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Cheap, Rugged, Multiplayer Gamepads for Linux 184

Posted by michael
from the thumb-callus dept.
IceAgeComing writes "Anyone interested in exploring multiplayer games under Linux should know: you can now pick up a four-way gamepad hub, with four gamepads, for under $15. It is known as the Gravis Multiport, and now it is supported under Linux. The link describes patches for Linux 2.4, but the drivers are now included in Linux 2.6. This input system used to cost more than $100, but it has been abandoned by Gravis since Windows 98. Now it's possible to pick them up extra cheap. Four-player Gauntlet under XMAME, anyone?"
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Cheap, Rugged, Multiplayer Gamepads for Linux

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  • wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by emkman (467368) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:50AM (#7772292)
    that actually sounds better than those [console]-to-usb adapters, especially for the price.
    • by gazbo (517111) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:24AM (#7772589)
      I also have a product that I wish to advertise on your website. What are the rates for a story like this one?

      Thanks in advance.

    • by saden1 (581102)
      I purchased a Logitech pad a month ago and boy does it suck. The up arrow doesn't work sometimes and the thumb stick won't respond when you press left. I'm never buy a Logitech gamepad that is for sure!
      • Yeah, I bought a Gravis gamepad for my Windows machine, and was sufficiently surprised to see that pressing up and to the left on the pad disconnected it under Linux and Windows.

        So I probably won't buy a new one.
      • by jandrese (485) *
        My complaint with just about every PC gamepad I've tried is that they are far too sensitive. You can see this if you pull up the gamepad control panel and windows and notice that the little cross is bouncing around even if the pad is sitting on the ground. That's extremely obnoxous in fighting games where your caracter randomly jumps or ducks at inopportune times.
  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irokitt (663593) <(archimandrites-iaur) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:50AM (#7772293)
    Now I can play Microsoft flight simulator...oh wait.
    Does anyone out there know of any Linux games that require a joy stick? I'm a keyboard/mouse junkie myself...
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

      by KiwiRed (598427) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:14AM (#7772363)
      It sounds like it's aimed at retro-gamers. (I play SNES and Genesis games on my machine, and joypads are the only way to go)
      • I normally just bite my tongue, but this is a big story because ...

        "This input system used to cost more than $100, but it has been abandoned by Gravis since Windows 98."

        everyone gets excited that linux finally has support for some ancient piece of hardware? Wake me up when most vendors support their latest video,raid,direct-to-disk-DVD+-RW,... by providing linux drivers & utilities.

        • by ukyoCE (106879) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @10:42AM (#7772927) Journal
          Did you even RTFA? This "ancient piece of hardware" is obviously quite useful, and the reason it's so cheap? WINDOWS XP DOESNT SUPPORT IT! So linux actually has better device support in this case, as in many others.

          And btw, afaik all modern video cards (ie: radeon and nvidia) are very well supported in linux, and DVD+-RW drives should work flawlessly as well. I've heard RAID does too, but have never used it myself.
          • by soloport (312487) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @12:30PM (#7773314) Homepage
            Yes. Doesn't anyone else get this?!

            I tried to help a client with Windows 2000 Server, yesterday. He bough a copy of XP Pro because Win2k had stopped being useful (after a virus mangled the registry). I loaded Knoppix and discovered he had dual SCSI drives. No big deal, right? XP Pro would not install because of those drives! (Of course the driver disks and the geek who installed them were long gone, two state lines away.)

            But don't tell me Windows has any better support for hardware than Linux. This is not the only occurrence, either: Certain IR mice; Certain monitors; Certain NIC cards; There's a bunch of times Linux "just worked" where Windows has failed. Windows is everywhere and I'm so sick of supporting Windows. I come home exhausted, every day from fighting with this crap (I must reboot this toy OS about a hundred times a day).

            On the other hand, I never "sell" Linux to my clients. I sell Mozilla (pop-up-killer - and tabs are nice), OpenOffice.org (upgrade-killer) and applications that run on Apache/PHP/Postgres (Access/ACT!-killer). Someday, they'll be able to switch to Linux -- when Point, QuickBooks and Quicken are supported -- and not skip a beat.

            • Yes, I RTFA. My point was that this was supported under Win98 5 years ago and is just now getting support under linux. The only reason it isn't supported by XP is the new driver model and Gravis's lack of support in providing a new driver for obsolete hardware. Noone is really to blame here since the market has moved on to USB-based devices. For the record, I'm really trying to completely dump Micro$oft OSes, but invaraiably my state of the art hardware is poorly supported by linux. No doubt that is my faul
    • Re:Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think that there are any games that "require" a joystick as much as it is a nicer way of using the software.
      Example: Terminus (space sim type game, Linux, Mac, Windows one purchase), a joystick (analog) makes the game much more enjoyable.

      The multi-controllers would be nice for the stuff like mame in say a dedicated cabinet, no worries about using the keyboard and having too many keys pressed down.
      • Re:Great! (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bafu (580052)

        Terminus (space sim type game, Linux, Mac, Windows one purchase), a joystick (analog) makes the game much more enjoyable.

        That's for sure! Of course, I discovered that after I'd played the campaign through. Using the arrow keys to target something moving in 3 dimensions was a challenge... but not a very interesting one. :-P

    • Re:Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668)
      it's quite hard for 4 players to use the same keyboard and mouse.

      --
      • Re:Great! (Score:3, Funny)

        by (H)elix1 (231155)
        it's quite hard for 4 players to use the same keyboard and mouse.

        Oh come now - I've heard of a few offices playing that 'extreme programming' game with only one set of controls.
        • ...well... they have usually 2 sets of usb keyboards.

          (another way to enjoy multiplayer mame quite easily)
  • by nil5 (538942) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:51AM (#7772297) Homepage
    with perhaps the exception of xmame, gaming on linux is almost as fun as,well, typing in an xterm while picking one's nose.
    • Re:gaming on linux: (Score:3, Informative)

      by irokitt (663593)
      I always thought that Quake was juxt as good on Linux as on the PC.
    • Well there are also the Genesis Emulators, SNES Emulators and um more emulators. Of course not sure if there have been any major game releases apart from things like Quake3. Ever since Loki went under its been a bit quiet

      Rus
    • What you mean "almost as fun"? It doesn't get any more fun than ADOM or Nethack or your favourite MUD in an xterm, especially if you pick your nose while playing.
    • Re:gaming on linux: (Score:5, Informative)

      by ciryon (218518) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @08:10AM (#7772639) Journal
      Not true. I've had many hours of gameplay on linux. First off, many windows games work very well with Wine [winehq.org] or Transgaming [transgaming.com].

      I've also played a lot of old nintendo games. I hooked up my box to the TV (using a nvidia card with TV-out) and then I inserted two Gravis Gamepads which only need one gameport. Kernel modules worked just fine, and this was some years ago. Grab the latest SNES9X [lysator.liu.se]-emulator and start gaming!
      • Re:gaming on linux: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192)
        I have been unable to get any windows games working with wine. I've tried Civ3, CivCTP, Age of Empires, GTA3, and a couple other random games I'm not remembering atm. Invariably, it segfault, corrupts the display, can't find fonts, or some other dumb shit. Anyway, what I'm saying is, what's your secret?
        • He's probably playing games that are simpler - and don't cause wine to crash. Try games from yesteryear - that don't need other files to run - and it's all just in the executable. Civilisation/ Age of Empires probably have all sorts of direct hardware hitting graphics algorithms that aren't probably supported under wine. GTA3 - well even if you did get that to run under emulation it would be so slow as to be unplayable.
          • GTA3 - well even if you did get that to run under emulation it would be so slow as to be unplayable.

            Surprisingly, GTA3 actually should run rather well under WineX. OK, should and will are two often different things. But some people at least have reported similar speeds and experiences with GTA3 in Linux with WineX as when playing it nativly in windows.
        • Anyway, what I'm saying is, what's your secret?

          I've got a few. Firstly, my advice is to always compile wine yourself. There's a lot of options, and packagers often choose the lowest common demoninator rather than the options which would yield the best performance for your particular computer. The wine source code comes with a nice script which almost compleatly automates the process. Secondly, to have both wine and winex installed and to try both to see which gives the best results. There's a scipt called
    • Weird, you must be living in a timeloop.

      I have a nice library of Linux games right here. In fact, I own more Linux games than I can play and some still sit here with that "gonna play that more once I come around to it again" invisible sticker.

      Of course, if you go to school or are unemployed or otherwise have 16 hours a day to kill on gaming. Then... uh, wait. You could go and play A Tale in the Desert, that easily takes care of that (been there, done that).
    • /me jumps, nervously looks around, and covers up the webcam...
    • I'll admit that most of my gaming in Linux comes down to using emulators, but I do get a lot of milage out of them. With native games, real emulators, wine and winex I've got a couple shelves of games I play on a fairly regular basis in linux. Sure, I don't consider myself much of a gamer, but I'd hardly say there's nothing out there for gaming in Linux.
  • Not quite. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:52AM (#7772300)
    Actually, I find the d-pads on these things horrendous, especially after a month or so of use.

    Your better bet by far would be to get several Dual-Shocks (PS1 version would be fine) and some -$10 USB adapters from Radio Shack. I did, and it works great.
    • I agree. Every pad that Gravis has ever made is absolute garbage. Aside from a handful of Saiteks and my trusty Thrustmaster Firestorm, I've found that the only acceptable controller is a good old Playstation controller with PSX->USB adapters, especially for PSX/SNES/Genesis emulation.
      • I have a Gravis Gamepad that looks just like a normal Playstation Controller (Not the dual-shock). I paid $19.99 Canadian for it, and it came bundled with 2 Disney games (IE, Christmas presents for relatives). It seems to work just as well as a real Playstation controller.

        But, if you already have Playstation controllers lying around, I can see how the adapters would be economical. My only question is, do they support Vibration/Force Feedback?
        • i>But, if you already have Playstation controllers lying around, I can see how the adapters would be economical. My only question is, do they support Vibration/Force Feedback?

          With the right drivers, yes. Under Windows, the support is a bit buggy with certain games (FFXI for one), but *does* work. Haven't found anything under linux that supports it yet...then again, I haven't been looking all that hard. I'm sure someone will elaborate.
          • Linux doesn't support the vibration and shock features in the dual shock controllers *yet*. There are people slowly working on it but last I read it has alot to do with the XFree guys since it's an X11 joystick driver.

            I've got a Kiky-X playstation2->usb convertor, bought it for $10 at Frys [outpost.com] and it works great in linux. Mandrake 9.2 detected it right away, knew what it was, and added a /dev/js0 just like it should. It's a little laggy at times but it's this particular adapter that's slow, others are rum
        • My only question is, do they support Vibration/Force Feedback?

          Yes, but there's very little that actually takes advantage of it aside from emulated Playstation or Nintendo 64 games.
        • if you already have Playstation controllers lying around, I can see how the adapters would be economical.

          However, I recommend getting the $16 EMS USB2 adapters [google.com] that support two PS1 controllers because of something else they support, namely PS1 dance pads. Dance pads will send Up+Down or Left+Right presses for certain jumps, and adapters that map the + Control Pad to axes won't register them. The Radio Shack adapter always maps the + Control Pad to axes. The EMS USB2 adapter, on the other hand, maps the

      • Well, at least one of their controllers was not garbage. I've lived very happily with a pair of Gravis Xterminators for the past five years (gameport connector, not the more recent USB thingies by the same name [gravis.com]), used mostly for successive generations of extended sessions of EA Sports NHL '99-'04. Exuberant, hard-gripping, sweaty sessions of that game. And they offered a passthrough on their connector so you could chain two controllers to a single gameport. Not quite as good as Microsoft's gameport connect
    • Re:Not quite. (Score:5, Informative)

      by zumbojo (615389) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:56AM (#7772442) Homepage
      XBox controllers are much easier to connect to computer hardware; they are USB controllers in disguise (read: "with proprietary connectors"). My friend simply bought a USB cable for two dollars and wired it inline on one of his XBox controller cables. Now he can use that controller on his PC (he uses it often to play NES emulators at work) and if he so wishes, plug USB devices into his hacked XBox. When he wants to fire up Halo, all he does is reconnect the controller.

      Side note: The XBox proprietary connector is actually 5-pin (+, -, data, ground and "strobe") though with the fifth (strobe) wire disconnected the controller works just fine. Maybe it is for some as yet unreleased peripheral, but the controllers sure as hell don't use it.
      • by luekj (692478)
        Prolly some exctravagant feature to make the xbox logo on te controller glow when the cd access/rumble things happened.

        Would've been fun to laugh at....*sigh*

      • Re:Not quite. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Samedi1971 (194079)
        The strobe line is for light guns.
      • Drivers (Score:4, Informative)

        by shione (666388) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @09:14AM (#7772755) Journal
        I like to use the USB cable that comes with a usb memory disk to do this mod. The cables are expensive when purchased on their own but they are virtually free with most flashram drives. HAve a look around you (not the parent) probably have one or two lying around.

        Assembling the cable is childs play, all thats required is chopping the female plug off one end of an usb extension cable and wiring it up colour matching colour with the cable on an xbox controller.

        To get it working on a PC Windows drivers are needed which can be found at:
        http://sourceforge.net/projects/xboxhid/
        or
        http://grooveyardfunk.com/projects/xid/
        or
        http ://members.cox.net/lazerman/downloads.html

        The drivers are made by different people so find the one that works best for you. some are picky about the version of windows. I do not know if there are Linux drivers.

        I always thought the inline release on the xbox controller a marketing gimmick but it comes in quite useful when you do this mod because if you have another unmodified xbox controller cable you can still use the xbox controller on the xbox just by plugging the unmodified cable into where the inline release is.

      • I've read the Yellow wire (strobe wire as you called it) is used for light guns and the like. Possibly including Xbox Music Mixer Mike?
      • Most people have an PS 1 Dual shock laying around and the usb adapters are cheap. Beyond having to buy and hack a usb cable, Xbox controller are much more expensive then a Dual Shock 1 controller.

        Both controllers require an adapter/cable to hook up to a PC so I don't know why your saying its much easier to connect.

        Lastly IMO the PS1 Dual Shock is just flat out a better controller and these things last for years and can take a real beating.

        Like all things controller choice can be subjective, but consideri
    • I have a 4 way playstation -> USB converter I picked up off ebay. It works great under windows, but in linux I only get one device with like 48 buttons and 16 axes. As a result, several of my favorite programs don't quite work right with more than one pad. Anyone out there know how to make this work?
  • by Geeyzus (99967) <mark_madej.yahoo@com> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @04:58AM (#7772325)
    Is it me, or does nobody use gamepads for computer games anymore?

    Sports titles, racing titles, action titles fill the catalog of PS2 and XBox. Adventure and party-style titles grace the inside of a GameCube. These are suited to the gamepad.

    But on the computer, what are the usual games? FPSes, RTSes, first person adventure/role-playing games, games that use the mouse to its fullest (The Sims). The sports titles exist... but I don't believe they are best sellers.

    Why? Gamers simply don't play those kinds of games, gamepad games, on computers. Yes I'm sure that SOME do. Most do not. And it's for a reason, computers lend themselves to keyboard-and-mouse games quite nicely, and consoles lend themselves to gamepad style games.

    So to me, this is no big deal. I love computer games, but I can't think of one computer game I have played in the last 5 years that I would have liked to play with a gamepad. And I love my PS2 also.

    Also... Gauntlet on XMAME? 4 people crowded around your computer desk... I can imagine the comfort level there. 3 people probably can't see the screen well enough, and even if they can, the crowded space will make this interesting for about 20 minutes of gameplay... a novelty.

    Nothing against the poster, but use the medium for what it is best at... one player and online multiplayer games, and leave the gamepad games to the consoles...

    Mark
    • by Blaede (266638) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:04AM (#7772342)
      Tomb Raider series
      Thief
      Max Payne
      Prince of Persia
      007: Nightfire

      Keyboards are hell with these type of games.
      • by bottlerocket (605232) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:47AM (#7772429) Homepage
        Did anyone that modded the parent up actually play the games listed? Two first person shooters, two third person adventurers, and one, count it, one side scroller. Have you actually played a game from the first two categories mentioned... on a gamepad? Do you know why Halo was so celebrated? Because it was perhaps the first FPS that was semi-playable on a gamepad.
    • by shadowcabbit (466253) * <cx@thefurryCHEETAHone.net minus cat> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:13AM (#7772362) Journal
      ...leave the gamepad games to the consoles...

      OK, but what about console games ported to the PC (Halo, FFXI, etc.)? Or even emulated console games? Emulated arcade games?

      I agree that on some titles it's far easier to use a keyboard and mouse-- and those are the predominant titles on the PC. But to ignore a significant-- and growing, if you believe the number of console-first titles announced-- portion of the PC game repertiore just seems a bit misleading.
      • Halo and FFXI work great with keyboards and mice. GTA III, Vice City, and halo are more true to their genre on the PC.
      • Games ported to PC from consoles tend to really, REALLY suck (the reverse is also true). Even when using a gamepad, something still seems to have gotten lost in the translation. It can be fun to play on the console, but painful on the PC. As for Halo, it might've been an innovative game on the PC if it had been released two years ago, but today, it's just average. It's no shinier than UT2K3, we've been driving multi-person vehicles for ages in BF1942. It just isn't the earth shattering game it was hype
    • by KiwiRed (598427) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:22AM (#7772382)
      This is the era of "Gameplay? But we've given them all this beautiful eye candy, why would they want gameplay?"

      Retro-gaming (8- and 16-bit consoles and, perhaps to a lesser degree, home computers) won't appeal to many new gamers (the games are longer in some cases, and more complex in others, and on the whole just not as pretty), but there's a great deal of nostalgia for those who grew up with older systems (originally Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64, personally, and arcade games of that era), and i reckon that's what this is targeting.

      You're unlikely to get four 18 year-olds huddled around a monitor playing Gauntlet, but four 30-something gamers who grew up with it? Different story...
    • Also... Gauntlet on XMAME? 4 people crowded around your computer desk... I can imagine the comfort level there. 3 people probably can't see the screen well enough, and even if they can, the crowded space will make this interesting for about 20 minutes of gameplay... a novelty.

      What ? There are numerous shared screen multiplayer games that will allow you to gather 4 or more people around a computer desk, and for most they are VERY enjoyable. Think about Micro Machines, Worms, Bomberman, Chu-Chu Rocket... Y
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp@gmai l . c om> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:24AM (#7772386) Homepage
    How long until there's good support for these in EMacs?
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:51AM (#7772435) Journal
    I got one of these -- just the controllers, not the gamepads -- back in the day when I was looking for a good emulator controller. It looks like it has 8 buttons, but it actually only supports the old standard of 4 -- the extras are just "turbo" buttons. Even though that's good enough for NES, they're still unwieldy due to the crooked cross controller, making Contra hard to play when you have to aim down -- it keeps running forward.

    Linux's USB Sidewinder Pro support is perfectly fine, and they're not longer made and cheap. For $15, you get a controller with 9 buttons and good handling, more than enough for any console emulation.
    • " I got one of these -- just the controllers, not the gamepads --"

      Um... huh?

      "but it actually only supports the old standard of 4"

      It's called "backwards compatability." This was released in the days of Win95 (pre-OSR2) and it was still quite important to be able to use your new controllers in your old DOS games without having to use a memory-resident keyboard mapper.

      The unit has 4 "proprietary" (just your standard 9-pin controller port actually, like an Atari or a Genesis) and two regular controller
  • Hooray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bottlerocket (605232) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:55AM (#7772439) Homepage

    ...but it has been abandoned by Gravis since Windows 98. Now it's possible to pick them up extra cheap


    So Linux finally got around to supporting a crappy gamepad setup that was released almost six years ago and isn't even supported by the manufacturer anymore, and we're supposed to...what? Help me out here. In what way could this even be remotely considered news or something that matters?

    • I agree. If you REALLY wanted lots of gamepads/joysticks attached to your computer, do yourself a favor and get USB. USB hubs are cheap, and when you're done gaming, it can be used for more useful tasks, too!
  • by mushroom blue (8836) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @05:56AM (#7772444)
    I swear by the EMS USB2 adapter [play-asia.com]. it allows you to use 2 Playstation Dual Shock pads per adapter. fully supported under linux, and recommended by the PyDance [icculus.org] authors for those who crave Dance Mats. Works wonderfully in every emulator that supports the kernel joystick driver, and especially rules for XMame's fighting games The PS2 Dual Shock is the best controller ever made, other than the Japanese Saturn controller. Why use a crappy Gravis "good enough" pad if you already have the real thing?
    • Personally, I prefer the PS1 Dual Shock. Same shape, but the buttons aren't pressure sensitive, which is good because I found myself putting a lot of force into the X button to keep the gas pedal down in Need for Speed: Underground with a Dual Shock 2...
  • Its going to get a bit friendly unless you've got a big monitor on a low res allowing everyone to see. Of course 4 person TuxRacer would be fun but I don;t think its supported

    Rus
  • Cutting Edge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rf0 (159958) * <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:51AM (#7772533) Homepage
    Not trying to be flamebate but is there any reason someone has taken time to write new drivers for hardware that is 6 years old. I can understand legacy code, which is why linux will still boot on a 386 however this just seems a bit off. Is this bit of hardware really that good?

    Rus
    • Not trying to be flamebate but is there any reason someone has taken time to write new drivers for hardware that is 6 years old. I can understand legacy code, which is why linux will still boot on a 386 however this just seems a bit off. Is this bit of hardware really that good?

      Agreed. Particularly since, as the article states, these have been replaced with USB gamepads. Ok, so your USB gamepad is $30. Big Deal. Tell your friends to BYOG (bring your own gasmepad),

      The USB gamepads are especially
  • It's a good price... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cowbutt (21077) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @06:54AM (#7772542) Journal
    ...but I think I'd prefer the flexibility of a Sony PlayStation Dual-Shock controller together with a USB adaptor. In the UK, the adaptors are easily available from Maplin [maplin.co.uk] for 7.99. Alternatively, they also do USB pads for 5.99 each.

    I have no connections with Maplin, I'm just a satisfied customer.

    --

  • I think the USB chip in them costs like $5 bucks or something. So it's an added $5 bucks per controller that doesn't really have to be there.

    Well, ok it has to be there, but why doesn't gravis make some sort of multitap USB device so they can crank out cheaper joysticks that don't need USB chips in them. Since USB i've noticed most true analog joysticks are using cheaper potentiometers, probably to offset the cost of the USB chip.

    • you obviously haven't used the garbage that pc sticks were around 1990 or so? the quickshots in particular were so cheaply made that you could break them in 10s of use in accident if you didn't handle them gentle(one quick move of wrist and it was toast).

      there were exceptions though.. ch flightsticks for example.

  • Maybe it's because the first computer games I played were on the Atari 2600, but I've never been able to get used to the gamepad. It's always HELL on my thumbs! I really LOVED the old Atari Joystick! Especially after you broke it in. Does anybody know of one of those that could be modified to work on a PC?

    Does anybody else out there feel the same way?

    My preference might not be specifically tied specifically to the 2600 game controller. Epyx made a 2600 controller (I think it was the 500XJ?) that was a 2
    • I hated the atari 2600 joystick. Probably because I'm left handed....

      I eventually broke it (inside plastic that hit the 4 way buttons cracked) and I got a third party joystick to replace it. It had grips on the stick, a button under the index and another one over the thumb. I like that one a whole lot better. It was much more comfy but soon after I got a SNES and I moved on from the Atari.

    • Well, you've got 2 choices, essentially. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

      1. take apart a working PC gamepad (USB/gameport/whatever your software supports), and wire the contacts from the Atari stick directly to the contacts on the gamepad. i.e. when you press up on the stick, the signal will trigger an 'up' on the gamepad, and the game sees it. Advantage: cheap, easy, anyone can do it in a few minutes, full support by all games. Disadvantage: clunky, as you now have a joystick connected to the
      • " Well, you've got 2 choices, essentially. Both have their advantages and disadvantages."

        Actually, there is a third option: Build a generic interface that will work for all Atari-style digital joysticks, making them work wherever an old-style analog PC joystick will work. There are links to two circuit designs in my other post. [slashdot.org]

    • Yes, I remember the Epyx 500XJ. It was absolutely the best joystick I ever used. Its body was molded to fit my hand in a relaxed position, and all contacts (including each joystick direction) were made with microswitches, which were very durable and responsive. The Atari / Commodore model had only one button, but the Sega model had two.

      I just got a couple of these joysticks from ebay, and am going to build an adapter so I can use them with MAME. I found two circuits on the net for this purpose:

      This [epanorama.net]

  • by gnudutch (235983) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:34AM (#7772605)
    Like cowbutt said, you can get cheap USB pads like Logitech in the $5 price range. Also, beware the cheaper PS2-USB converters, I bought a pair and they have a very noticeable delay between button-press and game response. Try before you buy...
  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @07:42AM (#7772611) Journal
    USB natively supports up to 127 or so devices in V1, not sure how many in V2.

    That's a lot more than four controllers.

    Why bother with some obsolete and oddball hardware when you can just get a bunch of usb controllers?
  • I have some to give away (the hub and four gamepads). They were bought unused from a reseller.

    • I'd really be interested in making binary RPMS available for the driver.
    • I'm hoping someone who knows how to write DirectX joystick drivers will port it to WinXP. Insert your favorite bash about sucky MSDN driver documentation here.

    If anyone manages to help out in these ways, I'd be more than happy to mail you one.

  • Now you can play old games with older hardware! Ins't Linux just the best gaming platform?

    Good god, I hate Microsoft.
  • by Quigley (18976)
    I've been using the multiport and driver off and on for a year or so now. I haven't had any issues with the gamepads at all, in fact, they're some of the better PC gamepads I've used. Could be better, yes, but all in all they're worth every penny I paid for them ($20? :) That's about the price of a single USB or console controller.

    I'd like to see a DirectX version as well.
  • ..but since USB joysticks are just HIDs, won't they all be automagically supported under Linux?

    At least that's what I thought the whole USB Human Interface Device thing was for.. to eliminate the need for drivers for every simple device..

  • Me and my flatmates acquired 5 USB gamepads for around 7 and a USB hub for 8 from www.dabs.com (UK). Then we downloaded ZNES and loads of games, and we play Super Bomberman 3 multiplayer (5 people together throwing bombs at each other) far too much. Well well worth the investment.
  • Gravis was, is and always will be the king of gamepads for the pc. Not king of joysticks, but king of gamepads. The gravis gamepad pro USB is the newest incarnation and is perfectly supported in linux. It's got a very similar button layout to the Playstation controller but no analog. Just about the only thing wrong with it is that all the buttons are digital, even the axis. Not so good for racing games and such, but excellent for emulating the classics.
  • by FrankDrebin (238464) on Saturday December 20, 2003 @01:22PM (#7773599) Homepage

    Four-player Gauntlet under XMAME, anyone?

    Blue Valkyrie... needs better technology... badly.

  • I used to have a pile of joysticks and pads during the days of Atari 2600 and the Commodore64. We used to break them, open them and fix em, then break them again, then buy a new one...

    Gaming has changed enormously since. Quake2, half-life etc need the keyboard and mouse for a full-level of control (I prefer a trackball to the mouse), which cant be had with a gamepad. strategic games too cant be really played without all the keyboard buttons like Warcraft III. Games that were ported to consoles without a ke
  • I don't know how well the device works, but I seem to recall that, for some oddball reason, the device uses a "standard" Sega Saturn controller. This controller, btw, still seems to be one of the favorite controllers of the shmup [shmups.com] crowd, as well as a lot of 2D fighting game fans.
  • Not only was the 3 screenfuls of webpage about this multiport thing a complete waste of time. The slashdot post about it was a complete waste.

    I hope this response isn't a complete waste, I hope it sends a message that it's not worthwhile to focus your efforts on utter garbage.
  • by default luser (529332) on Monday December 22, 2003 @01:15PM (#7787096) Journal
    Two years ago I sunk 20 bucks into a very small ( about 1/5 the size of this hulk mentioned in the article ) powered USB hub, and 4 cheapo USB gamepads.

    I've been enjoying 4-player MAME for years now, where has the author of this "story" been? The whole point of USB was to do away with complicated, proprietary gadgets like this one that nobody will buy.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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