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sethbramwell

Custom USB controller for Intellivision/ColecoVision emulators in Retropie

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Just wanted to share this for discussion/feedback. I've picked up a real Intellvision since, but I had this project in the works for a while and recently finished.

 

I hacked the encoder from a USB keyboard to build an arcade style stick for the Intellivison (jzintv) and ColecoVision (CoolCV) emulators within Retropie. I designed it to work with the default controls in jzintv, and retroactively recoded the controller config file for CoolCV to work with it. One of my primary goals with this project was to make it completely out of parts I had on hand. I actually succeeded on this point in the end.

 

I realize that the numeric keypad layout is incorrect. This was the result of a failed attempt to use a phone style keypad (the remnant of which can be seen in the wiring slot near the bottom of the controller). The three black arcade buttons act as the side buttons. I consolidated the top side buttons to one button as they both serve the same purpose. The two small green buttons act as a pause button and as a button to exit the emulators.

 

If I eventually revise it, I plan to make the controller connections using CAT6 cable and keystone connectors for simplicity's sake and add A, B, start, and select buttons on the side to make it fully compatible with Retropie. As it stands now, a standard gamepad also needs to be connected to fully navigate Retropie.

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Edited by sethbramwell
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So the joystick is encoded as keyboard keys? You should still be able to control retropie. It's great you're able to reuse old parts.

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Great little project!!!

 

I do agree with mr_me, in that you can fully map this keyboard as a RetroPie input and you don't need the gamepad at all.

 

Maybe you are not so familiar with RetroPie input mapping. When you open the "configure input" screen, you simply press and hold one of the keyboard buttons and after a bit the screen will recognize that you want to map a keyboard.

 

Now everything can be mapped as you desire

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So the joystick is encoded as keyboard keys? You should still be able to control retropie. It's great you're able to reuse old parts.

 

 

Great little project!!!

 

I do agree with mr_me, in that you can fully map this keyboard as a RetroPie input and you don't need the gamepad at all.

 

Maybe you are not so familiar with RetroPie input mapping. When you open the "configure input" screen, you simply press and hold one of the keyboard buttons and after a bit the screen will recognize that you want to map a keyboard.

 

Now everything can be mapped as you desire

 

Thanks everyone! I know about the keyboard mapping, but I have a few issues:

 

First off, there are emulators such as the TI-994a that need a full keyboard for some things. If I change keyboard settings (as far as I can tell) they are not unique to "that" keyboard but are used for every USB keyboard. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

 

Second, I'm worried that the buttons as they are, if made to act as Retropie controls, will interfere with games. For instance, if I make the green button (currently F1 for pause) the start button for retropie functions, will it still behave as it should in the Intellivision emulator, or will the retropie function override it? I suppose I can just play around with the settings and see what I can come up with. If worse comes to worse I can always remap a keyboard to the other settings if need be.

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Each emulator and the front-end, emulationstation, should have independent keyboard/controller mappings. Retropie, by default, links emulationstation mappings with Retroarch. And Retroarch will have common mappings with its emulator cores. If you are emulating old computers mapping the game controller through keyboard keys could complicate things.

Edited by mr_me

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So I remapped the controller in retropie to control the retropie functions. That did the trick! Everything still works with the emulators as they should. It just means that when I use something like the ti-99 4A emulator I will have to plug in a Gamepad to get me there but that's no big deal to me. Thanks everyone!

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