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Just discovered the X-axis in Centipede doesn't work with the AtariVox plugged in. AV speaker also produces a constant buzz when playing as well. Unplug the AV and all is good again!

Can I guess?

Was it because the player 2 port is configured to get 3 or 4 extra bits used as like-RAM for storing and reading?

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[final edit] forget it. not worth the effort to build a stupid table in this interface.

 

was trying to post something for confirmation of which swcha bit goes to which physical controller pin.

I'll figure it out myself or just toss the project in the garbage.

Edited by BigO

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Can I guess?

Was it because the player 2 port is configured to get 3 or 4 extra bits used as like-RAM for storing and reading?

Thomas was using the low bits of SWCHA before as storage, and yes that is most likely the problem. A fix would probably require more ram. I came up with a few techniques to free up ram for Millipede that might be useful in this case, here.

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Agreed. Though some games take part of their challenge from controls, so they might become too easy then. So sometimes we might have to think about increasing the difficulty.

Maybe we can start some highscore contests for trackball games. Those would soon show reveal all difficulty problems. And provide some nice feedback from people actually enjoying the hacks.

 

I can only speak for myself here, but money won't buy me here. If I don't have fun, I won't do it. And as long as I have fun (and feedback), I will do more conversions.

I can understand your motivation, but IMO doing stuff for money ruins the hobby. Also we might attract people, we do not like to see here.

 

If you want to pay back, go into the shop a buy some homebrews or hacks (I hope more trackball hacks will show up there), PLAY them, write some reviews, etc. That is worth much more than "just" money

 

...

Thanks for replying. I completely forgot about doing something just because it is fun, and getting feedback.

Things can quickly become not fun with pressure and annoying repeat asking for updates...

 

Millipede being easier and scoring higher takes nothing away from the excitement. It just continues to get even more difficult!

My highest score was 138,000. I was in the zone.

I haven't broken 100,000 since, until the trackball version! Still sometimes I score low, but I have had some 160,000-180,000 point games.

I knew there were 2 spiders at a time, but saw 3 at a time, plus 2 ladybugs while it drops moths and mosquitoes and earwigs poison the mushrooms.

 

To date I have and will continue to support authors and AtariAge by buying home-brew games.

I was so impressed with the game play [Princess Rescue], music, and pushing the original batari Basic farther than I'd ever imagined it could, I bought both a boxed and a loose copy.

I even did the speech samples and woof code sound for Fat Albert, stated I didn't want any compensation, and offered to buy it, but Scott insisted on sending me one for contributing, and he even wouldn't accept payment for the postage to mail it to me.

Edited by iesposta
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Yay. I was able to resurrect my dead Wico Command Control trackball as a "true" trackball. (Gray code output/CX80)

 

I've played very little Missile Command on the 2600. It's definitely much better with the trackball. I may actually play it now.

I've played a fair amount of Centipede and Millipede on the 2600. It's also a lot more appealing to me with the trackball.

 

It seems so appropriate to be playing these versions on hacked hardware. :)

 

Thanks for all the work on these games, guys!

Edited by BigO
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Yay. I was able to resurrect my dead Wico Command Control trackball as a "true" trackball. (Gray code output/CX80)

Great! Do you mind sharing your mod? I took a look and found some here. Was it one of those? :)

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"If you want to pay back, go into the shop a buy some homebrews or hacks (I hope more trackball hacks will show up there), PLAY them, write some reviews, etc. That is worth much more than "just" money"

 

 

I certainly will pick up new hacks in the shop as I only play on real hardware! :)

For the 7800 I have to stick with PAL Cartridges but I bought a 2600 NTSC Jr. only for one reason: To play homebrews and hacks which were are not released as PAL versions :)

 

I own Colony 7 and played it with my trakball in JS mode, as i did with some light gun shooters like alien brigade for the 7800.

But in JS mode you have to spin too much and it gets painfull quickly.

Why light gun shooters? Well, without an old CRT TV you just can't use any light gun anymore.

 

By the way, not having many games for my Trakball, I even tried to play Juno First in JS mode.

Again you have to spin too much but it gives you a different kind of game play.

It was fun but not good for high score ;)

 

And of course all trakball games from the arcades should get back their original controls.

I once bought an USB trakball only to connect it to my RASPI with mame...

 

 

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So any feedback regarding the difficulty in Colony 7?

 

Is the doubled speed (left difficulty = A) a good compensation for the better trackball control? Or should we keep the original speed?

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Great! Do you mind sharing your mod? I took a look and found some here. Was it one of those? :)

I wasn't aware of any other mods. I had previously replaced the dead microcontroller with a PIC to make it act like a joystick.

So, I had already traced out the wiring in the trackball.

 

To make it a true trackball, I first tried to just pass the signals from the encoders straight through to the console. No luck. Probably some floating output didn't drive the 2600 inputs properly. Not really sure I even had it wired right, but didn't expect it to work anyway so I moved on to some active circuitry.

(FYI - all of the power to the sensors and wiring to the fire button remain intact with the uController removed from its socket. Only the 4 signals from the encoders need to be adapted.)

 

I simply buffered each of the encoder signals before passing it out through the appropriate pins 1,2,3,4.

 

I used a HCF4069 inverting buffer that I've had sitting around for I think 20+ years. There was some trial and error involved with getting the "polarity" of the connections right. I had it moving the cursor backward the first time around.

 

The use of the inverting buffer was completely arbitrary. The only non-inverting buffer I happened to have around was a tri-state line driver and I only had one of those. I had two 4069's so...

 

It's a hacked up mess now after correcting the wiring on the fly, but I just adapted the 14 pin 4069 into a 28 pin socket then plugged that socket into the 28 pin socket of the Wico controller.

 

If there were a million of these controllers floating around for $1 each, it'd be worth the effort to make a circuit board adapter instead of hand wiring.

The best option would be to find a microcontroller that's pin compatible with the original and throw a quick "pass through" program in it.

 

I don't have a nice clean writeup or pictures or even lab notes, but I can outline the working notes I do have if somebody wants to try the hack themselves.

Edited by BigO

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Great! Do you mind sharing your mod? I took a look and found some here. Was it one of those? :)

Just skimmed the info in the link. Doesn't look like what I did. I used one chip and some wires to create a permanent Gray code output trackball.

 

Mine may not be a technical masterpiece as I didn't put much thought into it. But it works. :)

post-12370-0-09253400-1447081990_thumb.jpg

post-12370-0-66973900-1447082002_thumb.jpg

Edited by BigO
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So any feedback regarding the difficulty in Colony 7?

 

Is the doubled speed (left difficulty = A) a good compensation for the better trackball control? Or should we keep the original speed?

 

I like the feel of both speeds, but prefer to play the faster game.

 

Your cursor speed remains the same though, right? Couple of times, felt like it could take a little less effort to whip your cursor around, but could just be me feeling lethargic this morning. :lol:

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Cursor speed is the same in both settings, yes.

 

To keep the scores comparable, I tend to use only one speed in the final ROM. But in the end I will let Manuel decide. He just should have some good feedback.

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..."This would be so much better with trackball control", like Fast Food and its Fat Albert hack...

I had a brief look at Fast Food yesterday and it seems like a pretty mediocre game. The game play wears out soon, not well balanced (e.g. there is no benefit for taking the risk and moving right) and technically it has quite some flaws (incorrect scan lines, jerking sprites...). I don't even think the colors are correct. Probably a bad port from PAL. And there is no fun in porting bad games.

 

Is the Fat Albert hack that much better? And where can I get it?

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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I had a brief look at Fast Food yesterday and it seems like a pretty mediocre game. The game play wears out soon, not well balanced (e.g. there is no benefit for taking the risk and moving right) and technically it has quite some flaws (incorrect scan lines, jerking sprites...). I don't even think the colors are correct. Probably a bad port from PAL. And there is no fun in porting bad games.

 

Is the Fat Albert hack that much better? And where can I get it?

Omegamatrix fixed the scan lines and added bankswitch for my speech samples. The last posted build here doesn't have the woof sound. I have the source up to the added woof sound, but it crashed on real carts and Al had Fred fix the final code.

(I didn't add any code, but one of my duration changes must have made things run too long? I haven't heard back from Fred. He's still busy after PRGE. )

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I wasn't aware of any other mods. I had previously replaced the dead microcontroller with a PIC to make it act like a joystick.

So, I had already traced out the wiring in the trackball.

 

To make it a true trackball, I first tried to just pass the signals from the encoders straight through to the console. No luck. Probably some floating output didn't drive the 2600 inputs properly. Not really sure I even had it wired right, but didn't expect it to work anyway so I moved on to some active circuitry.

(FYI - all of the power to the sensors and wiring to the fire button remain intact with the uController removed from its socket. Only the 4 signals from the encoders need to be adapted.)

 

I simply buffered each of the encoder signals before passing it out through the appropriate pins 1,2,3,4.

 

I used a HCF4069 inverting buffer that I've had sitting around for I think 20+ years. There was some trial and error involved with getting the "polarity" of the connections right. I had it moving the cursor backward the first time around.

 

The use of the inverting buffer was completely arbitrary. The only non-inverting buffer I happened to have around was a tri-state line driver and I only had one of those. I had two 4069's so...

 

It's a hacked up mess now after correcting the wiring on the fly, but I just adapted the 14 pin 4069 into a 28 pin socket then plugged that socket into the 28 pin socket of the Wico controller.

 

If there were a million of these controllers floating around for $1 each, it'd be worth the effort to make a circuit board adapter instead of hand wiring.

The best option would be to find a microcontroller that's pin compatible with the original and throw a quick "pass through" program in it.

 

I don't have a nice clean writeup or pictures or even lab notes, but I can outline the working notes I do have if somebody wants to try the hack themselves.

If your trackball uses an optical encoder, you may need to add some sort of power circuit to supply the IR LEDs as well as transistor logic to boost the output of the photo diodes so that the Atari can read it across the joystick inputs.

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If your trackball uses an optical encoder, you may need to add some sort of power circuit to supply the IR LEDs as well as transistor logic to boost the output of the photo diodes so that the Atari can read it across the joystick inputs.

The power to the encoders stays in place even without a chip in the board. Power is routed directly to the sensors. With no brains in the controller at all, I was able to see the outputs go from high to low with respect to ground just using a voltmeter.

 

It looks like the outputs from the sensors are pulled down through 3.3K ohm resistors. I would expect that to be sufficient to signal a low to the console input.

So, I'm really not sure why it didn't work with the sensor outputs patched straight out to the console. Maybe it's only seeing zeros. It's not really making sense to me yet.

 

I'll have to try the simpler setup with the signals patched straight through again. I'll measure more carefully and put the 'scope to it to see what's happening to those signals.

I noticed an op amp in one of the other hacks, so they may have encountered the same issue.

 

We at least know it's possible to do the hack with a single, simple, dirt cheap component. But, I still want to know the real answer why the simpler setup isn't working. I suppose it's a good thing that I'm not a cat. :ponder:

Edited by BigO

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The power to the encoders stays in place even without a chip in the board. Power is routed directly to the sensors. With no brains in the controller at all, I was able to see the outputs go from high to low with respect to ground just using a voltmeter.

 

It looks like the outputs from the sensors are pulled down through 3.3K ohm resistors. I would expect that to be sufficient to signal a low to the console input.

So, I'm really not sure why it didn't work with the sensor outputs patched straight out to the console. Maybe it's only seeing zeros. It's not really making sense to me yet.

 

I'll have to try the simpler setup with the signals patched straight through again. I'll measure more carefully and put the 'scope to it to see what's happening to those signals.

I noticed an op amp in one of the other hacks, so they may have encountered the same issue.

 

We at least know it's possible to do the hack with a single, simple, dirt cheap component. But, I still want to know the real answer why the simpler setup isn't working. I suppose it's a good thing that I'm not a cat. :ponder:

Maybe a logic buffer would do? A pair of hex inverters could be used in a pinch to buffer the outputs. Op-Amps would also work great as digital signalling device. connect the minus to a voltage divider and the plus to the input. If the plus input is higher than the minus input, the output is driven high, and visa-versa.

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Your "CX80 Trak-Ball" will probably need the CX22 rom bin.

The end of CX80 production had Amiga compatible output.

I haven't seen anyone report their CX80 needs the CX80 rom binary, although recently on eBay there was a CX80 Trak-Ball with a CX80 Missile Command TB cart.

This. My CX-80 came in today is really a CX-22. I loaded both versions onto my Harmony CX-22 mode moves around fluidly but CX-80 mode just gets small random jitter movements.

 

Now I just need to deep clean the sucker. I'm having a bit of difficulty moving in the upwards direction, possibly gunk on the rollers. I'm out of isopropyl 91% so I'll need to buy some more. Quick question, what do you guys recommend for inspection and cleaning? Should I lube any parts? If so with what? I understand silicone is plastic safe but thought I'd get an opinion from the experts. Also I'm assuming the screw holes for disassembly are under the rubber feet?

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Maybe a logic buffer would do? A pair of hex inverters could be used in a pinch to buffer the outputs. Op-Amps would also work great as digital signalling device. connect the minus to a voltage divider and the plus to the input. If the plus input is higher than the minus input, the output is driven high, and visa-versa.

That's what I put in there and wrote up just a bit back in this thread. It's simple, I was just trying to see if it could be simpler.

Op-amps would be overkill. Not that I'm against overkill, but I used what I had.

 

Cleaner version built and installed. Here it is mounted on the board ready to go back in the controller. Still not what I'd call "clean", but I'm not going to build a PC board for this one-off mod.

post-12370-0-43843500-1447135308_thumb.jpg

 

 

Now maybe I can stop playing with the controller and start playing with the controller.

Edited by BigO
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Omegamatrix fixed the scan lines and added bankswitch for my speech samples. The last posted build here doesn't have the woof sound. I have the source up to the added woof sound, but it crashed on real carts and Al had Fred fix the final code.

(I didn't add any code, but one of my duration changes must have made things run too long? I haven't heard back from Fred. He's still busy after PRGE. )

As soon as the final code becomes available (and if there is interest for another version) I will have a look.

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So any feedback regarding the difficulty in Colony 7?

 

Is the doubled speed (left difficulty = A) a good compensation for the better trackball control? Or should we keep the original speed?

I like the doubled speed for the trackball. Difficulty B makes a good "trainer" mode.

I've never played the joystick version of this game so can't make a direct comparison of difficulty level.

 

I like your implementation of the trackball controls in general. Horizontal movement is less sensitive than vertical which sort of evens out the fact that it's naturually easier to spin the ball horizontally than vertically (for me, anyway). Having said that, it does still feel slightly biased toward better vertical control. However, if I had picked this game up off the shelf and started playing it, I don't believe I would have been critical of the controls. Good job.

 

(If it matters, I'm using my Wico, modified to output straight Gray code like a CX80.)

Edited by BigO

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I've noticed a screen roll a few times when playing Colony 7. It may have always been there, but mentioning it in case it was introduced with the new control scheme.

 

I've seen it three times now. It's always when targeting down near the right cannon, chasing one of the little rainbow saucer guys. In this last instance, my left cannon was already gone.
Not sure really what "round" I was on. I was just zoning out, not really caring about score or anything. The score was yellow if that counts for anything. Squad 3 maybe?

 

I've gotten past the same level without seeing the roll.

 

I'll try to pay more attention and see if I can give you better clues where to look...or you can dismiss it as my imagination.

Maybe someone more observant will see it and better describe when it happens.

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