SwinSID analog controller hack

July 24, 2014

SwinSID paddle hack

I’ve covered SwinSID micro and nano few times before. It’s a great idea – a micro controller based SID chip replacement, working as a spare part  for a C64 or C128, or as a substitute to some other application like a DIY-synth. For Commodores, it’s especially suited for a gaming machine, as only very few games feature such tricks that would not sound about right on the SwinSID.

However, there’s this downside with the SwinSID that it does not support analog controllers. This is because it’s the SID chip that handles the reading of analog controllers in the C64, and the A/D converters are not implemented in the SwinSID. The number of games supporting paddles, mice or analog joysticks is not that big, but still it’s a shame that they won’t work with SwinSID. Also the few games that support second joystick button are affected. They behave as if the second button would be triggered constantly.

So there is a lack of fully featured replacement for a SID chip. This is a shame as SID chips are sought after, and supply for good and working chips is getting more and more scarce. The demand of SID chips have been recognized, as it’s not that difficult to find a supply of SID chips from Asia. It’s just that many have found out that these chips are often dead, faulty or downright fakes, and often rebadged.

Knowing that there are a lot of these faulty SID chips with bad filters or missing sound channels, it had occurred to me that maybe these could be combined together with SwinSID to make at least a fully featured replacement for the SID chip. Sound from the SwinSID, and A/D converters from an otherwise faulty SID.

Recently I ordered some spare parts from Mutant Caterpillar Games, who have a selection of chips for 8-bit computers in stock, including SID chips. As we were talking together with Ian Gledhill about SID sourcing challenges among other things I mentioned this idea of mine. He kindly sent me few faulty rebadged SID chips to test it out.

So, off I am to build an adapter that allows me to install SwinSID and a ‘badSID’ to the C64. Read the rest of this entry »

Sony plays you for a fool?

March 31, 2010

Sony Computer Entertainment released this April Fools’ Day a firmware “update” for Playstation 3 that will only disable a feature – the possibility to run other operating system on PS3. I’m angry and concerned about what this April Fools’ Day joke represents.

There is nothing new in that some features will be removed from a gaming system over its lifetime. Audio/Video connectors and -options, expansion ports and slots, hardware backwards compatibility, storage media options etc. There are not many systems that have lived for several years but wouldn’t have lost anything like that over time. All that for cost savings and profit seeking from the manufacturer.

But Playstation 3 has to be the first system that loses a feature after you have purchased the machine! A feature that was well promoted at the first place and gave the system added value. And how does this help Sony? “Security concerns” they say. Has restricting user freedom ever prevented piracy? Attack the users before someone harms the business? Hackers won’t be stopped by this kind of move – more like the contrary.

I’m not saying that the possibility to install Linux on a PS3 would be important for me, but I’m against this action on the principal level. They are disabling an interesting feature from my PS3 that had it when I purchased the system.

In practice they are forcing this downgrade as the online services, new games and likely other media as well will require always the latest system updates. So choosing not to update is not really an option.

There has been a lot of commenting over Internet like “who cares”. Why wouldn’t you care? What if the feature they were removing was something else like DVD playback, backwards compatibility (well, that was lost for PS2 already) or support for external storage media? There is nothing that would prevent them doing so if those features possessed a “security concern” and could be considered to be disabled without financial losses.

I think it is stupid to give the message that “I’m fine with this – do what ever with the system I (think I) own”.

Sony Computer Entertainment like any corporate is interested only in their market share – not in you as their customer. This action from them demonstrates that very well. I for one will protest with my wallet – that is a feedback channel that a corporate will listen.

Sega Saturn DIY Virtua Stick

March 25, 2010

I like my Sega Saturn. I like the fighting games on it. I like arcade sticks. But I never had the Virtua Stick for the Saturn. So I decided to build one for myself.

Read the rest of this entry »

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