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Help! Flashback Paddles with Retronic Adapter on Stella

flashback retronic paddles stella

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#1 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 9:30 AM

Hi all,

 

I'm hoping one of you may be able to help me!  I'm trying to use some paddles made for the Atari Flashback with Stella.  I've got them connected using a Retronic retro adapter (http://www.retronicdesign.com/en/) and I've flashed them for the paddles.  I can see the paddles in my Devices screen (I'm running Windows 10 Creators Update), but in Stella, they aren't recognized and I cannot see anything in the joystick database within the application.  I've attached a couple of screenshots to show what I'm seeing.  The first one shows the entry in the Devices screen and the second is from Stella.

 

Paddle.PNG

Stella.PNG
 

Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong or what the problem is?

 

Appreciate any help I can get!

Attached Thumbnails

  • Paddle.PNG
  • Stella.PNG


#2 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 11:02 AM

First check that windows recognises it as a game controller using joy.cpl. Each paddle should show up as a seperate game controller with the paddle acting as the joystick analog x-axis (positve only).

To Stella it should work no differently than an analog joystick for paddle games.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Jun 6, 2017 11:04 AM.


#3 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 1:29 PM

First check that windows recognises it as a game controller using joy.cpl. Each paddle should show up as a seperate game controller with the paddle acting as the joystick analog x-axis (positve only).

To Stella it should work no differently than an analog joystick for paddle games.

 

Thanks for the advice!  I checked in joy.cpl and can see both paddles and they work correctly as the x-axis.  But Stella still cannot see them.  Is there a way to force Stella to re-detect the joysticks?



#4 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 1:34 PM

This is interesting.  I actually have two of the retro adapters, so I plugged the second one in with a joystick.  I can see all three controllers (the joystick and the two paddles) in joy.cpl, but only the joystick in Stella.

 

joy.cpl.png
Stellla2.PNG

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • joy.cpl.png
  • Stellla2.PNG


#5 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 2:20 PM

Would you mind posting a screen shot of the paddle properties test window in joy.cpl.

 

Try going to Stella "Options > Input Settings > Emul Events" and mapiing it to "paddle 0 analog".



#6 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 2:36 PM

Would you mind posting a screen shot of the paddle properties test window in joy.cpl.

 

Try going to Stella "Options > Input Settings > Emul Events" and mapiing it to "paddle 0 analog".

 

Not sure what you mean with the mapping. When I select Map in that window, I see the following:

 

Stella3.PNG

 

The test window in joy.cpl shows this:

 

Capture.PNG

 

and I can make the little + move back and forth with the paddle, so I'm pretty sure the paddle is working.

 

Thanks again for the help!

Attached Thumbnails

  • Stella3.PNG
  • Capture.PNG


#7 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 2:44 PM

edit:  [sorry I miss-read your post]

 

Mapping in that window: it's just waiting for you to move some analog input to indicate what input to map.  You can also try it with a working analog joystick (ie. thumbstick).  It should say "action:  j0/a0/+|-"

 

Maybe Stella does not list it in its joystick db because it only has one axis?  You'd have to ask the Stella people.


Edited by mr_me, Tue Jun 6, 2017 2:53 PM.


#8 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 3:33 PM

edit:  [sorry I miss-read your post]

 

Mapping in that window: it's just waiting for you to move some analog input to indicate what input to map.  You can also try it with a working analog joystick (ie. thumbstick).  It should say "action:  j0/a0/+|-"

 

Maybe Stella does not list it in its joystick db because it only has one axis?  You'd have to ask the Stella people.

 

I tried moving the paddle (both paddles) while in the mapping mode in Stella, but nothing happened.  I think something is still preventing Stella from "seeing" the paddles.  Not sure why...

 

I appreciate the help!  I'll keep at it.



#9 Nitz1976 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 6, 2017 7:43 PM

Hello there!

 

Please try with Stella 3.7.2.

For some reason, they changed someting in later versions that make the paddle not to work.

 

Thanks!



#10 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 1:24 PM

Hello there!

 

Please try with Stella 3.7.2.

For some reason, they changed someting in later versions that make the paddle not to work.

 

Thanks!

 

I'm assuming you meant 4.7.2.  I tried that, and 4.7.1 as well, but without success.  Maybe I'll reach out to the guy currently working on Stella.



#11 Nitz1976 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 1:56 PM

 

I'm assuming you meant 4.7.2.  I tried that, and 4.7.1 as well, but without success.  Maybe I'll reach out to the guy currently working on Stella.

 

Nah, it's 3.7.2, really old version. 

 

For some reason, it works properly on this as analog 0 and analog 1 mapping.  Then on next version, it stopped working.

 

I may try myself to talk with the Stella developper to understand what they need for input.

As the adapter firmware is open source, this can be modified easily.

 

Thanks!



#12 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 3:00 PM

 

Nah, it's 3.7.2, really old version. 

 

For some reason, it works properly on this as analog 0 and analog 1 mapping.  Then on next version, it stopped working.

 

I may try myself to talk with the Stella developper to understand what they need for input.

As the adapter firmware is open source, this can be modified easily.

 

Thanks!

 

Oh!  My mistake... :)  I tried 3.7.2 and the paddles sort of work...  This is progress!  But it's still not good.

 

I tried Circus Atari.  When I move the paddle, at first nothing happens, and then the seesaw slides all the way to other side of the screen.  If I move the paddle back to the left, nothing at first, and then the seesaw slides all the way back to the left.  It would seem that the sensitivity of the paddle is all messed up.

 

But this is definitely better than the later versions, where it's not recognized at all!



#13 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 4:20 PM

Did you map it to "paddle 0 analog"?

 

Sounds like it's working like a joystick not a paddle in Stella.

 

edit:

To the computer the Retronic USB paddle is just a single axis analog joystick.  There should be a reason it's not working in new Stella.  The only difference I see is that it doesn't have a y-axis.  You should test in other game programs that use analog joysticks/paddles (ie.  Altirra, Mame)


Edited by mr_me, Wed Jun 7, 2017 4:24 PM.


#14 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 5:42 PM

Did you map it to "paddle 0 analog"?
 
Sounds like it's working like a joystick not a paddle in Stella.
 
edit:
To the computer the Retronic USB paddle is just a single axis analog joystick.  There should be a reason it's not working in new Stella.  The only difference I see is that it doesn't have a y-axis.  You should test in other game programs that use analog joysticks/paddles (ie.  Altirra, Mame)


I tried to map it, but either I'm not doing it right (very possible!) or it's not working.

#15 Nitz1976 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 8, 2017 6:59 AM

Did you map it to "paddle 0 analog"?

 

Sounds like it's working like a joystick not a paddle in Stella.

 

edit:

To the computer the Retronic USB paddle is just a single axis analog joystick.  There should be a reason it's not working in new Stella.  The only difference I see is that it doesn't have a y-axis.  You should test in other game programs that use analog joysticks/paddles (ie.  Altirra, Mame)

Ok, I'll build a version with a center-fixed Y axis.

Do you think it will solve our issue?



#16 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 8, 2017 7:27 AM

I was hoping one of the Stella people might comment, as there should be some reasoning to it.

 

My thinking is that any analog joystick does work as a Stella paddle.  So if you make the Retronic USB paddle just like a joystick (i.e 2-axis); why wouldn't it work?  Unless it's trying to do some calibrating but I doubt it.  I am guessing here.

 

If you have the Altirra emulator (Atari 400/800) you can play the 400/800 paddle game Kaboom as a test.  It would also need a joystick axis to paddle mapping setup first.  In Mame you can test it with the arcade game Breakout.  Or test with any game that uses an analog joystick input.

 

edit:

Stella does have a "joystick deadzone size" setting.  Newer versions defaults to minimum; I would think paddle games aren't affected; obviously you wouldn't want a deadzone with a paddle.


Edited by mr_me, Thu Jun 8, 2017 7:53 AM.


#17 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 8, 2017 8:40 AM

I have Altura. I'll give it a try and report back.

#18 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 8, 2017 12:26 PM

Problems like this can be very difficult to diagnose without access to the hardware in question. Perhaps you could donate one of those adaptors to the Stella project?



#19 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 9, 2017 4:47 AM

The MAME Atari 2600 emulator supports paddles. So you can test it there as well. You do have to flip it from joy to pad (tab > slot devices).

Running old versions of Stella is not a good solution so it should be resolved.

Edited by mr_me, Fri Jun 9, 2017 4:49 AM.


#20 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:43 PM

The problem is that recent versions of Stella don't recognize an analog controller with only one axis.  I added the y-axis to the Retronic firmware and both Stella 4.7.2 and 5.0.1 now recognize it.  However, I don't have an Atari paddle to fully test it.  I attached my modified retronic firmware and the source code of the one file I modified.  I started with the interrupt version of the firmware source files from Retronic's website.   Altirra seems to recognize it with only the single x-axis, but again I can't fully test it.

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  • stella_retronic.png

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#21 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:08 PM

The developer of this device has sent me sample hardware, but they haven't yet followed up with me on fixing this (last I heard from them was July 2).  I am willing to work with them to fix it, so I guess I should contact them again to see what the delay in responding is.

 

One thing I can say for sure; it is related to SDL2 (libsdl.org).  Older versions of Stella used SD1, and from Stella 4.x onwards it uses SDL2.  I've confirmed that SDL2 really doesn't like controllers with only one axis; that is, it doesn't see them at all.  And if SDL2 doesn't see it, then Stella won't either.  And this is for sure in SDL, since it's happening in Linux, OSX and Windows.  I'm guessing that Altirra and MAME don't use SDL, so they don't have the problem.

 

It may just be a bug in SDL, in which case I will report it and hope to get it fixed.  But I'd really like to hear back from the developer before following up on this, since I'm otherwise extremely busy with other parts of the codebase right now.



#22 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:14 PM

If, after modifying the firmware to have 2 axes, this allows Stella to see the device, then it should work fine.  I actually have two devices donated; one with 2 axes and one with the single axis.  Using a standalone joystick-testing app, I can plainly see that under SDL1, both devices are detected.  But under SDL2, the single-axis device is not even seen by the OS.  If the OS can't see it, then Stella has little chance of seeing it :)

 

EDIT:  To be clear, this testing is not even using Stella at all.  It is clearly an interaction between the device and SDL2.  And seeing that the device works in other emulators, I would guess SDL2 is the issue.



#23 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:00 AM

If one of those Retronic adapters has both x and y axis and works with atari 2600 paddles than that is the fix from Retronic.

What would be more appropriate. Having each paddle a seperate system controller each working the x-axis; or having a single system controller and one paddle working the x-axis and the other paddle the y-axis. Both ways should work in an emulator.

Edited by mr_me, Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 AM.


#24 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:56 PM

The second way at least already works in Stella; that's how the Stelladaptor and 2600daptor work.  One axis is for paddle 0, and the other for paddle 1.



#25 Tinman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:37 AM

The problem is that recent versions of Stella don't recognize an analog controller with only one axis.  I added the y-axis to the Retronic firmware and both Stella 4.7.2 and 5.0.1 now recognize it.  However, I don't have an Atari paddle to fully test it.  I attached my modified retronic firmware and the source code of the one file I modified.  I started with the interrupt version of the firmware source files from Retronic's website.   Altirra seems to recognize it with only the single x-axis, but again I can't fully test it.

 

I was able to test this with some success!  Stella does now recognize the paddle!  So I think your solution is the correct one.

 

I am still having some troubles, however, as the paddle movement does not correlate well with the on-screen player.  (In this case, I was trying Circus Atari.)  At either end of the paddle movement, there are "dead zones" where moving the paddle does nothing.  And in the center of the paddle movement, the player darts across the screen, but lagging behind the actual paddle movement.  I tried calibrating the paddles using the Windows calibration tool in joy.cpl and that helped some, but did not fix the issue.  Not sure if the problem is in the Retronic adapter or Windows or Stella...  Any ideas?







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