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Dripfree

Just stumbled across a cdi got some questions...

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So I was at Goodwill today. I strolled past the VHS and dvd players looking for a Genesis or something cool. I moved on and and the thought actually crossed my mind to recheck the dvd players to see if there might be a CDI or 3do in the mix. Sure enough I found a CDI in there. That stuff seems to happen to me more often than you would think. It didn't work until I removed all the pieces of Comptons interactive encyclopedia. I also had to pry up the spindle a bit it got pressed onto the housing and wouldnt spin. Well it plays cds now I got no games to test but it seems like a good sign. My real question is about the controler. I don't have one and they're pretty pricy on ebay. I guess there were at one point genesis or pc pad to cdi adapters made. I have seen pictures but not any schematics. I would like to find the plans and give it a go if anyone knows where to find them. One site said you may need a micro controller. That obviously complicates things but then again I have wanted to give arduino a try. Or hell maybe someone knows of a cheap place to by controller's or some type of cheap alternative. I realize what I'm asking may not even be possible, I figured id ask cuz I kinda want to give this thing a go and I thought someone may be able to show me where to start.

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Correct, you're asking for the impossible. I have a CDi and yes, the controllers are expensive as hell and no, there isn't really a cheap remedy for it. Even worse, they're not exactly reliable. Worse than that, the connector is proprietary so whatever you do you'll need a base controller to start with. And worst of all, once you go through the hassle of getting a working controller or figuring out how to make your own, you're going to find out there's nothing good to play on it anyways.

 

I can swear I heard about a guy who posted a way to use that mini controller on some sort of third party PC controller and make the best CDi gamepad out there. But again, you'll have to sacrifice a working controller to make that. I would hope if he posted those instructions it might be possible to figure out what each wire does and cut up a broken controller to make your own with an arduino. I dunno. Again, it sounds cool but I'm not willing to try because it would be a wasted effort. There's nothing worth playing on a CDi, it's purely a collector's piece.

 

Back when I was looking for them, the cheapest controllers out there were those remotes with the N64 style analog stick. But they're wireless so I'm sure it would be a double pain in the ass to try to make a custom setup out of that. The only good thing about the CDi is that there's pretty much no copy protection on the discs. Otherwise they're pretty useless. I hope someday I can trade mine in to someone for a 3DO.

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The cheapest remedy is to buy a CD-i mouse. The CD-i uses an analog-esque method for recognizing inputs and so the mouse and trackballs are actually the more natural way to play many CD-i games, and they work with every game. That's the best advice I can give. The gamepad controllers are too expensive and aren't even that great to begin with.

 

NIB mouse on eBay, $30 with free shipping: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CD-I-Mouse-22ER9011-Philips-/322053831368?hash=item4afbe77ac8:m:mz3aPdl6ph-7jNp1HIY2wMQ

 

On a side note, congrats on the find! I always comb the VCR/DVD player section of thrift stores for this very reason. It's how I found one of my NUON systems. Unfortunately, I haven't been lucky since, but it's worth checking either way.

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I've corresponded with the designer and he'll be making a few of them to sell. I'll try to remember to post here if/when I hear from him that they're available.

 

Definitely do it man, I'd be interested in one myself for the inevitable occasion when I'll own a CD-i again.

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Don't CDi controllers connect via an 8-pin mini DIN? I just tried a mini DIN extension cable I use with my Core Grafx, and it fit.

 

Whether the CDi is worth having or not is, of course, a matter of personal taste. I actually like mine a lot. There are games like The Apprentice and Mutant Rampage Bodyslam that aren't available on other platforms, and I don't think there is a good emulation solution (at least, the last time I checked, the only emulator I found didn't have working sound).

 

I'm fortunate in that I got my gamepad years ago and didn't pay a ton for it. That said, the adapter doesn't look too difficult to make, and I may try making one of these.

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There's a schematic for a SNES to CD-i controller adapter:

 

http://cdii.blogspot.com/

 

I've corresponded with the designer and he'll be making a few of them to sell. I'll try to remember to post here if/when I hear from him that they're available.

That is very cool and pretty much exactly what I was looking for. I realize this would likely be an unreasonable project without a huge payoff even with success. Like I said Ive been looking to get into arduino and this may be a good place to start. Im not diving in just yet but this is exactly the waters that I wanted to test.

 

The mouse idea interests me too. I think that may be something that may be worth using or is within my abilities to hack.

Edited by Dripfree

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Don't CDi controllers connect via an 8-pin mini DIN? I just tried a mini DIN extension cable I use with my Core Grafx, and it fit.

 

The problem is that they use some sort of really weird serial encoding that's tricky to handle. I don't know all the details, but my understanding is that it's more complex to build a converter than with just about any other system.

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You can try and find a remote controller, if you don't have a 450 or 550 model, since those haven't got ir built in. It's not the best controller, but i guess they aren't that expensive. At least you can try out some games.

The cd-i doesn't have a copy protection, so you can try out whatever game you want.

The only thing that you may need to play some games is the dv cartridge. Since some use the extra memory for sound or video.

I to like the cd-i a lot. So check games for yourself, a lot of people just use the zelda games to say all games on the cd-i are bad.

Like mentioned above, the apprentice is a good game, i also like mutant rampage, other good games are lucky luke the videogame, cristmas crisis, burn:cycle, secret mission, flashback to name a few.

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There's a schematic for a SNES to CD-i controller adapter:

 

http://cdii.blogspot.com/

 

I've corresponded with the designer and he'll be making a few of them to sell. I'll try to remember to post here if/when I hear from him that they're available.

That's the best news I've heard all day. I've been looking for one of those CD-i to Genesis adapters for years. Please let us know if you hear anything.

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Interesting discovery today on this front. I know the remotes make poor game pads due to the infra red connection. I did however discover today I was able to control the cdi with a universal remote app for my Samsung s5. I only experimented with an audio cd and it performed all those functions just fine. So now I'm planning on burning a game just to see if this system is functioning well enough to play it and if I can get any level of control with this app.

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Interesting discovery today on this front. I know the remotes make poor game pads due to the infra red connection. I did however discover today I was able to control the cdi with a universal remote app for my Samsung s5. I only experimented with an audio cd and it performed all those functions just fine. So now I'm planning on burning a game just to see if this system is functioning well enough to play it and if I can get any level of control with this app.

Which app is it?

 

Most or all, should play games with IR remote controller.

 

I was pretty lucky to find real cdi controller at Goodwill for $3, you should have seen grin on my face! I also got one CDi system in Goodwill for $5, but is half functioning, looks like input chip is bad. The front controller port does not work along side with IR, but the rear port works fine.

 

I have some PDFs showing the controller protocol if you fancy creating your own converter, let me know.

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Interesting discovery today on this front. I know the remotes make poor game pads due to the infra red connection. I did however discover today I was able to control the cdi with a universal remote app for my Samsung s5. I only experimented with an audio cd and it performed all those functions just fine. So now I'm planning on burning a game just to see if this system is functioning well enough to play it and if I can get any level of control with this app.

Interesting find. However, the CD-I remote feature 2 special buttons that might not be emulated by the app or any device.

Else t's not surprising, Philips wouldn't created a special protocol for an IR device... Well maybe they did, but the need to differentiate varioous IR controlelr appliances mean that you can't just create something out of the blue.

It's something that alwasy buggered me, BTW; is why the CD-I games doesn't make use of the CD function buttons.

I mean, in the same fashion, look at the 3DO controller :

3docont.jpg

Just using the STOP and READ buttons would have allowed for having 4 useable buttons in games, as opposed to the 2 buttons scheme.

It would be interesting to know if those functions are wire into the pads, and so, why does the pads doesn't use them.

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Which app is it?

 

This app is called total controler honestly its not great and realy just the first one I tried. I plan on trying others many offer a high level of customization including button layout. I think there is like a million different apps like this out there.

 

And thanks for the pic I had planned on googling just that. It apears that some of my assumptions were correct. I had hoped the directionals would be linked with the track navigation buttons which makes me optimistic this may work. I do have little hope of finding a setup that does everything I want and functions well as a controller. So I will likely still attempt to build one. It will be nice to at least see a few games this way and actually verify it is working as a game machine.

 

Oh I just noticed that is actually a 3do controller.... Well hears to hoping philips used the same logical layout.

Edited by Dripfree

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So the Idea of using a phone app seems to be a bust. I have not found an app that gives me any control beyond cd player functions. If anyone seems to know where to find the hex code values for all the functions of a CD-I remote let me know, I do have an app that would allow this level of control but I have failed to find this information anywhere.

 

I am also watching that roller ball controller.

 

I have found plans to make an adapter for a pc controller. I does involve programming a pic chip, but doesn't seem crazy hard. I am bound and determined to play this thing but I'm not going to pay those crazy ebay prices for a game pad. I don't even care if I spend the same amount of money making my own because then I at least learn a new skill for the cost, and get some entertainment from the making process.

Edited by Dripfree
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I'm sure this isn't the popular opinion, but is it really worth all this effort? The 3DO is an infinitely better system, and I couldn't even justify keeping that around due to the lack of interesting games.

 

I don't know....just my two cents.

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I'm sure this isn't the popular opinion, but is it really worth all this effort? The 3DO is an infinitely better system, and I couldn't even justify keeping that around due to the lack of interesting games.

 

I don't know....just my two cents.

You will get no arguments from me on this. The end result is actually not worth the effort. For me though the effort is worth the effort. I will likely enjoy the process of getting this thing to a point where I can play games on it more than actually playing any games on it. It did not work at all when I got it and after much effort it works. Thats the real game to me. Getting a working controller and seeing it as a fully functional system is beating the game.

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Just buy the mouse and call it a day. The roller ball controller will sell higher than the NIB mouse and it won't work as well either.

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The trouble with playing CD-i come more from the finisky machine and pads than the game quality.

Very late release of Cd-i compatible players use Flash memory for saves and have more modern (and recent) CD drives, eliminating the issue with the TimeKeeper chips.

Wired controllers are still an issue due to their amazing low quality, scarcity and difficulty to adapt others.

At least if someone can made an adapter, this would solve the pad issue.

 

People are making efforts to dissect and check the BitCorp Gamate, and the Hanimex HMG 7900, two systems that are incredibly obscure.

There is much dedication about the Jaguar, and the Jaguar sold 4 less times than the CD-i (Jaguar sales figures are around 250 000, the CD-i about 1 million). Software list is also larger for the CD-i, even if there is a load of educative software with little to no gaming value in the CD-i library.

It just happen that people are more interested in the Jaguar because of the system being the last made by Atari, because it had some good games (but so has the CD-i) and because Hasbro allowed for anyone to develop on it.

The CD-i on the other hand is an awkward hybrid of the 90's, touted as an interactive media player, powered by a powerful (for the time) system but lacking in the graphics departement when it come to sprites, scrolling and other 2D gaming things. And it's based on a Philips BIOS and an OS/9 (not Mac OS!) that is still sold, making emulation and programming difficult as there is much secrecy and copyright issues around here.

The 3DO, while maybe not as concerned with copyright, suffered in that the games needed an encryption key for games to boot, and it was broken in 2012 only.

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