Tag Archives: gaming

Homo ludens @Gamescom 2010

As i am currently in Cologne working for a client I used the chance to visit this year’s Gamescom 2010, the german CVG (that’s “Computer and Video Games”) expo formerly known as Games Convention. The former GC was held in Leipzig but the powers to be in the CVG business decided to move to the more central location of Cologne. Pity for Leipzig but in this case lucky for me.

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Staging area at the entrance. Might be confused with a LARP (Live Action Role Playing) Zergling rush.

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Nowadays one can inform themselves about most things on the web. The thing you cannot learn from online media or trailers are new hardware experiences like the recent motion controls by Sony and Microsoft. They finally seem to catch up with Nintendos’ innovativeness. Sony is more the me-too product almost identically copying the Wii controller including the “Nunchuck” side-kick controller for the left hand.

Here folks are being photographed. The photographer also took some pictures of me while I played, I wonder where they will show up (if they do at all).

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It seems that most of the early games they showed had either some kind of dancing or some kind of fighting topic. Here is an example of the swords play variant:

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Microsofts’ Kinect motion controls work without any physical hand held controller. The players are tracked via a camera array. While at Sonys’ booth I was wondering if someone standing by will accidentally be punched Microsoft had separate booths for each demo station.
I remember reading about some people throwing their Wiiimotes into their TV sets when the Wii was new. This made Nintendo send wrist straps and soft silicone sleeves to all customers.

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Microsofts’ booth was located directly next to Nintendos’.

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Nintendo brought most of their trademark IP to the show. They had a new Zelda game, Metroid: Other M and a new Kirby game amongst others.

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They were showing the new Zelda game. There were some cosplayers at the fair. They young lady in the picture was not on Nintendos payroll but a regular visitor. In case one wonders as who she dressed I took a convenient picture for your leisure:

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For basically all of the big name titles there were lines of some length. For the Zelda game the line went around the corner twice:

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Football (the one you actually play with your feet, not the other one) is huuuge over here. Konami was showing PES 2011 and had huuuge Lionel Messi posters up. The photo puts size into an interesting perspective. He seems to be looking down on us. He wouldn’t do that, would he?

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At the Deep Silver booth you could play the new F1 game which is now being developed by Codemasters. They had a really nice setup for the demo.

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In comparison this farming simulation is rather a niche game:

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New magazine “Return” brings back some memories. I did even have the same Competition Pro joystick for the C64.

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Saving the best (at least for me one of the best) for last, Portal 2. The first Portal game was pretty short but definitely an intelligently made experience. Liked both the concept and the story telling. They made a nice short story from the lab setting. Are you still there…?

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But you already learned about cake, didn’t you? It’s a lie! Please await the party escort.

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The Finished Stick

Carbon Fiber Joystick

The stick is finished! A good amount of time was spent sourcing tools and waiting to use the lab or work shop.
The final stick sports:

Case:
★ Carbon and glass fibre sandwich construction.
★ Exterior is clear coated carbon fibre with 3 red and gold pin stripes (made in germany!).
★ 6mm clear acryl base plate.
★ 6 rubber feet with screws.
★ Multi-fit mounting plate: Will fit both Seimitsu LS-32-01 and Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT joysticks.
★ Both Sanwa and Seimitsu brand screw-in buttons work.

Stick and buttons:
★ Seimitsu LS-32-01 joystick.
★ Clear Seimitsu ball top.
★ 8 x 30mm clear white Seimitsu buttons on the surface.
★ 1 x 30mm white Seimitsu button on the rear as PS3 home and 360 guide button.
★ 2 x 24mm white Seimitsu buttons on the rear as start/back.

Electronics:
★ Dual PCB Xbox 360 and Chtulhu.
★ Works with Xbox 360 / PC / PS3 / PS2 / PS1 / Gamecube / Wii (via Gamecube ports) / Xbox1
★ RJ-45 mod: Only one cable at a time, different cables for the systems will all fit to the same jack.
★ Quick disconnects for all buttons: Each button can be swapped easily.
★ Inter-PCB connection via SUB-D 25 connector: Each PCB can be removed separately.

Button Layout

Carbon Fiber Joystick

I wired the buttons to the PCBs to mirror the MadCatz SF IV sticks:

★Layout 360:
X Y RB LB
A B RT LT

★Layout PS3/PS2/PS1:
[] /\ R1 L1
X O R2 L2

★Gamecube/Wii:
Y X L
B A R
Start = Start
Select = Z

★Xbox:
X Y white LT
A B black RT
Start = Start
Select = Back
Select + X = Left stick click
Select + A = Right stick click
Select + Stick = Left and right analog sticks

So the 360 PCB and the MC Cthulhu board are connected so that RB/LB on the 360 ‘equal’ R1/L1 on the PS3 and RT/LT ‘equal’ R2/L2.

For the PS3 this is also the same layout as the one of the HORI Real Arcade Pros.

The buttons use quick disconnects so the layout can be changed easily. One could also change the lines at the Cthulhu’s screw terminals.

Igor, Bring Me the Brain

Carbon Fiber Joystick

Finished the soldering job on the PCB interconnection. We started with the MadCatz 360 PCB. But then we couldn’t resist to go dual PCB and I ordered a Cthulhu from Toodles along with an Imp electronic switch. The Imp board (the small black PCB in the picture) switched to the 360 PCB when you press the guide button while plugging in the USB cord. So now we have a brain for the stick. Or two to be exact.

Wired Up

Carbon Fiber Joystick

Today I soldered the PCB together with a friend. Wired the buttons as well – until I ran out of cable. So the last 7 connections are missing. The cables run from the PCB to a terminal strip and from there to the buttons. Quick disconnects are used for the buttons. I tested all cables soldered to the PCB and all connections work – a small wonder considering this was our first time to solder.

Arcade Stick Button Layout

Carbon Fiber Joystick

Now where to put all the fancy buttons? Before finalizing the case design I wanted to try button layouts. slagcoin.com is a treasure chest for all things arcade stick and he has got a large number of layouts complete with detailed measurements. The Sega Astro layout really is a winner for me.

Some gamers seem to prefere a 6 button layout and say that the additional 2 are disturbing. Also, no BEU needs 8 buttons. I think I’ll go with 8 buttons though as I want to build a stick that works with the 360 and I can use LT/RT for dashboard navigation. It will later always still be an option to NOT drill the additional 2 holes.

A Bag of Joy

Carbon Fiber Joystick

In the SF4 craze it’s apparently becoming harder to find the coveted Sanwa and Seimitsu sticks and buttons. I managed to find a web shop and it’s even in Germany (arcadeshop.de). I Ordered a Seimitsu LS-32-01 stick, 8 clear white Seimitsu PS-14-KN 30mm buttons, 2 solid white Seimitsu PS-14-DN 24mm buttons (for start + back buttons) and 1 white Seimitsu PS-14-GN 30mm button (for PS3 home/ 360 guide). Rounded off with an additional clear Seimitsu ball top.

I chose the buttons because of their color (gotta love the clear Seimitsus). Since I have no experience so far with arcade sticks I relied on web wisdom to choose the stick. Because it was said to have the shorter throw I chose the LS-32-01 over the Sanwa JLF. As I have no preference for a square or octagon gate it doesn’t matter that there is no octagon option for the LS-32-01.