Some thoughts and short responses regarding the controls.
Cons: Closed source firmware and software (?). Little bit too expensive for my taste (new budget ve-version $35,-).
Pros: Emulators recognize it as USB joystick. Software support from ultimarc. Probably works out of the box (except for programming utility).
Is there a programming utility for ARM linux? I don't know if there's source code for this: http://www.zumbrovalley.net/re.....hp?artid=4
Cons: Emulators will not recognize it on their own. Software needed (acknowledged in post).
Pros: Hardwarewise a cheap and easy solution.
I2C / SPI (IbanezJem)
Cons: More software needed (acknowledged in post).
Pros: Lots of I/O. The SPI version is the MCP23S17
The route I've mentioned before in this thread (september, wow!). An ATmega, programmed as a custom joystick with the help of Dean Camera's excellent LUFA: http://www.fourwalledcubicle.c.....m/LUFA.php (can't post that link often enough), if needed in combination with an I2C or SPI GPIO expander.
Cons: Even MORE software needed. Serious SMD soldering needed (except for the Teensy). Bulky. Ugly. Starts out cheap, but when finished turns out very expensive. Error prone. No support.
Pros: Total control. Perfect storm of nerdgasm