Very interesting! I appreciate your sharing these ideas. I DO feel like its important to offer an analog stick, as I am a huge fan of Dreadnaught Factor, which is a ship where analog acceleration is essential for success. I also want to nail down an analog technology so that I can offer the same control to the Vectrex community after the 5200 is served.
One of the huge lessons I learned in the ColecoVision project was that inserting elements of emulation and digital manipulation lead to unexpected problems and glitches. After it was all done, we ended up with a straight passive copy of the original Super Action controller. The Super CV has had a flawless record of success with every game tested, AFAIK. In contrast, our Super Arcade Controller and the PLUS version are microprocessor-drive emulators and they create weirdo problems with a handful of CV games on certain CV consoles. We never nailed down where the problems really were, let alone resolved them.
For the Super 52, my wish would be to deliver TWO versions:
1. Economical version: Uses potentiometer-driven analog joystick + Potentiometer-driven paddle controller.
2. Deluxe version: Uses hall-effect analog joystick + optical encoder that can operate in paddle more or spinner mode
With both versions, I would like to have a switch that allows the stick to operate in analog mode versus "digital" mode.
Also looking at pass-through DB9 conversion so you can drive your 5200 with a Genesis controller or an Atari 2600/7800 controller, while the Super 52 provides the keypad and function buttons.
Hey Ed of Edladdin:
That was mainly a stream-of-consciousness, where at first I was advocating a digital joystick for the 90% of games where either controls need to be instantly shifted on a frame, or have to find the exact center or else you'll be screwed, and then I saw, there is no such thing as a Swiss Army Knife for the 5200, ie one controller that can do everything. The 3 games I mentioned, Star Wars, Kaboom, Missile Command are best with the default 5200 controller where there is no self-centering. I used the case of Warlords on Atari Flashback for Xbox One where adding self-centering when not intended can ruin you.
Then I thought, if it had self centering, would that make it an effective combined digital/analog joystick? i thought of the case of Galaxian, where both a) the x axis is analog in 5 ranges, fast left, slow left, stop, slow right, and fast right, and b) there is a benefit to "finding the center" easier, which I believe you don't want to move between two bullets with barely enough width for one ship.
I honestly only played Dreadnaught Factor on an Atari 800 bootleg floppy, so I only experienced it with a 2600/800 digital stick. I guess both varying velocity/acceleration rates come in handy in that game. It can come in handy if you're used to it.
Probably the best solution to the those who want a Digital stick is a Genesis and/or 7800 to 5200 adapter (for which I can use a Tototek PS2-> Genesis adapter, and plug THAT in the Genesis to 5200 adapter, along wiht YOUR Genesis to 7800 adapter, which is the only one to work with 2 button games.) with either built in keypad or allow for a real working 5200 controller as a backup keypad. Maybe it can have a 15-pin port with one of 3 things attachable to it, a new keypad made just for this device, a real 5200 joystick, or a "button mapper" for a Genesis 6 button controller, where any button can equal Top, Bottom, or any of the 15 keypad presses.
Here are a couple possibilities for using the extra buttons of the Genesis. If Defender uses the keypad for an extra function like Hyperspace, that can be the C button, or this one game I remember for the Atari 800 (bootleg floppy again) which was probably a 5200 game originally. (I think it was Countermeasure, but I'm not sure) where you had to type in combinations of keyboard buttons 1 2 3 in a 3 digit combination before the atomic bomb went off.
You can go to the bunker early, but you'd be guessing codes until you luck out or die. The preliminary part of the game was finding pieces of code by shooting stuff and other non-sepeciific stuff I remember. The countdown code was the most memorable thing on it. If you found one piece of the code, you can guess all 9 possible codes as guesses in time easily. At least on level 1. Does level 2 and beyond have either more possible "letters of the alphabet" or "letters in the word" or both?
But I assume for every digital game, a self-centering analog joystick would work just as well. I guess for Galaxian and Dreadnaught the self centering analog would be perfect. If it doesn't a nine-pin for Genesis/7800 (2600 won't work for some games, too few buttons.) would be a good addition too.
Also about the Colecovision controller. you have a 12 button physical keypad in your "wire-up board" kit. What would I do if I want to wire up the 1 , 2 and 3 buttons for the doors in Mouse Trap and the 5 for Dog to my fight stick, but also have the keypad for level selection.
Speaking of Colecovision, have you tried your Colecovision Super Action Clone Stick and/or board on Q Bert's Qubes and Activision Decathlon? Those are 2 games I only got working with a real Standard CV controller and not a Real CV Super Action controller. Q Bert's Qubes has a bug where if I press a keypad button to select my skill level, and I don't release it instantly, the cubes go nuts and it ends in a runtime error and freezes. Also in Activision Decathlon, the jump/throw button is either alternating on/off automatically and/or being permenantly held down, therefore my jumps and throws are always at the earliest possible point and not even close to the optimal angle. Does your CV stick and/or board do those games correctly? Have you noticed those problems on a real CV Super Action stick?
A couple other things for the future, a Saturn -> Jaguar Pro (plus external aux buttons and keypad) adapter, a 4-way/8way joystick for Intelliviison and/or a Genesis to Intellivision adapter, for both original INTV 2 plugs as well as "flashback modded" INTV 1's and 3's.
If you make enough of the joysticks, and have enough of the formats, maybe an Omni Classic stick makes sense, where the stick is a Naked DB25 wit one wire-per-control and then an appropriate adapter for each system. Buy what you want and reuse the joystick and save money per console. Here's a couple pictures on my website of how to easilty make an ambidextrous stick without compromising contours.:
Finally, your cheapest product, a pin swapper to connect Atari 2600 (or Colecovision, or 7800, or Master System, or Genesis) Joysticks to Astrocade Machines, and a separate product for vice versa (in one-button mode). I say don't bother with the paddle, (or if you do, offer a cheaper Joystick-only version. The Astrocade padddles need to double for an Atari, and the Atari Paddles in some Bally games need a joystick too. I don't know how to build one myself, and you';re the only person who types good English who works on these old American Systems simultaneously. Plus there's electronic issues that I don't understand. the website where the pinouts are at is http://www.glankonia...lance/Hack.html