I've been experimenting with different controllers and still haven't found one that I don't feel like is occasionally making things harder for me than they need to be.
-My first impulse is to use an arcade stick, and they seem to have pluses and minuses. A stick gives much more precise control over diagonal movement than other options and makes smooth curved movements more possible. However, the travel on the stick makes very slight movements extremely difficult, or at least inconsistent. Also kind of a hassle to set up every time I want to play, and sticks are fairly noisy which I'm sure my roommates don't love late at night, which is when I do most of my gaming.
-The thing I tend to use the most (and I think most people do) is a keyboard, but the keyboard gives me a lot of trouble sometimes too. Part of that I think is because it's a laptop keyboard, so I suppose I could buy a gaming keyboard but I want some input before I do that. Keyboards give great control over small movements but are uncomfortable to use for a long time and, at least for me, make angled movements very tricky. It's also significant that the arrow keys on this laptop have a split up/down key (two half-sized keys taking up the space of one normal key) which is both good and bad. It feels more comfortable but occasionally causes me to hit both directions at once and die.
-I started playing on a crappy 360 fight pad, and it actually seems like a decent option despite cheapness. The control stick has a much shorter travel distance than an arcade stick, which makes tiny movements more doable. However, the smaller size of the hardware means that the microswitches are closer together, so it's hard to know exactly which ones you're triggering sometimes when you make sudden angled movements. The buttons, at least on mine, feel really loose and in games that use three buttons I'm always worried I'll accidentally just barely nudge the middle button when going for the third one and do something I don't intend to. I've also had a fair amount of trouble getting some of the games to recognize the pad correctly.
-I briefly used a standard 360 controller and didn't like it at all. The control sticks inegrate the too-large travel distance of the stick with the ambiguousness of the pad but worse, the way the buttons are set up makes intuitively mapping a third button difficult for games that use three buttons, and I generally find Xbox controllers uncomfortable.
Are there any other major options that people like to use? Has anyone tried a joystick? So far it looks like the best answer might just be picking the best of my flawed options on a case by case basis (I prefer the stick for Ten Desires and the keyboard for Subterranean Animism, although it makes the last spell in the game way harder than it needs to be). Any advice or input would be appreciated.