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Author Topic: Tron-like flight stick  (Read 3763 times)

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shorthair

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Tron-like flight stick
« on: June 20, 2007, 07:26:16 pm »
I got this stick recently:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=67719.msg687298#msg687298

For the time-being, I just mounted it to the upper right corner of my panel. However, the suction cups are that kind of shiny, finished-looking rubber, and they only stick to super smooth surfaces, like glass or plexi, so I used some Elmer's glue underneath them and some pressure for a few moments. After drying, the stick is now very secure to the panel.

First off, I think this stick is a great potential candidate. The problem arises with the amount of play and the sensitivity. It doesn't take much for it to move Tron, and I'm constantly trying to keep myself from falling off the disc, particularly backward. Another point against it is it works in Windows, and will manipulate any other screens you have maximized but underneath, causing some issues. I'm not sure how to change this, cos the drivers cd appears to be blank, so I'm stuck with the generic Win driver.

A point for it is you can use the hat switch for up and down firing, though I've found it works better to reverse the directions relative to button press. This might just be a personal thing, but I find if I'm moving forward and trying to aim down, I press the hat switch up, kind of like a plane flies - stick forward, you fly down, etc. And then you have the three buttons on the stick to pick from for deflect - which you could also put as a direction of the hat switch.

So, I'm still messing with it. I have to find a way to restrict it. For those of you interested in removing the guts and putting it in a panel, you could probably if you have a metal one. Not with wood, cos the stick shaft is too short.

Crowquill

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2007, 04:52:38 am »
I'm guessing this is an analog PC stick.

I wonder if there's any easy way to transplant this into a 8-way stick.
Brevity is not my strong suit.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2007, 09:59:57 am »

It's certainly possible if you could find a base of approximately the right size.

Justin Z

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2007, 11:45:21 am »
The drivers CD isn't blank but it won't work on your PC because it's for the Mac.

I tried taking the thing apart and it definitely has hackable potential -- I'm not particularly good at messing with this sort of thing but I was able to pull everything off and put it all back together within about 15 minutes.  So it would not be too complicated to do if you could find a suitable 8 way to hack it onto.  It does have a lot of wires, but as long as you make sure to secure the stick so it doesn't go around in circles, that won't be a problem either.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2007, 11:50:57 am »

Is the trigger analog or digital?

DarkBubble

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2007, 02:37:15 pm »
As far as the sensitivity, you should be able to adjust it in software.  If the two extra dials aren't for calibration, they could be for manual sensitivity adjustment.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2007, 02:40:57 pm »

Yeah, they're usually for sensitivity, as in how the range of resistance on the pots maps to on screen movement.  I haven't seen an analog stick yet, though, that adjusts all the way down to something near an 8 way.  It wouldn't seem like something you wanted from an analog stick.

Justin Z

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2007, 03:39:13 pm »
The trigger is digital.  It's one of those ones where you push the trigger which pushes against a rubbery thing that hits some sort of contact that looks like it's soldered straight onto a circuit board.

The extra dials are for calibration.  It doesn't make any sense to me that they're even there, to be honest with you.  Also kind of strange is that the hat switch is loose enough that you can hit diagonals with it.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2007, 03:40:08 pm »

Ah, yes.  The rubbery thing usually has a little carbon pad on the bottom, that's what shorts the two contacts.

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2007, 04:38:55 pm »
I'm guessing this is an analog PC stick.

I wonder if there's any easy way to transplant this into a 8-way stick.

I bet hacking the grip would be just like in the wiki. I haven't decided if I wanna go that far, as I don't have a place in my panel for it without modifying the panel. If I hack the grip, I'll probly put it on the same panel as my ST yoke. I might put it there, regardless.

I think the hat switch is supposed to hit diagonals. And I was hoping the wheels would work for sensitivity, but apparently they're only for calibration. It doesn't matter that much cos, either way, the throw is ludicrous for digital controls games. I'm thinking of trying caulk or silicone in the well around the shaft.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2007, 04:41:21 pm »

Does this stick offer anything other than the blue handle that would make all that worth it?

And how well built is it?  Would it feel like a $10 flight stick on your CP?

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2007, 08:34:48 pm »
Blue handle with buttons to shoot up and down for $15 total I think'd be worth it. Depends on how authentic you want it to be. I actually didn't care if it was even blue, I just wanted something that might do the job. Anyway, it's pretty tough material, if not very much the same type as the Tron and other translucent grip sticks.

Justin Z

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2007, 11:44:00 pm »
Agree, although the throw has a flimsy feel to it; that's probably just the nature of it being analog and fairly cheaply made.  I think as a hack to an 8-way it would actually do quite well.

Xiaou2

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2007, 02:41:57 am »
Just a heads up...

  If you restrict an analog too much,  it will not work very well.  It may not calibrate at
all in windows..   and even if you can get it to calibrate, Mame may not like the values,
and will not recognize or control well with it.   I know this from my own experiments.

 Affixing it to an 8 way may work ok.. but,  you must be careful as to which
stick you choose.   For one, because the stick is much taller than a typical
joy, the "throw" (distance the stick travels until it activates a switch) will
be HUGE.   Very clumsy and slow.    You will need to find a stick that has
a very tight throw.

 Also, you would need a stick that is very durable,  because the forces of
the tall heavy stick will cause much more stresses.   The weight alone
may cause the stick to not center well.. and act too 'loose'. (needing a heavier
spring to resolve that).   The added leverage you get from the height, may
cause too much stress on the base, and cause it to bend, warp, and maybe
even crack apart. 

 If you study true arcade trigger sticks, you can see that they have
heavy duty bumpers as well.  These monster rubber bumpers help
to keep your hard forces from tearing the base to pieces when the
shaft slams into it repeatedly.   

 The shaft on the analog joys is cheap plastic, and usually is what
causes the cheap feel as it flexes under stresses.   You may try
to replace it with a hollow nut driver tube.. or similar.

 In the end, it may be easier to find a used 8way trigger stick off
ebay.   At least you will know it will control correctly, and last damn
near forever.


shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2007, 01:22:00 pm »
Noted.

lanman31337

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2007, 02:27:38 pm »
I should have mine today, but are there screws that hold the 2 sides of the joystick top together? 

Justin Z

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2007, 03:04:41 pm »
Yeah, if I'm remembering right there are four.

It doesn't quite snap together exactly right so you have to be careful when you screw them back together to get them lined up right or you'll have a fairly obvious seam in the plastic.

lanman31337

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2007, 05:42:58 pm »
I got it in, definitely has some hacking potential.  I'm going to try to put it on a happ super probably and go from there. 

Justin Z

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2007, 06:29:48 pm »
I'd be curious to see how it goes for you, since I have a spare Happ super also.  Keep us posted on your progress.

lanman31337

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2007, 11:10:28 pm »
My thoughts are this - hack the top to fit on the super, and make the unit that touches the switches bigger so it's a shorter throw.  Since the shaft is longer, it'll make an ungodly throw.

Justin Z

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2007, 11:25:18 am »
I was kind of thinking the same thing, just use a massive restrictor so the angle down there barely has to change to register a touch on the switch.

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2007, 02:11:26 pm »
If using switches, it's not just a matter of shaft restriction but proximity of the switches. Ultimately, if the switches are close enough, one wouldn't need a restrictor. Hey, that's what's needed - a way to alter the switch proximity on sticks, in general. I'm still thinking about something for something like the Ultrastick...but that would require a mechanical complexity. Perhaps something like those metal vegetable steamers that have a perforated flat part, and then flanges surrounding that overlap one another and closing them toward the middle makes a smaller and smaller circle in the centre.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2007, 06:05:08 pm »

Simpler... rather than a screw hole, put a slot that allows you to tighten the screw anywhere within a 1-1.5" range.  Then you can manually tweak your switch distance any way you like.

MinerAl

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2007, 06:39:23 pm »
If it's a MacSense F-108 or 106 (I can't remember which), I hacked one onto a super a long time ago.

let's see if I can find the posts... 

edit: here's the first post in the thread from 2003: 

Same general idea as the Raider hack, but this one is a Macsense FunStick Pro F-108 handle grafted to a Happs Super with a 3/8" (couldn't find 1cm) steel tube. 

(the blue part is about 6" long)

I have yet to make the trigger and buttons functional.  There are fewer wires coming out than I would expect for a hat and 4 buttons (3 thumb and one trigger).  I would expect 4 from the hat, 4 from the buttons and 1 ground, but I've only got 6 wires total. 

Either the hat is sending code down 1 and the 5 others are 4 buttons and 1 ground, or the hat is 4, all the buttons share 1, and 1 ground.

I'll figure that out tomorrow.

If it's wired wacky, I may remove the opaque blue plastic card with the hat and the 2 round buttons on it, replacing it with a graphic similar to the Tron logo, then just wire up the thumb and trigger manually (oy! soldering!).

I'll make a little how-to if anybody's interested.

I'm VERY pleased with how solid the whole thing came out.  No wiggle, and I used an original way to keep it from twisting (which I will reveal once I make sure it works).

My only problem is that there's no room for this on my present cabinet.  Dang, I'm gonna have to start another one!


Looks like you have a F-106, which has the same internal structure (I've half hacked one) and can be done as easily as the F-108.  Megamacs.com has these regularly for <$10.

Never have finished my TRON CP...

Here's pics:







« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 06:46:56 pm by MinerAl »

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2007, 07:24:11 pm »
Yeah, I figured it would be something like that. I think there's a hack in the wiki and the solution for keeping the stick from turning was to cut a notch in the base and bore a hole in the shaft and insert a stud or something. On the wiring, I have a PC wheel I was going to hack and found out it was very strangely wired, so I'm curious what you find.

Chad: I didn't give an idea for a switched stick. Maybe more than one hole?

lanman31337

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2007, 07:47:12 pm »
One option might be to keep the usb function for the triggers and have the joystick hacked work off of the keyboard encoder.

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2007, 09:28:52 pm »

bloody hell. the first aussie supplier i looked at is asking 27 bucks! might be better if i get it from the american supplier. i think id get it just for the blue grip and trigger...

edit:

ha! they must be owned by the guys who sell 'hardware wars':

Qty     Product(s)   Total
1 x    MacSense iFunstick USB    $4.99
Shipping To 4120, queensland, Australia (Change)Flatrate turned on    Sub-total   $4.99
   Shipping and Handling   $57.90
Int'l Fee   $25.00
Sales tax    $0.00
   TOTAL   $87.89


WTF!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 09:36:16 pm by danny_galaga »


ROUGHING UP THE SUSPECT SINCE 1981

MinerAl

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2007, 10:50:54 pm »
Yeah, I figured it would be something like that. I think there's a hack in the wiki and the solution for keeping the stick from turning was to cut a notch in the base and bore a hole in the shaft and insert a stud or something. On the wiring, I have a PC wheel I was going to hack and found out it was very strangely wired, so I'm curious what you find.

Chad: I didn't give an idea for a switched stick. Maybe more than one hole?

I did figure out the wiring later on in the thread.  One of the wires is ground, 3 are for buttons, and one is data from the hat.  You'd have to keep the USB board attached for the hat to work, but the buttons and trigger all function nicely as straight switches.

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2007, 09:15:38 am »
Chad: I didn't give an idea for a switched stick. Maybe more than one hole?

I didn't mention a switched stick.  I was addressing the idea of adjustable throws.

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2007, 02:14:17 pm »

Simpler... rather than a screw hole, put a slot that allows you to tighten the screw anywhere within a 1-1.5" range.  Then you can manually tweak your switch distance any way you like.

Really?

ChadTower

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2007, 02:19:25 pm »

Yes.  Move the switches closer or farther from the center = longer or shorter throw.

Xiaou2

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2007, 03:17:09 pm »
 Ok, another thing to note...

  If you try to restrict a long joystick such as this with only Micro-switches...  you
will quickly find out that the switches will be destroyed in a few moments time.

 Micros are not housed in heavy duty steel boxes.  Instead, they are a simple thin
plastic shell that has 2 half's that fit together.   While they seem fairly strong in
your hands...  they do not hold up to such crushing forces as a leveraged
shaft that has some Ummph on it.   Again, this is also something I speak
on from experience.

 To properly restrict such a device, you will need a thick and durable material.
Maybe almost a cm in thickness... or if done in pairs (one on top, and one on
bottom...) half cm each might work.

 The material must be strong, yet not too brittle that it will crack.  Many large
sticks use a hard rubber mounted in a heavy duty metal framework.  Nylon
might be something that would work good actually (rollerblade wheels).

 The hard rubber material will absorb heavy forces, yet isnt too soft.   As if
was too soft, wouldnt restrict well enough.  Its material is flexible enough
that it wont crack either... nor will it destroy the shaft as they collide with
each other repeatedly.

 Many such joys also used Leaf switches.  These are much more forgiving
if the restrict device fails... as the leafs can over-bend without damages
that would occur to microswitches.   
 
 If you still wish to use micros and fear that the restrict device may not
be accurate enough,, (or may fail over time, or pushed too hard..)  you might
be able to make a spring loaded mounting for the micros... so that they
rest in the proper place... yet if pushed too far,  will slide backwards to
keep from breaking apart. 

 ---

    Ohh, I forgot to add.... that even of you have a very strong restriction
device...  you still have to worry about the joystick's enclosure too.  If
there is too much force on it, it will bend and or crack.   Mounting
the restrict device may weaken the structure more.. or may put
additional forces in areas that are not strong enough, and not meant
(wont) to support them.   A solid heavy duty frame might have to be
built to keep the thing frame tearing itself apart.   

 Maybe you can mount the restrictor device to the actual joystick
mounting holes.   With longer bolts, you should be able to lock them down
securely enough. 

« Last Edit: June 25, 2007, 03:31:00 pm by Xiaou2 »

ark_ader

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2007, 03:27:28 pm »
I got this stick recently:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=67719.msg687298#msg687298

For the time-being, I just mounted it to the upper right corner of my panel. However, the suction cups are that kind of shiny, finished-looking rubber, and they only stick to super smooth surfaces, like glass or plexi, so I used some Elmer's glue underneath them and some pressure for a few moments. After drying, the stick is now very secure to the panel.

First off, I think this stick is a great potential candidate. The problem arises with the amount of play and the sensitivity. It doesn't take much for it to move Tron, and I'm constantly trying to keep myself from falling off the disc, particularly backward. Another point against it is it works in Windows, and will manipulate any other screens you have maximized but underneath, causing some issues. I'm not sure how to change this, cos the drivers cd appears to be blank, so I'm stuck with the generic Win driver.

A point for it is you can use the hat switch for up and down firing, though I've found it works better to reverse the directions relative to button press. This might just be a personal thing, but I find if I'm moving forward and trying to aim down, I press the hat switch up, kind of like a plane flies - stick forward, you fly down, etc. And then you have the three buttons on the stick to pick from for deflect - which you could also put as a direction of the hat switch.

So, I'm still messing with it. I have to find a way to restrict it. For those of you interested in removing the guts and putting it in a panel, you could probably if you have a metal one. Not with wood, cos the stick shaft is too short.

Guess you didn't find the PC Line I used for Tron and DOT.

Shame,  its so MUCH better than a normal flight stick.

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=67274.msg682174#msg682174
If I post something that upsets you, it is probably due to a simple miscommunication or the fact I am right.  It is not intentional, but if you feel that you have been singled out, cry to the nearest mod and I will endeavour to rectify it.  Thank you.

Xiaou2

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2007, 04:25:17 pm »

 DOT PEDAL


 While some people have the Push/Pull spinner.. they are pretty expensive.   
Also, they really dont control too well,  as Recently, I played a DOT environmental,
and found that it was a real pain to try to aim the disc, and aim the height of
the shot with the same controller...

 So, to solve this...  its very simple...   A Pedal control.

 You can made a pedal that is springs back to a center position instead of
the typical gas pedal which is sprung to only one side.   By mapping the
up/down in mame to use this, and adding a big enough 'dead-zone',  one
should be able to really control the up/down aiming much more easily
and accurately.   (or you could buy a flight pedal set.. as they are
not sprung to either axis)

 Furthermore, if you didnt have a flightstick... you could also use the pedal
to activate  button presses.  This could work well for games that used
limited fire functionality.  (Of course, not on DOT, because then you
could not use the aim up/down)

   

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2007, 08:32:11 pm »
ark_ader: I looked but didn't find it. I don't recall you giving a brand name so I didn't come up with anything. I think the problem with any of these is the play in them, and if they aren't centred then they will move some direction and in this kind of setting you're always having to compensate for this. I think afterburner and maybe some others (games I don't play often but the stick was cheap so worth putting them to) used analog sticks so I'll use it for that. Easier to just get an original type digital flight stick. Which I did.

Xiaou2: actually, Mame is supposed to be able to use the trackball in DOT, hence the vertical axis for up and down shooting. I swear it worked a long time ago, but it isn't now, regardless of Mame version. Kinda a bummer.

But, you'd want the pedal to do the normal graduation so you could actually aim specifically vs letting up in either direction relative to where you're wanting to aim. The trackball function facilitates (or faciliated) this.

Xiaou2

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2007, 01:15:50 am »
shorthair,   Actually, Mame is Supposed to emulate the controls exactly as the games
inputs were in the arcade machine.   However,  many times it strays from  this to
allow us to use other control input methods.

 The real game used only two leaf switches to raise or lower the vertical aim.
Its "time based"...  meaning:  That if you (for instance) hold "up" instead of just
clicking up once.. it will continue to move the aim'er up more than one notch
in the game. 

 While the game might be able to use a trackball to aim,  its not exactly as
good of an idea as you might think.   A trackball does not work very accurately
for spinner games because you may want to only move horizontally and actually
have moved a little vertically at times...  thus causing you to fall short on your
desired horizontal distance.   Try playing Arkanoid with both a spinner and a
trackball, and you should immediately see the differences between them...
and know why DOT did not use a trackball for its main control method.   


 Now, If you seperated the input so that you used a spinner for  left/right..   and
a different optic for up/down... you would have to make a 2nd spinner to
control it.  The best way to control it, would be to use your foot and roll it..
however, i could see that as being a bit awkward.

 IMOP, it would be better to allow to have mame use a pot to control the
up/down.  This would allow precise defined pedal movements.   However,
that is not mames goal... so it wont happen.   The next best thing, is what
I originally suggested.

Edit:   Hmmm, I supposed there might be an alternative solution...   Maybe
if you can use some sort of  "analog Joystick to mouse control "  converter
program...  you might be able to control the vertical movement much more
fluidly.   Still... ive not tested it, and it might not work as expected.. if at all.

 

shorthair

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2007, 01:43:45 pm »
X: yeah, I know. I'm not into the original design but what makes for the most effective control. True, the trackball can be sloppy but I remember it being decent. As for a pedal controlling up/down, just make it optical. I recently tried a TT2 and my god was that thing fine and accurate. Randy was right that you don't need a weight on it. Tempest was a one-finger (or thumb) affair. Although I doubt you would need something this high resolution for the pedal, I'm sure it'd be more than satisfying.

ark_ader

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2007, 03:47:17 pm »
ark_ader: I looked but didn't find it. I don't recall you giving a brand name so I didn't come up with anything. I think the problem with any of these is the play in them, and if they aren't centred then they will move some direction and in this kind of setting you're always having to compensate for this. I think afterburner and maybe some others (games I don't play often but the stick was cheap so worth putting them to) used analog sticks so I'll use it for that. Easier to just get an original type digital flight stick. Which I did.

Xiaou2: actually, Mame is supposed to be able to use the trackball in DOT, hence the vertical axis for up and down shooting. I swear it worked a long time ago, but it isn't now, regardless of Mame version. Kinda a bummer.

But, you'd want the pedal to do the normal graduation so you could actually aim specifically vs letting up in either direction relative to where you're wanting to aim. The trackball function facilitates (or faciliated) this.

Sorry mate its a logic 3 Tornado.  And it self centers!  :D
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Xiaou2

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2007, 12:23:24 am »

 Shorthair,

 Making a pedal optical for such a game inst such a good idea.  The reason,
is that the thing will lose calibration because the game does not keep track
of where the pedal is.   Even if you could make it work with this game, it
wouldnt work well for other games.

 Such a pedal should be either  Switch based, or pot (analog) based. 
(or a mix of both at the same time)

 As for not needing a weight on a spinner.. that is pure opinion.   There
are games that feel and control much better with a weight.   

isucamper

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Re: Tron-like flight stick
« Reply #39 on: October 20, 2008, 07:23:57 pm »
So I find myself building a Tron themed cabinet (http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?publicUserId=5723357&bId=8767158) and at one point I figured I could get away with using a Happ Top Fire in place of a Tron stick.  Fortunately, my extended prototyping phase pointed out that it just wasn't going to cut it.  Also, somewhere along the line I decided to fully support Discs of Tron with GGG's super High Low spinner.  That was the real clincher, as the Top Fire's single button wasn't enough to handle Discs of Tron's 2 button next generationnishness. 

I found myself asking... man, I really wish I could find a Tron like joystick that had a slightly lower profile than the old Tron sticks and Happ's heavy duty flight stick, and that would somehow be magically functional with both Tron and Discs of Tron.  Of course, the answer lied in these forums all along, I just had to get searching for it. 

I just ordered the F106 from megamacs (the 108 is absolutely unfindable), and I'm thinking I want to get this thing mounted in my cab as it is with no hacking done to it.  MAME now supports analog to digital mapping, so I'm hoping I can support both Discs of Tron's run of the mill 8 way functionality and Tron's goofy restrictor based 4way/8way hybred.  Then the stick could also double as a realish flight stick (not sure how good it could possibly be for 9.99, but we'll see). 

So I don't want to do anything half-arsed, I want to bottom mount this thing.  Any ideas of how I'd do this?  I'd really like to not hack it, as the square restrictor that's built into the plastic looks like it'd be perfect to combo up with MAME's analog maps to get decent functionality with both games. 

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