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doubledown's Jaguar Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller - (Arcade Stick)

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So I recently decided I wanted to add an Atari Jaguar to my video game collection again, mostly for it's excellent port of NBA JAM T.E....and a few other select games.  But as the NBA JAM series is best enjoyed with era-correct arcade hardware (not a hand-held control pad) I figured I would just build myself a controller as no commercial options exist.  For maximum game compatibility, I decided to build it as a full-featured Jaguar controller, with an 8-way joystick, 3 action buttons (C,B,A), all 12 keypad buttons, and the Pause/Option buttons.  I briefly had the thought of scavenging the keypad out an original Jaguar controller, but as I had already "built" my own keypad out of 24mm pushbuttons for a ColecoVision controller I built, I figured I'd just repeat it.  So here it is, my Jaguar Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller:

 

 

x3maKI.png

 

Built into a Hammond Mfg. 17" x 11.25" aluminum enclosure, and featuring:

*iL Eurostick 8-way joystick w/ Cherry micro-switches

*iL standard length, threaded SST shaft

*Crown joystick bat-top (Black)

*iL PSL-L concave push-buttons w/ Cherry micro-switches (3-Red)

*Sanwa OBSF24 24mm push-buttons (14-Black body / Dark Hai plunger)

*Jaguar controller donor PCB & cable

*Custom keypad and C.P. artwork overlays 

 

Hopefully now I will play and enjoy my new Jaguar a lot more than I did my previous one!

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14 hours ago, Saturn said:

Very impressive!:-o:thumbsup:

Thank you, having access to a CNC mill at work makes working with the metal enclosures a lot easier, and being an aluminum housing, it should last longer than the current Jaguar consoles in existence will.  The mill also guarantees the "perfectly aligned" rows and columns for this type of home-made keypad matrix too.

 

14 hours ago, Saturn said:

Any way you might make that a commercial option? If so, please count me in.

It can be for anybody interested. 

 

Please note for people not familiar with my "work" (I usually specialize in ColecoVision hardware)...I have offered hardware modifications, refurbishing, and custom controllers for a long time now, and I have always taken pride in what I've offered, and I have never cut corners in what I've built.  I never epoxy or hot-glue items internally (all items are mechanically fastened), all components are brand-name, not ebay/Amazon sold Chinese knock-offs, and all electrical connections are soldered when possible.  That being said, understand that I built this controller for me, the way I wanted it, with zero sacrifice of quality & ergonomics, and very little regard for expense. 

 

So, with all that being said...I'll have to sit down and fill in a cost grid to to determine what I could offer these for, for anybody who's interested, and I'll post an update here once I figure it out.  But again, please know that this was not designed/built to be an "inexpensive" controller, nor am I currently interested in creating a "cheaper" version.  

 

12 hours ago, PFG 9000 said:

Awesome.  I'd love to play Jag Raiden with that thing.

Thanks, Raiden is one of the games on the short list of those I'm looking to pick up.  

 

7 hours ago, Zerosquare said:

Since there's lot of free room, you should add a spinner for playing Tempest 2000 :)

I think most people get a little too "fast and loose" with the idea of "free space" and how many buttons/joysticks/components can be squeezed into a given amount of surface area.  Far too often I've seen commercially-made and home-made joystick/arcade controllers which offer little to no, hand/palm/wrist support on the controller's surface, which only causes the ergonomics to suffer resulting in a controller that doesn't actually get used.  Depending on what's involved regarding the spinner hardware for the Jaguar, it may be able to sit below the joystick, but I would need more information on the necessary hardware/components, and how it's implemented to make an informed decision.  

 

The only other thing I'm contemplating right now is whether or not to add a small artwork CPO to ID the action/game buttons.  I've been "brain-washed" by SEGA to think A,B,C should go from left to right! 😁

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I would definitely be interested in ordering one of these as well, so add me to the list.

 

Question though, I have a disability in my right hand that does not allow me to push the buttons rapidly (think Raiden). Could you add a rapid fire option for each of the buttons? 

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56 minutes ago, RREDDWARFF said:

I would definitely be interested in ordering one of these as well, so add me to the list.

 

Question though, I have a disability in my right hand that does not allow me to push the buttons rapidly (think Raiden). Could you add a rapid fire option for each of the buttons? 

I'm sure there is enough internal enclosure volume to allow for the addition of a rapid fire unit, assuming one is available, or the circuit schematic is openly available that I could replicate.  I know that there were a few that offered such a thing, but I don't know if they're still around or offering them, and I'm not familiar with exactly what it is, electronically.  Anybody have any more info/details regarding this?

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danny_galaga, a user here, offers/ed do it yourself kits for wiring up rapid fire. He was MIA for a while but recently posted. Iirc he sent a schematic with the kit but not sure if it's publicly available anywhere and even though I never used the kit, no telling where it's at so can't provide any assistance there atm. I'm sure I have it's location in an excel file somewhere.

If I can find it, would be willing to send it your way to test out. (without concern for its use thereafter)

 

Songbird used to do rapid fire controllers but that was long ago. He may have or be willing to provide schematics.

 

Never heard of anyone else making them.

 

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Yes, those were the 2 I came across when searching the inter-webs.  I'll send @danny_galaga a PM to see if this is anything he's still offering or would be willing to share the schematic for.  

 

From what I've read there are about what, 3 games this is really useful for: Raiden, Trevor McFur, and something else I don't remember?

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Isn't rapid fire really just cheating anyways?!? 😁  We'll have to wait and see if it's something that can be figured out and implemented.

 

Again, I admit I am far from being any sort of Jaguar historian/expert.  I had one years ago with a few games, and sold it at some point, but recently decided I wanted one again.  I was watching through a couple of YouTube videos earlier to get a general feel of game-play from the library, and as of now these are the few games I'm interested in

 

Alien Vs. Predator

DOOM

NBA JAM T.E. (got)

Power Drive Rally (got)

Protector SE

Raiden

Super Burnout

Tempest 2000

Wolfenstein 3D

 

From what I've seen/read/reviewed, I'll really need to look into the spinner at some point for Tempest 2000.  

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1 hour ago, doubledown said:

Isn't rapid fire really just cheating anyways?!? 😁 

Yes, I guess so. Unless of course you've had a stroke and are disabled on your right side like me. Hence why I asked. 

 

Wow man, make me feel like a cheat trying to work with my "faulty" hand 😂.

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Aaaahh you're using Industrias Lorenzo sticks,those are my favorites for oldschool games.

I'm glad you're not using cheap knockoffs. I just bought a Euro arcade stick off Ebay and the guy used very low end parts,even the damn micro switches and actuators were the worst things I have ever seen. Really disgustingly cheap stuff,so I"m glad you're going the quality route with this,thats nice to hear. Are the buttons Happ type? Err nevermind, you're using Sanwas,those are great so very much liking this arcade stick allot.

I'd be interested in buying one if you decided to make them for consumers.

Really nice looking arcade stick there,wow.

 

Edited by PhoenixMoonPatrol

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8 hours ago, RREDDWARFF said:

Yes, I guess so. Unless of course you've had a stroke and are disabled on your right side like me. Hence why I asked. 

 

Wow man, make me feel like a cheat trying to work with my "faulty" hand 😂.

I was just teasing about the cheating, I understand your situation, and there are games like Raiden where beating the crap out of the buttons can get tedious. 😁

 

7 hours ago, PhoenixMoonPatrol said:

Aaaahh you're using Industrias Lorenzo sticks,those are my favorites for oldschool games.

I'm glad you're not using cheap knockoffs. I just bought a Euro arcade stick off Ebay and the guy used very low end parts,even the damn micro switches and actuators were the worst things I have ever seen. Really disgustingly cheap stuff,so I"m glad you're going the quality route with this,thats nice to hear. Are the buttons Happ type? Err nevermind, you're using Sanwas,those are great so very much liking this arcade stick allot.

I'd be interested in buying one if you decided to make them for consumers.

Really nice looking arcade stick there,wow.

 

The keypad/option/pause buttons are Sanwa 24mm buttons (because a full-sized pushbutton "keypad" matrix would be enormous), but the 3 action buttons C/B/A are iL concave plunger pushbuttons (era-correct), with the upgraded Cherry micro-switches.   Like I said, I've never attempted to make things "as cheaply as possible" so that I can sell a bunch of them.  I'll only make what I'm proud to make, and what I will be happy to use.  A few months back I started making some ColecoVision Joystick Controllers, starting with a Sega Saturn Hori HSS-09 as the donor, which I completely gut, then replace with all new parts.  When I first started looking at replacement joysticks that would "fit" in that enclosure housing, it looked like some of the modern Japanese candy cabinet Sanwas and Seimitsus would work, and they cost around $20-$25.  When looking for model specifications and reviews/opinions for the different variations, I ran through some of the other forums dedicated to arcade/fight stick mods and people were discussing how "expensive" these were, and that there were "identical" joysticks available on Amazon/ebay at half that price.   FYI...I never considered this as an option, and went with legit Seimitsu LS-32s for that series.  I understand in the "mass-market / retail" world, sacrifices need to be made to keep costs down to get to a certain price-point for the masses, but that's not my goal.  

 

I'll look into pricing today/tomorrow and get an idea what these would cost to produce, and there can be a couple of configurable options.  Personally for me the aesthetics of the hardware are as important as its functional aspect, hence why I used a black joystick bat, grey keypad buttons, and red action buttons...color matching the Jaguar controller design.  Obviously for any/all of these components there are lots of colors available, but I won't install say green buttons in a Jaguar controller, because it's "wrong".  Saying that, as there were Jaguar controllers with black keypad buttons, I would offer that as an option vs. the black body/grey plunger ones that I used for mine.  I chose these to add a "splash" of color, and as they were the original Jaguar keypad button color, but black body/black plunger Sanwa 24mm buttons could be substituted if chosen.  Additionally I replace the standard iL molded bat handled joystick shaft with their threaded version which allows for the swapping/replacement of any 6mm threaded ball/bat top on the market.  I chose a bat top as it's era-correct for that period in American arcade history, but additionally balls of 24mm, 30mm, 35mm, 38mm, and 45mm diameters are available for those who would prefer a ball top, and it can always be replaced later.  

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23 hours ago, doubledown said:

Depending on what's involved regarding the spinner hardware for the Jaguar, it may be able to sit below the joystick, but I would need more information on the necessary hardware/components, and how it's implemented to make an informed decision.

 

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If I'm not mistaken the original Tempest arcade game featured a heavy metal knob and "free-wheeling" encoder.  Is this correct or am I wrong?

 

These types of homebrew Jaguar versions appear to be more a light-weight and smaller knob, and the encoder/knob stops spinning as soon as you stop touching it, like a 2600 Driving Controller...is this correct?

 

If both of these thoughts are true, then how well does Tempest 2000 play with a non-free-spinning encoder/knob?  Would it be better "free-spinning", or is the small, incremental, precise control all that is necessary?

 

I ask because I have seen where others have created say a paddle type controller for a system that never originally had paddle controllers, and for games that weren't truly programmed for paddles.  And while their concepts "work" (as far as some form of manipulation of an object on the screen), some games required radically faster or slower spinning, or it was too sensitive...or the likes.  

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8 hours ago, doubledown said:

I was just teasing about the cheating, I understand your situation, and there are games like Raiden where beating the crap out of the buttons can get tedious. 😁

 

The keypad/option/pause buttons are Sanwa 24mm buttons (because a full-sized pushbutton "keypad" matrix would be enormous), but the 3 action buttons C/B/A are iL concave plunger pushbuttons (era-correct), with the upgraded Cherry micro-switches.   Like I said, I've never attempted to make things "as cheaply as possible" so that I can sell a bunch of them.  I'll only make what I'm proud to make, and what I will be happy to use.  A few months back I started making some ColecoVision Joystick Controllers, starting with a Sega Saturn Hori HSS-09 as the donor, which I completely gut, then replace with all new parts.  When I first started looking at replacement joysticks that would "fit" in that enclosure housing, it looked like some of the modern Japanese candy cabinet Sanwas and Seimitsus would work, and they cost around $20-$25.  When looking for model specifications and reviews/opinions for the different variations, I ran through some of the other forums dedicated to arcade/fight stick mods and people were discussing how "expensive" these were, and that there were "identical" joysticks available on Amazon/ebay at half that price.   FYI...I never considered this as an option, and went with legit Seimitsu LS-32s for that series.  I understand in the "mass-market / retail" world, sacrifices need to be made to keep costs down to get to a certain price-point for the masses, but that's not my goal.  

 

I'll look into pricing today/tomorrow and get an idea what these would cost to produce, and there can be a couple of configurable options.  Personally for me the aesthetics of the hardware are as important as its functional aspect, hence why I used a black joystick bat, grey keypad buttons, and red action buttons...color matching the Jaguar controller design.  Obviously for any/all of these components there are lots of colors available, but I won't install say green buttons in a Jaguar controller, because it's "wrong".  Saying that, as there were Jaguar controllers with black keypad buttons, I would offer that as an option vs. the black body/grey plunger ones that I used for mine.  I chose these to add a "splash" of color, and as they were the original Jaguar keypad button color, but black body/black plunger Sanwa 24mm buttons could be substituted if chosen.  Additionally I replace the standard iL molded bat handled joystick shaft with their threaded version which allows for the swapping/replacement of any 6mm threaded ball/bat top on the market.  I chose a bat top as it's era-correct for that period in American arcade history, but additionally balls of 24mm, 30mm, 35mm, 38mm, and 45mm diameters are available for those who would prefer a ball top, and it can always be replaced later.  

 

I'm curious about the Crown Bat top you're going with. Does that stick have more tension than the IL and Happ sticks? is the spring bigger/heavier? I've never used a crown joystick,I sort of prefer the IL sticks because they have the longer bat top handle on them but then I've never used a Crown,in your opinion which do you like better? Do you prefer the heavy sping in Euro sticks?

 

I like that you used a Seimitsu stick when building the Coleco arcade sticks. I've switched between the Sanwa JLF and the Seimitsu LS32 and right away I noticed the tighter feel of the Seimitsu. From reading your replies you seem to be very demanding and want the highest quality when choosing parts,I totally get that and love the dedication to making the best stick you can. Awesome. 

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So the joystick assembly as a whole, is in fact an iL Eurostick.  The first Eurostick I bought recently for another controller I built, I didn't like the overall height of the joystick shaft/bat.  When you're standing at a 400+ lb. arcade cabinet (lets say NBA JAM), you kind of "monkey-fist" the joystick, so it's overall height really isn't an issue.  But when the controller is sitting on your lap, I at least, tend to rest my palms on the controller and "finger-tip" the knob and the buttons; at which point the overall joystick height comes into play...ergonomically.  So one option is to "drop-mount" the joystick with spacers (simulating the thickness of a wood control panel), at which point you need to also raise the dust washer with a spacer, if under-cpo installing it (like I did here).  But due to the deep mounting depths of the older style joysticks, this enclosure here doesn't have the extra 3/4" of depth below the lowest point of the joystick I would need to drop it as low as I would want.  So since I can't drop mount it, I found that iL makes, as an accessory part, a "replaceable knob / threaded-top" shaft.  The main reason they make this is for people who want to use ball knobs, as they don't offer any as standard, just bats.  

 

rdIP3N.jpg

 

On the left is the factory iL Eurostick joystick shaft, in the middle is the iL Eurostick "threaded shaft - long", and on the right is the iL Eurostick "threaded shaft - standard".  Obviously looking at the picture you would assume that the middle would be the "standard length", and the right would be a "short length".  But what you don't know is that the Crown bat-knobs that I use have a recessed mounting hole:

 

9VDDTJ.jpg

 

Kind of hard to see in the pic, but that's the underside of the red and black Crown bat-knobs resting against (2) 35mm ball knobs (and the super-sized 45mm ball knob is far right).  For an Atari 2600 controller I made recently, I wanted to use a bat top to as closely simulate the stock joystick shaft of a CX-40 as I could, at least closer than that of a ball knob, but I didn't want it so tall I wouldn't like it.  That's when I found the Crown bat-knobs (that's reel "wood-grain" simulate):

 

aDmRyE.png

 

So this one, like my ColecoVision models, is using a Seimitsu LS-32 joystick, but with the recessed mount Crown bat-knob, its low enough to finger-tip the fat area of the bat and still comfortably rest my palms on the play surface.  Crown is the only manufacturer who makes a bat-knob with this recessed mount, which keeps the sweet spot low enough for palm-wrest playing.  I also really like the shiny-ness and smoothness of the Crown bat-knobs (I assume to be a Phenolic plastic), more so than the textured nylon or Polypropylene used on the factory iL shafts.  Again a lot of this is personal preference, but I spend a lot of time with regards to ergonomics when designing/making controllers.  So with all that info, if anybody was to purchase one of these, they would have the option of the factory shaft & knob, standard or long threaded shafts, and any ball or bat knob available with 6mm threading (or 10mm with a 10mm-6mm thread adapter).  I know everybody is differently sized and shaped, this is just whats comfortable to me at 43 years old, 6'1", 240 lbs, and what I consider to be normal sized adult hands (I can not palm a basketball for size reference, not even close).  What I don't find comfortable are "Arcade Sticks" like these:

 

QFuQwO.jpg

 

I realize this is a ridiculous comparison as it is made to be "travel-sized", but I look at the the left hand hovering in mid-air, and the right palm over the bottom and right edges of the controller base and I personally cringe. 

 

So as this is an iL Eurostick it will feel like an iL Eurostick, although obviously with the "standard length" threaded shaft, and a "recessed mount" Crown bat-knob making it a bit shorter than "stock", it will feel a little stiffer due to the "shorter" lever, but looser than a newly rebuilt WICO, if you're familiar with that reference.  But again, shafts and knobs can be individually selected at a time of purchase, or changed any time later to suit your preference/needs.  The other controller I made with one of these sticks was my NBA JAM Edition - VVG Experience Controller for the SEGA Genesis:

 

9Hlc9s.png

 

So this controller also features an iL Eurostick, with the "standard length" threaded shaft, and a "recessed-mount" Crown bat top.  For it sitting in my lap, with my feet up in the recliner, it is the perfect stick/knob height and the stiffness feels great to me.  

 

As you mentioned working with and handling the modern Sanwa and Seimitu joysticks...for another controller project I'm working on, I am going to be making a Gauntlet Edition - Experience controller and I was able to source (4) legit vintage Gauntlet, Atari logo-ed, ball-knob, 8-way, leaf-switch joysticks.  Here's a picture of one of those vintage sticks next to a modern day candy cabinet stick (which happens to be a Seimitsu LS-32)

 

GLh4c4.jpg

 

The absolute definition of "They don't build 'em like they use to!"

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6 hours ago, doubledown said:

If I'm not mistaken the original Tempest arcade game featured a heavy metal knob and "free-wheeling" encoder.  Is this correct or am I wrong?

I believe that's correct.

 

6 hours ago, doubledown said:

These types of homebrew Jaguar versions appear to be more a light-weight and smaller knob, and the encoder/knob stops spinning as soon as you stop touching it, like a 2600 Driving Controller...is this correct?

Yes. In fact, if I remember correctly, the rotary support in Tempest 2000 was developed using a modified 2600 Driving Controller.

 

6 hours ago, doubledown said:

If both of these thoughts are true, then how well does Tempest 2000 play with a non-free-spinning encoder/knob?  Would it be better "free-spinning", or is the small, incremental, precise control all that is necessary?

Both free-spinning and "clicky" encoders have been used to play Tempest 2000 in rotary mode. Free-spinning is less precise, but allows for faster movement ; I find it more comfortable than the alternative, but it's probably a matter of opinion.

In both cases, the encoders have almost no inertia (they don't keep spinning when you stop touching them). I don't know if adding inertia would be a good thing or not.

 

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So from a few posts you referenced that I read through, it seems like something in the neighborhood of 16-24 pulses per rev is what most consider appropriate for this.  In that range, would it be less than, or more than, 1 full rotation of the knob to circumnavigate the on-screen playfield...is it dependent on how many sections/segments are on the on-screen playfield?  Forgive my ignorance I don't have much Tempest experience.  Additionally is the "need" for the switch only so that you wouldn't accidentally affect gameplay of a joystick game by touching/turning the knob inadvertently, or it is "electronically necessary" for some reason?  Theoretically if a "large/heavy" knob was used you could offer the inertia spin, so long as it didn't physically destroy the encoder it's attached to.  I would definitely need to get the game, a few encoders and a few knobs for testing purposes before I would be comfortable offering this as an option/feature.  

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1 hour ago, doubledown said:

In that range, would it be less than, or more than, 1 full rotation of the knob to circumnavigate the on-screen playfield...is it dependent on how many sections/segments are on the on-screen playfield?

I'd have to double check, but as I remember it, each lane of the playfield is 3 or 4 pulses "wide". So it is indeed dependent on how many lanes the current level has.

Edited by Zerosquare

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