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Author Topic: Looking for someone to build a controller [US][VA][Fredericksburg]  (Read 1352 times)

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hepcat23

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Hello. Iím interested in purchasing a controller and was directed to this site as a place where I might find someone willing to take on a commission.

The controllers I see for sale on retail sites are always too large and complex. IĎm looking for something relatively simple: a single 4 way joystick, a trackball, a spinner and a few buttons. I was given permission to use this picture as an example of what I want. (The specific artwork shown is NOT necessary, but I might consider it depending on availability and how much it would add to the total cost.)

If you are willing to take on a project like this, or know someone who is, please PM or e-mail me.

Thanks very much.

PL1

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Re: Looking for someone to build a controller [US][VA][Fredericksburg]
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2023, 02:45:53 am »
IĎm looking for something relatively simple: a single 4 way joystick, a trackball, a spinner and a few buttons.
Here are several things you may want to consider:

1. At this stage, you don't know what you don't know.  Go through the design process described in the What type of build meets my needs? section, the Number of admin buttons section, and the rest of the FAQ.
- Unless you know what games you want to play, you won't know what controls you need (and don't need) on your controller.
- You also need to decide if you want dedicated admin buttons or "shifted functions".

2. If you're only using a 4-way stick, you won't need 8 player buttons (the red and yellow ones) and your game options will be greatly limited since most arcade games used an 8-way stick.

3. You might not want the spinner directly in front of the trackball, especially if you play Golden Tee using the "Superman" technique instead of the "two thumbs" technique -- jammed fingers are very likely.

4. I'm guessing that the blue buttons are admin buttons.  The one in the upper left is probably P1 Coin and the other two are probably Pause and Exit.  You might want to label them, assuming that those are the admin buttons you want.

If your main reason for asking someone to build a controller for you is that you lack woodworking skills/tools, you might want to look at something like a CNC'd standalone controller flat-pack kit from Haruman's Customs.


Scott

hepcat23

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Re: Looking for someone to build a controller [US][VA][Fredericksburg]
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2023, 08:45:06 pm »
[
Here are several things you may want to consider:


Thanks for your response. Iíll address some of your points, starting with the games I want to play with this controller.

I started playing video games in the early 80ís and with some exceptions, games released from í80-í85 remain my favorites.

For joystick games, I want to play Pac-man, Ms. Pac-man, Jr. Pac-man, and various other Pac clones. I also like Dig Dug, Mr. Do, Frogger, and Popeye to give some other examples. Finally, Iím a huge fan of Donkey Kong Jr. Itís true that some games I like such as Ghosts Ďn Goblins (which I thought was 4 way, but is actually 8 way) and Berzerk would be excluded in this set up. In my experience though, 4 way games are a pain to control with an 8 way stick and Iím willing to give up a few 8 way games I like to get a dedicated 4-way stick.

After reviewing the joystick section of the FAQ, I am aware that I could get an 8-way stick that could convert to 4 way play by changing a restrictor, but given the games Iím interested in, I still think a 4 way joystick is the best choice.

For the trackball, Iím interested in Centipede, Millipede, Marble Madness, Crystal Castles and a few others. I have zero interest in sports games like Golden Tee.

Finally for the spinner, Iím interested in Arkanoid and its clones, Cameltry, Puzz Loop, and Tempest. Regarding spinner types, I think the Arkanoid type would be better than the Tempest type since Arkanoid is my favorite spinner game. Iím open to suggestions on this point, however.

Regarding the red and yellow player buttons from the picture, I realize 8 buttons is too many. (The picture is meant to be a rough example, not the exact controller I want.) With the games Iím interested in, 3 player buttons would likely be enough.   

WRT admin buttons, I prefer dedicated. I think the obvious ones like P1/P2 Start, Coin, and Pause (P) would be enough. Not sure why Iíd need a dedicated button for quit when I can do that via keyboard.

Why donít I build it myself? Fair question. The answer is that I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old and a limited amount of time to play video games. I want to spend that time actually playing games, not trying to figure out how to build a controller. Maybe someday, but itís not a realistic option right now.

PL1

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Re: Looking for someone to build a controller [US][VA][Fredericksburg]
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2023, 03:02:54 am »
For the trackball, Iím interested in Centipede, Millipede, Marble Madness, Crystal Castles and a few others. I have zero interest in sports games like Golden Tee.
Spinner and trackball are still too close.  Odds of getting jammed fingers during vigorous gameplay are very high.

Finally for the spinner, Iím interested in Arkanoid and its clones, Cameltry, Puzz Loop, and Tempest. Regarding spinner types, I think the Arkanoid type would be better than the Tempest type since Arkanoid is my favorite spinner game. Iím open to suggestions on this point, however.
Easist encoder/trackball/spinner combo is the I-Pac2 + U-Trak + SpinTrak from Ultimarc or you might consider using a TT2 (master) + Groovy-TB (Opti-Wiz Connectors so you can plug it into the TT2 interface board + HQ bearings? + Hi-Rex Encoder wheels?) from GGG plus whichever pushbutton/joystick encoder you want.

You'll need to set the sensitivity in each spinner game, but the SpinTrak and TT2 both work great for anything from Arkanoid to Tempest.

A Neutrik USB feedthru is a nice feature for a standalone controller.  It allows you to use a removable USB A-B cable to connect the controller to your computer.



Regarding the red and yellow player buttons from the picture, I realize 8 buttons is too many. (The picture is meant to be a rough example, not the exact controller I want.) With the games Iím interested in, 3 player buttons would likely be enough.   
Likely =/= certain.  Mouse Trap and Super Punch-Out!! use a 4-way and 4 buttons.

WRT admin buttons, I prefer dedicated. I think the obvious ones like P1/P2 Start, Coin, and Pause (P) would be enough. Not sure why Iíd need a dedicated button for quit when I can do that via keyboard.
You can do that via keyboard, but an Exit button makes it possible to change between games using just the controller.
- Some people have put an Exit button on the back of the controller so it isn't visible on the top and you're less likely to accidently hit it.

Why donít I build it myself? Fair question. The answer is that I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old and a limited amount of time to play video games. I want to spend that time actually playing games, not trying to figure out how to build a controller. Maybe someday, but itís not a realistic option right now.
It's not hard to figure out.   ;D

Get a custom flat pack kit from Haruman + IPac2 + UTrak + SpinTrak + Neutrik USB feedthru + 4-way joystick + 6-8 buttons + 10-12 input wires for the IPac + a daisy-chain ground for the buttons and joystick.

Mount the controls and Neutrik in the controller shell.

IPac plugs into the Neutrik.  The UTrak and SpinTrak plug into the IPac.

The input wires go from the joystick/button microswitch NO tab to the related IPac input.
- One thing to watch out for is that pushing one direction on the joystick handle presses the microswitch on the other side.



The daisy chain ground goes from ground on the IPac to the COM tab on each microswitch.

Button up the controller and you're ready to play games.   :cheers:


Scott

hepcat23

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Re: Looking for someone to build a controller [US][VA][Fredericksburg]
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2023, 11:59:05 am »
A few more points and questions:

I checked this site for a list of games that use 4 player buttons and a 4 way stick. I'm not interested in Mousetrap, SPO, or any of the others that came up (there weren't many). So, 3 player buttons is enough.

http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/lista_mame.php

Regarding spinner location: if above the trackball is still too close, then putting it directly to the left or right of the trackball probably wouldn't work either. What about putting the spinner on top right above the three player buttons and putting three admin buttons on the top left, with an Esc/Quit button on the back as you suggested? Am I missing something obvious with that set up?

I'm going to contact Haruman and see if they can custom make a box based on what I've described in this thread. Woodworking is completely out of the question for me, but if I can get a premade box that I need install parts in I MIGHT be able to figure it out.

PL1, since you are a moderator, should I keep this thread in the Buy/Sell section of the forum or should I repost it in another subforum now that I'm considering trying to build it?

Thanks again for your responses.

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Re: Looking for someone to build a controller [US][VA][Fredericksburg]
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2023, 06:54:02 pm »
I checked this site for a list of games that use 4 player buttons and a 4 way stick.
Good.   ;D

Did you also check for spinner and trackball games that might use 4 (or more) buttons?  Not sure if there are any.   :dunno

Regarding spinner location: if above the trackball is still too close, then putting it directly to the left or right of the trackball probably wouldn't work either. What about putting the spinner on top right above the three player buttons and putting three admin buttons on the top left, with an Esc/Quit button on the back as you suggested? Am I missing something obvious with that set up?
As always, the devil's in the details, but putting the spinner in the upper right (or upper left?) corner would probably work.
- Consider which hand goes on which control and whether there's enough room for your palms/wrists/arms.

Try to avoid having buttons close enough to the trackball that you accidently hit them during vigorous gameplay.

A cardboard box mockup with 1:1 drawings of the controls taped on the box can give you a rough idea whether a layout would work.

Depending on the size/layout, you may find that splitting it into 2 separate controllers --one a 4-way fightstick w. spinner and the other a dedicated trackball -- works better for you.

should I keep this thread in the Buy/Sell section of the forum or should I repost it in another subforum now that I'm considering trying to build it?
Since you're still looking to buy at least a controller shell, I'd leave this thread here.

If you can find someone to make a shell for you, maybe consider starting a thread over in Project Announcements and post cross-links in the two threads.   ;D


Scott