger PC.
CoolerMaster Elite 120
A solid looking offering from CoolerMaster, presumably to compete with the Prodigy. Not sure how the two compare, however, it's targeted at high end gaming systems with long graphics cards so it's certainly up to the task. It's also a tad cheaper.
Any H77 or Z77 Mini-ITX motherboard with a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot should be fine. Here's some suggestions: (note that Z77 costs more, I believe the only difference is SLI/Crossfire support (which doesn't matter in mini-ITX anyway) and the ability to overclock)
Cheapest option here that I know of, but reportedly a solid board.
PC Case Gear for you Australian fuckers
Deluxe version of the above. Has Z77 and onboard Wi-Fi.
PC Case Gear
Cheaper Z77 offering from ASRock. Also has onboard Wi-Fi. Just make sure you don't click "install all" on the driver disc, I have its larger ATX cousin and it's loaded with bloatware. Other than that, a solid board according to the Newegg reviews.
PC Case Gear
I have no clue when it comes to this, need suggestions here.
Aside from that, any normal desktop hardware should be fine. Just be careful with larger CPU coolers on the tiny boards.
Steam (and Big Picture)
Obviously Steam is a staple for any gaming setup, however, Valve have now begun the beta for Steam's Big Picture Mode. It's a brilliant 10-foot UI for Steam, with an amazing typing system and full gamepad support. It's brilliant - this is definitely what was missing when I started this setup! I'd say it's must-have software if you're doing this.
Metro and its apps scale much better than the desktop - with the enlarge option turned on, it's a fantastic 10-foot-UI (the great thing is it saves the scale setting for metro per monitor, so you can set it to only occur on your TV if you use a monitor too). All of the apps seem to work fine scaled - it's probably a requirement for the Windows Store. Metro excels in some environments, and this is one of them.
XBMC is great for HTPC setups, but can also be useful as a launcher for games. Note that having XBMC running in the background will result in a significant performance hit, so it's best used with old games or emulators. Here's a handy tutorial on how to do this.
XPadder is a great utility to get gamepads working with games that have poor or no support for them. An older version can be obtained for free (has to be run in compatibility mode but still works fine), but you can also pay for the latest version and access to profiles and configurations. Logitech's software is also great for these bindings, so if you have a Logitech pad, you probably don't need this.
XBox 360 Controller Emulator
Some controllers have a switch on the back that can change it between the two modes - Logitech's newer controllers (F310 and F710 definitely do) have a switch on the back to change between modes. You might not need this, but it's handy if your gamepad doesn't support it.SGTNAPALM posted:
Ingame ScriptingSGTNAPALM posted:
If people are actually interested, I'll try and keep this updated. Let me know what you use or suggest, and I'll add it to the OP. Personal experiences with such setups would be nice too.SGTNAPALM posted: