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BladeJunker

INTV controller sideways?

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I'm new to the INTV world having only had brief tries on the machine when it was new,anyway onto the subject on hand. Has anyone in the INTV homebrew circuit tried turning the controller sideways so its oriented more like a "traditional" gamepad?

 

I know some people seemingly can operate the controller well in vertical orientation but I can not very long(carpal stain) that I think I'll have to make a custom controller so I can enjoy my INTV for longer sessions. I mention homebrew since they have the opportunity to offer alternate control setups out the gate simply through alternate keymaps unlike existing games.

 

Alternate INTV keymap:

 

Disc Up===Right

Disc Down=Left

Disc Left= Up

Disc Right= Down

 

Fire 1 & Fire 2=Start/Pause or Select(Menu Toggle)

 

Keypad=12 action buttons.

 

Any circular keypad based firing directions could have an alternate mapping like that of the Disc to the horizontal controller orientation.

 

Also lefties or southpaws could be catered too as well by flopping this alternate keymap.

 

Anyway any feedback would be nice even if you want to call me a limp wristed INTV heretic, I can take it lol.

post-29395-0-87926800-1333656347_thumb.jpg

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Somebody at Imagic was thinking along similar lines. You can actually play Intellivision Demon Attack with the controller turned sideways if you wish; I believe UP corresponds to RIGHT, and DOWN to LEFT, though I could be remembering it wrong.

 

The trick with the Intellivision hand controller is finding a comfortable way of holding it. As I've said in the past, I would recommend against trying to use it as you would a gamepad, pressing the disc with your thumbs, because that can increase the strain on the controllers and on your hands:

 

Regarding the much-maligned hand controllers: in my opinion, the main stumbling block that modern gamers have to overcome is their familiarity with gamepads. If you try to use the hand controller like a gamepad, as newcomers to the system often do, you're only making it harder on yourself because that isn't the best way to use it. For side-to-side games like Astrosmash, use your index and middle fingers to "rock" the disc back and forth; for four-direction games (like Snafu), I often find that it's easier to "spin" the disc around in a circle with your index finger to reach the directionals, rather than manhandling it by pushing it up, down, left, or right with your thumb. You have to find a method that works for you, but again, don't approach it like a gamepad! It also helps if you can find a way of holding the controllers that makes the side buttons more comfortable.
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funny, even from 1982 I always played the disc with a thumb.... just the way I played it I guess (never had much exposure to the VCS in the childhood), and only came to that console later in life.

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Somebody at Imagic was thinking along similar lines. You can actually play Intellivision Demon Attack with the controller turned sideways; I believe UP corresponds to RIGHT, and DOWN to LEFT, though I could be remembering it wrong.

 

The trick with the Intellivision hand controller is finding a comfortable way of holding it. As I've said in the past, I would recommend against trying to use it as you would a gamepad, pressing the disc with your thumbs, because that can increase the strain on the controllers and on your hands:

 

Regarding the much-maligned hand controllers: in my opinion, the main stumbling block that modern gamers have to overcome is their familiarity with gamepads. If you try to use the hand controller like a gamepad, as newcomers to the system often do, you're only making it harder on yourself because that isn't the best way to use it. For side-to-side games like Astrosmash, use your index and middle fingers to "rock" the disc back and forth; for four-direction games (like Snafu), I often find that it's easier to "spin" the disc around in a circle with your index finger to reach the directionals, rather than manhandling it by pushing it up, down, left, or right with your thumb. You have to find a method that works for you, but again, don't approach it like a gamepad! It also helps if you can find a way of holding the controllers that makes the side buttons more comfortable.

Thanks for the operation tips, I'll try as you suggest with the rocking motion and finger placement. The spin option is quite nice actually as I've gotten some use with it for certain games, I'm actually quite impressed by the full 16 directional detection in the disc. I agree the disc responds better to small tilts rather than tapping motions with the thumb.

 

Lol yeah the gamepad is now a familiar shape and grip but that's because its ergonomic, no offense intended. Still I'll do as you suggest and stop treating it like one, should help with my Burgetime mastery. :)

 

Although not INTV my nieces tried my Colecovision for a couple minutes but couldn't come to terms with the vertical orientation and grip. They did manage to enjoy some 2600 gaming with Genesis gamepads as they have played my Nes the most but still struggle with operating directions and buttons simultaneously.

 

Still I don't think it could hurt to offer alternative mapping of game functions as good hand posture may help with Disc to Keypad operation but the Fire buttons don't work well with most games being so small and hard to press compared to the keypad. I was thinking other than the physical overlay there wasn't any reason you couldn't rotate the controller based on gameplay needs not unlike the Nintendo DS which can be vertical or rotated to act like a book.

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funny, even from 1982 I always played the disc with a thumb.... just the way I played it I guess (never had much exposure to the VCS in the childhood), and only came to that console later in life.

Me too I keep using my thumb regardless of the result, its same with consoles like the CDi in that it takes some adaption to get better control. Arcade games were like that too in that you'd find all kinds of gimmicky controllers like Xenophobe comes to mind with its button loaded joystick or Spy Hunter which was a great example of a driving controller immersion especially with the seated model.

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Thanks for the operation tips, I'll try as you suggest with the rocking motion and finger placement. The spin option is quite nice actually as I've gotten some use with it for certain games, I'm actually quite impressed by the full 16 directional detection in the disc. I agree the disc responds better to small tilts rather than tapping motions with the thumb.

 

Lol yeah the gamepad is now a familiar shape and grip but that's because its ergonomic, no offense intended. Still I'll do as you suggest and stop treating it like one, should help with my Burgetime mastery. :)

 

Although not INTV my nieces tried my Colecovision for a couple minutes but couldn't come to terms with the vertical orientation and grip. They did manage to enjoy some 2600 gaming with Genesis gamepads as they have played my Nes the most but still struggle with operating directions and buttons simultaneously.

No offense taken! I didn't get my first Intellivision until I was in my early thirties, so I think I can sympathize with how unusual the hand controller must appear to be to someone accustomed to gamepads and Wiimotes. As the saying goes, "the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there". There's a certain charm in setting aside everything I know about modern technology for a time, and to enjoy an "ancient" machine like the Intellivision on its own terms.

 

Still I don't think it could hurt to offer alternative mapping of game functions as good hand posture may help with Disc to Keypad operation but the Fire buttons don't work well with most games being so small and hard to press compared to the keypad. I was thinking other than the physical overlay there wasn't any reason you couldn't rotate the controller based on gameplay needs not unlike the Nintendo DS which can be vertical or rotated to act like a book.

Absolutely! It wouldn't be too difficult to do, either: the hand controller works by generating a series of codes that are read by the Intellivision through the sound chip. Offering different "controller orientations" might involve something as simple as building a small series of tables, each associating directions and buttons within a particular orientation with their corresponding codes, and switching from one table to another depending on how the player wants to hold the controller.

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As I've said in the past, I would recommend against trying to use it as you would a gamepad, pressing the disc with your thumbs, because that can increase the strain on the controllers and on your hands

 

Wait, what?? How do you control the disc? I hold the controller on my left hand, with the the disc at the bottom, and my thumb on the left action buttons and my middle finger on the right ones. Then I rest the bottom of the controller on the index and middle fingers of my right hand, and loosely pinch the disc with my thumb.

 

To move, I either press on the edges of the disc with my thumb, or rotate my thumb over the edge of the disc, depending on the game.

 

This is the way I held it when I was a kid in 1980, and this is the way I hold it now. I always thought this was normal, and in fact, don't recall anybody else holding it differently.

 

-dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay

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As I've said in the past, I would recommend against trying to use it as you would a gamepad, pressing the disc with your thumbs, because that can increase the strain on the controllers and on your hands

 

Wait, what?? How do you control the disc? I hold the controller on my left hand, with the the disc at the bottom, and my thumb on the left action buttons and my middle finger on the right ones. Then I rest the bottom of the controller on the index and middle fingers of my right hand, and loosely pinch the disc with my thumb.

 

To move, I either press on the edges of the disc with my thumb, or rotate my thumb over the edge of the disc, depending on the game.

 

This is the way I held it when I was a kid in 1980, and this is the way I hold it now. I always thought this was normal, and in fact, don't recall anybody else holding it differently.

 

-dZ.

I think you have to grip the controller with your right hand and sort of squeeze the Fire buttons and just lay your left hand on top to use the controller like this. I haven't tried in game yet, mostly just been pawing at my controller in different ways lol.

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Wait, what?? How do you control the disc? I hold the controller on my left hand, with the the disc at the bottom, and my thumb on the left action buttons and my middle finger on the right ones. Then I rest the bottom of the controller on the index and middle fingers of my right hand, and loosely pinch the disc with my thumb.

 

To move, I either press on the edges of the disc with my thumb, or rotate my thumb over the edge of the disc, depending on the game.

 

This is the way I held it when I was a kid in 1980, and this is the way I hold it now. I always thought this was normal, and in fact, don't recall anybody else holding it differently.

I do something similar: I hold the controller in my left hand, I use my middle and ring fingers on the right action buttons, and I use my left thumb to control the keypad, and when needed, the left action buttons. I use the index and middle fingers of my right hand on the disc. This allows me to easily "spin" the disc with my middle finger, or "rock" the disc back and forth on its center with my index and middle fingers (in games like Astrosmash, for example); it would be exhausting to me if I used only my thumb for this. Sometimes I do use my thumb, if it's more comfortable, but always in the same "spinning" motion, not by pushing the disk from its center as you would a gamepad.

 

Again, it's a matter of finding a comfortable way of holding the controller that allows you to use it with a minimum of strain. Different individuals will use different methods, since everyone's hands are different, and some are left-handed rather than right-handed. It also depends on the game you're playing: in a game that makes heavy use of the action buttons, I might hold the controller closer to my fingers and leave my left thumb on the left action buttons, and work both the disc and the keypad with my right hand.

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Very creative idea! I like it!!! Have to tinker with an Intellivision controller in the near future. ;)

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I often use what I figure is probably one of the stranger approaches to the Intellivision disc: playing with my thumbnail, i.e. with my right thumb bent and the broad part of the nail pressed against the disc.

 

It's a little bit awkward and can tax my thumb joint after a while, but if I need to be able to instantaneously slide between positions, it actually works quite well since the friction is much lower. Playing with the pad of my thumb feels tackier and oilier, and I can't go from up to down as quickly.

 

As for the side buttons, I alternate between different grips, depending on the game. I've never found a good way to have access to all three at once, though.

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IfI remember right the 2 bottoms action buttons were the same. I held the controller in my left hand, putting my left hand thumb o the let to bottom, left index and ring on top right and bottom right, and used my right index finger (and for any left/right games my right middle finder) to move. TO operate the keypad, I dial it with my right index finger, just like a touch tone phone. I was thinking of adding adapters in between the intellivision, (or intellivoice if using it) and the game for an external joystick adapter, where you can plug in custom joysticks, and do one other function I was thinking of. It would override the pads so you can control it with the new modern pad.

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Rather than trying to change the software, you might have better luck modifying the hardware. I did something similar with an Atari 5200 controller. Here's a link to it.

 

http://www.atariage....200-controller/

 

The Intellivision controller is a completely different animal so it might not even be possible, I haven't thought it all the way through, but it may be as easy as switching some of the wires where the controller cord connects to the console.

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Rather than trying to change the software, you might have better luck modifying the hardware. I did something similar with an Atari 5200 controller. Here's a link to it.

 

http://www.atariage....200-controller/

 

The Intellivision controller is a completely different animal so it might not even be possible, I haven't thought it all the way through, but it may be as easy as switching some of the wires where the controller cord connects to the console.

Very cool and a great solution. I haven't tracked down a 5200 yet but the controller is definitely an issue onto itself. Here's a neat Colecovision arcade stick I came across, I think the keypad placement is good. Also I was thinking of creating redundancies so the keypad could be used as well regular buttons wired to those same inputs if I ever made a custom INTV controller.

http://www.colecovision.dk/francois.htm

 

I haven't built any yet but here's my designs for some 2600 controllers. :)

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/195839-custom-controller-designs/

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