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  1. Not sure if this is by design or not, or maybe I'm the only one trying this . I tried searching for existing threads about this but didn't find any. Apologies if this has been asked before. I have 2 monitors on my PC. When I have launchbox or bigbox on one monitor and I alt-tab to do something on the other monitor, any video playback (or theme animation in bigbox) stops. Audio still plays though. Anyone else seeing this behavior, and any idea if there's a way to fix it? Mostly I'm trying to play various game video media while doing other things. (I do have a command line to VLC that will do it, but I like using launchbox more)
  2. As someone who spent countless hours on his Commodore 128 back in the day, I really appreciate the effort here. I've kicked the tires on trying to get some of my favorites working well through various emus over the years as well, but nothing nearly as well thought out as this. I'm looking forward to trying this out!
  3. Thanks for going into such detail with your costs and exact parts list. Very cool to see your build coming together nicely
  4. I went generic mostly because it was a lot cheaper and I wanted to play around with the parts. Once you've figured out what your like/dislike, then you can consider going for better pieces if you want. As far as 8way vs something else, it really does come down to the games themselves. If you've already got your games working in launch box and you use a xbox/ps2 controller or something currently. I'd recommend making a list of the games you'd really like to have a more authentic feel. Most 8-way sticks have a plate on the bottom that will let you change to 4-way (or even 2 way in some cases), so it's not impossible to switch though on the cheap sticks it takes more than a few seconds. If the games you're looking to play can be covered by a single 8-way stick and 6-8 buttons, you might want to compare the price of making it vs picking up a pre-built fight stick. You can find cheap ones that won't cost much more than the materials you'd be getting for yourself or for more $$ you could get one with better hardware. For instance, I love my TE2 stick from madcatz for a large set of games I play, but it's very bad at some of the 4-way games I like (and impossible to play twin stick games). Now that being said, half of the fun (for me anyway) is tinkering with the hardware itself, so if you're interested in that aspect, I'd skip buying a pre-built fightstick. My next parts purchase will be a spinner and trackball (and maybe another joystick or two of better quality), I just need to save a bit before pulling the trigger on it.
  5. Sure thing. I'm still working on ordering some different parts that will make me want to change this up, but as far as software goes, it's pretty much plug and play. When I attach this to my PC via USB, windows treats it as a normal XInput joystick. So I can use the "Set up USB Game Controllers" control panel to test it out and make sure my joystick works and all the buttons work. In my current setup, the 2nd stick requires a 2nd usb connection. So I just have to make sure I plug in that usb cable 2nd in order for windows to make it "joystick 2". For Mame/retroarch I have largely left the controls as the default as I set up my buttons such that it maps pretty close to what is used by default. I did remap player 1 coin and player 1 start, along with pause and exit for now
  6. I remember having this problem at one point, but I can't remember exactly how I fixed it. I'm pretty sure it only happened in retroarch with a mame core like the person you found. I've since switched to using the standalone mame and not had any problems. I'm assuming you're not running .206 via a retroarch core? I'm running .201 personally fwiw.
  7. I haven't quite decided on how I'll use the info directly. Maybe some sort of 3rd party addon that reads it (or a set of them) and then displays that info somewhere/somehow.
  8. There's a tool called RomLister that you can use along with a bunch of data files (along with mame itself) to create lists of games with different configurations. Some of the data files I found weren't updated in awhile, but it can give you an approximation of the controls. The hardest part is really counting # of buttons for each game. For instance a game like San Francisco Rush was listed as 14 buttons...which technically isn't 100% accurate (or needed really). RomLister's data can be searched with various requirements like 'list only games with a 4-way stick'. The xml itself has a notion of a 'constant name' but also a 'control name'. As an example, a game with an 8-way stick has a input constant name of "joy8way". In my searches however that constant name covered standard 8-way stick games, 8 way top fire button stick games, and 8-way rotary stick games (think Heavy Barrel). Here's an partial example of the xml with the constant name and control name. Altogether it describes an analog flight stick with 2 buttons on it.So I went through my list and tried to get a handle on the control breakdown. Here's what I came up with. Again, it's not 100% accurate, but it gave me something to starts as a base w/ my control layout decisions. Constant Name search: Control name search (some I didn't check since I was getting tired of searching and many of these terms were easy to map to the constant names above): As far as games with a # of buttons, here's what I came up with, along with a couple of game examples. Please note that this count is entirely based on the xml so check things before you go make a 14 button panel as many times the buttons are really toggle switches and the like from the original arcade cab. One other thing to note: This list is entirely based on a single player's input buttons, and doesn't include buttons for player start and the like. 14 buttons - 2 games: San Francisco Rush and Rush the Rock 9 buttons - 23 games: a bunch of matching/whack-a-mole games, a racing game or two, and music/rhythm games 8 buttons - 44 games: a couple of driving games again, a piano controller for tap-a-tune, and an arcade pinball game - Grand Cross 7 buttons - 60 games: Beatmania and Guitar Freak, Fisherman's bait, Spy Hunter 2 6 buttons - 310 games: Street Fighter II and later 5 buttons - 219 games: Mortal Kombat, Toobin' 4 buttons - 1045 games: All the SNK games, Elevator Action Returns 3 buttons - 1923 games: Altered Beast, Die Hard Arcade, Virtual Fighter 2 2 buttons - 3106 games: Too many to list really 1 button - 1858 games: Again, too many to list 0 buttons - 222 games: Frogger, Pac-Man, Robotron
  9. Not sure if you ever got an answer (and not sure if this is considered too much of a necro), but since I've been in this space a bit lately I figured I'd try and answer. As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between the Ultrastik and J-Stik is the JStik is a digital stick that uses micro-switches whereas the Ultrastick is technically an analog stick that can be mapped like a digital 4-way, 8-way, or an regular analog stick. If I'm reading the info correctly, you basically map how the joystick transmits information in a 3x3 grid pattern. So for a 4-way digital mode, you'd map the up/down/left/right sections as a single on/off toggle. For 8-way you'd also include the areas on the corners. For analog, you let the stick transmit the analog values it generates naturally. While there is a restrictor plate on the Ultrastik, I *think* it's there more so you can control the feel when you want a 4-way/8-way option as opposed to required for the stick to work. For your 2nd question - depends on the game and personal preference. If you're like me, using an 8-way in some 4-way games leads to incorrect control due to hitting the diagonals which the game interprets as the incorrect desired direction. For example, if playing pac-man and you're pressing left on your 8-way stick, but you're just barely hitting up as well, the game detects you're pressing Left and Up. Since the game doesn't use diagonals, it uses a priority order of input. So if you want to go left, but the game says up wins on the left+up diagonal....you're going up. The restrictor plate removes the ability to hit the diagonal, so you never have that problem. Also regarding restrictor plates, there are several kinds I've seen. One is a plate you screw onto the bottom that has 3 separate restrictions - octagonal or circle (8-way), diamond (4-way), line (2-way). The one I have currently does not require tools, but I have to pry the plate off 4 pins on the bottom of the stick, then rotate an inner section of the plate between square (8-way) and diamond (4-way). The plates on the ultrastik and j-stik use a rotational style plate that appears much easier to switch between the modes (and they even have servo packages to do it).
  10. (Mods...if this is in the wrong spot, please move it, or let me know and I'll move it) Inspired by this topic on dream controllers I finally motivated myself to start building my own. I generally don't have too much time during the week, so progress is made weekend warrior style. Up until now I had 3 options for controlling games via BigBox: Wires Xbox 360 controller - this thing just works. In many arcade games I can approximate most controls decently, but some games require a LOT of tinkering with to play well. For console games, this is generally my go to. MadCatz Street Fighter TE2 fightstick - Got this ages ago and it's great for fighters and generally any 8-way stick + buttons game. Wireless Keyboard - Mostly used in the odd ball rhythm games that need 9 buttons in a line or some craziness. It's not great, but it works in a pinch. My setup is to sit back on the couch to play, so the fight stick form factor works well for me. Some games did not play very well with the fightstick (most 4-way stick games like Dig Dug, etc), and while the 360 controller was fine... I wanted something better. One amazon purchase later, I had a simple kit of 2x 8-way sticks (Semitsu style clones I believe). 8x 28mm red led buttons, 8x 28mm blue led buttons, 2x 24mm red led buttons, 2x 24mm blue led buttons, 2 USB zero-delay encoder cards, and all the wires I can shake a stick at. If folks are interested I can go deeper into my build prep, but I'll keep it short-ish for now. Basically I used a cardboard box I had around the house that had a decent size and shape and started with this layout from slagcoin.com. I then added the 2nd joystick on the right side (oh yes...Robotron 2049). Lastly I added the 24mm buttons along the top for 'player 1' coin and start as well as a mame pause and exit button for now. At the moment I have the left stick set up as a 4-way as I really wanted to see if it made a difference in the 4-way games. Oh man, it's great. Compared to an 8-way I felt like I had much tighter controls. Unfortunately the restrictor plate isn't as easy to use as some sticks, so in the final build I expect to change to sticks that are easier to swap between 4-way and 8-way. Still for now it's fine. Initial placement of the sticks and main gameplay buttons. Pardon my color selection, I had limited choices Inside the box before the wiring and the 4 smaller buttons were added. The box was pretty sturdy with 2 layers of cardboard, but I still had to be careful cutting the button holes so close together. First stick and the 12 buttons wired to the encoder board. Each board supported 1 stick and 12 buttons max (along with a few other things like turbo and auto-fire which I didn't wire up for now). I used the 2nd encoder board for the 2nd stick only. I may augment this build with side buttons for other use (pinball most likely, but I could do save states or something crazy, but I wanted to try and keep it straightforward for now). The cables for the stick and the buttons were not terribly long. Luckily they were fairly stiff so the encoder doesn't really rattle around. In the final build I'll need to mount the board better. I popped a hole in the back for the usb cables. It's not pretty, but works for now. Here it is plugged in. It looks much better in person than this photo. Tried it out for a bit and I've got a few things to tweak (namely which button is #1-#8 which currently doesn't work comfortably), but I'm surprisingly pleased with how well it works currently. The button tops can be popped off with a little effort if I want to put a label inside of the button. Not sure if I'll do that or not. It'd be great if there was a tiny LCD display in there that could be programmed... I'll likely spend a few weeks trying this out before I change a lot. So far it's been a lot of fun to tinker with this. Future work/ideas (in no particular order): - Acquiring and mounting spinners, trackballs, flight sticks, etc, but I need to do some more work to figure out what layouts I need for which games. This will probably be done in a different build. I've got the data, I just need to crunch some numbers first. - Looking at other encoder boards to try and reduce the build to a single board. 1 USB cable is easier than 2 (especially when I have to plug the #1 cable in first to ensure stick 1 is "stick 1") - Adding pinball buttons to the side for the appropriate games - Cracking open my TE2 fight stick, as well as a couple others I'm picking up soon to see how moddable they might be. - Investigate availability of RGB based buttons. I'd prefer to light up the buttons for each game for easier setup and use the colors as originally used in the arcade. At a minimum I'd like to turn off the buttons that are not in use. Some software work also be needed, but I'm pretty sure that exists out there. I just haven't looked yet. - Looking to writing an add-on for LaunchBox/BigBox that allows me to set and display a 'recommended controller' value, and then populate that value via xml/dat/json etc.
  11. I was thinking along the same lines. I could have each panel have it's own encoder/usb cable since I don't think I'd ever need more than 2 for almost everything I want to play. Ideally I'd want to make some sort of drop in connector that binds the panel to a larger encoder to a single USB port, but that requires some engineering I'm not quite ready to tackle just yet. Maybe in version 2 Just got delivery of some sticks and buttons. All generic parts since it was on the cheap side. The sticks appear to be Sanwa clones and use a Sanwa square restrictor plate. I was able to change it to a 4-way stick, but I can already tell I'll have to get a different/better stick in the final build as it takes way too long to convert from 8-way to 4-way. (Though if I ever go full modular I might as well just keep 2 8-way stick panels and 1 4-way panel) Next up is cardboard cutout time to play around with layouts and make sure the hardware works in general. Sadly as I'm weekend warrior-ing this, I'm not sure how fast I'll make progress. Still fun to have a project to work on, even if it is a bit smaller scale than some.
  12. I'm about to start a small controller project just to see if I can do it. My setup is using my main tv and I play from my couch (so no cabinet style arcade for me). I like using my old madcatz fightstick for fighting games, but most 4-way joystick games are cumbersome (digdug, I'm looking at you). So I just ordered a couple of cheap joysticks, 20 buttons, and a couple of USB zero delay encoders to play around with and prototype a dual stick + button layout that hopefully will work for my non-fighting games. For bonus points if I can keep the size under control I might add a spinner and/or trackball, but I worry that it'll end up being too large and heavy for couch use. Originally I wanted to make a modular style system where I could drop in say, 2 4-way joystick panels, or a stick panel and a button panel, or a spinner and a button panel, etc. I still might try to figure that one out later, but for now I want to start a bit easier.
  13. Gotta give some props to the new startup/shutdown screens feature (and to all the theme makers). I originally had some platforms working decently with Rocketlauncher, but it was always rough to work with. In the end I just stopped messing with it, and I think I'm going to just drop it altogether now. My original thought of using manuals/walkthroughs via the rocketlauncher pause menu isn't worth the headache (especially since I'd like to spend more time enjoying LB and the games than setting it all up :))
  14. So many good choices this time around. Nice work on the list, and keep up the good work LB team!
  15. C64 is one of my favorites (and the one I spent the most with growing up). Here's some titles I enjoyed (I agree with DaveZ's list above as well): Blue Max Bruce Lee Raid over Moscow River Raid (it was really good on C64) M.U.L.E. (best port imho) Archon Bard's Tale 1-3 California Games Jumpman Jr Parallax Who Dares Wins 1 & 2 Spy Hunter (actually most arcade ports are solid on the C64) Times of Lore - great title, but I have had some trouble with this one.
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