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For future games, I'm wondering if I should leverage the special buttons on the front of the Flashback joysticks...

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Hey Guys...

 

I'm wondering if enough people have some version of the Flashback joysticks to start to actually start checking for those special button presses (I believe one of them is "left+right", something you would never hit in real life games...  except maybe for Track & Field), one of them is "up+down", etc.  There should be a list somewhere of this button mapping...

 

I think I may start doing that, as I can't see it hurting anything.  If someone doesn't have the joystick, there's always the 'Start & Select' on the console... 

 

Bob

 

Also, (unrelated topic) - I bought one of those hyperkin joysticks (the one with the two buttons on it), and I'm going to rewire it to be the left & right buttons for the 7800... just because of Baby Pac-Man...  Much easier to use

Edited by PacManPlus
Mispelled my own name :dunce:
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There's no harm in it, as long as there's a workaround for those without one. It might even be a pretty neat bonus. I can imagine someone hacking a Super Nintendo or Genesis controller to work with games like that. I love 7800 innovations

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If it was anyone else I'd say just make a good game, and don't worry about extra buttons. Since it's Bob, I just want to see what he has in mind that NEEDS extra buttons...

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In joystick mode 7800basic uses impossible directions to remotely replicate the console switches...

 

L+D+U = If pausing code is disabled (as it should be on a title screen) then this combo acts as the console reset button

L+D+U = if pausing code is enabled, this combo acts as the console pause button.

R+D+U = this combo acts like the console select button.

 

...perhaps some day someone will wire up the start and select on their NES controller conversions, with just a few extra diodes. :ponder:

 

[edit - my original post about this was back in 2014. time flies]

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13 hours ago, RevEng said:

In joystick mode 7800basic uses impossible directions to remotely replicate the console switches...

 

L+D+U = If pausing code is disabled (as it should be on a title screen) then this combo acts as the console reset button

L+D+U = if pausing code is enabled, this combo acts as the console pause button.

R+D+U = this combo acts like the console select button.

 

...perhaps some day someone will wire up the start and select on their NES controller conversions, with just a few extra diodes. :ponder:

 

[edit - my original post about this was back in 2014. time flies]

 

That's really interesting. So conceivably, there could be a controller or adapter that saved those sequences as macros and could execute them with a single button press.  

 

Since the A8 guys are getting all Crazy with the Cheese Whiz after rediscovering the joys of using Rob Zydbel's scheme from Atari Inc's internal 3-Base Missile Command to use the Paddle Lines for Fire Buttons #2 and #3 and then adding support to their favorite ROMs, is there any such "impossible" direction schemes that could be used to support a 3rd - or more - Fire Button on the 7800?

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21 hours ago, RevEng said:

In joystick mode 7800basic uses impossible directions to remotely replicate the console switches...

 

L+D+U = If pausing code is disabled (as it should be on a title screen) then this combo acts as the console reset button

L+D+U = if pausing code is enabled, this combo acts as the console pause button.

R+D+U = this combo acts like the console select button.

 

...perhaps some day someone will wire up the start and select on their NES controller conversions, with just a few extra diodes. :ponder:

 

[edit - my original post about this was back in 2014. time flies]

Ouch...

 

That's very cool, had no idea you did that.

I just figured out the flashback buttons:

 

Menu  = U + D

Select = L + R

Start   = U + D + L

Rewind= L + R + U

 

I had planned on using 'Rewind' as pause (so we had three separate buttons)

I'm not sure which way to go with this now.

 

@Lynxpro - I don't think so, as you would be actively messing with the directions *while the game is in play*...  It's bad enough that I was able to isolate the 'U' direction by lightly pressing the Start button on the joystick...  that may cause issues while playing... 

Edited by PacManPlus

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Yeah, sorry Lynxpro, but I agree with Bob that these soft buttons are probably better used for non-action bits. Start, pause, bring up a menu or inventory screen that pauses the action, etc. It's too easy to have unintended presses if you're moving the stick and pressing buttons at the same time. IIRC there's a similar collision problem with the Inty keypad and directions.

 

Even though it's against my "standard", I'd say go with the FB controller scheme, Bob. At least that way you have real controllers that people can use it with.

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Ok, so last night I found an issue.

 

For some reason, when 'auto-detecting' a joystick, the 7800 thinks the flashback joystick with the extra buttons is a pro-line joystick.   This prevents the use of the regular fire-button.

So...  I guess, there goes that idea.

Edited by PacManPlus
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Ok, I am VERY confused.

 

I opened up the flashback joystick (the one with the extra buttons) and I see no extra hardware, nor any other pins other than U,D,L,R,F,G.  So I have NO idea why the 7800 thinks it's a ProLine.  Wait, it gets worse...

I plugged in the flashback player 2 joystick (the one *without* the extra buttons), and the 7800 also thinks THAT one is a ProLine...

 

Then I was getting nervous, thinking I broke something with the above modifications I made to the game....  so I tried the Hyperkin joystick, and two other standard CX40s.  They worked fine.  So, for some reason, the flashback joysticks make the 7800 think a ProLine is connected when they aren't.  Without any other pins/hardware than a standard joystick.

 

I am SO confused...

 

 

EDIT - So I took the board out of the player 1 flashback joystick, and there are some diodes and a resistor so I can kind of understand why the 7800 would think that one is a ProLine... Probably some variance in the signal from a CX40.  But I took the board out of the player two joystick, and... nothing.  Just a board with connections.  So that one has me very confused....

Edited by PacManPlus

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On 12/11/2019 at 6:24 AM, save2600 said:

Oh well. Not a fan of most of the FB sticks, especially the mushy ones with long throws like the FB9.  blech

Agreed!

 

I'm a fan of the early FB sticks, but not the later, long throw versions with the menu buttons...I think of them as extreme workouts for the hands...Can't play them long.

 

Maybe you could just think in terms of a 7800 joystick in port 1 and a Star Raiders keypad in port 2 for additional buttons?   That would be a control scheme most of us already have access to...Though I don't if that works in the real world like I'm picturing it in my mind.

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Well, I've got the code written and tested so I'll put it in the games that only use CX-40s.  This way there's no issues.

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Where does one buy flashback sticks that work for a 7800? Are these not horrendous atgames junk? 

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Ok, not being one to let things go, I looked at the controller connection on the FB9 sticks (which should answer your question, @Jinks ).  It looks like all 9 pins are there on BOTH controllers (which doesn't mean they connect to anything, but still).  I think I'll take a multi-meter to these pins to see if the paddle input lines are indeed grounded (thanks for the idea, @RevEng ).

 

I guess even if that's true, the joysticks would then have to be modified for them to work correctly with the 7800.  So this still might be a bust...  Again, except for single button games.

Edited by PacManPlus
left out a word.
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You can get decent Chinese CX-40 clones from AliExpress.  I bought a few, as the originals are hard to come by in decent working order.  My intent is to modify one by adding the Flashback buttons, but I haven’t got around to designing the support for the circuit board.

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You can get up to seven ‘buttons’ using impossible joystick returns.  The combinations used by the Flashback are:

  • MENU = UP + DOWN
  • SELECT = LEFT + RIGHT
  • REWIND = LEFT + RIGHT + UP
  • START = UP + DOWN + LEFT

Plus you have:

  • LEFT + RIGHT + DOWN (SELECT)
  • UP + DOWN + RIGHT (MENU)
  • UP + RIGHT + DOWN + LEFT (not tested)

 

If you use the first two of the above three combinations on the Flashback then you get SELECT and MENU.  I didn’t try the last, so don’t know how that would be interpreted.

 

I don’t believe that you can use the FIRE button in combination (to add another eleven possible selections) without turning off normal joystick operation in the programming.  Possibly you could use one of the above ‘buttons’ to set an input mode that activates / deactivates these up to eleven optional ‘buttons’.

 

It would be important for programmers to agree on any such usage.

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From a developer perspective, a kludged solution isn't solid bedrock to build a game around. That's why Bob was looking at the FB sticks.

 

Here's one solution for 4 button controllers on the 2600, 7800, and probably A8. It involves a few cent resistor and an extremely minor tweak to the internals of a genesis controller. It's easily extended to give 7 button input if you count on the player having a genesis six button controller. But that's still too tough for most people to pull off, so you can't count on very many people having such a beast to use with your game. (also why I created the 2600 two-button hacks, instead of the 2600 four-button hacks)

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We've talked here about extra buttons before. I think we all bottomed out on using the paddle lines as extra buttons for a three button controller as a standard that the homebrew developers can use. I think that perhaps we should have a proper vote on it and decide as a community to create a new standard?

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People buy SGMs for Colecos to play certain games they could not otherwise...people are also (theoretically) doing that with the XM.

 

If a new controller standard was agreed upon, could there be a cheap controller that could be designed and sold on Atari Age? Reworked Genny pad with a new PCB or whatever?

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Using the existing keypads as a basis it would be possible to make a custom 8 button controller.

The limitation is that the keypad circuitry only allows for detecting 3 keys at a time so that would allow for up/down, left/right, plus one of 8 buttons.

 

Edit:

Actually that'd be 4 buttons because the other 4 would conflict with the directions. Possibly best saved for use as pause buttons and such.

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