Main Restorations Software Audio/Jukebox/MP3 Everything Else Buy/Sell/Trade
Project Announcements Monitor/Video GroovyMAME Merit/JVL Touchscreen Meet Up Retail Vendors
Driving & Racing Woodworking Software Support Forums Consoles Project Arcade Reviews
Automated Projects Artwork Frontend Support Forums Pinball Forum Discussion Old Boards
Raspberry Pi & Dev Board controls.dat Linux Miscellaneous Arcade Wiki Discussion Old Archives
Lightguns Arcade1Up --- Bug Reports --- Site News

Unread posts | New Replies | Recent posts | Rules | Chatroom | Wiki | File Repository | RSS | Submit news

  

Author Topic: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings  (Read 660 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1287
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:30:12 pm
  • Flap Flap Flap
Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« on: December 10, 2020, 05:08:34 pm »
To play trackball games, I have a 3-inch U-Trak from Ultimarc hooked up through USB on Windows 10 with default mouse settings. The interesting thing about trackballs is that there is a lot less variation than in arcade spinners, both in design and functionality, so hopefully these settings will work well for different brands of Trackballs.

I haven’t found information about the resolution of the U-Trak, but, using the BYOAC wiki page information about how the ball movement should affect several games, the MAME analog sensitivity of 25, 50, or 100 seems to correspond to 1x, 2x, or 4x interpolation of the analog data from the 24 tooth encoder wheels of the U-Trak.

According to the descriptions on the BYOAC wiki page, games like Centipede or Crystal Castles at 2x seem to be arcade correct at a sensitivity of 50. Marble Madness at 4x plays like I remember at 100. Missile Command at 2x matches the wiki described “1 full end to end visible trackball movement goes from left to the right of the little bump after the missile base” at a sensitivity of 50.

If all that’s correct, then the U-Trak 3 inch and Happ 3 inch trackballs used in many of the original games are likely virtually identical in their 4x output.

Just FYI, there are variations in trackball diameters. If you have a smaller diameter, then you may want to dial up the sensitivity a bit. The larger trackball made by Atari has a different encoder wheel and a higher resolution, but I don’t know how that will affect the MAME sensitivity settings. Also, Groovy Game Gear sells a “Hi-Rez” replacement encoder set with “over twice the resolution” of the standard arcade encoders, so I would assume that you would need to lower the sensitivity accordingly when using those encoder wheels.

Here are the results of my testing. MAME sensitivity settings are in parentheses. Just as a disclaimer, the settings below should be considered a starting point and may or may not be authentic to the original games. Hopefully we can get some more opinions, maybe from some people who have access to the original cabinets, to verify these settings are correct, especially for those who own Happ or Groovy Game Gear trackballs.

If you spot any errors or want to share your opinion, please post below.

* Regarding MAME settings: Analog controls should be mapped to Trackball/Dial/Paddle X and Trackball/Dial/Paddle Y. Trackball/Dial/Paddle dec and Trackball/Dial/Paddle inc are for digital controls mapped to analog functions. Digital Speed and Autocenter Speed adjust how digital inputs affect analog controls. For MAME's spinner and trackball controlled games, only Sensitivity affects performance.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 05:19:16 pm by KenToad »

KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1287
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:30:12 pm
  • Flap Flap Flap
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2020, 05:09:03 pm »
Akka Arrh (??) - Added to MAME since .209 and even an Arcade 1up cab, looks like a good game, but I'm still on MAME .201.
American Horseshoes (??) – Since I’m using MAME .201, the controls are broken. Apparently, they were fixed in MAME .207.
Ameridarts (25) - It’s fun and fairly easy to pick up and play.
Arcade Classics (50) – Updated versions of Centipede and Missile Command, well-executed and worth playing, but missing the nostalgia of the originals.
Argus (25) – This is a fun game where you control a superhero flying around a single screen by rolling the trackball.
Atari Baseball (??) – I can’t even figure out how to play this game. Someone who has played the original may be able to comment.
Atari Football (??) – Requires 2-4 players, I’ve at least seen the original cab, but haven’t played it.
Atari Soccer (100?) – Requires 4 players to not have motionless characters on screen.
Ataxx (100) – Strangely presented puzzle game that’s reminiscent of Othello/Reversi.
Basketball (50) – Requires 2 players, I have no idea how sensitive the trackball is supposed to be or why it’s not called Atari Basketball like the other Atari Sports games from that era in MAME’s database.
Beezer (25) – Difficult and not too fun game where you are a bee trying to trap other bees by flying around a hive full of rotating passageways. The game concept is interesting, but feels underdeveloped.
Big Event Golf (??) – Controls appear to be messed up, at least in MAME .201.
Birdie King (25) – Okay golf game, you have an aerial view of the action and you simply roll the trackball in the direction you want it to go.
Birdie King 2 (25) – Basically, the same game as the original.
Birdie King 3 (25) – More of the same.
Blades of Steel (100) – One version of the Arcade game used trackballs instead of joysticks. Unfortunately, despite good announcer voice samples, the arcade game isn’t nearly as playable as the NES port of the game.
Bowl-O-Rama (25) – 3 different bowling games, play is very similar to World Class Bowling, but not as good.
Bowling Alley (25) – Early bowler from 1978, it’s not bad, but there are much better options for this type of game.
Bulls Eye Darts (50) – You sort of nudge a disembodied hand that floats around the board;  it’s pretty bad.
Cabal (100) – Two trackballs, a classic, I remember when this one hit the arcade. It had the unusual dual trackball setup that made players curious to give it a try, then it kept you coming back for more after you got the hang of rolling diagonally downwards to make your character roll-dodge out of harm’s way. If you don’t have two trackballs and want to play 2 players, there’s a joystick version of the game in MAME that plays fine.
Capcom Bowling (25) - Plays like World Class Bowling, but isn’t quite as good.
Centipede [BYOAC wiki: “1 trackball move 1 end to other (stock tb) 2 1/2 mushroom lengths”] [2x] (50) – A classic.
Cloud 9 (50) – Strange game where you have to shoot clouds to stop them from flooding your bunker: core gameplay is reminiscent of Centipede, but not nearly as fun.
Combat School (25) – 2 players, military version of track and field style gameplay, this game is pretty fun. There is another version of the game that used joysticks.
Cool Pool (??) – Another game with seemingly broken controls, at least in MAME .201.
Coors Light Bowling (25) – Capcom bowling with a fermented beverage sponsorship.
Country Club (25) – SNK published golf game and it’s not great.
Crystal Castles [BYOAC wiki: “1st screen BB moves length of line above his head from center of trackball moved to one side”] [2x] (50) – Another Atari classic.
Cube Quest (100) – I have no experience with the original cab version of this game. It’s sort of like a weird, abstract Star Fox, except not fun. You use the trackball to move your ship around and it controls fine at the default sensitivity of 100.
Danger Zone (25) – Looking across a military base, you control a turret staving off enemy aircraft and total nuclear annihilation.
Dunk Shot (25) – 4 players, Sega published basketball game that’s not very good.
Dyno Bop (25) – Ticket redemption virtual skeeball.
Eagle Shot Golf (??) – Use dip switches to activate trackball, but the analog controls seem broken, at least in MAME .201. It’s a shame, too, because this one looks really goofy with so bad they’re good digitized graphics. The joystick controls seems to work fine in my limited testing.
Extra Bases (50) – Dull old baseball game.
Firebeast (25) – A strange and oddly playable game where you are a wizard defending dwarves digging for treasure that you must guide your wizard to collect. The core mechanic of the game is similar to Centipede, but it’s a quirky, ambitious game that’s worth a look.
Gimme A Break (100) – A simple and somewhat fun pool game, although the table feels a bit too small and it seems like, at least in the default game, there aren’t any rules whatsoever beyond sinking whatever you can in whatever order you want.
Goalie Ghost (100) – Two trackballs, plays kind of like over the shoulder perspective Pong with two soccer goalies trying to defend their half of the horizontally split screen. It’s okay.
Golden Tee (All games: 25) - You don’t have to be a golfer or a fan of the game to enjoy this series of games. Controls are great. Gameplay is great. Different versions of Golden Tee have different courses, better graphics, or announcers, but in terms of core design they are pretty much all the same excellent game. Unfortunately, some of the better later games, the Golden Tee Fore series, are supported by MAME, but require a fast processor (probably 4 gigahertz at minimum, adjust dipswitch to lowest graphical quality) to run emulated at full speed. If you can run it without announcer audio stutters, Golden Tee Fore! 2006 Complete might be the best all-in-one version, as it has almost all the courses from the previous games. On many of the earlier games, you can activate a bezel in the TAB - > Video Options menu that will remind you of the different ways you can curve the ball down the fairway by using different combinations of backwards and forwards rolling of the trackball, but the gist is this: Roll the trackball back until the golfer winds up fully. The angle you roll back determines the curve of the golf ball in the air, so straight back is no curve and right curves left and left curves right. Then the forward roll of the trackball determines both the force of the hit and the angle that the golf ball leaves the club. When putting, only forward roll matters. Generally, you want to roll forward slightly more forcefully than you think you need, as the game is more forgiving in that way, as long as you’re on target.
Golden Tee 97
Golden Tee 98
Golden Tee 99
Golden Tee 2K
Golden Tee 3D Golf
Golden Tee Classic
Golden Tee Fore! 2006 Complete
Golden Tee Golf
Golden Tee Golf II

Gridiron Fight (50) – 2 trackballs, Tehkan made this football game and the soccer trackball game, Tehkan World Cup, which is better, but neither game seems all that great.
Gridlee (25) – You control a walking euphemism catching balls and shooting … uh, you probably should just give this one a try.
Irritating Maze, The (25) –You have to roll the trackball smoothly and with controlled motions to get anywhere in this game, but it is fun when you get the hang of it.
Krazy Bowl (100) – A good game, it’s basically a Capcom Bowling imitation, but with the additions of humorous pixel art and a fun alternate game mode with different patterns of pins to knock down.
Lemmings (100) – 2 trackballs, it plays just as well as the classic home computer versions. You seem to be paying for time with your credits. Also, this prototype includes 2 player simultaneous play, which I don’t remember any of the home versions having.
Liberator (50)
– Plays like a follow-up to Missile Command and it is fun.
Magic Worm (50) – Centipede bootleg, apples instead of mushrooms.
Major League (??) – The trackball is used for pitching in this baseball game, but it has complex controls, including a custom analog bat controller and the game doesn’t seem worth playing.
Marble Madness [4x] (100) - 2 players, an excellent and difficult game.
Marine Date (25) – Game has no sound, at least in MAME .201. It’s sort of like mini-golf, except you’re trying to get a squid or octopus to its love interest. Physics and gameplay are pretty bad, unfortunately.
Millipede [2x] (50) – An excellent update to Centipede.
Mini Golf (100) – A simple and fun party game.
Missile Command (50) – An absolute classic.
Pound for Pound (??) – Boxing game, controls appear to be broken, at least in MAME .201.
Quantum [2x] (50) – An odd game where you must draw circles around things to make them disappear, it’s fun.
Rambo III (100) – 2 players, select trackball controls in the dipswitch menu, this is a pretty fun Cabal-style romp.
Rampart [2x] (50) (100?) – 3 players, the BYOAC wiki lists this game at the same resolution as Crystal Castles, which would be a sensitivity of 50, but moving the pointer feels sluggish. I don’t remember how moving the trackball felt on the original cabinet. There is a joystick controlled version of the game in MAME. If you’re using trackball(s), I personally think the game plays better at sensitivity 100, although it may not be authentic.
Reactor (25) – An excellent and addictive game where you control some kind of particle inside of a nuclear reactor.
SDI – Strategic Defense Initiative (100) – 2 players, you move your ship with the joystick and aim with the trackball. It plays like a combination of a side-scrolling space shooter and Missile Command.
SegaSonic The Hedgehog (100) – 2 players, roll the trackball to run in this isometric game. It’s fun, but doesn’t play like any other Sonic games. You have a life bar and rings don’t seem to be very important, for starters.
Shoot the Bull (25) – A no-frills dart game, but plays well – not as fun as Ameridarts.
Shuffleboard (25) – A fun game of shuffleboard, especially for 1978.
Shuffleshot (25) – This is a really good party game, but is less beginner friendly than World Class Bowling.
Shuuz (25) – An okay horseshoe throwing game.
Simpsons Bowling (50) – The graphics are okay for the era, but the voices are decent quality (although the voice samples mostly didn’t play during my game … maybe that’s why the CD rom was redumped for MAME .213?). Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t all that fun.
Slick Shot (25) – The game didn’t use a trackball. It included a physical cue ball and stick and some kind of sensors, so in MAME you can’t see the cue ball before you shoot and thus can’t really play the game.
Slither (50) – A Centipede imitation, but with the gimmick that you start in the middle of the screen and can fire up or down. It’s pretty terrible.
Snacks ‘n Jaxson (100) – Almost too weird to describe, you control a clown head stretching on a rubber band-like neck eating floating breakfast foods while keeping your clown nose from breaking the windows behind you. Somehow, it’s boring.
Snake Pit (100) – You control an Indiana Jones type character by moving him with the trackball and by using a joystick to snap your whip repeatedly in four directions. It’s a stinker.
Speed Ball (??) – Start button is broken in MAME .201 and was fixed in .202.
Spiker (100) – 1-on-1 volleyball in real life isn’t all that fun. This is way worse.
Strike Bowling (25) – Similar to Capcom bowling, but worse in every way.
Super League (??) – Like Major League, this is another Sega baseball game with a unique analog bat joystick in addition to a trackball.
Super Missile Attack (50) – The same guys who created Ms. Pac-Man made this hack as a way to make Missile Command more difficult and refresh the money-making potential. It’s fun.
Super Strike Bowling (??) – Not a trackball game, the original cabinet used a physical ball and mini alley.
Syvalion (25) – This game has so much going for it: cool graphics and sounds, a mech dragon that can breathe fire, decently smooth trackball control. Yet somehow the game just doesn’t work. I think the main issue is that your dragon is too large and fragile and the fire breath is cool-looking, but extremely limited. So you end up feeling the opposite of powerful. The lackluster level design doesn’t help.
Tee’d Off (25) – Golf game, similar to Birdie King, but not as good.
Tehkan World Cup (50) – 2 players, a somewhat fun top down soccer game where you roll the trackball to run.
Tri-Sports (100) – Pool, bowling, and mini-golf, the game has digitized graphics and voice samples. Otherwise, it’s just mediocre, with mini-golf being the best of the three games.
U.S. Classic (100) – A bad golf game.
Viper (25) – Marketed as a conversion for Danger Zone, it’s a very similar style of game, except you’re supposed to be in a helicopter and there’s a shop where you can buy upgrades.
Wacko (50) – A fun and strange game, you control an alien by moving him with the trackball and shooting with a joystick. Enemies must be eliminated in pairs. It’s by the same team as Rampage and the graphics are similarly cartoony.
World Class Bowling (25) – One of the best party games ever, this one is super simple and really fun to play.
World Class Bowling Deluxe (25) – Essentially, the same game as the original with an added “Flash” mode that adds random bonuses to strikes and spares.
X the Ball (100) – A ticket redemption game where you must use clues in low resolution digitized photos to find an invisible ball.

Games that used a single axis trackball (Can be played with a spinner or trackball):
Kick (7) – Seems to play a lot better with a trackball than a spinner, at least compared to my Turbo Twist 2 spinner. The original game had a 12 tooth encoder wheel, apparently, so I get spinback if I try to turn up the sensitivity and move the kickman too quickly.
Peggle (100) – This also seems to play better with a trackball, but isn’t as big of an issue as Kick for a high resolution spinner.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2020, 02:14:52 pm by KenToad »

negative1

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 932
  • Last login:Today at 02:05:20 am
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2020, 05:28:13 pm »
Wow, thank you.

Another great list.

Appreciate it. I love trackball games.

-------------------
Technically, I think you can play any Spinner game with a Trackball.

My current arcade 1up uses a trackball to play super breakout, and avalanche, and it works fine.

later
-1
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 05:34:14 pm by negative1 »

KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1287
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:30:12 pm
  • Flap Flap Flap
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2020, 05:45:16 pm »
Wow, thank you.

Another great list.

Appreciate it. I love trackball games.

-------------------
Technically, I think you can play any Spinner game with a Trackball.

My current arcade 1up uses a trackball to play super breakout, and avalanche, and it works fine.

later
-1

Thanks for the kind words.

You can definitely play spinner games with a trackball. The issue is that you won't have perfect fine control with some of the higher resolution games like Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh. Also, it's nice to have a spinner, because the spinner matches the movements of the onscreen turrets or whatever much more closely, making play more intuitive.

You could also play trackball games with a mouse, but it's not as fun, IMO.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2020, 05:48:00 pm by KenToad »

Moksi

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 143
  • Last login:Yesterday at 05:32:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2020, 11:28:21 am »
interesting list
ihave a TrackBall installed with the x arcade i tried to play Marble Madness with it , with mame default settings that is hard to play with its default settings i have to roll the TrackBall hard for the ball to roll LOL
i dont know how the orginal sensitivity of the arcade was

Curious to see how it plays with your settings, in the list Marble Madness [4x] (100).

[4x] -> stands for Digital Speed settings ?   (100)  - > analog sensitivity?



KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1287
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:30:12 pm
  • Flap Flap Flap
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2020, 11:44:58 am »
interesting list
ihave a TrackBall installed with the x arcade i tried to play Marble Madness with it , with mame default settings that is hard to play with its default settings i have to roll the TrackBall hard for the ball to roll LOL
i dont know how the orginal sensitivity of the arcade was

Curious to see how it plays with your settings, in the list Marble Madness [4x] (100).

[4x] -> stands for Digital Speed settings ?   (100)  - > analog sensitivity?

[4x] refers to the original resolution, which used the Atari chip that quadrupled the signal. Digital speed only affects how digital controls mapped to analog functions behave, so it's actually a completely separate setting. 100 is analog sensitivity.

Keep in mind that your analog controls should only be mapped to the Analog controls in MAME and should only be mapped as Analog X or Analog Y. The Analog DEC and INC settings are for digital controls and will be affected by the digital speed settings for those inputs.

*Edit* I should mention that it would be helpful if people with other brands of trackballs could verify these settings, so you could check if Centipede works as it should using your X-arcade to play Centipede at an analog sensitivity of 50, for example.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2020, 11:49:49 am by KenToad »

Moksi

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 143
  • Last login:Yesterday at 05:32:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2020, 03:29:39 am »
Thanks for the information , the resolution i use a 27 inch lcd display which supports 1920 x 1080

so if i use the default 4x3 in mame default settings the analog sensitivity should only be adjusted then

so games like Millipede [2x] (50)  is see [2x]
« Last Edit: December 29, 2020, 03:31:12 am by Moksi »

KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1287
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:30:12 pm
  • Flap Flap Flap
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2020, 11:11:14 am »
Thanks for the information , the resolution i use a 27 inch lcd display which supports 1920 x 1080

so if i use the default 4x3 in mame default settings the analog sensitivity should only be adjusted then

so games like Millipede [2x] (50)  is see [2x]

No, it's not your screen resolution. It's the resolution of the trackball, which is combination of an encoder wheel and a chip that interprets that signal. In the case of Millipede, the chip doubled the signal from the encoder wheel, hence [2x].

Probabaly some other folks with more technical understanding in this realm could explain it better. But the gist is that, usually, you want to adjust the sensitivity in MAME to make the software accept the resolution from your trackball in a similar way that the original game did.

All you need to do is set your analog sensitivity for both x and y in MAME and test the game. If the trackball feels sluggish, you can adjust the sensitivity higher. In the case of certain arcade games, there are known arcade correct settings, such as in Centipede rolling the visible part of the trackball from one side to the other should move the onscreen character two and a half mushroom lengths.

Moksi

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 143
  • Last login:Yesterday at 05:32:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 07:04:53 pm »
Ok im going to test this for sure as i want it to be as close as an arcade feeling.
really appriciate the list i didnt play alot of TrackBall style games

Marble madness which is set to analog sensitivity of 30 by default i had to roll the TrackBall hard LOL for the ball to move it doesnt feel right at all
i will definetely test this as i would like to enjoy the TrackBall games since i have one anyway

Moksi

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 143
  • Last login:Yesterday at 05:32:03 pm
  • I want to build my own arcade controls!
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2020, 06:28:08 am »
Just tested Marble Madness feels authentic now thanks mate ,will play this game more because of its settings :cheers:

KenToad

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1287
  • Last login:Yesterday at 11:30:12 pm
  • Flap Flap Flap
Re: Arcade Trackball Games and MAME Sensitivity Settings
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2020, 10:38:15 am »
Just tested Marble Madness feels authentic now thanks mate ,will play this game more because of its settings :cheers:

That's great to hear!  :cheers: