AGH support for Driving Controller iCade Hack

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solderguy
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:41 am

AGH support for Driving Controller iCade Hack

Post by solderguy »

I look forward to the AGH update. Please include (driving controller) spinner control for Tempest and true trackball control for Missile Command, Centipede, etc for those of us who modify the iCade for controller input. Thanks!

solderguy
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:41 am

Re: Atari's Greatest Hits on iOS 8

Post by solderguy »

The following summarizes the details I provided to JeffVav2 years ago:

Would you add Quadrature decode in Atari Greatest Hits? I have modified my iCade to accept a 2600 controller. So the Atari driving controller could be used in Tempest and the Atari trackball could be used in Missile Command.

ICade Joystick Up Down: wexzwexz

Atari Driving controller quadrature encode signals to iCade:

CW: xwzexwzexwzexwzexwze

CCW: wxezwxezwxezwxezwxez

If your AGH program would decode the above quadrature signals, then users would have a true arcade experience.

Slpopp
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:34 am

Re: Atari's Greatest Hits on iOS 8

Post by Slpopp »

solderguy wrote: I have modified my iCade to accept a 2600 controller.

................

If your AGH program would decode the above quadrature signals, then users would have a true arcade experience.

I seriously doubt they will do this. You are asking them to support your specific customized cabinet.

Even if numerous people modified their cabinet in the exact same way I can't see this happening. What if "Tom" comes to them with a customized cabinet and brings up the argument of "You customized the app to support "Dick's" cabinet so you can customize it to support mine also", out of fairness would they have to modify the app to support "Tom's" controller also??

I would think such customization of the app will hurt it in the long run.

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CodeMystics
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:22 pm

Re: AGH support for Driving Controller iCade Hack

Post by CodeMystics »

solderguy wrote:Would you add Quadrature decode in Atari Greatest Hits? I have modified my iCade to accept a 2600 controller. So the Atari driving controller could be used in Tempest and the Atari trackball could be used in Missile Command.
Note: We have moved this to the Feedback section as it is not relevant to the AGH iOS 8 problem.

Hi solderguy,

First and foremost, this update is intended to address the iOS 8 problem plaguing a very large number of users. That will be our first priority and we would not want to jeopardise that. There are a few things to note:

1. This update is for iOS 8; devices not running iOS 8 will not get this update. The game works on iOS 7 and below and we do not want to break the experience there with this new code.

2. We would be unable to test the quadrature support as we don't have this homebrew hack and wouldn't want to distract the team to build it.

3. Under no circumstance can we risk implementing a 2D (trackball) variation of it, because, unlike 1D inputs like Tempest, Super Breakout, etc., it would potentially conflict with the normal up/down/left/right inputs the trackball games already use. Auto-detection or new UI code presents a risk of compromising the experience of the existing user base.

4. The iCade code is only polled at 60Hz and only reports the resultant state at the end of that interval, not the raw data steam. A fast spin would very likely alias, as the original trackball/spinner hardware was built to accumulate at least 7 cycles in a single 60Hz frame and we would need 3 frames to detect one cycle. i.e. it would alias at a mere 1/21st of the motion the arcade machine would. To get at the raw stream would be too substantial a change, usurping the whole iCade base code.

We suspect #4 and probably #1 as well would render this proposed change useless to you, and we have to weigh that against the possibility of unnecessary changes and distraction further destablising the experience for mainstream users when there is already so much else to test.

solderguy
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:41 am

Re: Atari's Greatest Hits on iOS 8

Post by solderguy »

Slpopp wrote:I seriously doubt they will do this. You are asking them to support your specific customized cabinet.
....
I would think such customization of the app will hurt it in the long run.
Numerous people have hacked the iCade. I modified mine to use the 2600 controllers when playing 2600 games. When I use the driving controller, the iCade displays a quadrature signal pattern.

If the programmers would offer a selectable spinner option in Tempest, then end users who spend 30 minutes modifying their iCade would enjoy an arcade experience.

(As an aside, my iCade is also modified to plug in two Quickshot joysticks so that I can play Battlezone as in the arcade with two tank tread control.)

solderguy
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:41 am

Re: AGH support for Driving Controller iCade Hack

Post by solderguy »

Two years ago Jeff Vav said that your team was intrigued about the possibilities of the iCade generating quadrature signals. He even went as far as to ask for my iCade UDID for testing.

Now you are saying that you don't want to distract the team and suggest that I would be disappointed with the result. That's a copout! You don't know because it hasn't been tested yet.

Rob Mitchell

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CodeMystics
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Re: AGH support for Driving Controller iCade Hack

Post by CodeMystics »

solderguy wrote:Two years ago Jeff Vav said that your team was intrigued about the possibilities of the iCade generating quadrature signals. He even went as far as to ask for my iCade UDID for testing.

Now you are saying that you don't want to distract the team and suggest that I would be disappointed with the result. That's a copout! You don't know because it hasn't been tested yet.

Rob Mitchell
Hi Rob,

This is not accurate. It is true that team was intrigued, but two years ago is around the time Atari ceased to retain us for updates to the game. We are not free to update the app as we see fit. Every update must be accompanied by considerable QA and a submission cycle to Apple that Atari controls and must approve. The opportunity never arose to issue the update you were looking for.

Beyond that, it is not because we "think you would be disappointed with the result" that we are not focusing on it. What factored most is this: tens of thousands of people (perhaps hundreds of thousands? we don't know the sales numbers) have been justifiably impatient for a solution to their loss of basic functionality that has been advertised and paid for, and we have not been permitted to repair for months. As much as we appreciate and even share your enthusiasm for custom hacks, that must take a back seat to reconciling this problem. Even if it were a day to do the changes you propose, that's a day we should not be letting all these people wait.

But we were trying to explain above why it would take much more than a day because we have investigated your suggestion already and have determined that the current code's time-sampling threshold of 1/21st (or perhaps even 1/28th) of that needed by a quadrature decode (assuming it's 1:1 with the original hardware ticks) will render it useless due to aliasing. And if it is not 1:1 then an additional scale factor will need calibration (and it better not be too far off 1:1 or it'll lose granularity). It's almost certain it would have to be fine tuned through several iterations even after the initial recoding. So that explanation wasn't to say we "think you would be disappointed" but rather we have investigated and determined the change is too substantial to "sneak in" to such an important update, where we must minimise testing time and unnecessary changes in order to get it out as fast as possible. We understand this is a disappointment to you, but it is not a copout. We're sorry to say it, but there are simply more urgent concerns right now. Perhaps if we weren't under such time pressure, if this was a leisurely expansive update, it might be possible to consider. Whether we will have another such opportunity, we cannot say.

solderguy
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:41 am

Re: AGH support for Driving Controller iCade Hack

Post by solderguy »

Ok .. I yield to your wisdom about sampling quadrature signals etc and look forward to testing and playing your updated app when available. I do appreciate your attention to details to make the app work well.

BTW: I have been fascinated by the Atari driving controller since 1977. I didn't understand how it created signals until I plugged it into a Vectrex running a test cart. Consequently several Vectrex programmers now support the driving controller.

Rob

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