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Author Topic: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?  (Read 7149 times)

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maxmix

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Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« on: October 30, 2007, 06:41:52 pm »
Reading a lot of the old Robotron posts..... Great info....

What would you recommend buying for a new cabinet build....

As close as the originals ?

maxmix

PS Any links would be great.... I did have a look at these....

These are 4/8 way.... http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290147081974

Jeff AMN

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2007, 06:57:17 pm »
DO NOT buy those sticks!

There are a lot of options for joysticks, but the Sanwas are amazing for comfort and accuracy. Some find them a little too clicky, but you don't notice during gameplay.
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maxmix

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2007, 07:18:52 pm »
Hi Jeff

Thanks.... Do you have a link for what I should go for.... I'm in Scotland, UK but Paypal is my best option
for buying from the USA

maxmix

PS I have the Blue Translucents coming so I really want red ball top....

NoOne=NBA=

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2007, 07:20:51 pm »
If you want the exact feel of an original, get Wico 8-ways.

You will definitely want something with round restrictors.
U-360's, P-360's, or Sanwas with round restrictors would be good substitutes.
Happ Supers would be good, but not as good as the above sticks.

After that, you get into square restricted sticks.
Most of those favor the diagonals, and don't rotate in a circle nicely like the originals did.
They will still play OK, but won't allow the fluid movement that circular restrictors will.

Chunce DeLeone

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2007, 08:02:15 am »
Where did you get the blue translucents?

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2007, 08:28:33 am »
I had an answer in mind when I saw this thread, but NoOne=NBA='s answer is better than the one that I would have given.

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maxmix

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2007, 09:10:32 pm »
Chunce.... I had answered your PM.... Here though for all.... (And I got them posted to UK no probs)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250165443216&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT&ih=015

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2007, 03:55:44 am »
How do the Sanwas with the octagonal restrictors feel?

Xiaou2

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2007, 05:33:44 am »
efjayel,

  Robotron is a game where split seconds matter.   Your reaction times
have to be darn near perfect and you are almost doing the impossible
at every second of play  (if you spend some time with the game and get
good)

 Anything that causes a slight varience of timing or loss of control
will cause very bad results in Robotron.    This includes Octagonal
restriction.   Because the additional friction, and awkward 'sticky spots'
will cause a slowdown of your joystick motions... which will lead to your
untimely death much sooner.

 True Wico 8 ways are the way to go for this game  Imop.   I dont think
anything else can really compare in control, feel, throw, restriction, and
reaction time.


genesim

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2007, 05:48:05 am »
While I don't device the accuracy claims.   My rig has:

Happs Rotaries on Player one, with Supers on Player two.   Both have very similar feel and work fine for high scores.

So can't see how one arcade stick is SOOOO much better then the other one.

I have competitions, happs perfect 360, Ultimate(hated them), and ultimarc 4 way.   Most can be played well, but I like my current feel the best....and of course being able to use player one for other thins too!

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2007, 06:56:55 am »
if you want to get the highest score possible, you need: (1) round restriction, so you can make the sweeping movements that are so essential to shooting in robotron, and (2) quick engagement (= small central "dead zone"), for maneuvering in tight spots.

the original robotron joysticks were 8-way, leaf switch, rubber-grommet wicos with round restriction. since they are based on leaf switches, you can adjust the engagement to be very quick by bending the leaf switches. many people swear by them, but i don't like them, for several reasons: (1) i don't like the feel of the rubber grommets, (2) rubber degenerates and nobody has made the rubber grommets for years, which means all the existing rubber grommets in the world are already pretty "old," (3) you have to tweak the leaf switches and occasionally re-tweak them, (4) the leafs also eventually wear out, and no new leafs are being produced either.

i've tried many joysticks, and the best i've found for robotron are happ perfect 360's with kowal's mod. there are links to threads on kowal's mod in the page in my signature.

if you're looking for low cost, i find happ supers to play very well, although i don't like the microswitch feel at all. some have also reported good results with round-restricted U360's, but i haven't gotten around to trying them yet.

in my experience, differences that may seem very subtle can make a huge difference in your score. for me, 2 sticks can feel pretty similar, and even play pretty similarly in the lower levels of robotron, but when i get to higher levels, there's a very noticeable difference, and one gives me average scores that are double what i get with the other one.
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telengard

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2007, 06:08:31 pm »
As mentioned, I'd get the Wico 8-ways (red too if you can hehe).  It's worth the investment if you are going to invest the time and $$ into a dedicated Robotron 2084 cabinet.  Also, if you are going to have a wood panel, I believe the Robotron sticks are a little taller than most.  Can't remember the exact details.

I at one point had the 360 ones and I have a few issues with them.  One is the feel, two was w/ certain games (not necessarily Robotron) when I'd let go of the joystick it would travel such that it would trigger the opposite direction.  Does the mentioned mod fix that?  This did mostly show up on 4 ways games though that involved one press to do an action like Tetris, etc.  I don't remember it being an issue w/ Robotron.  I just didn't personally like the feel.

I do hope that at some point, some kind soul repros the grommets.  I have enough extra leafs to last 2 lifetimes so I'm good there.   :)

~telengard
« Last Edit: November 01, 2007, 06:12:21 pm by telengard »
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RandyT

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2007, 06:20:10 pm »

I'm not a real heavy player, but I like the game.  My all time best is ~242,000 points and that was with a pair of 49-ways with GP-Wiz49 interfaces in 8-way mode.

How does that compare with the scores achievable with other setups?

RandyT

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2007, 07:44:55 pm »
... How does that compare with the scores achievable with other setups?

Roboton scores vary greatly from player to player, depending on experience, raw reaction time, etc. the best can play "forever" (the score turns over at 10M). i'm not that good. at the moment, the biggest limitation on my high scores is my ability to see (by the time i get to the higher levels, i start perspiring so much my glasses are constantly getting fogged)!  :dizzy:

i started out with stock P360s with the large metal SlikStik handles. after getting used to them, i'd get to 400K-500K every couple of games , and my high score was 640K. after applying kowal's mod and installing shorter shafts and lighter springs, my scores just about immediately doubled.

since then, i've been improving slowly. i almost never score less than 1M. my average game is 1M to 1.5M, and my high score is 3.11M on level 117. i feel like i'm getting close to being able to play forever.

strategy makes a huge difference in robotron. i'd love to see some robotron wizard write a strategy guide, with some sample videos. here are some tips, off the top of my head:

  • learn to move in any direction while shooting in any other direction.
  • you have to balance not getting killed with grabbing as many humans as possible. if you prioritize avoiding death too highly, you won't pick up enough humans, and you'll run out of lives too quickly. often, it's better to throw caution to the wind and charge into some dangerous situation, if there's the possibility of picking up some humans, even though you may very well get killed.
  • when a lot is going on, it often helps to sweep back and forth with your shooting hand, rather than shooting in the same direction for longer periods.
  • learn how to survive forever with all bad guys dead except one enforcer. you can "orbit" around him without shooting, while you pick up any remaining humans. this is useful on many levels and will boost your scores, especially:
  • in the first brain wave, avoid all humans and protect mikey at all costs until all the brains are dead. then kill everything except one enforcer. then pick up all the humans for huge points. you have to do all that without getting killed once. if you get killed, then go back to the default strategy of grabbing humans, instead of leaving them until the end.
  • in waves 9, 19, 29, 39, etc.: try to blast your way through to a wall and orbit around the seething mass of grunts.
  • you don't have to go barreling through a human to pick him up. if you imagine you're playing "tag" with them, you'll pick up more humans faster and have more time to dodge and shoot bad guys.
  • in the higher levels, when there's so much stuff on the screen that everything (except you) slows down, at the beginning of each level, try to find places where you can run thru and grab humans without having to shoot your way thru. you can often gobble up a lot of points that way, before things get dicey.

anybody else have any good tips to add, or pointers to useful web pages?

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2007, 08:25:10 pm »
I'm at like 275K, my 11 year old has a high score of 342K. My kid :haha: @ me. That kid eventually beats me at everything! Except for Donkey Kong and Mspacman. :haha: @ my kid. We never get to play anymore cause we still don't have a new monitor for our cab. 

Me and the kid...
:cry:  :cry:

All games :haha: at us


Oh yea: We have a pair of U360's...which are pretty sweet for Robotron with the round restrictor installed. Never tried any other sticks for the game, except the originals sometime in the late 80's, or early 90's.
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Xiaou2

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2007, 08:52:45 pm »
I think the comparison is when you take your Own personal ability, and compare
with different types of controllers.

 My friend has a shop with many classics.   Me and a friend played his Robotron
machine for a few hours each weekend for a short while.

 I got up to like level 30... and he got to level 34.  (unsure the points)
This was on easy difficulty, but even then, Robotron is never really easy.   
Just easier to get extra men.

 Anyway, I then went to a friends house and used his mame machine to
fire up a game of Robotron.   He had happs supers in it.  It was horrendous.
The lag in my responses were way too slow - as the throw was way too
long.   I could barely get past level 5 with them.  Pathetic and too
frustrating to even bother with.

RandyT

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2007, 10:12:31 pm »
I think the comparison is when you take your Own personal ability, and compare with different types of controllers.

I have to agree.  I think someone having the name "RobotronNut" is going to have some pretty good scores no matter what .

I can't imagine playing the game to a score of a million or better.  I'd be a wreck afterwards.   :)

I just noticed I did about 45k better on the blue version.  Anyone know what the differences are?

RandyT

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2007, 10:56:00 pm »
I did up my cabinet as a multiwilliams recently using the metal control panel arcadeshop sells. I have some J-stiks from Ultimarc and they are great for 4 way games but made robotron very hard with the diamond restrictor

i have since replaced the restrictor with a circle one for a sanwa from lizard lick and a big improvement in control. my scores went up, I can only get 300k in robotron but it is getting easier and easier to get that score.

what it comes down too is ramping up enough lives in the brain waves to last you to the next brain wave. The game is feast and famine like that. Once you can do that you can pretty much roll the game i would say.




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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2007, 10:57:20 pm »
I've had opportunity to play an Ultracade lately, as well as a Robotron/Joust reunion machine.
The Wicos on the original were much better than the sticks on either of those machines.
I can only seem to get about 150k with the new ones, vs. 500k+ on an original machine.

I haven't tried them, but would bet that the 49-ways would work well with mapping all the way to the inner ring.
That would let them be super responsive with minimal movement.

genesim

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2007, 11:10:22 pm »
Quote from: Randy T
I think someone having the name "RobotronNut" is going to have some pretty good scores no matter what .

I think this is key to the whole thing.   We all can have our standbys.   I hate Perfect 360's because of the absence of clicking...others like it.

It all comes down to practice and dedication.   IMHO, you don't even need two sticks.   Maping buttons correctly can do it too.    It definetly feels more intuitive to people that grew up only hitting buttons with their right hand.    That not being me though.   I prefer dual sticks and that is why I have them.   Then again, I am anal about having the rotaries on the left stick, so there you go.

Supers/Rotaries, feel so close in design, it just made sense to me.   My only problem is the fact that I always wonder how long the soldering jobs will hold up....forever???    Don't know, but they seem solid now.   Hopefully long after I will ever care about it.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2007, 04:44:34 am »
... w/ certain games (not necessarily Robotron) when I'd let go of the joystick it would travel such that it would trigger the opposite direction.  Does the mentioned mod fix that? ...

i'm not sure. i'm not sure i ever let go of the joystick in any 8-way games. the kowal mod might make that problem worse, since it makes engagement quicker.


I think the comparison is when you take your Own personal ability, and compare with different types of controllers.

I have to agree.  I think someone having the name "RobotronNut" is going to have some pretty good scores no matter what.

didn't mean to be a show-off... i still have a long way to go. for me, at least, the modded P360s doubled my scores. for more details, see this post.

Quote
I can't imagine playing the game to a score of a million or better.  I'd be a wreck afterwards.   :)

i have to take a shower after playing robotron.  :dizzy:  to see the creator of robotron talk about how hard it is, watch the two videos at the bottom of this post.

Quote
I just noticed I did about 45k better on the blue version.  Anyone know what the differences are?

the blue one has a default difficulty of 3. the yellow defaults to 5. if you want to have a heart attack, try difficulty 10. you can find instructions for setting the difficulty by downloading the manual at the bottom of this page.
to see my "Frankenpanel" and design notes, click here.

Lilwolf

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2007, 09:05:12 am »
btw, you can't compare the original to the emulated.  Robotron is MUCH better then it used to be (emulation wise) but still not the same.   (the original system was pushed past its limit on the video system.   Emulation is trying to limit it, and its closer.. but still not exact).

Anyway, if you are building a robotron cabinet.  Buy the originals. 

If your building a generic cab, but robotron is your favorite... consider others... But only if wico 8ways aren't that great for other games you love.  They aren't my favorite joysticks at all...

I play with 2 happs supers (I think they are my favorite all around joysticks).  But have used Comps, Ultimates, and dual Monroes.... I have a single wico 8 way (and some 4 ways) and I'm not that impressed...   But I also like bats also... what I'm used to.

spacies

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2007, 11:10:20 pm »

And the conclusion is.....?

I have just scored an original Robotron. I am so freakin happy.

The only problem is that is has the worst sticks ever.

I NEED good replacements, NOW! lol.



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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2007, 12:06:22 am »
Wico 8 ways arent the best for being accurate with diagnals for instance..
but because of the nature of Robotron, it works out great...

 As in Robotron, you are doing many circular and rolling moves.  Never
going from dead center to any one direction.  Instead, going from one
direction and rolling right into the nearby direction in sequence.   Being
that the throw and activation is so short and easy,  it makes for
faster reaction times than most stick. (diag's are shorter dist. than
most to activate which in some games would have you accidentally
hitting the wrong direction on accident)

 But trying to use a wico 8way leaf stick in a fighter.. and you will get
pissed really quickly. (ducking or jumping on accident - or not being able
to jump or duck cause you hit left or right instead) 

 My problem with the supers is that they are very stiff and have
a Huge travel to activation.   For example - going all the way from
far left to opposite right.    In most games the delay wouldnt be
a problem.  However, in Robotron, a fraction of a second will
at most times cost you a life.


 Congrats to getting a real machine :)    I dont think anyone would regret
having one, As its a game that you never seem to get bored of.
 

 I think we need David to make a new run of Wico 8 ways.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2007, 12:09:20 am »
I play with 2 happs supers (I think they are my favorite all around joysticks).  But have used Comps, Ultimates, and dual Monroes....

How did you like the Monroe sticks for Robotron?  I've been wanting to give that a go myself.  Also, did you have the ones with the round restrictor plate on the bottom, or the ones with no plate?

kowal

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2007, 05:25:50 am »
someone has good photos Monroe sticks (profile)?

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2007, 11:23:20 pm »
Here's everything I know about Monroe joysticks:

Monroe joysticks were originally used in Gyruss, Time Pilot, Rampage, Circus Charlie (2-way variety), (maybe) Zookeeper and possibly others.  These are leafswitch sticks with a ball pivot and a spring for resistance.    There are at least two varieties:

One variety was fitted with a restrictor plate that could be switched out for 2, 4, or 8-way operation.  The 2-way plate was used in (at least) Circus Charlie.  I have never seen the 4-way plate in person, but a drawing of one in an old game manual- I think it was Rampage, which is odd since the game is 8-way.  Looked like Midway took a stock drawing from Monroe and stuffed it in there.  At any rate, the drawing showed a cloverleaf shape rather than a diamond. The more common 8-way plate is round.

The other variety of the Monroe stick has no restrictor plate, and a much less complicated 1-piece base design.  I'm not aware of any restriction schemes for that variety.  The balltop on this variety is slightly smaller than on the restrictor plate type.

I've never seen a Monroe stick with a handle other than a black balltop.

Pics (click for 640x480 views):


Donkey_Kong

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2007, 12:58:00 am »
the blue one has a default difficulty of 3. the yellow defaults to 5. if you want to have a heart attack, try difficulty 10. you can find instructions for setting the difficulty by downloading the manual at the bottom of this page.


What was the default difficulty for the Robotron machines back in the day, or did it vary from cab to cab?

Also, IRC...it is difficulty 5 for Twin Galaxies scoreboard. (I'll go check.) Yep, difficulty 5 and 5 lives to start and no extra men. Mame or Arcade. 1st place is 945,550 in tournament mode arcade. Tournament mode high score is 348,691,680. The only difference in settings is extra men every 25K, vs none for tournament.

Here is a link to All Twin Galaxies  Robotron high scores, all platforms.
http://www.twingalaxies.com/index.aspx?c=22&g=

Man...300+ Million! I think I have read that with that type of talent you can actually bank up extra men, go to bed, wake up in the AM and keep on playing...That would be sweet! I may have read that in this post, or somewhere at BYOAC. Too tired to check.  :)
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kowal

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2007, 03:22:49 am »
 Kremmit big thx
I must to buy one. But I do not see this on E-bay:(

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2007, 03:34:36 am »
I have tornado terry's red-balltop happ cometition 8-way's on a real cabinet in perfect condition.

http://www.tornadoterrys.com/surplus.htm

i only count scores at difficulty 10, 3 men to start, 25k extra.

my high score is 1.93 million.  i can play indefinitely at difficulty 5.

- ahigh

Kremmit

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2007, 03:53:43 am »
Kremmit big thx
I must to buy one. But I do not see this on E-bay:(

They don't show up too often, probably due to the small number of games that used them.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2007, 04:35:02 am »

the blue one has a default difficulty of 3. the yellow defaults to 5. if you want to have a heart attack, try difficulty 10. you can find instructions for setting the difficulty by downloading the manual at the bottom of this page.

What was the default difficulty for the Robotron machines back in the day, or did it vary from cab to cab?

it was operator-settable. if the operator left it at default values, then it would have been the ones listed above, depending on which rom he had.
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2007, 04:38:36 am »

i only count scores at difficulty 10, 3 men to start, 25k extra.

my high score is 1.93 million.  i can play indefinitely at difficulty 5.

- ahigh

aha! a robotron expert... can you give me some tips to get my high score past 3 million at difficulty 3?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2007, 04:40:45 am by RobotronNut »
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2007, 07:42:24 am »
No offense  Ahigh, but I dont believe it.

 Theres no way anyone can play Robotron on med level indifinitely with
Competitions.  The square actuator would make that impossible.

 Its bad enough with supers...  but I might have given you the benefit
of the doubt with them cause of the round restriction.


 Must be a sponsor of Tornado Terry's or something...
 

 Btw - Competitions are known for 'spacer wear'.   Playing Robotron for any
length of time and those spacers must be History.   Look for lots of white
powder under the CP.   

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2007, 03:03:09 pm »
Scouts honor truth.  I thought the same thing when I put them on (didn't know comps had square actuators when I bought them).  Looked like imperials, which I know are crap.  You could do supers too, but I highly recommend the comps, and haven't had any issues at all.

--
- Aaron


No offense  Ahigh, but I dont believe it.

 Theres no way anyone can play Robotron on med level indifinitely with
Competitions.  The square actuator would make that impossible.

 Its bad enough with supers...  but I might have given you the benefit
of the doubt with them cause of the round restriction.


 Must be a sponsor of Tornado Terry's or something...
 

 Btw - Competitions are known for 'spacer wear'.   Playing Robotron for any
length of time and those spacers must be History.   Look for lots of white
powder under the CP.   


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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2007, 03:17:51 pm »

Isn't there some MAME settings that would make things easier as well?  Like playing on a slow system and turning off frameskip? :)





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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2007, 05:05:16 pm »
Isn't there some MAME settings that would make things easier as well?  Like playing on a slow system and turning off frameskip? :)

Yes and No.

Yes, on a slow system, as you mention.

No, on a good rig.
MAME is actually MORE difficult because you don't get the hardware induced slowdown at the higher levels.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2007, 12:55:39 pm »
MAME is actually MORE difficult because you don't get the hardware induced slowdown at the higher levels.

some amount of slowdown is defintely being emulated. in mame, there is a noticeable slowdown at the higher levels, like i remember the original, although i haven't played (or even seen) an original in years.

perhaps the emulation isn't exact, but it feels pretty close to my (admittedly rusty) recollection of what the original felt like.

both mame (and the original, IIRC) keep you moving at normal speed, while everything else slows down. this affects your strategy. at the beginning of levels, when the slowdown is most noticeable, it's best to look for places where you can charge ahead, grabbing humans, without having to shoot your way thru. since you're faster than everything else, you can cover a lot of ground quickly. if you have to shoot your way thru, you have to wait for your shots, and for the bad guys to die, which are slowed down with everything else.
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2007, 05:02:23 am »
Isn't there some MAME settings that would make things easier as well?  Like playing on a slow system and turning off frameskip? :)

Yes and No.

Yes, on a slow system, as you mention.

No, on a good rig.
MAME is actually MORE difficult because you don't get the hardware induced slowdown at the higher levels.

In my opinion, the MAME problems are all about latency.  Even the latest version has a tear mid-way down the screen.  This demonstrates a frame of latency on the top half of the screen.

Additional latency is present on earlier versions of MAME making the problem even worse.  The latency is in the details of the emulation and synchronization with the graphics system's vertical retrace.

hardware slowdown is not something that I take advantage of on the real machine.  It does occur, but for me, it does not make things easier at level 10.  It actually impedes the timing of the movement of the joystick preventing bullets from firing due to slowdown and makes things harder.  But I haven't heard anyone else complain about this; it's definitely not a thing that I pray for, but usually it's not a big differentiator like the latency is.

I hope this is helpful.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2007, 10:23:16 am »

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2007, 02:36:29 pm »
Went for some of these for now....

http://www.gremlinsolutions.co.uk/products/happjoycompred.htm

maxmix

Good luck with those.

I am going a different route.

Starting with these:



They have the round restrictor plate on the on the bottom.
I am going to remove the microswitches and machine up a holder to take some leaf switches.
Will post updates as I go.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #41 on: November 20, 2007, 03:55:20 am »
Went for some of these for now....

http://www.gremlinsolutions.co.uk/products/happjoycompred.htm

maxmix

Good luck with those.

I am going a different route.

Starting with these:



They have the round restrictor plate on the on the bottom.
I am going to remove the microswitches and machine up a holder to take some leaf switches.
Will post updates as I go.

In the world of robotron joystick wars, I wouldn't bet on this one myself.  If it does work well, do let us know.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #42 on: November 20, 2007, 04:25:45 pm »
I have ditched this idea already, lol.

I am going to use opticals with custom shafts.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2007, 01:21:38 am »
You can get new grommets for Robotron here

http://cgi.ebay.com/ROBOTRON-BLACK-WIDOW-WICO-Joystick-Grommet-Set-NEW_W0QQitemZ330189193305QQihZ014QQcategoryZ13718QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

If you have an original game or the wico sticks, get these, it will make them feel like new.

Brent

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2007, 03:25:25 am »
No offense  Ahigh, but I dont believe it.

 Theres no way anyone can play Robotron on med level indifinitely with
Competitions.  The square actuator would make that impossible.

 Its bad enough with supers...  but I might have given you the benefit
of the doubt with them cause of the round restriction.


 Must be a sponsor of Tornado Terry's or something...
 

 Btw - Competitions are known for 'spacer wear'.   Playing Robotron for any
length of time and those spacers must be History.   Look for lots of white
powder under the CP.   


Happ Competitions have a square actuator but they feel round if you roll the stick in a circle around its boundaries. A square actuator is not the same thing as a square or squarish restrictor. All the actuator does is trip the switches, it doesn't restrict/define the joystick's movement boundaries. The only reason it is a square actuator on a Competition is because they use microswitches without actuator levers, and a square actuator of the right size is the only way to trip two switches at once in the diagnols in a setup like that.

If you look at the part of a Happ Competition that actually does restrict/define the boundaries of the stick's movement, you'll see that it is a circle (the hole in the base that the shaft passes through, just beneath the actuator); hence the circular restriction and feel of the Competition.

I'm not surprised that Ahigh does well on Robotron with Competitions. They are a nice joystick with circular restriction, so I don't see the problem.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2007, 11:06:57 am »

 Well, Im starting to wonder if there was a revision to the Competitions.

 Ive got 2 sets of joysticks.   One is a known set of Comps.   
Both sets are exactly identical except for one small detail on the bottom plate.

 On the bottom plate of one set, are small plastic tabs sticking up, that sit next to the
micros.   They help to form a box shape... which aids in the restriction of the
actuators travel.

 And, when you roll the two sets in circles,  you can immediately tell which is
which...   as the ones with the additional tabs is noticeably square.   You
can feel the diagonal sticky spots.

 
 The newer comps seem to have gotten rid of the additional tabs,  and it
allows the actuator more travel, and the actuator can twist at an angle
as well... which helps to keep the pathway round.   

 
 However, even with that said,  they are FAR from the best joystick for
Robotron.   Being that they have a very slow activation - because
the degree needed to active is too great.    And going from extreme
left to right  (for example)  is a death sentence delay.

 Diagonals are still also slower to activate.  Again,  this due to the
extra distances needed to move the stick... and the micro's extra
activation distances as well.  (compared to leafs)


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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2007, 01:51:09 pm »

 Well, Im starting to wonder if there was a revision to the Competitions.

 Ive got 2 sets of joysticks.   One is a known set of Comps.   
Both sets are exactly identical except for one small detail on the bottom plate.

 On the bottom plate of one set, are small plastic tabs sticking up, that sit next to the
micros.   They help to form a box shape... which aids in the restriction of the
actuators travel.

 And, when you roll the two sets in circles,  you can immediately tell which is
which...   as the ones with the additional tabs is noticeably square.   You
can feel the diagonal sticky spots.

 
 The newer comps seem to have gotten rid of the additional tabs,  and it
allows the actuator more travel, and the actuator can twist at an angle
as well... which helps to keep the pathway round.
   

My Competitions are fairly recent. I bought them new from Bob Roberts this past summer, and the restriction is definitely circular without a hint of squareness. Interesting about the ones with the tabs.

Quote
However, even with that said,  they are FAR from the best joystick for
Robotron.   Being that they have a very slow activation - because
the degree needed to active is too great.    And going from extreme
left to right  (for example)  is a death sentence delay.

 Diagonals are still also slower to activate.  Again,  this due to the
extra distances needed to move the stick... and the micro's extra
activation distances as well.  (compared to leafs)

I'll take your word for it. I'm not a Robotron player. I've never even played it on a real machine. But as far as square restriction goes, that at least is not a problem with current Happ Competitions.

Do you happen to know what type of joysticks came with Smash TV and/or Total Carnage? Those games are the same idea as Robotron.

 

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2007, 01:52:35 pm »
I've restored a few Robotrons, and these are the most accurate replacement sticks I've found.  Leaf 8-ways, I highly recommend these in particular.  Aside from Robotron having slightly longer handles/shafts, they're spot-on.

http://www.centsibleamusements.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=415

I used to know a guy who milled the longer Robotron ball-top handles, but he no longer makes them.  I haven't looked hard for a new source.

- Adam

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2007, 04:15:36 pm »
The longer shafts that Ponyboy was selling a while back are the correct length for Wico replacements. They were not red, but I hear that they take dye well.

I play Robotron (poorly) on a set of NOS Wico 8-ways with the shorter shafts. They are true to the original, but the emulation is not, so the game is still incorrect. 1984 arcade has an original unit, but it does not have the correct sticks, and the difference in play is profound.

If you are going to choose sticks for this game, pick the most bullet-proof, indestructible sticks you can find, that have round restrictors. This game is absolute hell on joys at higher levels.

I'm a big fan of Gyruss and Time Pilot, and I would love to try a set of the above mentioned Monroe 8-ways with Robotron. They were the Cadillac of the 8-ways back in the day. A good stick played as smooth as silk. I've got a few extra Monroes laying about... I may need to do an experiment.  :angel:

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2007, 04:31:28 pm »
With all else being equal, shorter shafts would be quicker going from left to right, up to down, etc. If that sort of speed is important for Robotron, why does everyone want the taller shaft version of the Wico, aside from authenticity reasons?

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2007, 09:24:28 pm »
Do you happen to know what type of joysticks came with Smash TV and/or Total Carnage? Those games are the same idea as Robotron.

Same sticks, Wico 8-way leafswitch.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #51 on: November 21, 2007, 10:38:02 pm »
Do you happen to know what type of joysticks came with Smash TV and/or Total Carnage? Those games are the same idea as Robotron.

Same sticks, Wico 8-way leafswitch.

On Total Carnage too? The Total Carnage machines I have seen were in those Midway cabinets similar to the ones used for Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam, and had bat-handled joysticks in them.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #52 on: November 21, 2007, 11:12:44 pm »
Well, the only Total Carnage I ever saw had Wicos in it, but it may have been a SmashTV conversion, now that I think about it.  I know Smash shipped with Wicos for sure.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #53 on: November 22, 2007, 09:53:40 am »
I didn't see any mention of Ultrastiks anywhere. I've got 2 in my cab set up specifically for Robotron and with these 2 bad boys, can roll the game no sweat. Movement is as smooth as butter. I got used to using the softer spring since the hard spring was a workout and haven't looked back. For a long drawn out game, the softer spring doesn't wear out your forearms at all. These stiks can also be programmed to move pretty much any way you want. This will allow you to dedicate fewer joysticks and play more games accurately.
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #54 on: November 22, 2007, 11:54:41 am »
Also, I wanted to add that I've tried Perfect 360's thinking that it would be more like original/leaf.  I found that the springs were too tight and there was too much resistance (arms got tired).  I even had different stiffness on two perfect 360's springs (both were too tight), which was interesting as well.  In general, I used to be in love with the idea of perfect 360's, and I used to hate all square actuators myself (mostly based on experiences with Imperial's, not Happ's).  But the serious play testing on robotron made me a true believer of happ comps for 8-way use.

One stick that I have purchased but not tried yet is the Suzo magnetic induction (Hall Effect) joystick.  Right off the bat, I notice the throw is very short and you can feel 8 distinctive notches.  Doesn't seem like it would be a good robo joystick, but don't really know.  I don't really feel motivated to try it out since I feel extremely comfortable with my happ comps with balltops from tornado terry.

I also have the original joysticks, and I ran those for a while.  The problem with originals is that the individual characterstics of the leafs require constant tweaking (I put on all new leafs when I first got the cabinet).  Also, when (not if) you slam the joystick, you can change those characterstics.  This throws off your motor memory of knowing where to move the stick to get contact at the precise time that you want.  So, in my opinion, happ comps are way better than original joysticks, even properly tuned, it won't last...

--
- Ahigh

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #55 on: November 22, 2007, 12:39:36 pm »
I didn't see any mention of Ultrastiks anywhere.

I mentioned them on the 3rd post.



Ahigh,

If you can get the "true" P360's they are great.
These are the ones that are add-ons for the Wico leaf-sticks, and just replace the leafswitches.
You still use the original rubber grommet on them.
I don't think they are nearly as nice since Happ bought the rights to them, and started using the spring-centered bases.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #56 on: November 22, 2007, 07:00:20 pm »
Also, I wanted to add that I've tried Perfect 360's thinking that it would be more like original/leaf.  I found that the springs were too tight and there was too much resistance (arms got tired).

i replaced my happ P360 springs with springs cannibalized from happ supers (you can buy the supers for around $7 each, so i just bought them for the springs). they are now the perfect resistance for robotron. shorter shafts and the kowal mod also improved my robotron scores.

i tried the suzo hall effect sticks. with the hexagonal restriction, you can't make sweeping movements. even after sanding down the little bumps to make the restriction circular, i found them slow and sticky.
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2007, 12:17:32 am »
Thanks for the 360 tips.  I got the parts, so maybe I'll try it (super/360 hybrid).  You think it'd be better than happ comps?  Anybody else want to guess before I try?

--
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2007, 12:20:45 am »
Two pages of discussion and no one has mentioned that there were 2 flavors of Wico 8-way and Robotron uses the less common one. 

Besides having a longer shaft (4") it had a GREY plastic base. Now, I've been trying to figure out WHAT exactly is different between the grey 8-way and black 8-way. I've heard (through second hand source) that the robotron sticks supposedly have a strong spring in addition to the grommet (????)

Hopefully I'll figure this out one day....
NO MORE!!

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2007, 09:02:33 pm »
Hrm, the grey bases were generally 4-ways.  I can't see how the spring would make any difference as to stiffness since it just holds the actuator against the e-clip - moving the stick should, in general, not affect the compression of the spring.  The 4" shaft does make for a longer throw, but I think it was to offset the fact that the bases were mounted to the underside of the wooden panel.  Of course a longer handle means more leverage when moving the stick and therefore it's easier to move - surprisingly easier.

Coleman

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #60 on: November 25, 2007, 02:43:03 am »
... maybe I'll try it (super/360 hybrid).  You think it'd be better than happ comps? ...

i've never tried the comps, so i can't comment.
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #61 on: November 25, 2007, 11:05:16 pm »
Hrm, the grey bases were generally 4-ways.  I can't see how the spring would make any difference as to stiffness since it just holds the actuator against the e-clip - moving the stick should, in general, not affect the compression of the spring.  The 4" shaft does make for a longer throw, but I think it was to offset the fact that the bases were mounted to the underside of the wooden panel.  Of course a longer handle means more leverage when moving the stick and therefore it's easier to move - surprisingly easier.
Coleman

While it's true that the 4-ways have a gray base, I swear the Robos use 8-ways with gray base. Maybe this is how Wico differentiated the 4" vs 3.5".
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #62 on: December 03, 2007, 04:42:19 pm »
I just got ahold of a grey base Wico and I can't see the difference. Uses a grommet like any other Wico. Maybe this used to be a 4-way and it got worn down to look 8-way....   ???
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #63 on: December 03, 2007, 07:47:13 pm »
I'm pretty sure I've seen gray used on 4's and 8's.  I don't think there's any real difference- just a batch of different color plastic that got pumped through the molds at one time or another.  I don't have any proof to back that up, but then again, if there actually was a difference, you'd think somebody would have discovered it by now.   :dunno

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #64 on: November 13, 2011, 04:49:50 pm »
Apologies for the necro bump... but I want to ask this question.....

How many people have played Robotron using both the original Wico joysticks AND using Ulitimarc U360s?

Reason I ask is because I have used both and I have to say that I prefer the U360s. My Wicos were bought from USA and I refurbed them with new grommets. But they still feel a bit stiff (maybe they need breaking in). The U360s on the other hand (using round restrictors) are simply awesome for this game! Much more soft and precise to move around with in my opinion.

Reason I dredged this topic up is because I want to make a Robotron bartop and wanted to find out what people thought about the sticks. I agree that anything with octagonal or square gates is out of the question. And microswitch joysticks won't give the same "feel" or feedback anyway. But the U360s seem perfect.

There may be some originality sticklers out there that would insist on the Wicos. But have you played with U360s? If so what are your genuine thoughts? Only one person in this thread even mentions the U360s and even then doesn't say if he played Robotron with them.

mgb

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #65 on: November 13, 2011, 09:30:14 pm »
If you want the exact feel of an original, get Wico 8-ways.

You will definitely want something with round restrictors.
U-360's, P-360's, or Sanwas with round restrictors would be good substitutes.
Happ Supers would be good, but not as good as the above sticks.

After that, you get into square restricted sticks.
Most of those favor the diagonals, and don't rotate in a circle nicely like the originals did.
They will still play OK, but won't allow the fluid movement that circular restrictors will.

I agree.

I will say that the sanwa jlws with round gates, stiff springs and cherry switches from a super (less clicky) feel great.

I have also used Happ Comps for this and they are not bad either

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #66 on: November 17, 2011, 09:12:16 pm »
I didn't see any mention of Ultrastiks anywhere. I've got 2 in my cab set up specifically for Robotron and with these 2 bad boys, can roll the game no sweat. Movement is as smooth as butter. I got used to using the softer spring since the hard spring was a workout and haven't looked back. For a long drawn out game, the softer spring doesn't wear out your forearms at all. These stiks can also be programmed to move pretty much any way you want. This will allow you to dedicate fewer joysticks and play more games accurately.

I agree the U360's are a great alternative for Robotron. If you go the U360 route you probably won't regret it.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #67 on: November 18, 2011, 10:59:36 am »
Another good lower cost option is the Roundhouse with the SmoothJoy™ Switches option.  Round restriction and very quiet switches.

Honestly, though, a stick with a rubber grommet centering mechanism goes a long way in giving the best feel for Robotron.  Options for these are, unfortunately, a bit limited at the moment.

Mac Green

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #68 on: November 18, 2011, 11:04:36 am »
you want red ball tops? heres a great deal http://www.dealextreme.com/p/repair-parts-replacement-4-ways-red-ball-arcade-joystick-with-4-switch-37485   all items free shipping  ;D

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #69 on: November 18, 2011, 08:32:25 pm »
Another good lower cost option is the Roundhouse with the SmoothJoy™ Switches option.  Round restriction and very quiet switches.

Honestly, though, a stick with a rubber grommet centering mechanism goes a long way in giving the best feel for Robotron.  Options for these are, unfortunately, a bit limited at the moment.

Randy, how hard would it be to design/create a joystick using rubber grommets?
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #70 on: November 18, 2011, 08:59:00 pm »
Randy, how hard would it be to design/create a joystick using rubber grommets?

Working on it ;) 

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #71 on: November 18, 2011, 11:20:15 pm »
How many are actually selling sticks that are long enough to be called "Robotron joysticks"?

I guess for a metal control panel it would be easier to get the correct height, but if you are one of those who have one made of wood, your options are quite limited or non existent.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2018, 04:10:37 am »
BUMP!
Few years on....
Looking to build a controller primarily for Robotron.
Whats the current favorite for Robotron.
(With a longer shaft).


Was looking at below, could anyone advise if this set up would be ok thanks: -

sanwa JLF
4lb tension spring
Shaft Extender For Sanwa Joysticks
qanba round restrictor gate
kowal oversided actuator



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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #73 on: January 01, 2018, 08:46:45 am »
there was a power discussion about that recently here somewhere.

the groovy game gear stick was suggested as high on the list.
or you could get some 8 way wico bases in good shape and get the repro 4 inch sticks from paradise arcade shop.

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #74 on: January 01, 2018, 12:49:28 pm »
there was a power discussion about that recently here somewhere.

the groovy game gear stick was suggested as high on the list.

They are pretty dang nice!
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #75 on: January 02, 2018, 04:54:34 pm »
Holy topic revival Batman!  That said, timing is everything, no?

You're in luck...  I have 4 of these installed on my Total Carnage/Smash TV machine.  These are the wood versions.  I love them and it's one of my top games that people play when they come over to the arcade.

That said, I recently acquired a Multi-Williams cabinet and decided to look into upgrading the sticks and buttons.  They currently have microswitched joysticks on them and although they work OK, they are not ideal.  Also, the Multi-Williams (in a Stargate cab) has a metal control panel, so I'm curious to see the difference between the wood version that I already have.

However, to be sure they work great with Robotron (which is a little faster paced than Smash TV) I swapped out my Smash TV PCB with the JROK Robotron PCB.  My scores doubled, yes doubled.  I can't believe I've been playing Robotron on microswitches all this time.  I left the JROK board in there a good week and it cemented my decision of getting 2 more for the Multi-Williams.
I'm planning to shoot an episode soon on the install where I'll go through the features of the stick.  I can't wait to get these in!

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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2018, 08:39:42 pm »
What range were you scoring before it doubled? I actually have microswitch wico bases in my Multiwilliams because I have been holding out for perfect Wico leaf bases in matching condition to fall into my lap but then every time they do they end up in something else. I normally do about 400K with the micros as my best game of a session with an all time top of something like 700K.
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Re: Robotron Joysticks.... Best alternative ?
« Reply #77 on: January 03, 2018, 09:02:53 am »
What range were you scoring before it doubled? I actually have microswitch wico bases in my Multiwilliams because I have been holding out for perfect Wico leaf bases in matching condition to fall into my lap but then every time they do they end up in something else. I normally do about 400K with the micros as my best game of a session with an all time top of something like 700K.

If you break that down logically it means you are able to survive wave 12 tanks, but likely struggle with them.
and wave 15 brains is probably hit or miss if you get through it without bleeding any spare lives.

once wave 15 is working out well enough, the next hurdles are wave 17 tanks, wave 19 grunt mob probably causes some stress at the start.

After that wave 20 is hit or miss then people get stuck around wave 22-24 for awhile.   which sounds pretty close to where you current skill level is sitting.

between 24 and 32 waves is a sticking point for a good while, but once you can get to 32 regularly you'll be on your way to wave 40. 
That has a lot to do with learning to manage enemy priorities.  When mixed enemies are on screen, which is the biggest threat depending on what part of the wave you are on.  And that's where it turns into the chess match of offense and defense.  Where the game reaches a whole different level of skill strategy.

The best thing I'd recommend for someone in your skill range is to start a game with 20 lives. play to wave 7, leave 1 tank then learn to play dodge ball by not shooting back and learning to reflexively dodge the bouncing bullets.  after 20 bullets the tank will run out of bullets.  get good at that then try it with 2 tanks, etc.  the masters can manage over 5 tanks without shooting back at them.

After successfully learning to play dodge ball with 1 tank you'll find yourself more frequently getting past wave 17 and you'll be better equipped to handle wave 24-32

  
 

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