NUON Rotary Controllers for T3K

nicolaspersijn

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Wow, this is actually my first visit here and it seems like a ghost town. Seeing a recent influx in interest in Atari Jaguar, I thought this place would be bumpin’. I hope I can help change that.

My name’s Nick Persijn. In the last few months I’ve been modding and selling modified Atari Jaguar controllers for T2K. My main focus has been bringing these types of controllers to as many people as possible by offering them at more realistic “gamer-centric” prices rather than taking the exclusive “collector-centric” angle most modders have been taking for many years up to now. My final goal being, in the end, helping increase Atari Jaguar buzz in the retrogaming community (my controllers have been featured in 2 episodes of the RetroGamingRoundup podcast as well as their website and the ArmchairArcade.com blog, and recently coming soon in the NowYourPlayingWith Podcast) and maybe even get some main-stream gaming press in the process...

You can find me on various retro forums such as:

The JSII Jaguarsector.com forums:
The AtariAge forums
And the RetroGamingRoundup/GameGavel.com forums
An eBay search for Atari Jaguar Rotary is bound to bring up some of my work as well.

To my main point: I am the soon-to-be proud owner of a Nuon Samsung N501. I'm just waiting for it to arrive. After the purchase, being the T2K nut that I am, I of course started researching the possibilities of a Nuon rotary controller for T3K. I was shocked by what I found: nearly nothing. Actually, the most informative thing I could find was a nuon-dome archive page with some info and excerpts from an almost 10 year old chat-interview with Jeff Minter:
http://www.nuon-dome.com/narchive/arc8-2003.html

The info was extremely helpful and gave me hope, but also left many questions that (nearly 10 years later) seem to have no findable internet answers. So, I'm sending out the call. All you Nuon fans, past and present. I want to make these for you. Lets pool our resources and get this elusive project completed! I've seen this controller commented on and even promised, but have yet to find an even unsucessful attempt reported anywhere.

In the end, what I'd like to see is an increased mindshare for Nuon in the retro gaming community. I think a T3K Rotary controller would be an explosive first step.

I don't know about anyone else out there (are you out there?), but I'm excited as hell...
 

Stephen

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Hello - longtime Nuon user here. The major issue I can see with this, is that the Tempest 3000 game does not have code to read a rotary controller. The best you could hope to do would be to implement a spinner that when going counterclockwise latched the left button, and clockwise would latch the right.
 

K3V

NUON-Dome Moderator
Staff member
Welcome, Nick!

You're right, the NUON scene is pretty quiet these days. New software is the lifeblood of any game system and there just isn't much happening. And the small library of released/available games makes discussion even more limited.

If you get a rotary working with T3K, sign me up! It's still my favorite game in the series.

-Kevin
 

doctorclu

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I would also be interested, and I think Stephen has the right idea on what would work for a Tempest rotary on the Nuon.

Tempest 3K... graphically good ...probably too good.
 

Serblander

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Echo that!

At last years AFTERSHOCK event, i brought along one of my Jaguar's and a NUON (among other things). Had Tempest 2000 on the Jag with a Rotary controller and Tempest 3000 on my N-501. Almost everyone preferred playing with the rotary but preferred the T3k version. I had so many people inquire if i had or if there was a rotary controller for the NUON. If only...

That reminds me, i should post the pics up of that event.
 

nicolaspersijn

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Well, still waiting on my Nuon. I did get a logitech controller though. Opened it up to take a peek and I have to say, this thing is sleek. Alot harder to "latch mod" than the old Jag controller. The Jag controller has basically extended, almost exposed, input traces that are a cinch to work with (because the controller is basically split into 2 pieces with the extended traces in the middle connecting them).

I'm thinking about investing in an HPI Stealth and checking it out for possibilities, but I've only been able to find one for sale so far...for $90. That's way too expensive. Are these really that rare? Anyone have an extra one laying around that they'd like to donate to science???
Update 11Jan13. Got one coming! I'll still have to be careful with it. It wasn't super inexpensive, just not $90. Big thanks to FocusRS of RGR/GG/AA/JSII/etc...

I was planning on doing exactly what Stephen suggested (thanks Stephen for the 1st comment btw), as that's the only way I know how to do it and I think that YAK DID code for that kind of interface (mechanical incremental quadrature) for clockwise/anti-clockwise movement using left and right.
*EDIT*
**He could NOT have coded for mechanical quadrature, as the PC Wingman Warrior he was using to code with comes with an OPTICAL rotary encoder installed**
600px-Quadrature_Diagram_svgd2c16082dbdb4b9690ed61f8b2a8107c.png


I'm going to have to get down and dirty with this thing and a magnifying glass to identify the traces and find good latch points. I'll have to cross my fingers and hope though. This polyface chip problem is the elephant in the room I'm going to have to ignore. Who knows, maybe the function of the polyface chip will help everything work once it's done...

More to come folks...
 

Stephen

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Nice - I would certainly use it!

BTW - if you want any of my code for reading the Logitech style controller, just let me know.
 

nicolaspersijn

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Update:
I finally got my beautiful N501 yesterday. The first thing I did was pop in T3K. It's a great game that is nearly unplayable for me. I am hopelessly spoiled by my own Jag T2K Rotaries. It’s impossible for me to successfully play and enjoy this game (so far) with a standard Logitech controller. I may just need practice, but my frustration with the game has kicked my motivation into overdrive. I immediately grabbed my open Logitech controller and didn’t put it down until I had a plan…which I now do have.

Now, as a reminder, modding these Jag controllers was my first foray into anything of this nature, except for some electric guitar pickup modifications/installations. I know close to nothing about this kind of stuff. I’ve identified (what I think are) the correct traces for latching a mechanical incremental quadrature rotary (left, right and common), but I’ve never done it directly to a PCB. What’s the best way to solder these wires to the traces etched into the PCB? I thought about a simple pushed through pinhole, scratching, drilling, but I don’t want to blow it on my first try.

It’s a pretty general question if you look at it broadly. Not Nuon related at all really. Any tips?
Thanks guys!
 

Serblander

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I'm afraid the only way i can help is to buy one off you when you make some ;) Hopefully someone else on here is more tech-savvy...

Btw, congrats on getting your N501 :)
 

nicolaspersijn

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I think, in a way, I just made history. As far as I'm aware, this is the first documented unsuccessful attempt at a nuon rotary controller. I did everything exactly how I wanted to and tested as I went.

T3K does not have support for latched 24ppr mechanical incremental Quadrature rotary. At least not how I did it. Is there a hidden option like in T2K? Who knows. In the old chat interview, Yak said he coded for rotary using the modded pc wingman warrior.

In some interesting news. I don't know if anyone has ever experienced this... After latching the rotary (which DID work on most of the menus) and trying to use it in a game I would sometimes get an interesting message. When turning the dial very fast, the game would pause an a message would appear saying that it noticed that I was changing the controller configuration and that I should press start to return to the game when I was done. Could this be the polface at work?

Well, back to the drawing board. I'm going to try a different rotary with a lower ppr next. We'll see. I wish I could just call YAK on the phone and ask him. Would he remember?
 

nicolaspersijn

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Hey thanks! Actually, that that thread was the catalyst for me to go forward. I knew the polyface was important, but I also knew that working with that chip would be way out of my league. I basically just modded this Logitech like I would a Jag controller and crossed my fingers, hoping for a miracle.

Crap, I want to play this game with a rotary so freakin' bad. The problem the thread from 2003 introduces is that it says that the configuration is important for the Polyface to recognize the rotary but then goes on to say that the specifics of the correct configuration is shrouded in mystery and lost in time...in 2003 already.

I'm not giving up...
 
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nicolaspersijn

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I sent him an email with a link to this thread.

In the meantime, I just realized that the rotary encoder in a PC Wingman Warrior is an Optical encoder, not mechanical. Reference this thread on the (seemingly very difficult) optical rotary for Jag T2K project: http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/94279-optical-rotary-controller-project-completed/

He would have had to have coded for some type of optical encoder then, which I don't have laying around. I'm going to look up the specs of that controller somewhere (or just get one). If I can order just the encoder I should be good to continue. Digikey is my friend in situations like this.

Stay tuned.
 

Serblander

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Thanks for keeping us in the loop with the regular updates nicolaspersijn! Seeing your enthusiasm and determination gives me hope with each new post, whether it be a minor step back or foot forward :)
 

phil3k

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Hi Nick. A rotary controller for Tempest 3000 would be a dream come true. Good luck with making it happen, you can chalk me up for a sale when it does :)
 
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