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peteym5

Anyone making new Trackball and/or Driving Controllers

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I have been wondering if anyone seen any active projects regarding making new Trackball and / or Driving controllers that I/O through the DB9 port? I am not sure what the market and demand would be for these. Many are using controllers that are 20+ years old. If they break, there are limited replacement options. If someone is interested, please say something. I know about the Eladding controllers, but the feed back I got about those is that many are saying they may be, too expensive or too heavy / bulky. 

I see several parties producing joysticks, 5200 controllers, paddles. But my Google searching keeps leading me back to old controllers. Might be a small market there if someone is willing to put a few together. 3D Print the case or get a premade electronics enclosure that can be hand held.

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I like custom controllers and am willing to buy them if they offer better quality and experience. Custom controllers are a niche market in general and you are talking about niche controllers in a niche market 🙂 so the demand will be interesting.

I've purchased five DB9 controllers (see photo) from retrogameboyz on ebay over the past six months. The red one is my daily controller. These are 7800 controllers that also work with the 2600. They are 3D printed (except the joystick and buttons). From what I can tell, he has sold a lot of controllers. He also makes NES style gamepads but I happen to prefer arcade style joysticks. The gamepads are very affordable, and I think the price combined with the product design are what entices people to try them. It was certainly the price that lured me in to give it a try (and his satisfaction money back guarantee) and I ended up ordering five from him.

Retrogameboyz's business model is very different from Eladdin. As I shopped for custom controllers, the Eladdin business model is what I found to be more common place -- very high end custom controllers with a price to match. I have no doubt that Eladdin controllers are worth the price but the price of entry does make you pause, and during that pause, I found retrogameboyz (affordable sub-$100 custom controllers that appeared to offer very good fit-n-finish).

After having tried products from retrogameboyz, I am now more willing to take a dip in the high end controller market. When Eladdin releases their 5200 controller, I will be ordering one. Later this year or early next, I hope to order a DB9 controller from Edladdin as well.

For now, I get my 5200 controller fix through an adapter that lets me use Genesis controllers with the 5200. I recently bought two used Genesis arcade stick controllers ($30 each).

 

DSC07079.JPG

Edited by socrates63

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It would start with where to get some good enclosures like the ones seen in the above photo. Those are about the right size most people would be useful. Small and easy to store. The arcade buttons are always a nice addition. What is that thing with the 5 fire buttons.

The reason why I bought up driving controller is that many were requesting that I make a few games that support the Indy 500 Driving Controller. Tempest Elite, Megaoids, Tile Smashers, and the 2nd release of Delta Space Arena all support Driving Controllers and Trackball.  There might be some demand in the hardware market as well.

 

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1 hour ago, peteym5 said:

What is that thing with the 5 fire buttons.

It's my "Asteroids" controller -- I've always wanted an all-button controller in the Asteroids layout. It works very well for other games, too -- Activision Decathlon in particular.

Only problem is that the width of the controller is a little too narrow. Either I need to shrink (I'm 6'1") or the buttons needs to be a little more spread out laterally (which they can't because of the case size) because my hands cramp a little.

Quote

Tempest Elite, Megaoids, Tile Smashers, and the 2nd release of Delta Space Arena all support Driving Controllers and Trackball.  There might be some demand in the hardware market as well.

I love games that support multiple controllers, and I'd buy a custom controller out of curiosity alone if the price is right (e.g., the CX30 Evolved paddle). I'd be interested in a modern trackball for sure (I have the Wico and Atari DB9 trackballs).

How many do you have to sell to make it worthwhile for you? Maybe put out a poll to gauge interest in a pre-order once you have a prototype?

 

Edited by socrates63

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Where did you get the enclosures for those controllers. They look like to be the right size. They do not need to be super fancy. Can always paint and coat them. Just durable and big enough to hold the components. Maybe something like this QS-50MBT Black plastic desktop enclosure for electronics  - 4.5 x 3.5 x 1.25 inches 

Edited by peteym5

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Retrogameboyz has a 3D printer and he prints the cases and other parts. He builds and sells them as shown in my photo. The case is 7" wide and he told me that it's the widest his printer can accommodate. For the controllers with joysticks on them, the case is great. I can even play games comfortably holding the controller in my hand.

Edited by socrates63

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