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USB Intellivision controllers build


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#1 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:59 AM

Some of you asked for the results of the build I asked someone to do for me about 5 months ago using the RetroZone USB kit. While I don't have the finished kits in my hands as yet Bah - my volunteer builder - has told me they work very well and came up with some ideas on how to improve the basic concept! If I get any of this wrong or someone needs a clarification I hope Bah will jump in here and correct me. :)

First great idea he had was changing the interface from a hard-wired controller to a 9-pin port. The main selling point on this would be controller replacement if something happened and the controller itself was damaged.

The next great idea was to mount it up in an actual Intellivision cart shell. Why not keep it retro? What's more retro looking than the real thing? :lust:

The third great idea was to try for the Sears Super Video Arcade controllers rather than Intellivision II controllers. I never used the Sears variant but apparently there's a response time difference and the Sears controllers are a higher quality build. They both work but Bah did confirm the Sears controllers have a better reaction time than the INTV II using Nostalgia 5.

I don't know all the details as yet but I will have mine soon and Bah already does have it!

Check out the pics below:

Attached Thumbnails

  • intcartinside.JPG
  • intcart_controller.jpg
  • sears.jpg


#2 patbb OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:51 AM

Very Nice, thanks for the update.

Does the Sears controllers come with the straight cord instead of the curly one?

What I would like to see as an adapter is one that would allow me to use any Atari style joysticks in the Intellivision console.
Of course without the key pad ... maybe use a Y connector to keep the Intellivision connected to use the numbers.
I know that the Intellivision is 16 directions but I don't think it makes a big difference for most of the games.

#3 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:56 AM

I've never owned a Sears Intellivision but every time I have seen one the cords are straight. I guess it is another one of those things that Sears did to differentiate the clone. That and the fact they came off. So nice!

#4 bah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:24 PM

Yes the Sear controllers used straight cords.

The adapter shown above actually only uses 8 directions. I have not noticed a loss of control in any games. I am not sure what games make use of all 16 directions, or maybe it was a selling feature not really exploited by the game developers.

#5 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:26 AM

Forgot to ask - which OS did you test these on? Windows XP, Vista or 7? Just curious. :)

#6 bah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:16 AM

Forgot to ask - which OS did you test these on? Windows XP, Vista or 7? Just curious. :)


Windows XP sp 2 on a 10 year old 2ghz machine with 1gb ram. Not cutting edge tech here.

#7 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:13 AM

Windows XP sp 2 on a 10 year old 2ghz machine with 1gb ram. Not cutting edge tech here.


Perfect. :)

My emu station is Windows XP SP3, 2.6GHz, 1GB RAM and a 256MB NVidia video card. (soon to be my now-replaced 3.06GHz tower with 2GB RAM and 512MB GForce video card)

This'll work perfectly then. :thumbsup:

Edited by ClassicGMR, Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:14 AM.


#8 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2011 3:19 PM

I got the adapter today. The assembled unit is great!

The Intellivision controls have issues though. This is a function of the Intellivision controller and not the USB adapter. I read up on this a bit and found this is somewhat normal(see Space Hawk). Bleh.

I started Nostalgia and opened AD&D Treasure of Tarmin. It seemed ok but I couldn't open the first door. I noticed I couldn't turn LEFT either. At that point I backed out and configured Nostaligia's joystick settings with the controller. It still didn't work right. I quit Nostalgia and figured I'd check the base settings in Windows.

In Windows if you go to the Game Controllers in Control Panel and do a properties on the "Retr" controller you'll notice the controller has 24 buttons listed with no X or Y axis. The disc uses 17-24 for the 8 directions the USB adapter allows. The keypad uses 5-16 and the side buttons use 2(top), 3(left) and 4(right). Button 1 seems completely unassigned. After testing for about 10 seconds I found the issue. Apparently the numeric keypad initiates 2 button presses.

Here's what happens when you press the buttons:
K - Intellivision keypad button
B - Windows assigned button #


K1 - triggers B5 and B21. B21 is DOWN on the controls.
K2 - triggers B6 and B21. B21 is DOWN on the controls.
K3 - triggers B7 and B21. B21 is DOWN on the controls.

K4 - triggers B8 and B19. B19 is RIGHT on the controls.
K5 - triggers B9 and B19. B19 is RIGHT on the controls.
K6 - triggers B10 and B19. B19 is RIGHT on the controls.

K7 - triggers B11 and B17. B17 is UP on the controls.
K8 - triggers B12 and B17. B17 is UP on the controls.
K9 - triggers B13 and B17. B17 is UP on the controls.

K CLEAR - triggers B14 and B23. B23 is LEFT on the controls.
K0 - triggers B15 and B23. B23 is LEFT on the controls.
K ENTER - triggers B16 and B23. B23 is LEFT on the controls.

I played with this for a few minutes but I couldn't get anything to change in the Control Panel or in Nostalgia.

Here's what I ended up trying - I downloaded joytokey and assigned all the buttons to Nostalgia's 1-player keyboard settings. I then deleted the keyboard settings for player 2 since they were crossing each other up. At that point it seemed to work very well except for the ENT key which still triggered a LEFT. In the Hand Demo rom that was the only button that read the LEFT control before it saw the ENTER button. Not sure why since the rest all reacted the way they should. What I did here was reassign a random unused key - H in this case - to Nostalgia's ENTER key then changed the Button 16 setting in joytokey to H. It works fine now.

I'll have to try more games obviously and see what kind of reaction time issues I have with it. I'm thinking TRON Deadly Discs would be a good one. However since I'm currently on my i7 laptop I'll have to also test it out on my older 2.6GHz emulation station as well.

I'll mess with it more later and update with more information.

I want to thank bah again for doing this project. It is just what I wanted. I can play AD&D Tarmin again! :) If for some reason anyone decides to do this as well and uses the raphnet USB please let me know how that works! If it controls better natively in Windows I would be inclined to purchase that and try this again.

EDIT: I just ran through some quick games of TRON Deadly Discs, Donkey Kong Jr, Frogger and Space Battle. I didn't notice any lag from the keypresses to the onscreen action. Space Battle was on FAST by the way(I've never been able to successfully play ADVANCED or SUPER ADVANCED) and moving very well. All reaction times seemed normal.

Last tests I guess need to be on the emulation station. More to come!

Edited by ClassicGMR, Fri Apr 1, 2011 3:40 PM.


#9 Draugr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 10, 2011 8:47 AM

Any news on this?

I'm looking to get soemthing like this for my emulation PC.

Also, can you use two controllers at once for two player games?

Thanks,
John


I got the adapter today. The assembled unit is great!

The Intellivision controls have issues though. This is a function of the Intellivision controller and not the USB adapter. I read up on this a bit and found this is somewhat normal(see Space Hawk). Bleh.

I started Nostalgia and opened AD&D Treasure of Tarmin. It seemed ok but I couldn't open the first door. I noticed I couldn't turn LEFT either. At that point I backed out and configured Nostaligia's joystick settings with the controller. It still didn't work right. I quit Nostalgia and figured I'd check the base settings in Windows.

In Windows if you go to the Game Controllers in Control Panel and do a properties on the "Retr" controller you'll notice the controller has 24 buttons listed with no X or Y axis. The disc uses 17-24 for the 8 directions the USB adapter allows. The keypad uses 5-16 and the side buttons use 2(top), 3(left) and 4(right). Button 1 seems completely unassigned. After testing for about 10 seconds I found the issue. Apparently the numeric keypad initiates 2 button presses.

Here's what happens when you press the buttons:
K - Intellivision keypad button
B - Windows assigned button #


K1 - triggers B5 and B21. B21 is DOWN on the controls.
K2 - triggers B6 and B21. B21 is DOWN on the controls.
K3 - triggers B7 and B21. B21 is DOWN on the controls.

K4 - triggers B8 and B19. B19 is RIGHT on the controls.
K5 - triggers B9 and B19. B19 is RIGHT on the controls.
K6 - triggers B10 and B19. B19 is RIGHT on the controls.

K7 - triggers B11 and B17. B17 is UP on the controls.
K8 - triggers B12 and B17. B17 is UP on the controls.
K9 - triggers B13 and B17. B17 is UP on the controls.

K CLEAR - triggers B14 and B23. B23 is LEFT on the controls.
K0 - triggers B15 and B23. B23 is LEFT on the controls.
K ENTER - triggers B16 and B23. B23 is LEFT on the controls.

I played with this for a few minutes but I couldn't get anything to change in the Control Panel or in Nostalgia.

Here's what I ended up trying - I downloaded joytokey and assigned all the buttons to Nostalgia's 1-player keyboard settings. I then deleted the keyboard settings for player 2 since they were crossing each other up. At that point it seemed to work very well except for the ENT key which still triggered a LEFT. In the Hand Demo rom that was the only button that read the LEFT control before it saw the ENTER button. Not sure why since the rest all reacted the way they should. What I did here was reassign a random unused key - H in this case - to Nostalgia's ENTER key then changed the Button 16 setting in joytokey to H. It works fine now.

I'll have to try more games obviously and see what kind of reaction time issues I have with it. I'm thinking TRON Deadly Discs would be a good one. However since I'm currently on my i7 laptop I'll have to also test it out on my older 2.6GHz emulation station as well.

I'll mess with it more later and update with more information.

I want to thank bah again for doing this project. It is just what I wanted. I can play AD&D Tarmin again! :) If for some reason anyone decides to do this as well and uses the raphnet USB please let me know how that works! If it controls better natively in Windows I would be inclined to purchase that and try this again.

EDIT: I just ran through some quick games of TRON Deadly Discs, Donkey Kong Jr, Frogger and Space Battle. I didn't notice any lag from the keypresses to the onscreen action. Space Battle was on FAST by the way(I've never been able to successfully play ADVANCED or SUPER ADVANCED) and moving very well. All reaction times seemed normal.

Last tests I guess need to be on the emulation station. More to come!



#10 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 25, 2011 7:44 PM

Any news on this?

I'm looking to get soemthing like this for my emulation PC.

Also, can you use two controllers at once for two player games?

Thanks,
John


The USB adapter is working very well for me but I only had 2 built - one for me and one for bah - so I am not sure if they would both work but I would assume so. You can buy 2 of the same USB controllers and use them together so I would think that these would be no different. It is also auto-recognized as a "Retr" adapter in the controller list. No driver needed.

They have been a dream come true for my emulation. It now feels exactly like a console. I've already started collecting overlays. :)

#11 NightSprinter OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 30, 2011 11:51 AM

Well, I do know there were some codes for games that required certain positions on the disc to be held down. One of them was the "instant-victory" cheat for AD&D Cloudy Mountain.

#12 onykage OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:20 PM

can anyone possibly give a color code list for the pin order for cases where a gen1 controller is to be used instead of a gen2 or sears controller?

#13 bah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:55 AM

Onykage,

The wire color vs pin number conversion as well as a lot of other controller information I found on the net and here in the forums. I saved some of this info in a MS Word document.

Attached Files



#14 onykage OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:38 PM

Onykage,

The wire color vs pin number conversion as well as a lot of other controller information I found on the net and here in the forums. I saved some of this info in a MS Word document.

wow, thanks a million. I'll post up some pics of my project in a few days.

#15 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:43 AM

wow, thanks a million. I'll post up some pics of my project in a few days.

Look forward to seeing what you come up with. :)

#16 onykage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:47 PM

well

the first go was not a winning success i thought.

I got the controller working but, im not happy with the response from the controller or the glitches caused by the usb interpreter. as mentioned above i too got the exact same results from both tandy and matel versions. So im 95% sure that the issue above is not the controller at all and the programming used in the chip.

So its back the the drawing board. Thanks to bah i was able to get alot out of the controller myself, and i also lucked up and found a schematic for the original controller. So my next attempt will be with a custom chip and custom programming. (this will have to wait till i save up some cash tho as im currently out of money to play with.

for those curious, the ultimate goal for me here is to make a multi-tap controller converter that works over a single USB interface. The controllers i have chosen for this particular project are intellivision, atari, nes, snes, and n64. I may add psx down the road. The overall idea is I want to have a single box that allows me to plug in multiple different kinds of controllers to a single interface that switches between interface types on button press.

I am also wondering if I should trash the original intelli controllers all together and build 2 from scratch. The disc design was extremely poor, thus im thinking about something similar to the clecovision controller design but a tad more up to date.

sorry for no pictures, with the success ive had this weekend, i didnt find anything i felt worthy of picture taking.

#17 ClassicGMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:13 AM

Sounds like the Blissbox project. He has a good tech page where he details his work.

Posted Image

Also:

Here's what I ended up trying - I downloaded joytokey and assigned all the buttons to Nostalgia's 1-player keyboard settings.


New URL for joytokey is here: http://www-en.jtksoft.net/

Edited by ClassicGMR, Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:34 AM.





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