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Asteroids Controller - Interest Check Poll (PLEASE READ FIRST POST!)

Asteroids Controller - Interest Check Poll (PLEASE READ FIRST POST!)  

91 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you be interested in buying this proposed 150$US Asteroids controller?

    • Yes, with a ColecoVision pack-in game
      55
    • Yes, without a ColecoVision pack-in game
      5
    • Not at that price point
      21
    • Not really interested at all
      10
  2. 2. Assuming you're interested, which model do you prefer?

    • Asteroids Upright Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller (color artwork)
      78
    • Asteroids Cabaret Edition – VVG Enhanced Controller (black and white, with woodgrain side decorations)
      13
  3. 3. Where should the sixth button be placed?

    • In the center, under the "HYPERSPACE" button
      54
    • On the right side, next to the "FIRE" button
      37
  4. 4. What length of cable do you think would be ideal for this controller?

    • 8 feet
      20
    • 10 feet
      44
    • 12 feet
      27
  5. 5. About the ColecoVision pack-in game cartridge, what would you prefer?

    • Asteroids only (cheapest solution)
      24
    • Multicart with Asteroids and other compatible ColecoVision games
      52
    • Other (please specify by posting in this thread)
      3
    • I would not want the pack-in cartridge
      12
  6. 6. Would you agree to pay an advanced deposit with your official pre-order?

    • Yes, whatever amount is needed
      27
    • Yes, as long as it's reasonable
      45
    • No
      19
    • I'd like to suggest something (please elaborate in this thread)
      0
  7. 7. Would you be interested in Asteroids as a complete-in-box ColecoVision game, without the Asteroids controller?

    • Yes
      60
    • No
      31


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Posted (edited)

Team Pixelboy and resident custom controller expert doubledown are seriously considering teaming up to offer retrogaming fans a high-quality Asteroids controller, which would reproduce the look and feel of the original arcade cabinet of Asteroids. We are also considering involving long-time collaborator Mystery Man to create an arcade-accurate version of Asteroids for the ColecoVision, and include this game as a pack-in cartridge with the controller. This proposed Asteroids controller would also be compatible with the Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 versions of Asteroids (and would be compatible with several other games as well) so the ColecoVision pack-in cartridge would be completely optional at purchase time.

 

The proposed controller has an estimated price tag of 150$US (this does not include the cost of the pack-in game) and because of the required investments in part purchases from various vendors, we feel we should gauge public interest before we commit to this project. It should be noted that we need at least 50 solid pre-orders to make it worth the trouble for us, so we invite you to submit your input in this poll. The results of this poll will influence certain technical details, but in the end, if we decide to go full steam ahead with this special project, we will reserve ourselves the right to set the final specifications of the controller as we see fit.

 


BASIC SPECIFICATIONS

 

We envision two variants of this controller, which we like to call the Asteroids Upright Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller and the Asteroids Cabaret Edition – VVG Enhanced Controller. The first features the full-color artwork from the upright arcade cabinet of Asteroids, while the other is in black and white, and features the artwork of the "cabaret-style" cabinet of Asteroids, with some woodgrain decoration applied on the sides of the controller for added nostalgia.

 

As the proposed Asteroids controller is designed to replicate the look and feel of the arcade cabinet, it would feature 5 buttons, plus a sixth button for extra ColecoVision compatibility. All buttons will be leaf-switch push-buttons (we’re currently looking at GGG CLASSX push-buttons with their True-Leaf Pro switch upgrade) and will be of matching size, style, color, and layout of the original arcade cabinets. The buttons will be wired as follows:

 

- ROTATE LEFT = Joystick Left
- ROTATE RIGHT = Joystick Right
- HYPERSPACE = Joystick Down
- THRUST = Joystick Up
- FIRE = Left trigger button
- (Unmarked sixth button) = Right trigger button

 

The placement of the unmarked sixth button (mapped to the right trigger button of the ColecoVision controller) made us consider two sub-variants, one where the sixth button is located in the center of the controller, below the Hyperspace button, and the other sub-variant has the sixth button placed next to the fire button, in order to have the two fire buttons next to each other. On the "upright" full-color model, the sixth button will be either red or blue, depending on its position on the controller. The selected button color will help the sixth button blend with the color of the artwork. On the "cabaret" black-and-white model, the sixth button will be black, regardless of its position. All other buttons will be white, on both the "upright" and "cabaret" models.

 

Here are some pictures to illustrate:

 

Asteroids (Upright) - VVG Enhanced Controller - 6th Button Centered

1wD0A2.png

 

Asteroids (Cabaret) - VVG Enhanced Controller - 6th Button Centered

nCjm6N.png

 

Asteroids (Upright) - VVG Enhanced Controller - 6th Button Right

OoFSxd.png

 

Asteroids (Cabaret) - VVG Enhanced Controller - 6th Button Right

Mk16RJ.png

 

As you can see, the buttons are placed high on the controller's surface, in order to provide sufficient resting space for the player's palms and wrists. We feel this is an important ergonomic comfort factor, especially for long play sessions.

 

The controller's enclosure will be a Hammond Mfg. 14.00" x 8.25" black aluminum, sloped-top housing. While we feel the enclosure looks (and for the most part feels) very nice, we believe it falls short in two aspects, namely its assembly and its weight. The enclosure itself is constructed as two "c-shaped" powder-coated aluminum forms, assembled with four #6 sheet-metal screws on the bottom side; two along the front edge, and two along the rear. The concern we have with this is that nothing supports the upright sides from flexing outward (creating an unsightly gap) and nothing supports the large, flat, top surface from bowing downward. To remedy both of these issues, and to give the controller a more solid feel overall, we want to install two steel angle braces which will connect the sides of the enclosure to the underside of the top surface. Additionally the steel braces (one mounted on each side, and running front to back) nicely bump up the "bare" enclosure weight from 2.36 lbs (1.07 kg) to 3.15 lbs (1.43 kg). Lastly, we will ditch the manufacturer's assembly screws, and new #8-32 machine screws will be used for the housing assembly. All of these modifications strengthen, and beef up the enclosure to our quality standards, but do require additional hardware, and add approximately 1 to 1.5 extra hours to the overall build/assembly time of each controller.

 

The surface artwork would be photo-quality inkjet printed (with photo inks) on premium photo paper (Epson or HP depending on availability), then dual-side, heat-laminated, with 5 mil glossy laminating media with UV protection. So unless someone were to "scratch" or "stab" the controller's surface with a sharp tool/knife/keys purposely and/or maliciously, it should last indefinitely.

 

A few aspects of this proposed Asteroids controller are currently undetermined, including the cable length and a few other minor details, but we intend to include some sort of cable management on the rear of the enclosure, such as a cable wrapping cleat or something similar. Four adhesive backed round rubber feet will also be placed under the controller for improved stability.

 

Important note: There will be NO keypad on this controller, so don't bother asking about that.

 


PACK-IN GAME CARTRIDGE

 

For the ColecoVision pack-in cartridge, if we actually decide to go ahead with that, we are considering two possibilities: A 32K cartridge with just Asteroids on it, or a 128K multicart with Asteroids together with hacked versions of Carnival, Omega Race, Space Fury, Star Trek, Victory, and perhaps one other game. All these extra hacks would have small alterations to make them fully compatible with the Asteroids controller, and also to remove any need for a keypad. Note that the added sixth controller button would be useful for Star Trek and Victory. Also note that the multicart option will likely be more expensive than a cartridge with just Asteroids on it.

 


PRE-ORDERING AND PAYMENTS

 

If the results of this poll demonstrate that there is sufficient interest in the proposed Asteroids controller, the project should follow this general time line over the course of 2020:

 

1) We will record initial pre-orders from all interested customers without requesting any advanced deposit.

 

2) We will get the Asteroids game (or multi-cart) coded by Mystery Man and properly beta-tested. This will likely take several months.

 

3) Once the pack-in cartridge is ready, we will contact all customers again and ask for a Paypal deposit, which will be sent directly to doubledown.

 

4) With the money collected, doubledown will order parts and get started on the Asteroids controllers.

 

5) Once all controllers and pack-in carts are ready to ship, we will notify customers and ask for remaining payments (including shipping fees).

 

If you have any questions about this proposed time line, feel free to post such questions in this poll thread, and we'll try to answer them to the best of our ability.

 


CLOSING NOTE

 

While we are considering several options, we are ultimately looking to produce one singular model of the controller. By that, we mostly mean that the sixth button will always be in the same spot on all the manufactured controllers. If there is a clear public consensus regarding the upright versus cabaret schemes (i.e. full color versus black-and-white) we will only produce controllers following the preferred scheme, unless some people are ready to pay extra to get exactly what they want in terms of artwork.

 

We will let this poll run for a couple of weeks before making any kind of final decision regarding this project.
 

Thanks in advance for your input.  :) 

 

Edited by Pixelboy
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I love everything about this!  One question I have though...

 

Why I totally understand the reasoning for putting the 6th button, if there was an option for "no 6th button" I would have chosen that, as I personally see this controller being used for Asteroids and I'd want it as close to the original as possible. We have so many other controller options out there that I'd be perfectly okay having this be a bit of a "game exclusive" controller.

 

THAT BEING SAID...

 

I'm also not against the 6th button, but I just wanted to add my voice saying I'd "prefer" it without. Take that feedback for what it's worth...

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6 minutes ago, TPR said:

I love everything about this!  One question I have though...

 

Why I totally understand the reasoning for putting the 6th button, if there was an option for "no 6th button" I would have chosen that, as I personally see this controller being used for Asteroids and I'd want it as close to the original as possible. We have so many other controller options out there that I'd be perfectly okay having this be a bit of a "game exclusive" controller.

 

THAT BEING SAID...

 

I'm also not against the 6th button, but I just wanted to add my voice saying I'd "prefer" it without. Take that feedback for what it's worth...

Okay, but did you choose the multicart pack-in cartridge option in the poll? The multicart would likely include Star Trek and Victory, both of which require the sixth button for access to photon torpedos (in Star Trek) and "doomsday" smart bombs (in Victory).  :) 

 

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17 minutes ago, Pixelboy said:

Okay, but did you choose the multicart pack-in cartridge option in the poll? The multicart would likely include Star Trek and Victory, both of which require the sixth button for access to photon torpedos (in Star Trek) and "doomsday" smart bombs (in Victory).  :) 

I did. But mainly because the idea of Carnival, Space Fury, and Omega Race would be enough for me.  I'd also see this controller as being a good fit for Galaxian, and maybe even Looping if that game was hacked for left/right instead of up/down.  It would also work for Beamrider, wouldn't it?  And maybe even some homebrews like Circus Charlie, Mappy, and Space Invaders Collection?  That's plenty to keep me happy!  :)

 

I would still buy it with or without the sixth button.

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This could also be amazing for Smurf Rescue!

 

Left & right for movement, and then two actual buttons for ducking & jumping!

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3 minutes ago, evg2000 said:

Did you mean feet for cable length?  Inches would be a little short

Oops! All fixed. Thanks!  :) 

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59 minutes ago, Pixelboy said:

Okay, but did you choose the multicart pack-in cartridge option in the poll? The multicart would likely include Star Trek and Victory, both of which require the sixth button for access to photon torpedos (in Star Trek) and "doomsday" smart bombs (in Victory).  :) 

 

Can we get the Asteroids Deluxe elements as options in the game, as is common? Shield instead of hyperspace, yes or no to magma mines OR have Asteroids Deluxe be one of the extra games? I think it would really add to the gaming experience and be worth the extra waiting time and perhaps cost for the 2-3 additional play elements. Thanks. Example below:

 

 

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6 hours ago, Swami said:

Can we get the Asteroids Deluxe elements as options in the game, as is common? Shield instead of hyperspace, yes or no to magma mines OR have Asteroids Deluxe be one of the extra games? I think it would really add to the gaming experience and be worth the extra waiting time and perhaps cost for the 2-3 additional play elements.

This is something I thought about, but Asteroids Deluxe has a lot more going on, with spinning asteroids and those "death star" things that home in on the player's ship. It would be a lot harder to do on the ColecoVision, given its graphical limitations, compared to the original Asteroids, which already poses a challenge in terms of limiting flicker.

 

But still, we can keep your suggestions in mind.  :)

 

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There were several vintage arcade games that featured an "all button" control scheme...meaning no joystick.  So while the artwork and "overall theme" is Asteroids specific, this controller would be an arcade-correct controller for several games across the Atari 2600/8-Bit/7800 and ColecoVision platforms, including several homebrews with game play similar to some of those vintage titles.  And for some games, like say Galaxian, which never truly had an "all-button" arcade control scheme (2-way joystick, or 2-way paddle lever) it would play perfectly with it.

 

The idea for the 6th button, as Luc mentioned, is for added ColecoVision compatibility; especially in the event that the ColecoVision Multicart option happens, as it would be necessary for some of the games.  The 6th button's location concern, boils down to cosmetics & ergonomics.  With it middle/low on the CP (below the Hyperspace button), it allows the overall artwork and main 5 buttons to be centered on the enclosure, but locates what is the Right CV fire button away from the Left fire button.  Whereas by placing the 6th button high/right, next to the Fire button, the 6 overall buttons get centered on the CP, which locates the 2 CV fire buttons next to each other, but then offsets the Asteroids artwork slightly to the left.  

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2 hours ago, Pixelboy said:

This is something I thought about, but Asteroids Deluxe has a lot more going on, with spinning asteroids and those "death star" things that home in on the player's ship. It would be a lot harder to do on the ColecoVision, given its graphical limitations, compared to the original Asteroids, which already poses a challenge in terms of limiting flicker.

 

But still, we can keep your suggestions in mind.  :)

 

If it helps any, I think MSX Blasteroids has all of the Asteroids Deluxe elements, except in different form. 

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My question:

As I no longer own a working Colecovision, and use my Phoenix to play all Colecovision games, would the controller be compatible with the Phoenix?

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13 minutes ago, Bry said:

My question:

As I no longer own a working Colecovision, and use my Phoenix to play all Colecovision games, would the controller be compatible with the Phoenix?

Yes, via the either of the 2 ColecoVision controller ports on the front.  

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1 hour ago, Swami said:

If it helps any, I think MSX Blasteroids has all of the Asteroids Deluxe elements, except in different form. 

I just checked that out on YouTube. The graphics are nice, I guess, but it's so slow I could fall asleep just watching the game run.  :P 

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Micro-switch push-buttons on a Asteroids replica controller..."you choose poorly" 😉

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1 hour ago, bikeguychicago said:

Sounds cool, but I already made one of my own:

 

Doesn't look anywhere near as nice as the one being proposed.  Not sure what the point of you having to post about your controller in this thread way anyway... kind of just a "dick move."  We can be better than this, can't we? 🤔

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Very Cool.

 

 

Missile Command would be much cooler though IMO.

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Just now, Yurkie said:

Very Cool.

 

 

Missile Command would be much cooler though IMO.

I'm afraid I don't follow... How would you play Missile Command with an Asteroids controller with no joystick, and more importantly, no trackball?  :? 

 

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4 minutes ago, Pixelboy said:

I'm afraid I don't follow... How would you play Missile Command with an Asteroids controller with no joystick, and more importantly, no trackball?  :? 

 

I had meant to say Missile Command back when I made that post, as a Roller Controller could be installed in a new housing to play CollectorVision's renamed version of Missile Command.

 

You Controller looks awesome though, great job.

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For those curious...here is a size comparison picture of the proposed Asteroids Controller & a ColecoVision console (ColecoVision console not included 😋 ):   

 

5DDS0o.jpg

 

FYI this is a simple mock-up, not the finished controller. 

 

This is however the actual enclosure to be used, and this is an actual print of the Asteroids (Cabaret) - VVG Enhanced Controller - 6th Button Centered artwork, but it is not laminated and no buttons are installed...obviously.  

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Would it be possible to add a spinner somewhere on that controller?

 

It could serve for other games  like arkanoid or turbo and coming homebrews.   But also if we could imagine to have asteroid to use the spinner to rotate the ship. And also why not a modified version of Front Line.

 

Just an idea  , i don't think it would add a lot on the total cost and it could be very useful.😊

 

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