Which joystick or gamepad

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tricky
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Which joystick or gamepad

Post by tricky » Wed May 04, 2016 5:05 pm

As some of you know, I occasionally take a bunch of my beebs out into the outside, if not the real, world and let people play on them.

Recently, I was using them for a games day, where there were many young children and some found it very alien to use ZX/:(?*).

I want everyone to have the best beeb experience that they can, spreading the Acorn and retro love as far as possible.

Next time, I'm going to equip some of them with joysticks or gamepads to make the games more accessible to everyone.

I'm thinking of buying a bunch of cheap game pads and rewiring them in parallel with the keyboard switches so that I catch the most games possible and allow the easiest keyboard/joystick swapping (none).

I know some (most?) games support joysticks, but it is still hard to find good compatible ones and they usually are well worn, or just broken.

I have thought about using the new I2C stuff and trying to hook into the existing games, but haven't assessed the comms overhead or how many games would work.

I could do something with the user port, but my beebs already have MMC and again compatibility is likely to be an issue.

So, does anyone have any other ideas, or dire warning about soldering to keyboards?

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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by JonC » Wed May 04, 2016 5:09 pm

I think Simon (Sydney) has done this, he had one at the Wakefield show that was a rewired kids one he had lying around! =D> :lol:
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by richw » Wed May 04, 2016 5:46 pm

Isn't an Atari-style Joystick or gamepad (Sega Master System) a pretty safe bet?

You can easily knock up an interface which should work to the vanilla Beeb A2D mechanism. I think this was one of the first Body Building articles. And there were commercial adapters.

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1024MAK
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by 1024MAK » Wed May 04, 2016 5:47 pm

Have you thought about making or buying a digital to analogue joystick adaptor, then you can use either inexpensive Atari compatible digital joysticks, or some types of game pad.

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sydney
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by sydney » Wed May 04, 2016 6:03 pm

If you want kids to be playing the games I'd say you probably need game pads rather than joysticks. If you went the i2c route then the wii classic controller uses i2c as does the nunchuck. I don't think they would take much rewiring to make them work on the analogue port. I'm sure I've seen them for £5 on ebay.

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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by CMcDougall » Wed May 04, 2016 9:06 pm

Wire the game pads to the keyboard keys zx*/ Return, so therefore classic (good old :D ) keys can be used too!
Similar to how joysticks are used on a Atom, which I ain't tried yet.....
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by poink » Thu May 05, 2016 12:38 am

sydney wrote:If you want kids to be playing the games I'd say you probably need game pads rather than joysticks. If you went the i2c route then the wii classic controller uses i2c as does the nunchuck. I don't think they would take much rewiring to make them work on the analogue port. I'm sure I've seen them for £5 on ebay.
Agreed on the gamepads (I should finish my BBC gamepad design!); although, I might suggest using a NES or SNES pad rather than the Wii ones.

NES/SNES pads are little more than a shift register inside, and they (especially third party ones) are readily available on eBay. Because they're serial, you could probably hook them up to the Beeb's parallel port (they've been hooked up to the Arc's, which has similar capabilities).

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Arcadian
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by Arcadian » Thu May 05, 2016 8:39 pm

I have plenty of unused 8-button Genius Maxfire G-07 pads (with 15-pin Gameport connectors) for the PC - you'd be welcome to as many as you needed.

If you'd like me to post you one for starters (so you can have a look at the possibility of rewiring them) let me know.

I think JGH took one of these away a couple of years back, to have a poke inside - not sure whether he made any progress, but worth dropping him a PM just in case.

Have always wondered if these pads could be adapted to use the Voltmace Delta 14 drivers.
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tricky
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by tricky » Tue May 10, 2016 9:00 pm

I was thinking about the atari converter modules with transistors to convert digital to analogue.
Is the idea to not have to re-wire the atari and compatible controllers, or is it to protect the ADC from people pressing too hard and shorting them out?

If it is the latter, I have seen circuit diagrams for the beeb using one 10K pot up to two 22K ohm resistors, where the switches short out one side or the other.

If you put say: GND-5K-sw0-17K-sw0-tap-sw1-17K-sw1-5K-VREF, then shorting both would give centre of 10K and either side would give 5/27 or 22/27, which should be enough to trigger movement (not full for true analogue games).

What do you think?

Has anyone made a converter (male+female connects and a few wires) for old analogue PC joysticks that I believe were originally going to be compatible with the beeb but they changed the PC design after the beeb was produced?

If so, does it matter that the PC ones only have one GND+VREF and did you connect both beeb ones together or only use one?

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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by CMcDougall » Tue May 10, 2016 9:23 pm

Arcadian wrote:wondered if these pads could be adapted to use the Voltmace Delta 14 TAPE drivers
here as a .SSD so maybe some more peeps can try.....
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by 1024MAK » Tue May 10, 2016 10:29 pm

If the digital Atari type joystick has independent direction switches / contacts and you are willing to rewire it, yes, you just need a bunch of resistors and a suitable cable and a 15 way D connector. The ADC does not get shorted out as such, the reference supply has to have say, a 470 ohm to 1k series resistor to each pair of direction contacts in case somehow both up and down contacts make, or both left and right contacts make. But in normal use, this will not happen, and only one resistor will get shorted out at a time. So joystick in the middle, both channels see half the reference voltage. Move the joystick, one resistor gets shorted, the ADC then sees either 0V or the full reference voltage - the ADC then converts that voltage to a digital value. The same as if an analogue stick had been used.

Note the above solution does not work if the joystick has switches or contacts that have a common connecton that cannot be disconnected.

The idea of the Atari to analogue converters was so it was a plug and play solution: plug in a "standard" Atari digital stick into the adaptor, the plug the adaptor into the Beeb :D

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1024MAK
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Re: Which joystick or gamepad

Post by 1024MAK » Tue May 10, 2016 10:39 pm

One example is here

Example of adaptors digital joystick adaptor for the beeb

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