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Light Gun Modding LCD

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#1 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:46 PM

I got a bit interested into light gun games and coding lately. So I had a look at the two existing Atari 2600 games (Sentinel and Shooting Arcade) and the discussion about it. Also looked at Eckhard Stolberg's guntest code. 

 

But before I can start coding anything, I obviously need a light gun. It seems that the Atari light guns are not very precise (maybe the existing detection code is bad too), many people suggest using a Sega light gun or the one from Best Electronics instead. I could not find how to order one from Best, so I wonder if I should buy a Sega one. But that one would have to be modded for Atari compatibility. Seems quite simple, but my soldering skills are not existing. Is there maybe an adapted I could buy?

 

I have some ideas how to improve precision over the existing code. Probably the existing games could be hacked. And maybe some interest for making a new game (before all CRTs are gone) could be created.


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:51 PM.


#2 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:52 PM

I got a bit interested into light gun games and coding lately. So I had a look at the two existing Atari 2600 games (Sentinel and Shooting Arcade) and the discussion about it. Also looked at Eckhard Stolberg's guntest code. 

 

But before I can start coding anything, I obviously need a light gun. It seems that the Atari light guns are not very precise (maybe the existing detection code is bad too), many people suggest using a Sega light gun or the one from Best Electronics instead. I could not find how to order one from Best, so I wonder if I should buy a Sega one. But that one would have to be modded for Atari compatibility. Seems quite simple, but my soldering skills are not existing. Is there maybe an adapted I could buy?

 

I have some ideas how to improve precision over the existing code. Probably the existing games could be hacked. And maybe some interest for making a new game (before all CRTs are gone) could be created.

 

If you tell me you're gonna code a duck hunt clone I'll send you a lightgun.



#3 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:59 PM

If you tell me you're gonna code a duck hunt clone I'll send you a lightgun.

Thanks, but no promises.

 

Probably I would start with trying to improve existing code and, if that works, maybe hack some non light gun games. Any maybe(!) I would code a game myself.



#4 0078265317 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:00 PM

 

If you tell me you're gonna code a duck hunt clone I'll send you a lightgun.

 

There was a duck hunt replica on WII U.  It was with a crosshair but otherwise the same thing.



#5 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:06 PM

In Germany Moorhuhn (aka Crazy Chicken) was quite popular.

 


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:06 PM.


#6 Prosystemsearch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:31 PM

>before All CRTS are gone

Why what would force them to become gone from most of the world  in terms of new units? Also, not all LCD monitors and TV sets react the same way to light gun activity. Its definitely almost always a crapshoot of luck when it comes to Plasma screen TVs though. 



#7 sramirez2008 ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:37 PM

I could not find how to order one from Best, 

 

 

Best still advertises their Light Gun (http://www.best-elec.../quickguide.htm), so you may be able to contact them via e.mail and inquire.  I emailed them last year and purchased one.   :)



#8 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:37 PM

Why what would force them to become gone from most of the world  in terms of new units? 

They may be still produced for special use. But those are getting less and less and definitely are not common. Common CRTs will become less and less common (or already are). Retro gamers are some of the very few who keep them.



#9 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:01 PM

Even the few places where analog RGB compatible CRT units continued to be needed & used well beyond the rest of the world, such as Hospitals, Television Studios, Bowling Alleys, etc. have now abandoned them & moved on to flat panel / LCD / HD technologies.

For years, I held onto whichever ones I came into, but they are so big, bulky, & heavy as well as take up so much room, that I had no choice but to begin tossing them out. There is (was) an over abundance of supply with virtually no demand. And even though supply will dwindle & demand will rise, who has the time or the space or the patience to wait that all out?

I just hope that by the time my last CRT unit dies, I will be older & less interested in the hobby, and I will have already begun losing interest & getting out of it anyhow.

#10 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:03 PM

Yeah, I would love to see more done with the gun capabilities of the VCS, but lack of useable TV's is already a problem and will only get worse.  Case it point, my last CRT died two years ago and I am yet to find a decent replacement.  



#11 The Maxx OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:25 AM

There is also this homebrew:  http://atariage.com/...-food-finished/

 

I think Rob Mitchell sold me a Sega phaser adapter.  Browsing the forums, it would appear that CPUWIZ has also built a few.


Edited by The Maxx, Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:09 AM.


#12 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:25 AM

Yeah, I would love to see more done with the gun capabilities of the VCS, but lack of useable TV's is already a problem and will only get worse.  Case it point, my last CRT died two years ago and I am yet to find a decent replacement.  

I think the detection logic used for NES Duck Hunt should work on modern LCDs too (if they are not too slow). There a white rectangle is displayed instead of the target for one frame. Then the light gun detects this white area. If there rare multiple targets, multiple detection frames are needed.

 

Sentinel and Shooting Arcade use a LCD incompatible detection logic ("racing the beam") and they display a lot of targets at once. I think I could hack them to the LCD compatible logic, but then the detection will require a lot of frames (causing more flicker). Probably binary search can be used, so the number of detection frames will be log(#targets)/log(2)+1 (e.g. 8 targets can be detected in 4 frames, 16 in 5 frames...).


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:57 AM.


#13 Tigerduck OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:40 PM

Hi Thomas,

I have both, the ATARI Lightgun and the SEGA one with converter.
There is no difference in precision in my opinion.
If you like, I can solder you a new adapter for SEGA or lend you my existing, together with the SEGA Lightgun. Or I lend you my original ATARI Lightgun (But only one of the two options, I need one for myself, if I'm in the mood for Alien Brigade ;-)

Viele Grüsse

Tigerduck

#14 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:06 PM

An adapter would be just perfect. I can buy a Sega light gun on ebay quite easily.



#15 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:30 PM

I think the detection logic used for NES Duck Hunt should work on modern LCDs too (if they are not too slow). There a white rectangle is displayed instead of the target for one frame. Then the light gun detects this white area. If there rare multiple targets, multiple detection frames are needed.

 

Sentinel and Shooting Arcade use a LCD incompatible detection logic ("racing the beam") and they display a lot of targets at once. I think I could hack them to the LCD compatible logic, but then the detection will require a lot of frames (causing more flicker). Probably binary search can be used, so the number of detection frames will be log(#targets)/log(2)+1 (e.g. 8 targets can be detected in 4 frames, 16 in 5 frames...).

 

See I told ya TJ, go with Duck Hunt. It will make your life easier :P ;)



#16 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:34 PM

See I told ya TJ, go with Duck Hunt. It will make your life easier icon_razz.gificon_wink.gif

Or too easy. :)

 

Maybe, if I lay the foundation and share my code, someone else will go for it. Or maybe I will do it myself...



#17 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 2, 2017 12:09 PM

For those who are interested, I have just posted some thoughts about light gun detection on a LCD in the Atari 2600 Programming forum.



#18 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 12:10 PM

I got a bit interested into light gun games and coding lately. So I had a look at the two existing Atari 2600 games (Sentinel and Shooting Arcade) and the discussion about it. Also looked at Eckhard Stolberg's guntest code. 

 

But before I can start coding anything, I obviously need a light gun. It seems that the Atari light guns are not very precise (maybe the existing detection code is bad too), many people suggest using a Sega light gun or the one from Best Electronics instead. I could not find how to order one from Best, so I wonder if I should buy a Sega one. But that one would have to be modded for Atari compatibility. Seems quite simple, but my soldering skills are not existing. Is there maybe an adapted I could buy?

 

I have some ideas how to improve precision over the existing code. Probably the existing games could be hacked. And maybe some interest for making a new game (before all CRTs are gone) could be created.

 

 

Ah, but what about converting all Light Gun games for Trak-Ball use?  :)



#19 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 12:24 PM

Ah, but what about converting all Light Gun games for Trak-Ball use?  icon_smile.gif

Unlikely, because the existing kernels display no cross-hairs. But vice versa would work.

#20 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2017 8:11 AM

Unlikely, because the existing kernels display no cross-hairs. But vice versa would work.

 

 

I'm just thinking about it for posterity plus with a Trak-Ball, such games could be played on LCDs. And I love the Trak-Ball. :)



#21 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 12, 2017 7:11 PM

Yeah, I would love to see more done with the gun capabilities of the VCS, but lack of useable TV's is already a problem and will only get worse.  Case it point, my last CRT died two years ago and I am yet to find a decent replacement.  

Craig's list has dozens for free to $25. They tend to be getting up there in age...15 - 20 years, I've gotten four from 19" - 30" in the last year that work great. Goodwill and missions will also have a lot, all you need is a car. Get the ones with the slightly convex screen, the true flats don't always register on the edges and usually weigh a ton (well, more like 60+ lbs).







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