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adamchevy

Another Vectrex Controller

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Hello all, I would like to create a new Vectrex controller similar to the pictures you see above. I have been a machinist for almost 10 years at the end of 2018. I have made one other small project, the brass Hex Discs for the CX-10 controllers. I wish the lathes where I work were slower so I had some time to make some more of those. I’m going to have to wait until Christmas break it looks like.

Anyway, I have been interested in making a Vectrex controller for a few years now. If I am to make one similar to the one above I will need someone who owns one to get me some dimensions. I can get pretty close by looking at pictures, but I am also open for some discussion on what the community would like to change about it. I like to see improvement when making new things. I am open to the idea of different materials being used like brass, or some grade of stainless steel. Probably not titanium though, it’s very expensive to purchase and machine. Realistically aluminum is probably the best material. It’s the best for price and ease of machining. We could look into going with a different alloy like 7075. It is much stronger.

I will be able to do all of the required machining and anodizing, but I am not a capable Electronics person. I would need someone else to provide support on that. I am ofcourse open to any ideas of what should be included on that end.

Most of all I want something that looks great, and functions well. I’m not interested in going much past an overall cost of $150 per controller shipped. Unless someone can provide some very good reasons. I also don’t want to rush into this. I want to make sure this is something that people actually will want. I look forward to any and all feedback.

Edited by adamchevy
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I like the idea you have. Price target sounds reasonable. Disclaimer: I am probably not in the market for one.

 

Mine has these approx dimensions in inches:

 

7-7/8th width (left to right)

3 deep (front to back)

1-1/8th height (table to top surface) at the front

1-1/2 height (table to top surface) at the rear

 

As you can see, the controller is higher in back than in front, which I like.

 

The center of the joystick is about 1-7/8th from the left side.

The center of Button 1 is a little less than 1-3/4th from the center of the joystick.

The center of Button 2 is about 15/16th to the right of the center of Button 1.

Buttons 3 and 4 are similarly spaced.

 

The center of the buttons and joystick are about 1-1/2 from the front of the joystick.

 

If I were going to design one, I would not try to make it the same size as the original. I would prefer something bigger and more stable on the table, with space under my right palm to hold it in place while pushing the buttons. Usually when playing, I find the controller tends to move around too easily. Of course, this could also be fixed by some provision for attaching the controller to the table, or a board.

 

Also, I would make the controllers height as low/close to the table as possible. In an perfect world, the controls would be IN the table.

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I think this is a great design. I’m not sure the Vectrex community needs another controller at this point. This is exactly what I was looking for.

Edited by adamchevy
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New Vectrex controllers are always welcomed, especially with having zero 3rd party support back in the day. When I was doing research for mine, I saw a couple nice looking ones and I saw many that leave you scratching your head that have been produced throughout the years. It's a lot of time, work and money to produce a run of controllers. There's a reason why most will just make one or two and toss it up on the eBayz for the feeding frenzy. I funded my run of 15 and pretty much had them ready to ship when someone posted a couple pics on FB (I'm not on social media) and folks hunted me down to buy one, didn't even have a chance to create a for sale thread. Try different shapes and design ideas, I didn't want to alienate any of the original games and home brews with mine. Having the 4 buttons in a row is perfect for the games that use 1&2 for L&R and 3&4 for thrust / fire (the controller linked in previous post cancels out a lot of games due to that button layout). The other plus that works well on mine is button 1 being under the joy makes for a quick thumb twitch to engage button 1 or 2 for games like protector for reverse and others that use 1/2 for shield or hyperspace. Certainly a maneuver that can't be pulled off on an original with out moving whole hand from joy to reach over. I set out to create something that works well with adult hands on a table for playing and actually enjoying the games, while I appreciate the og vectrex controller, it just sucks big time trying to use it with large hands.

 

Pics of my controller here: http://tbone1892001.wixsite.com/vectrex-guide/chopper-controller

 

 

good day.

 

 

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New Vectrex controllers are always welcomed, especially with having zero 3rd party support back in the day. When I was doing research for mine, I saw a couple nice looking ones and I saw many that leave you scratching your head that have been produced throughout the years. It's a lot of time, work and money to produce a run of controllers. There's a reason why most will just make one or two and toss it up on the eBayz for the feeding frenzy. I funded my run of 15 and pretty much had them ready to ship when someone posted a couple pics on FB (I'm not on social media) and folks hunted me down to buy one, didn't even have a chance to create a for sale thread. Try different shapes and design ideas, I didn't want to alienate any of the original games and home brews with mine. Having the 4 buttons in a row is perfect for the games that use 1&2 for L&R and 3&4 for thrust / fire (the controller linked in previous post cancels out a lot of games due to that button layout). The other plus that works well on mine is button 1 being under the joy makes for a quick thumb twitch to engage button 1 or 2 for games like protector for reverse and others that use 1/2 for shield or hyperspace. Certainly a maneuver that can't be pulled off on an original with out moving whole hand from joy to reach over. I set out to create something that works well with adult hands on a table for playing and actually enjoying the games, while I appreciate the og vectrex controller, it just sucks big time trying to use it with large hands.

 

Pics of my controller here: http://tbone1892001.wixsite.com/vectrex-guide/chopper-controller

 

 

good day.

 

 

That’s a nice controller! I like the size of it, although wouldn’t have been nicer to have a full size joystick? Do they make those in analog? Maybe it would feel weird to use? I have really wanted to make one for a few years now. I really just need to come up with an actual size that would be nice to have. It would be pretty awesome to have 2 players built in like the Supertwin 78.

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I can get pretty close by looking at pictures, but I am also open for some discussion on what the community would like to change about it. I like to see improvement when making new things. I am open to the idea of different materials being used like brass, or some grade of stainless steel. Probably not titanium though, its very expensive to purchase and machine. Realistically aluminum is probably the best material. Its the best for price and ease of machining. We could look into going with a different alloy like 7075. It is much stronger.

I will be able to do all of the required machining and anodizing, but I am not a capable Electronics person. I would need someone else to provide support on that. I am ofcourse open to any ideas of what should be included on that end.

Most of all I want something that looks great, and functions well. Im not interested in going much past an overall cost of $150 per controller shipped. Unless someone can provide some very good reasons. I also dont want to rush into this. I want to make sure this is something that people actually will want. I look forward to any and all feedback.

I like that you're open to improvements or changes. I'd even encourage just something different and new. .. I don't agree that there is saturation or no need for another Vectrex controller. I've seen the news of several great ones in the last year or two, like the ones mentioned in this thread. But I've never been in a position to acquire one when the time was right and am still interested to see new projects of this kind for Vectrex. .. I would say the standards are set pretty high at this point though.

 

With the design in the photos in the original post, I think one basic change should be to put the removable plate on the bottom rather than top and have instead holes in the solid metal case for the buttons and stick. I suppose this will complicate the button mounting, but it helps justify and demonstrate that the thing is made out of metal. Also have the outside finished like the inside rather than black, for the same reason.

 

The "electronics" are very important and need to be figured out. It isn't that complicated electronically but it is more of an issue of sourcing quality components and figuring out the look and feel and function of them and how they will mount.

 

.. In a very different direction, I have a rare and wonderful Atari joystick that I have always fantasized about using on Vectrex. It is an excellent geometric shape that looks cool and fits in the hand and the little stick looks and feels very much like the one on the original Vectrex controller, although you have more comfortable access to it in this orientation. .. This design, made out of (unpainted) steel or aluminum, with button 4 on the top right, button 3 top left and 1 and 2 lower down on the left - would be amazing!

 

98ejwi.jpg

 

.. It might seem ridiculous to squeeze the buttons in like I'm suggesting, but I have a Vectrex adapted Atari paddle that does just that and it works, in an even smaller frame, albeit with tiny buttons. .. For the joystick and cramped 1 and 2 buttons you can consider that many games only use 3 and 4, or even just 4, (Fortress of Narzod) during gameplay. 1 and 2 are often only for menus or for alternate steering controls in steer thrust games like Star Castle.

Edited by gliptitude
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I like that you're open to improvements or changes. I'd even encourage just something different and new. .. I don't agree that there is saturation or no need for another Vectrex controller. I've seen the news of several great ones in the last year or two, like the ones mentioned in this thread. But I've never been in a position to acquire one when the time was right and am still interested to see new projects of this kind for Vectrex. .. I would say the standards are set pretty high at this point though.

 

With the design in the photos in the original post, I think one basic change should be to put the removable plate on the bottom rather than top and have instead holes in the solid metal case for the buttons and stick. I suppose this will complicate the button mounting, but it helps justify and demonstrate that the thing is made out of metal. Also have the outside finished like the inside rather than black, for the same reason.

 

The "electronics" are very important and need to be figured out. It isn't that complicated electronically but it is more of an issue of sourcing quality components and figuring out the look and feel and function of them and how they will mount.

 

.. In a very different direction, I have a rare and wonderful Atari joystick that I have always fantasized about using on Vectrex. It is an excellent geometric shape that looks cool and fits in the hand and the little stick looks and feels very much like the one on the original Vectrex controller, although you have more comfortable access to it in this orientation. .. This design, made out of (unpainted) steel or aluminum, with button 4 on the top right, button 3 top left and 1 and 2 lower down on the left - would be amazing!

 

98ejwi.jpg

 

.. It might seem ridiculous to squeeze the buttons in like I'm suggesting, but I have a Vectrex adapted Atari paddle that does just that and it works, in an even smaller frame, albeit with tiny buttons. .. For the joystick and cramped 1 and 2 buttons you can consider that many games only use 3 and 4, or even just 4, (Fortress of Narzod) during gameplay. 1 and 2 are often only for menus or for alternate steering controls in steer thrust games like Star Castle.

I like this idea. I have been wanting something smaller and more like a 2600 controller. It couldn’t be that I belong to Atariage, or the fact that I play with a 2600 controller almost every night.

I was immediately drawn to the Rad Pad because of its smaller form factor. It certainly would make machining it much cheaper and easier. I have been thinking about making it out of steel possibly when going to this smaller size to give it some weight. Especially where your saving a lot of machining time do to its size.

Edited by adamchevy
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Yes he is still selling them and as of the 13th had some in stock. You must pm Oliver Radford on Facebook or find the RadPad thread on Vectrex Fans Unite.

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There is always going to be a desire for quality controllers. Developers come and go and do not have the desire to continue project forever and I can't blame them. Oliver has stated that he will not be doing anymore for a while once his current batch sells out.

 

There was quite a lot of interest in the controller from the pictures in the original post, however the developers never made more than half a dozen or so. I think it would be great to see a milled controller similar to the Vectorcade.

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Those controllers at the top of the thread are my design and I made them.

 

Nice to see someone wants to copy them...

 

Check out the Asteroids Vecrex controllers I 'm planning on making on the Vectrex Fans Unite facebook group.

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On ‎6‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 7:24 PM, virtvic said:

Those controllers at the top of the thread are my design and I made them.

 

Nice to see someone wants to copy them...

 

Check out the Asteroids Vecrex controllers I 'm planning on making on the Vectrex Fans Unite facebook group.

And they were gorgeous. Definitely legendary status now. 

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On 6/21/2019 at 7:24 PM, virtvic said:

Those controllers at the top of the thread are my design and I made them.

 

Nice to see someone wants to copy them...

 

Check out the Asteroids Vecrex controllers I 'm planning on making on the Vectrex Fans Unite facebook group.

There appears to be two Vectrex fans unite groups in fb. Which one?

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11 hours ago, atarilovesyou said:

There appears to be two Vectrex fans unite groups in fb. Which one?

The one with way, WAY more members ;)

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