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Author Topic: Gun for CRT TV  (Read 944 times)

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haynor666

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Gun for CRT TV
« on: February 06, 2024, 04:37:03 am »
I'm in process of builing my custom panel and I'm looking gun that will work with MAME but also will work with CRT TV/monitor.

So far I've found guns:

Sinden Lightgun (sadly since it's generates white border it's not an option here)
Ultimarc lightgun (seems to be the best option for me)
GRS SINDEN TARGET PRO (I don't like gun as shootgun but it's probably improved sinden design)
Gun4Air
Some aliexpress gun (Gun4air clones ?)
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006089849181.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006026817831.html
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005006489406729.html

I've found plenty of reviews of Gun4IR and Sinden but these chinese clones are unknown for me.

RandyT

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Re: Gun for CRT TV
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2024, 10:28:10 am »
I guess the first question I have is whether you want to buy a complete, ready to use gun or one you put together yourself?  And if the former, do any of the pre-made guns suit your fancy in their form factor?

Also, anything "Sinden" will have the white border.  That border is a trade-off for the need to place 2-4 IR LEDs around your monitor.  But if you don't want a white border (which reportedly doesn't work too well with some monitors) then you'll need the IR LEDs. 

Personally, I think the IR solutions using the sensor type found in the Wii controllers are the best solutions, as they are accurate and I not only dislike the border, but I also don't care for the idea of needing to adjust the screen for optimal tracking, rather than optimal game image quality.  The ones using the IR/"smart camera" tech would be the SAMCO updated to IR-GUN4ALL (FREE and Open-Source), GUN4IR (pay for full functionality), and Lichtknarre (FREE - Software under development, but very usable in it's current state) which uses an actual Wii controller, making it wireless and convenient if you don't mind using one of the many gun shells available for them.

As for the Chinese guns, the price seems to be right, but it's hard to know what you are getting.  They almost certainly use an unlicensed copy of the GUN4IR firmware, and if that's the case, you'd probably additionally need to pay for a license to get the software for easier setup and use and maybe even require a re-flash of the firmware.  There's also the possibility that they could use "knock-off" technology of the type used in 3rd party Wii controllers which can be inferior to the original.  But you'd need to take one apart to know for sure.

Regardless of which direction you go, there will likely be considerable effort required on the software side.  While some are easier than others, none will really be "turn-key" like buying a backward compatible PS2, GC1 and GC2 and all of the available lightgun games for true CRT lightgun gaming.  This is still the epitome of the experience, but the library is more limited and can be much more costly and difficult to complete the collection, given the rarity of some of the titles.

haynor666

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Re: Gun for CRT TV
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2024, 11:27:21 am »
Thanks for info RandyT. I have Wii with all stuff but I think I need also sensor bar with USB plug or battery version (not too expensive I see) and some blutooth receiver to start play. Interesting option for a start :)

RandyT

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Re: Gun for CRT TV
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2024, 12:49:16 pm »
Thanks for info RandyT. I have Wii with all stuff but I think I need also sensor bar with USB plug or battery version (not too expensive I see) and some blutooth receiver to start play. Interesting option for a start :)

Yes, if you already have a Wii controller, Lichtknarre is probably the best place to start, requiring only 4 IR LEDs (recommended) or a passive 2-point "sensor" bar and the software to get going, assuming you have a PC with a modern BT chipset inside.  The cheap and ubiquitous CSR 4.0 dongles are a good choice otherwise.

ThatOneSeong

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Re: Gun for CRT TV
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2024, 02:48:20 am »
I guess the first question I have is whether you want to buy a complete, ready to use gun or one you put together yourself?  And if the former, do any of the pre-made guns suit your fancy in their form factor?

Also, anything "Sinden" will have the white border.  That border is a trade-off for the need to place 2-4 IR LEDs around your monitor.  But if you don't want a white border (which reportedly doesn't work too well with some monitors) then you'll need the IR LEDs. 

Personally, I think the IR solutions using the sensor type found in the Wii controllers are the best solutions, as they are accurate and I not only dislike the border, but I also don't care for the idea of needing to adjust the screen for optimal tracking, rather than optimal game image quality.  The ones using the IR/"smart camera" tech would be the SAMCO updated to IR-GUN4ALL (FREE and Open-Source), GUN4IR (pay for full functionality), and Lichtknarre (FREE - Software under development, but very usable in it's current state) which uses an actual Wii controller, making it wireless and convenient if you don't mind using one of the many gun shells available for them.

As for the Chinese guns, the price seems to be right, but it's hard to know what you are getting.  They almost certainly use an unlicensed copy of the GUN4IR firmware, and if that's the case, you'd probably additionally need to pay for a license to get the software for easier setup and use and maybe even require a re-flash of the firmware.  There's also the possibility that they could use "knock-off" technology of the type used in 3rd party Wii controllers which can be inferior to the original.  But you'd need to take one apart to know for sure.

Regardless of which direction you go, there will likely be considerable effort required on the software side.  While some are easier than others, none will really be "turn-key" like buying a backward compatible PS2, GC1 and GC2 and all of the available lightgun games for true CRT lightgun gaming.  This is still the epitome of the experience, but the library is more limited and can be much more costly and difficult to complete the collection, given the rarity of some of the titles.
Well well, why thank you for the free advertising. :P

Anyways, yeah; unfortunately what RandyT said is entirely true. Pretty much all the DIY solutions (especially mine, though that's being alleviated VERY shortly!) require setup and configuring to get the functionality that you'll want. And pretty much all of the solutions have their pluses and drawbacks.

I can't speak for Lichtknarre personally, but it's got enough goodwill from users here that it's a good way to test the waters if you want to see if the Lightgun thing is for you. Of course, that comes with its own configuration challenges unique to it.
I will at least say, as biased as my views are towards these, Jaybee's GUN4IR and my IR-GUN4ALL system are the most transparent when it comes to working on PC--aside from the IR lights, you just need to calibrate and it's otherwise recognized immediately as a plain mouse/keyboard/gamepad, making the emulator configuration much easier. But then obviously, they're geared towards DIY and you'll either be spending a bit of time putting it together, or a lot to get one prebuilt (and in the case of those clones, an extra bit of dosh for a legal license, as I'm sure they don't appreciate the redistribution).

purbeast

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Re: Gun for CRT TV
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2024, 08:50:26 am »
Happ guns will work if you can find a USB2GUN board.  This probably gives you the most authentic and accurate feel once calibrated.

The problem is trying to find a USB2GUN board though.  I don't think they are very easy to come by anymore.  Thankfully I got one like a year ago, although I still have yet to convert my light gun cabinet to a MAME cabinet with light gun games only.