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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Mostly Harmless
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:21 am
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Hi everybody!

I used to play Elite on ZX Spectrum and Atari ST back in the late 80s and early 90s. Like most people here, I played it a lot.

So last April I discovered Oolite. I got hooked very quickly as a flood of nostalgia and childhood memories hit me really hard.

And it made me remember one thing from the days spent playing Elite. Back on the Spectrum version, I bought a back military laser, but I couldn't really use it because no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get used to the reversed controls. It reached a point where I was so frustrated that I opened my QuickShot II joystick, cut the PCB traces that lead to the contacts for the two axes, and rewired them to a switch. The switch was supposed to reverse or 'correct' the orientation of the axes when in rear view. So the idea was, you select rear view, flip the switch and the controls work as if you were in front view. You select front view, flip the switch back and the controls are back to normal. I must have been 12 or 13 when I did this, and I was very proud of myself when it actually worked. The downside was that I had the wires sticking out of the joystick through the hole of the auto-fire switch which I removed. It was ugly and wasn't very reliable, but I had a blast with it.

So fast forward to last April and Oolite. I bought an MS SideWinder 3D Pro Plus joystick on ebay and built a 3DP-Vert which is a gameport to USB converter for the MS SideWinder gameport joysticks (3D Pro, 3D Pro Plus, Precision Pro and Force Feedback).

And again, I felt the same frustration I did when I was a kid. I couldn't use my back lasers! But this time I didn't cut the PCB traces - I patched the firmware of the 3DP-Vert converter. Now there is no need for a switch, since the firmware tracks the ship's orientation by monitoring the hat switch controls of the joystick. So, for instance, if I select back view with the hat switch, the firmware will know that we are facing back, and it will reverse the controls. It turns out you can actually do this for all three views (back, left and right) - the patched firmware will just modify the axes data and have the pilot intuitively control the crosshair from any view.

I know this is a dirty cheat, and I do feel guilty but I just had to do it. Sharing this makes the burden of guilt feel a lot lighter ;)

By the way, if anyone is using 3DP-Vert and wants this patch, let me know.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:00 pm 
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Hi pilot babo, and welcome to the friendliest board this side of Riedquat.
Hey that's not cheating, it's applying a technological solution to a problem! :) For what it's worth I used to just turn the joystick round back on the old c64, but these days I've actually got used to using aft view and can use the 'stick equally well looking forwards or backwards - it's just another skill to master.
Good to have you on board.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:20 pm
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Hi pilot babo and welcome,

that was a very entertaining story! :)

My opinion is, since Oolite is a single player game, you can't cheat to anyone but to yourself. If you do something and enjoy the game more by doing so, why have a bad feeling about it?

And as Smivs said - what you did is so cool that alone the way how you did it would take away any guilt! :wink: Respect!!

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忍 knowing that enough is enough, you'll always have enough.

Running Oolite 1.77 on Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:17 pm 
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Deadly
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That's an awesome hack. Well done!

Like Smivs, I'm (more or less) used to the changeover now. I guess I patched my brain firmware ;)

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"The name's derived from Object Oriented eLite so you could say "Oh! Oh! Leet!", but that might sound too much like g33k sex."


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:09 am 
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An impressive solution, pilot babo! Welcome aboard! 8)
(I did have an amusing thought though, about what will happen when you try to use the 'stick with any other game.. :lol:)

(my brain firmware is finally beginning to adapt, too.. 80% of the time, I get it right without thinking now)

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Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:12 am 
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Quote:
(I did have an amusing thought though, about what will happen when you try to use the 'stick with any other game.. :lol:)
As you (should) know for yourself, that question is redundant - you can't play any other game. :wink: (unless you are living on another planet with longer days, that is.)

EDIT: removed "(should)" after seeing that you didn't ask, but only wondered :wink:

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忍 knowing that enough is enough, you'll always have enough.

Running Oolite 1.77 on Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:51 am 
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Well, I did theorise (long shot, to be sure) that it may just be possible that, somewhere in the world, there exists someone less addicted to Oolite than myself.. :mrgreen:

_________________
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Mostly Harmless
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:21 am
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Quote:
An impressive solution, pilot babo! Welcome aboard! 8)
(I did have an amusing thought though, about what will happen when you try to use the 'stick with any other game.. :lol:)

(my brain firmware is finally beginning to adapt, too.. 80% of the time, I get it right without thinking now)
No, I don't play other games, especially not with a joystick. I used to have a Warcraft III spell back when it was released. I played it so much that it caused carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist to the point I can't use the mouse with my right hand any more. So I switched over to using the mouse with my left. I don't play Warcraft any more...

But I have a jumper on my version of 3DP-Vert just in case I decide to use the joystick somewhere else.

My precious :twisted:

Image


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:52 pm 
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Mostly Harmless
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I recall a keyboard combination (something like shift-k or just k) on the C64 and the first port of Elite to the PC which allowed you to flip the axis as needed. Only worked for fore and aft views, not the side views.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:53 pm 
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Deadly
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i did something similar employing a virtual joystick.
works pretty much the same, but i found that i practiced with the normal setup so much, it now works against me.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Dangerous
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I am a new player (oolitist?), the next generation you could say, so I taught myself to use aft view early and didn't have any interfering instincts. But now, sometimes I get screwed up flying with the front axis, pressing the down arrow to go down and such. :? I guess there just isn't any way to beat it, just push on through.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:39 pm 
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I guess there just isn't any way to beat it, just push on through.
Or act like you're flying a WWII fighter (the P-51D Mustang would be my choice), and only use the fore laser... maybe with a [EliteWiki] Railgun for support.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:52 pm 
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I used the joysticks from my Atari 2600 on my C64 version of Elite - with a single fire button - you just orientated the stick so that the "top" axis matched the facing of the the viewport (forward view, obviously the default, but if I changed to port view, I just spun the stick until the left axis was pointing towards the screen...

I got to Elite - so it worked.

I like your solution!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:25 pm 
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Deadly
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the lil program i mentioned above can be downloaded here.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:53 pm 
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windows only i see.

Wyvern Mommy, could you describe how it works ?

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