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Murph74

Possible Atari 2600 buzzer project?

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Hi guys-- I'm not a coder or programmer myself, but am aware of several of you being such. :) Here I am with an idea, and no knowledge of how to implement it.

 

I'm looking for a buzz-in type program for most likely the 2600. Simple, plain, and effective for my ultimate goal of using it for a lockout system on a trivia night. I know there are standalone systems out there, but they're not cost effective for me. This 'could' be a commercial project for someone, too, potentially.

 

The idea is simply to rewire a 2600 joystick to 5 individual handheld buzzer buttons (using left right up down and fire, up to 10 players between joystick ports 1 and 2), and either display a programmable question on the screen, then have it disappear and show who buzzed in when someone does buzz in, or jsut show who buzzed in first and leave it at that.

 

I would think the buzz in program would be simple enough to write for the right person-- that person just ain't me though. :) Also, a potential challenge would come in the form of how to use it physically. An Atari cartridge may add a certain coolness to it's use (we use a first response in tiebreaker situations only), but since we're a laptop based trivia night, a rom on an emulator would be just as effective along side my trusty Stelladaptor. Especially if a 'question' could be added with a hex editor or text editor to display onscreen, then disappear upon buzzing, to show who buzzed first and locked out the other players.

 

I'd love to have it setup on the laptop's extended desktop fullscreen when the emulator runs. Then to display a "tiebreaker" splash screen, then a 3 to 5 second onscreen countdown, then the text of the question being used (this varies as each round is a category and the tiebreaker would be of the same category as the round, so for me to be able to add/change the question is important to me) until someone buzzes in, and the text disappears showing who buzzed (by color or player number-- I'm thinking 5 different colored buzzers would be simplest).

 

Anyone willing or able to help with this? :)

 

Murph

Edited by Murph74

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The idea is simply to rewire a 2600 joystick to 5 individual handheld buzzer buttons (using left right up down and fire, up to 10 players between joystick ports 1 and 2), and either display a programmable question on the screen, then have it disappear and show who buzzed in when someone does buzz in, or jsut show who buzzed in first and leave it at that.

I have a text-display kernel that could be adapted to display random questions, but I'm finishing up another project right now and won't be able to work on anything else until next week.

 

Michael

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The idea is simply to rewire a 2600 joystick to 5 individual handheld buzzer buttons (using left right up down and fire, up to 10 players between joystick ports 1 and 2), and either display a programmable question on the screen, then have it disappear and show who buzzed in when someone does buzz in, or jsut show who buzzed in first and leave it at that.

I have a text-display kernel that could be adapted to display random questions, but I'm finishing up another project right now and won't be able to work on anything else until next week.

 

Michael

 

Thanks for the reply, Michael. For this project, I wouldn't want random questions for my purposes (although, could seeit working well for other uses). I actually would prefer to be able to open the BIN on the PC and change the text to be displayed. I realize I'd be limited on fonts and size and number of characters, but am still open to suggestions. :) Perhaps a self-sizing routine based on the amount of text?

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One thing you need to find out is if it's possible to rewire the joystick inputs. For instance, can the joystick "up" be rewired to a fire button, so that when you press the button it's read as joystick up? If so you can create five custom input "buzzers" out of joysticks that each send a unique signal, per port. The tricky part is one for yourself. It would need to send "up+button" or something to clear the buzzer, and you'd have to set your program to only read it if it's held down for five seconds, or held 3 seconds then tapped twice, some odd combo that you'd get used to after a bit. Or if you are sitting with the console, reset or select works too.

 

A program that buzzed, displayed which player buzzed in, and waited to be cleared would be really simple, maybe an hours work. Actually displaying questions though would be way over my head.

Edited by MausBoy

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Yeah, the joystick inputs are a no brainer on the 2600. All simple lines to ground, so it's jsut a matter of creating 5 simple switches to be handheld.

 

As for the clearing-- that would be what the Reset switch would be for on the Atari. :)

 

Although, that does remind me of another possible option-- a "jeopardy"ish feature would be cool too-- like a '5 seconds to answer' countdown and buzzer before it 'unocks' again for other players.

 

Murph

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I actually would prefer to be able to open the BIN on the PC and change the text to be displayed.

That should be doable. But as I said, I can't start anything else until next week at the earliest.

 

Michael

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I actually would prefer to be able to open the BIN on the PC and change the text to be displayed.

That should be doable. But as I said, I can't start anything else until next week at the earliest.

 

Michael

 

Hola again-- no hurry at all-- this is one of those things I've been thinking about for about a year-- there's no rush what-so-ever. I was actually looking into building alockout busser system and it occured to me while pickin gup a Flashback 2 on Friday and after repairing a joystick or 4, that this SHOULD be doable with Atari technology. :)

 

I'm just glad to have the help, even if it's not until 2007! :) Thanks!

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I remember seeing something akin to this at one of the Classic Gaming Expos I attended, run by Digital Press, I think.

 

I think it was Sniderman reading video game trivia out loud and 4 players each had a buzzer with a different sprite appearing if they buzzed first. They used a projection screen with PacMan, the adventure Dragon(duck), ET and the Yar, IIRC, would appear.

 

I think Paul Slocum was involved in programming it but my memory is hazy since this occured a few years ago.

 

Good luck with this project. :)

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Glad I'm not the only one with a good idea. :) I personally prefer colors over sprites just to keep it generic, but I'm not complaining.

 

While we're discussing this project, anyone know if any of the Atari Emus will default to full screen on a TVout/Extended Desktop/Display#2?

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anyone know if any of the Atari Emus will default to full screen on a TVout/Extended Desktop/Display#2?

Yes, you can set up both Stella and z26 to start in full-screen mode. Check the documentation that came with your emulator to see what command switches or other procedure to use. And if you're using a front-end program (like X26 for the Z26 emulator), you may need to check how the front-end is set up.

 

Michael

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Anyone have any more suggestions or ideas on how to get this setup? Just thinking about it as I'm off to my trivia night in about 3 minutes. :)

 

Murph

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Hehe-- That's why I love this place. :) A great start to a perfect app using 30 year old technology. :)

 

That is very usable as is for me, but I'd love to also see a few things added-- such as a 5 second auto-reset, and a buzzer noise when it auto resets. Maybe a chime of some sort too on buzz. Any other gameshow-esque additions are welcome as well! This will be used on my end on a laptop (with trusty stelladaptor!) run through a PA system at a bar/restaurant on Trivia nights for tie breakers when teams tie. :)

 

I'll let ya know how it goes in use on my end... I'm hoping I can config an emu to run on the 'extended desktop' TV out on my video card in the laptop. Would be hella cool. :) lol

 

Thanks a TON, Vdub! This is great as is even if nothing else happens from here!

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You're welcome!

 

It seemed like a nice little 1-hour diversion, work some of the rust off of my coding skills. :)

 

Right now:

-reads 1st buzzer (of L joystick UDLR and trigger) and displays which

-resets when RESET is pressed.

-will not allow a reset if any buzzers are pressed

 

I can add a buzzer noise and the auto-reset, etc. sometime soon.

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