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Gunfight homebrew controls don't work?


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#1 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:04 PM

Hey guys, so we were playing a bunch of 2600 homebrew games live on our Twitch stream, and came across an odd problem. We tried Gunfight which we just bought, looks great, but could not get the controls to work right. The second player control would only go up, and the first person control wouldn't shoot reliably. Really weird, we haven't had such an issue on any other game, homebrew or otherwise. Made sure the right difficulty switch was set so that second player was in human mode. Here's a video of us discovering the issue:

 

https://youtu.be/rUu8n7JpPS4?t=3752

 

It seems weird that a cart could be defective like this, which is why I'm wondering if maybe it's a rare incompatibility of some kind?



#2 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:54 AM

That's the first time I hear about this problem, so I can only speculate about the reason.

 

Questions:

  1. Does the game work in single player mode (note: the joystick must point into the shooting direction)?
  2. Do your difficulty and color/bw switches work reliably in other games?
  3. Have you tried cleaning the contacts of the cart?
  4. You have a Harmony, did you try the game with that?


#3 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:38 AM

I'll watch the whole thing later, I just skipped around and watched a brief bit of Medieval Mayhem where I saw something odd at 2:45:57-  scrambled shields show up after the top two players are taken out.  Not sure what to think of that, but in light of the controller issue maybe something's up with your 2600.    

 

Has anybody written a RAM Tester for the 2600? Only thing I could find was this, which displays the values in RAM at powerup.

 

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 9.01.41 AM.png



#4 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:34 PM

Hmm that's interesting, it is my original 2600 from when I was a kid, only thing I've had done to it is Yurkie did the rgb/svideo out mod to it. I didn't even notice the graphical glitch on MM, maybe because it was so quick. If it was a ram issue wouldn't it affect more games given that most games used a good chunk of the 128 bytes of ram?

 

Good idea to try Gunfight on the Harmony, I will try that!

 

On the same note, the only other time we noticed an obvious issue was with the game Porky's, that game does not work right but I thought it was because it was incompatible with the Harmony cart. Check the video here:

 

https://youtu.be/nET...YkJbsts?&t=6682

 

...but now I'm wondering, is it because of my Atari? Is Porky's known to work ok on the Harmony?

 

If there is a ram tester available I'll definitely try that as well!


Edited by Reality Studio, Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:59 PM.


#5 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:40 PM

Just realized I didn't answer some of the questions:

 

In single player mode the game works, but she wasn't able to shoot reliably.

 

The difficulty switches work fine in other games. Like when we play Video Olympics, I'll set player 2 difficulty to A so I have a smaller paddle, works ok.

 

I didn't try cleaning the contacts of the cart because it's brand new. but I suppose I can still try that just in case.

 

 

 

That's the first time I hear about this problem, so I can only speculate about the reason.

 

Questions:

  1. Does the game work in single player mode (note: the joystick must point into the shooting direction)?
  2. Do your difficulty and color/bw switches work reliably in other games?
  3. Have you tried cleaning the contacts of the cart?
  4. You have a Harmony, did you try the game with that?

 



#6 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:08 PM

I'm gonna go with what others have said. It looks like there's an issue with your Atari. I've seen consoles that would only act up on one game, but get worse over time until one of the chips had to be replaced.



#7 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:33 PM

Ok well if it is a ram issue, if I remember right the 128 bytes of ram are in the riot chip. If that's the case would swapping the riot chip be a good first test? Do you guys know if that chip is socketed?



#8 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:38 AM

Ok well if it is a ram issue, if I remember right the 128 bytes of ram are in the riot chip. If that's the case would swapping the riot chip be a good first test? Do you guys know if that chip is socketed?

That's going to depend on your model and the board revision. Some are socketed, some aren't. Best way to find out is to take it apart.



#9 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:17 AM

Don't know if its the RAM or not, which is why I wondered if somebody had written a test program.

As a kid our light sixer started acting up. I fixed it by opening it up and firmly pushing down on each chip to reseat them in their socket. I suspect the years of inserting/removing cartridges flexed the motherboard enough to cause the chips to work their way loose in the sockets. May or may not be your problem, but simple to try.

#10 alex_79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:44 AM

Has anybody written a RAM Tester for the 2600?

There are the diagnostic test cartridges.

Version 2.0 will report error 2 in case of faulty ram, while version 2.6 will display "diagonal lines of some type" (as per instructions in the field service manual); an example is shown in this post.



#11 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:17 PM

Cool, ok tomorrow I'll try pressing down on all the chips just in case and try the diagnostic carts as well, see if that helps.



#12 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:07 PM

Well I bring my Atari home, try Gunfight on the Harmony and it works perfectly fine. Now I'm thinking the cart itself is bad so I try the original cart and now that's also working perfectly fine. I dunno, no idea what happened that night where it wouldn't work right, I'm confused lol, but seems like everything is working now. Maybe I'll reseat socketed chips just in case.

 

EDIT: Ok I take that back, just tried it again and this time player 2 only moves left and right, happens on both the original cart and on the Harmony cart. Something weird is going on, time to pop open the Atari.


Edited by Reality Studio, Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:17 PM.


#13 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:22 PM

It sounds like your cartridge connector and carts might just need cleaning. It could still be a chip issue though. If they are socketed, go ahead and try reseating them. While you have it apart, check the board for bad solder joints too. If you can afford it, you might want to look into getting a spare 2600, just in case this one ends up needing repairs down the road. Your issues probably aren't related to the voltage regulator or the caps, but if those haven't been replaced, that's something you might consider, since those parts all have a limited life span.

If you are familiar with soldering, it's really easy to replace those and they don't cost hardly anything.

 


 


Edited by RamrodHare, Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:22 PM.


#14 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:15 PM

Everyone always forgets the cartridge connector ( except ramrodHare in the previous post).

 

Easyiest is to cut a rectangle of circuit board size thick cardboard. The back of a notepad cardboard.

Wet with a little alcohol. 

The connector has a spring shut cover. Carts have plastic tabs or plastics sticks. 

Use a toothpick or similar to open the connector. 

 

To to improve the connector pin contact with the game board, I use a long Hat Pin and pull the pins toward the center.

It is true that most Activision boards are thinner than Atari, and a weak or non-contact point will cause game errors or make the cart appear dead or that it's dirty. 

 

It was probably cleaned when modded, but old carts can make it dirty real quick. 

 

 

Also, in that RGB mod the 5 volt regulator part is replaced with a much more hefty circuit board to handle any extra power draw which can come from the mod and from the mod + multicarts or (these little computers we now use in place of a burned ROM).

That regulator SHOULD have an electrolytic capacitor between the center pin and the 5V. 

This was added to later RGB kits due to noise reports. (This capacitor may be the cause of your RGB troubles. You may need to add it, or if there, removing it may work). 

 

Hope any of this helps!



#15 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:47 PM

Hmm yeah I'll clean the cart slot contacts as well and check for cold solder joints. I believe the voltage regulator on mine is new, and the board below is the rgb mod which is also fairly new (see the pic). The cap on the left I believe is original. The little stick I put on there that says 1986 is the first time I had opened the machine, I of course got it years before that.

 

I reseated the top visible chip but that didn't help.I'm going through the diagnostic cart right now. So far that's looking good, it does not report any ram error. It's also passing the color bar test which checks the 6507 cpu, 6532 ram, and TIA. To be continued...

 

 

 

Atari2600.jpg



#16 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:53 PM

Omfg I just figured it out lol. It's because of the knock off Atari controllers I bought from Amazon! So I had bought two of these:

 

https://www.amazon.c...duct/B01M188I0X

 

..and I brought one home for the testing. On a whim I decided to try Combat to see what would happen, and I noticed player 2 using that joystick was moving bizarre, like the tank was going at double speed and was very difficult to control! I have the original Atari controller that came with the console, they don't work great but they do work so on a whim I plugged those in and both tanks controlled perfectly. Then I swapped P2 joystick for the above clone joystick and bizarre controls again.

 

So I put in Gunfight and presto, works perfect with the original 40 year old Atari joysticks. Put in the clone joystick on port 2 and bam, bad controls. Put back original Atari joystick and controls work again. So problem solved :) Thanks for the help everyone, I think maybe we'll just use Genesis controllers going forwards and I'll toss the clone joysticks into the trash.



#17 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:29 AM

I opened up that knock off joystick to figure out why it was behaving so weird, a piece had broken off and got wedged elsewhere, looks like multiple inputs were being selected as a result causing odd behavior. I remember us playing Combat just fine with it originally, so it must have broke sometime after that. That joystick was used on only 3 streams and it broke, figures. It wasn't rattling hence why it didn't even occur to me that it had broken inside, it felt normal and it was quiet. Anyways that means on next stream there will be a Gunfight!

 

 

 

AtariJoystick.jpg



#18 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:45 AM

I saw your negative feedback about them at Amazon. icon_thumbsup.gif

#19 Reality Studio OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:33 AM

I saw your negative feedback about them at Amazon. icon_thumbsup.gif

 

Oh that wasn't me, I didn't actually leave any feedback although I probably should! Not happy with these joysticks at all :( It does still leave two unanswered questions though. First, why did I get that graphical glitch on Medieval Mayhem that Darrell noticed and second, how come Porky's doesn't work on the Harmony Encore? Now that my 2600 passed all the diagnostic tests I figure it's working fine, so curious why those two still happen. The diagnostic rom linked above is very cool btw, you need the Atari Service Manual to figure it out but with that it's a neat tool to test the machine. 

 

Oh btw Thomas, love yours and Darrell's homebrew games, just great stuff guys! I intend to buy them all :)



#20 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:34 AM

If you are feeling generous, you can mail me the crappy joysticks. :)  I have a lot of spare parts and I enjoy fixing up random joysticks. Worst case scenario, I might be able to salvage a few more parts from them. :-D

 

Edit: Just saw these are the Cirka77 Joysticks. I'd seriously like to have them if you are thinking of throwing them away.


Edited by RamrodHare, Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:42 AM.


#21 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:41 AM

Looks like the stick is made of extremely brittle plastic and nothing like the more flexible (yet stiff) polypropylene found in the originals. These knock-offs are such junk! :lol:

#22 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:42 PM

Omfg I just figured it out lol. It's because of the knock off Atari controllers I bought from Amazon! So I had bought two of these:
 
https://www.amazon.c...duct/B01M188I0X
 
..and... bizarre controls again.
 
.


I bought a pair of those. The box description really sells it.
It broke the first time I used it!

I bought a different 4 that came in white cardboard boxes. Those also broke after one game of Millipede.

Glad I stopped Al from a large order for last year's Portland show.

Glad to hear you solved the problem.

#23 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:04 AM

I'm having the exact same issue with Porky's on my Harmony cartridge. I'm curious if this was resolved by swapping out your controller. I have an RGB modded console as well but my current controller has the Best Electronics updated board. I'm going to try a different controller to be sure but I'm curious if you have this same issue.

 

Note, I did put the Harmony in a non-modded system and it did the same thing. I'm going to try the controller now.

Hmm that's interesting, it is my original 2600 from when I was a kid, only thing I've had done to it is Yurkie did the rgb/svideo out mod to it. I didn't even notice the graphical glitch on MM, maybe because it was so quick. If it was a ram issue wouldn't it affect more games given that most games used a good chunk of the 128 bytes of ram?

 

Good idea to try Gunfight on the Harmony, I will try that!

 

On the same note, the only other time we noticed an obvious issue was with the game Porky's, that game does not work right but I thought it was because it was incompatible with the Harmony cart. Check the video here:

 

https://youtu.be/nET...YkJbsts?&t=6682

 

...but now I'm wondering, is it because of my Atari? Is Porky's known to work ok on the Harmony?

 

If there is a ram tester available I'll definitely try that as well!



#24 Rodrigo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:31 AM

Was playing Gunfight the other day on the Harmony and noticed something wrong with the second player. Sometimes I couldn't move in some directions for a moment, then it moved normally. The one player game is OK, though.



#25 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:36 AM

Have you tried Porky's?

Was playing Gunfight the other day on the Harmony and noticed something wrong with the second player. Sometimes I couldn't move in some directions for a moment, then it moved normally. The one player game is OK, though.






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